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Change iTunes Backup Folder Location – Windows 8.1

Ever have an iTunes backup fail due to low storage? Or maybe you wanted to change the iTunes Backup folder location? This guide will walk you through the process of changing the location of that pesky backup folder via means of a symbolic link.

This guide doesn’t use 3rd party software. There are tons of software out there that can facilitate this process but I tend to avoid 3rd party software as much as possible.

This guide was created for Windows users and it should apply to Windows 7, 8 and 10 (but it was only tested in windows 8.1)

The new location needs to have enough storage space or the backups will continue to fail. You may use a partitioned drive (method used in this guide), thumb drive, external hard drive, etc.

What is a Symbolic Link?

A symbolic link contains a text string that is automatically interpreted and followed by the operating system as a path to another file or directory. This other file or directory is called the “target”. The symbolic link is a second file that exists independently of its target. If a symbolic link is deleted, its target remains unaffected. If a symbolic link points to a target, and sometime later that target is moved, renamed or deleted, the symbolic link is not automatically updated or deleted, but continues to exist and still points to the old target, now a non-existing location or file…

 excerpted from Wikipedia

1. Backup your iTunes Data

Before making any system modifications, it is important to backup the folders where your data is stored.

Default paths for Windows 7/8/10 are: C:\Users\YourUSERName\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\

The process is pretty straightforward. We’ll create a new Backup folder in a different drive such as D:\\ drive and link the original location to the new location. This is known as a Symbolic link. It may seem daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, moving data around becomes easy as pie. Your data will live in your new chosen location but iTunes will be tricked into thinking it remains on the same place.

2. Create a New Folder for your iTunes Backups 

The new location should be preferably one that has enough storage. Note: You can store your backups in a thumb drive, external hard drive, different partition, etc. In my case, I chose D:\\iTunes\Backup

3. Rename the old iTunes Backup Folder

Once you’ve safely backed up the /Backup folder, it’s time to rename it to something different, such as Old Data, Old Backups, Original, etc. Do not navigate away from this location.

4. Change the iTunes Backup Location

You should still be at /Roaming/Apple Computer/MobileSync/

Holding the [ SHIFT ] button, R-click on the renamed folder with your mouse and you should get a context menu > Open Command Windows Here

The command window will launch and it’s time to create the link.

Note: D:\\iTunes\Backup is the location I chose. Remember to replace it with the correct drive letter and location you chose

In the command prompt window, type:

mklink /J “%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “D:iTunes\Backup”

You should receive the following output:

C:\Users\yourUSERname\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync>mklink /J “%APPDATA%\Ap
ple Computer\MobileSync\Backup” “D:\iTunes\Backup”
Junction created for C:\Users\yourUSERname\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup <<===>> D:\iTunes\Backup

Windows Terminal output

You should now see an arrow icon displayed in the old folder location(C:\Users\yourUSERname\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\) This just shows that the process was successful.

5. Delete the old iTunes Backup Folder

Remember that old folder we renamed? It’s no longer necessary and you can safely delete it.

6. Testing your New iTunes Backup Location

Launch iTunes and backup your device.

The backup error from low storage no longer pops up on my end (which means iTunes is indeed using the new location via the symbolic link we created) !

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