Sunday, January 11, 2009

Custom iTunes installation

I love my iPod and I use it almost every day. Mostly I'm listening to podcasts, but also music off course. But I hate iTunes. Or maybe that's a bit strong. I hate the iTunes installer. I think it’s all too intrusive and it doesn't give me all the choices I feel that it should.

ipod If you go to the download page on iTunes’ web site and download the iTunes 8 version suited for your operating system, you’ll get an iTunesSetup.exe file. If you’ve tried to run this file, you might have noticed that you also end up with a bunch of apps and services that you didn’t asked for. This includes;

Bonjour – Apple’s take on implementing the Zeroconf for discovery of services on a local network. The only reason why I might need the Bonjour service, is if I want to share my iTunes library on my LAN. But for now, running iTunes on a single machine, there’s no reason to have this service running around wasting resources.

Apple Mobile Device Support and Mobile Me – Both of these are meant for synchronization between a computer and an iPhone/IPod Touch. I only have an iPod Nano, so why would I need a service to sync between my pc and something I don’t have?

Apple Software Update – This service will check for new updates on regular intervals, just like Windows Update. Luckily it won’t install anything automatically, it will only notify you if there’s a new iTunes version and let you decide if you want to download and install.

QuickTime – I’m not even going to start elaborating why I dislike QuickTime so much. It would just make me angry. Luckily, there are alternatives.

The last one in the package is off course iTunes itself.

As you might have guess by now, there are only one or two out of six that I actually want to have running on my pc. And it’s really not that hard to actually get it that way. It turns out that the iTunesSetup.exe is just a self-extracting package that contains installers for all of the apps and services above. So if you’d like to have a custom install of iTunes without the nagging apps and services that comes out of this black box, you’ll need a packaging-app like WinRAR or 7-Zip. Then you can just extract the iTunesSetup.exe and delete the parts you don’t need/like. The only thing to be aware of is that iTunes requieres QuickTime, but if you’ve installed QuickTime Alternative before running the iTunes installer, you’ll be safe and sound. So to make a short-list of how to install iTunes only and keep your system a bit less cluttered;

  1. Download and install QuickTime Alternative
  2. Download, but don’t install iTunes
  3. Extract ‘iTunesSetup.exe’
  4. Delete the files you want need. For me that means everything except iTunes.msi and AppleSoftwareUpdate.msi.
  5. Open the command prompt, navigate to the folder where you extracted iTunes.msi, and run the following command; msiexec /i iTunes.msi /passive
  6. If you’d like to be reminded of new updates (which you definitely should), run the same command for the updater service; msiexec /i AppleSoftwareUpdate.msi /passive

(If you want the regular GUI-based installation, you can just skip the “/passive” parameter (or just double-click the msi-file in Windows Explorer).)

Now, I didn’t figure out all this by myself. Google helped me find this article by Ed Bott and this thread over at the PC Pitstop forum.


Anonymous said...

Very helpfull. Good Job.

Anonymous said...

Interesting information, now I realize why I wasn't entirely pleased with itunes. Your tips really helped me a lot and my mind and my ipod are more comfortable now.

Kjetil Klaussen said...

Thanks! Appreciate your feedback :)

Anonymous said...

Woot! Less bloat.

Anonymous said...

nice one, really helps on ultra mobile pc's.