Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Using Multiple iPods on a Single Windows Computer

So I got a new laptop a week ago, and in the process was determined to figure out a better way to sync both my girlfriend Anne's 4GB iPod Nano and my 60GB iPod Photo using the single laptop.

With the last laptop, I created an additional user account to be used just for managing the iTunes library for my iPod. Anytime I needed to sync my iPod, I logged off my "primary" user account and then back in with a "secondary" user account used just for managing my iTunes library. I was convinced that there had to be a better way, but simply hadn't spent the time trying to find it. With the new laptop in hand, I was determined to find out what the answer was.

After Google'n for an answer, I found a number of solutions similar to the following ones:




But none of them struck me as what I wanted the solution to be.

I then remembered the RUNAS functionality built into Windows XP, which in short, allows you to execute any given program under a different security context (i.e., using a different user account than the one you are currently logged in with). I then gathered that I should be able to run an instance of iTunes using RUNAS via a secondary user account.

So I created the secondary user account that I would use for managing my iTunes library, logged in with the secondary user account, and launched iTunes to ensure everything was working as expected. I then imported my iTunes library from the old laptop, etc. I then logged back in with my primary user account for the laptop and used RUNAS to launch iTunes with the secondary user account.

In short, it worked perfectly! The only hick-up of sorts was trying to figure out how to get the "Run as..." option to show up on the context menu for the iTunes icon on my Windows Desktop. The trick is to hold down the shift key while right-clicking the icon.

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