iTunes cannot find my file!
November 30, 2007 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Stupid iTunes problem - yes, I Googled it . . .

Some time ago, I moved my iTunes music folder to an external drive to save memory on my HD. Since then, I've bought new music. If I play, though iTunes, the new music, iTunes finds it no problem. If I want to play some music or a playlist prior to the migration, however, iTunes tells me it can't find the original file. So I can browse to its new location, and it plays fine. But I don't want to have to do this with every song, on every playlist. Is there a universal workaround to this? Win XP. I have iTunes pointing to the external drive as the place to keep music. What gives?
posted by tr33hggr to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: How did you move the music to the external drive? The correct way is to change the folder in the iTunes preferences and then use the Consolidate Library command in the iTunes Advanced menu to perform the copy. This allows iTunes to keep its library in sync with the actual location of the files it references. If you still have the disk space, copy the files back to where they were so iTunes can find them and then consolidate. (You might be able to do this in stages if you don't have enough space for the entire library on the original drive.)

A second alternative is open the iTunes Library XML file in a text editor and do a search-and-replace of the old path, changing it to the new path. After doing this, delete the binary library file and relaunch iTunes. This runs the risk of losing some metadata, however -- when I last needed to do it I lost some playlists and ratings.
posted by kindall at 1:35 PM on November 30, 2007

My workaround would be to edit the xml file. It should be under My Documents > My Music > iTunes > iTunes Music Library. First close iTunes, then backup this xml file in case of a fuckup. Then open the file in a text editor and do a find/replace from old path to new path. Hit save, open iTunes and enjoy.
posted by special-k at 1:35 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

If this doesn't work, copy the backed up file back to the iTunes folder so at the very least, you should be back at square 0.
posted by special-k at 1:36 PM on November 30, 2007

Itunes is still pointed to the music files old location. You'll need to reimport everything to fix the links. No big deal, you're not actually moving files, just updating iTunes with the new location.
Start by selecting all your music and pressing the Delete key. When prompted click on Remove. The next prompt will ask if you want to move the files to the Recycle Bin or keep the files. Keep the files!
Once everything is gone, just click File...Add Folder to Library. Point it to you music drive and you're back in business.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:39 PM on November 30, 2007

This can get complicated. I've done this before, but only with the aid of a few really good walk-throughs. See here and here.
posted by Soup at 1:41 PM on November 30, 2007

Eddie Mars: Then he would lose all metadata (like playcounts etc.) Changing location is the better way to go.
posted by special-k at 1:41 PM on November 30, 2007

Move your data back to its previous location and do what kindall specified- change the path in itunes preferences and then 'consolidate library'.
posted by mphuie at 1:57 PM on November 30, 2007

Yeah, don't re-import. The MP3 files may have ID3 informaton, but the WAV files do not. He'd have a bunch of stuff to edit by hand.

I've done this, and basically you just need to change the path.
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 4:45 PM on November 30, 2007

OMG before you do anything drastic hold down shift when you launch itunes.
posted by low affect at 7:35 PM on November 30, 2007

Holding down shift while opening iTunes won't give you any options that will help in this situation.
posted by kindall at 10:21 PM on November 30, 2007

Holding down shift helped me a lot with a similar problem; it got rid of all the little exclamation points, but I still have two copies of everything in my library at this point.

How I wish iTunes's duplicate finding really worked. I have 30,000 songs I have to delete, one at a time.

Yeah, definitely don't reimport your whole library.
posted by bink at 12:36 PM on December 1, 2007

I've done something similar - and the only time itunes complains is if I happen to launch itunes before connecting the external drive. Once that happens, itunes just does not find any music files at all - only solution is to quit itunes and launch it with the external drive already connected.
posted by Arthur Dent at 6:50 PM on December 1, 2007

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