I am not a FileMaker power user by any stretch of the imagination, nor does my question relate to any particularly sophisticated use of the program, so I hope others here will forgive and bear with me.
I formed a band my junior year of college with guys who have remained my best friends throughout all of the subsequent 46 years. Though we’re scattered in different parts of the country now, we reunite at least twice a year to make music again, and for the past 23 years we have recorded songs together at these reunions.
I created a FileMaker database (using FMP 11) to chronicle these recording sessions, and all of the songs done at each of them. The record for each song contains the fields you might expect: Title, Songwriter; Original Artist (for songs we didn’t write ourselves); Year; Session; Lyrics; and a repeating field for personnel — i.e., who sang and played what on each song. Each band member also has a Comment field so he can share his feelings about the song or memories of the recording session for it.
We store the master copy of the database in Dropbox, and all can access it at any time — though I’ve put a system in place to ensure that no more than one person at a time can modify or add data to the file, to avoid the dreaded “conflicted copy” syndrome.
Each record in the database also has a Container field for the recording it pertains to. To avoid the unthinkable bloat that would result in storing 23 years worth of .wav files in the database, I naturally used FileMaker’s “Store only a reference to this file” feature for this field.
The music files themselves reside on a 128GB thumb drive. The plan was to strike exact copies of this Master thumb drive for each band member that they would physically insert into their own computers, so the the song associated with a given record would play when they access the database and double-click the Container field.
Perspicacious readers may now guess where I’m headed. I am the only one of the five of us who is on a Mac system. My Master thumb drive, as well as a copy I struck from it, works perfectly for its intended purpose. I have taken the copied drive from home (where it was created) and used it with no problems whatsoever on my work Mac. No matter which Mac I use, as long as I access the database from Dropbox and have the thumb drive inserted in that Mac, all is well — since the Mac automatically “sees” and can instantly access any external device plugged into it.
My bandmates, however, are all on Windows systems — and as my closest friend feared, when I sent that copy of the thumb drive to him. it did not work in the same way, due to Windows’ convention of assigning a letter to any external device plugged into a Windows-based machine. It appears a Windows system needs a strictly defined file path to locate the music files on the thumb drive. And a different letter is likely to be assigned to this drive in each person’s machine, based on how many other peripherals he has plugged into it at any given time.
My obvious question: is there any way around this issue? Is there some way to tell a Windows system “Look for the music files referenced in this database on the ‘F:’ drive” (or whatever drive is appropriate)? Or is each individual member doomed to manually relinking each one of the 280 or so music files that I so carefully linked on the master thumb drive?
Only my closest friend I referenced has a degree of computer savvy, so I was hoping to make this entire process as easy as possible for all concerned. Thank you very much in advance for any help that can be given.