Some music doesn't load in iTunes for XP but works fine on Mac
March 14, 2007 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Some music copied from an Mac drive to a Windows drive doesn't load in iTunes on Windows XP.

I have about 190GB of music (about 35,000 songs) on a FAT32 drive plugged into an ordinary tower Compaq via USB2. The music was formerly used in iTunes on Mac OS X 10.4.8 on a big HFS+ drive, but I copied it off to other drives, reformatted the big drive (which is less than three months old) as FAT32 and then copied the music back.

However, when I import the songs into iTunes for XP, only 90GB (about 19,000 songs) show up in the program. They all show up fine in iTunes for Mac OS X. Both are using the latest iTunes. I've tried numerous reimports with no luck. I've also tried a smaller drive, with a subset of files, but only part of those showed up in iTunes, too.

Thinking it might be a problem with copying, I've also copied the data over a second time to the drive reformatted as NTFS. I've also tried copying the data from Mac drives to the Windows drive using the Macdrive software to mount the Macs in Windows. I've also tried copying using SMB filesharing, using FTP, and using a weird Parallels-folder-sharing combo. All with no change in how many files import.

So, what I'm looking for is ideas on what might be the problem. Is it strange Mac-only characters or Mac-only names? I have a lot of international music with foreign characters. But shouldn't FAT32 handle accents, tildes, umlauts, and whatever just fine? Just in case, I ran a few scripts that clean up a bunch of strange characters, but it didn't seem to change the number of songs that would import.

Is it possible metadata embedded in files cannot be used? Some of the music probably does include metadata in various kinds of ID tags, and maybe also includes album art (though I have no way of determining that, I think).

Are there permissions or privileges that should be changed on the copied files?

Any ideas or tricks to try would be appreciated. I'm reluctant to just abandon 100GB of music.
posted by TurkeyMustard to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It really could be the "strange" characters. I had no end of trouble moving all my music from a Mac to pc a few years back...and I'm not talking Farsi, but things like ! and ?. The worst part is that there was no warning, no reason given, just terminated the process and left me to figure out why it was pissy.
posted by nevercalm at 12:12 PM on March 14, 2007

How are you copying the files? Dragging the iTunes folder to another drive?

In my experience, copying a huge number of files with drag and drop doesn't work. Try using the command line to do the copy.
posted by Cog at 2:11 PM on March 14, 2007

Surely if it's "weird characters" in the file names, you could test this just by copying one file, not copying the whole lot!
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:35 PM on March 14, 2007

I've found that some songs with immensely long titles won't copy across because Windows and/or NTFS don't support filenames over x characters, whereas HFS+ will happily let you use novel-length filenames, a la Sufjan Stevens.
posted by influx at 5:15 PM on March 14, 2007

Just don't use itunes on a PC. Winamp and the like work better in Windows.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 1:33 PM on March 15, 2007

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