Save the ITunes, Save the world!
February 5, 2007 5:10 AM   Subscribe

Help me save my GF's ITunes! There is of course...

My GF's Dell laptop had an issue yesterday and on advice of the Dell Tech Support, we tried a System Restore. This didn't fix the problem, but oh well...

Later, she went to sync her ipod and noticed that any songs downloaded after the System Restore wouldn't play (error message said they weren't licensed to play on her PC) so we went back to System Restore to "undo" the procedure. After about 30 mins of the laptop sitting doing nothing, seemed the restore wasn't responding, we decided to re-boot....


c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):

I can get on the HARDDRIVE via a USB to IDE direct cable, but how do I get the 200+ songs that were on the "pre-restore" version of ITunes??

Please be my hero!

( I looked up the error on MS and saw recovery setps. HOWEVER. it says not to run on OEM installs of the OS)

Dell has been no help.
posted by keep it tight to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
When it said they weren't licensed to play on her PC, did it not give you the option to put in a password to authorize it? (iTunes songs should be authorizable (yes, that's a word) on up to five computers).

Unless some strange voodoo has taken place, you *should* be able to pull the songs off the HD, store them somewhere, run a repair install on Windows, then put the songs back on and re-authorize the computer the first time you try to play them.

If five machines have already been authorized (if you have them on computers at home, work, Grandma's, etc, for example), you can de-authorize all of them, then re-authorize with your iTunes account password one by one.

Unless I'm totally misunderstanding?
posted by olinerd at 5:27 AM on February 5, 2007

Oh, also, was she logged in on iTunes? Maybe the system restore logged her out, meaning there's not authentication taking place. She should see her account name (usually an email address) up in the corner of the iTunes store -- if it's not there, it'll say "sign in." Make sure she's signed in.
posted by olinerd at 5:29 AM on February 5, 2007

The Store > Authorize Computer... option may also help.
posted by matthewr at 5:33 AM on February 5, 2007

This sounds to me like (a) an absolutely typical System Restore experience (b) an absolutely typical tech support experience (c) an absolutely typical DRM experience. I believe you are completely hosed.

You should be able to recover the actual music files easily enough (they'll most likely be in (drive):\Documents and Settings\(username)\My Documents\My Music\iTunes Music), but recovering the DRM keys required to make them play is probably not feasible. I sincerely hope somebody else is going to prove me wrong.

The principles I hope you will allow this bitter experience to teach you are:

1. Never, never, never use System Restore for anything other than immediate rollbacks of software installation, and even then, don't expect it to leave your system in a clean and stable state.

2. Do not trust Dell technical support to be unfailingly competent. If they ask you to ignore Principle 1, just tell them you did it and it didn't make any difference.

3. Never pay money for content with DRM attached. These bastards are only getting away with it because people keep encouraging them by giving them money.

I'm truly sorry I can't be of more help than this.
posted by flabdablet at 5:38 AM on February 5, 2007

On lack of preview: I am so hoping to stand corrected.
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 AM on February 5, 2007

It sounds like the registry is hosed and since switching to Mac a few years ago I've unlearned everything about the registry.

If the music is still there and your system is stable, you can re-authorize the computer by going following the steps above. Clicking on one of the purchased songs should present you with a box asking for your Apple ID.

If the music is totally gone, you can fill out a support form in the iTunes store and Apple will reset your account so all of the music you bought will re-download either automatically or by selecting "check for purchased music" from iTunes. Of course only do that after the system is working again -- Windows/iTunes/etc are re-installed and running again.

This won't help with music not purchased from iTunes.
posted by birdherder at 6:03 AM on February 5, 2007

If the stuff's still on your HARDDRIVE you just need to reauthorise iTunes. When you try to play the song through iTunes (not the iPod), it'll automatically ask you for the username/password for that song. Put it in, and go.
posted by bonaldi at 6:27 AM on February 5, 2007

If you can browse and search the drive, find the folder with the 200 songs. They'll be in the My Music folder / ITunes somewhere if your GF kept the defaults. Copy them to another drive, and you'll be able to copy them back after you fix the bigger issue.

If you have to completely wipe the drive and start over, you'll need to re-authorized the computer, as the others have suggested, to put the tunes on the ipod.

(And personally, if it was my computer, I'd try those things that MS says not to do on an OEM computer anyway, since you can't get into Windows at all. I'd only try them after I was sure I had all my data off, but at that point, what do you have to lose?)
posted by found dog one eye at 1:50 PM on February 5, 2007

Are the songs still on the iPod? Get them off with YamiPod.

And I agree with found dog one eye: Go for it. I had this exact same error message yesterday, but it turned out the hard drive now has physical errors. I doubt this is your case, but give it a try and see what pops up. You probably won't make anything worse than it already is...
posted by niles at 10:22 PM on February 5, 2007

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