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Damaged iTunes Library XML file

15278 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Sep 26, 2013 4:24 PM by turingtest2 RSS
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tampa G Calculating status...
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Nov 26, 2012 2:36 PM

     I've experienced just about every iTunes error message known to man over the years and have persevered through all of them.  However, this one really has me scared.


Yesterday - while importing some songs into my iTunes, the program froze and my iMac crashed.  After restarting the computer iTunes displayed a lengthy error message which I quickly scanned over, just fast enough to only remember the latter end of the message which said something to the extend of the library being damaged and renaming the library "iTunes Library Damaged".  This made me suspicious however, it wasn't until I noticed iTunes scanning my entire music collection that I became particularly wary.  Also, I noticed that every playlist folder (as well as their subfolders) was opened, displaying every playlist I have.  I figured I'd let iTunes run its course and analyze any changes when it was done.


After ten agonizing minutes I had noticed the program was done sifting.  Gazing through iTunes' contents I was dumbfounded at some of the changes I had noticed.  No longer were there tabs under Library for Books, iTunes U, or Podcasts, they were in their own 'music-like' playlists rather.  Other playlists of this nature that were created include Genius, iTunes DJ, Movies, Music, & TV Shows which still had their respective tabs under Library.  They also seem to have all, or at least most of their original contents.  The only media that I've NOTICED is gone is a couple hundred book titles, which I'm not too distraught over because I hardly ever read them (I notice I prefer hardbacks instead) and most were free. Also, at least 20 custom ringtones that I've created for various contacts in my phone are now gone (from their original file location as well). iTunes, however, hasn't lost my add/modification dates, playcounts, etc. (which I've found common with this particular error message).


At this point I'm very panicked but still grateful.  I can't be sure of what exactly is missing - as it is hard to remember all 16k+ digital media files however something tells me that pre-crash I had something around 16,700 files - which has since been reduced to just under 16,400 files.. I've thoroughly researched the matter for about a day now and many people have lost their entire library contents upon receiving this error message. This would be a death sentence to me as I've spent over a decade meticulously organizing my library of over 16k items and hundreds of playlists. I would be completely devastated if my intangible property were to disappear into the cyberspace abyss.  This is why I'd like to tread softly as I proceed.  Though I've came across a dozen different recommended fixes for similar circumstances, I'd hate to try an amateur quick fix only to notice that although my iTunes Library looks the same and all missing Books & Tones have been recovered, I've now lost all of my playlists as a consequence. Hopefully someone will recognize my specific symptoms and can provide the exact remedy.


My questions follow:


1)  Is there a way I can find out all that is missing ?


2)  Can I locate my missing Ringtone & Book files ?


3)  Can I re-add the missing Books, iTunes U, or Podcast tabs that used to be under Library ? (I know iTunes 11 will be out any day now with its brand new look, so perhaps this is irrelevant)


4)  Or is there a safe all around fix that I can get iTunes completely back to the way it was before the error message appear ? 



**I've attached a picture of my current iTunes folder.



Screen Shot 2012-11-26 at 4.52.29 PM.png

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 24", 3.06 GHz, 4GB 800MHz, 1TB
  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,910 points)
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    Nov 26, 2012 2:48 PM (in response to tampa G)

    Empty/corrupt library after upgrade/crash

    Hopefully it's not been too long since you last upgraded iTunes, in fact if you get an empty/incomplete library immediately after upgrading then with the following steps you shouldn't lose a thing or need to do any further housekeeping. In the Previous iTunes Libraries folder should be a number of dated iTunes Library files. Take the most recent of these and copy it into the iTunes folder. Rename iTunes Library.itl as iTunes Library (Corrupt).itl and then rename the restored file as iTunes Library.itl. Start iTunes. Should all be good, bar any recent additions to or deletions from your library.





    Windows images but you should get the gist...


    See MusicFolder Files Not Added and Super Remove Dead Tracks for tools to catch up with any changes since the backup file was created.



    Various PCs,iTunes,iOS 6, Windows XP Pro, iPad 2,iPhone 3GS,iPod classic,nano
  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,910 points)
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    Nov 27, 2012 10:14 AM (in response to tampa G)

    You're welcome.



  • Arramattic1 Calculating status...
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    Dec 5, 2012 11:10 AM (in response to tampa G)

    Thanks you so very much for posting all of this

    I too HATE the new itunes 11


    I found a major problem- you can't add your own new converted movies to the library!!!


    (I have got the right format, I have since gone back to 10.6, and they pick up just fine)


    I will recommend to all my friends that they should NOT upgrade to the new iTunes


    It also looks horrid

    just pushing buying stuff from the store- I like to see my device as its added  etc

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,910 points)
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    Dec 5, 2012 12:06 PM (in response to tampa G)

    Just to be clear, if you do roll back to 10.6/7 you'll need to roll back the .itl file too, in the same fashion as above.



  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,910 points)
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    Dec 6, 2012 3:16 PM (in response to tampa G)
    • Close iTunes
    • Open your iTunes folder
    • Select the iTunes Library.itl file
    • Press ctrl-c
    • open the Previous iTunes Libraries folder
    • Press ctrl-v
    • Rename the file


    However you should really backup your entire iTunes folder on a regular basis. Carbon Copy Cloner to an external drive is a good way to do it.



  • Drew Troutner Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
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    Apr 30, 2013 11:20 PM (in response to Arramattic1)

    You actually can add your own converted movies, but they show up under the "Home Movies" category. You can easily re-categorize them, though.

  • FlexiDan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 15, 2013 9:59 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    Thanks for that - it worked for me when I reverted to itunes 10 from v11. Gawd that new version was awful!

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,910 points)
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    May 16, 2013 2:49 AM (in response to FlexiDan)

    You're welcome.


    I quite like iTunes 11 though I still miss the Album List view.



  • Baptists Calculating status...
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    Jun 13, 2013 12:34 AM (in response to tampa G)

    After successfully deleting the wretched iTunes 11, and obtaining 10.7 I faced the problem of not having any of those files above located in my iTunes folder on my mac. I managed to locate them on a backup on my external hard drive. I then followed the same steps of picking a previous file, copying, renaming, and dragging back to my itunes folder but still I keep getting the error messages.

    Any suggestions?! I really don't want to reset my computer´╗┐ entirely to the original settings from when it was first purchased nor do I want to search my time machine.

    I just absolutely cannot stand the new iTunes and desperately want to downgrade.

  • emailboy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 25, 2013 2:38 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    Unfortunately, for me, doing this does not help.  It seems Apple changed the format of the iTunes library database (.itl) between v10 and v11, and when v11 attempts to convert it, it corrupts it.  Deleting the library and copying the previous library causes iTunes v11 to re-convery it, which in my case re-corrupts it.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,910 points)
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    Sep 25, 2013 3:07 PM (in response to emailboy)

    Reboot the computer, don't run anything but iTunes, disable your AV software, use a copy of an older backup file. reenable your AV. Any better? You can add the iTunes Media folder into the library to tach up on recent changes or use iTunes Folder Watch.



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