13 Replies Latest reply: Dec 27, 2008 11:21 AM by v4maximus
qwer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
When I open itunes, and try to click on a song, there is an "!" and I get the error message "original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it?"
It does this for every song. I have to trace it down to "My Music\itunes\itunes\itunes music" and under that I have hundreds of files by artist.

How can I listen to the songs so I don't have to click on each one to make them play?

I hope you can help me.

Windows XP
  • The Mimico Kid Level 6 Level 6 (10,325 points)
    The exclamation marks (and the accompanying note) inidicate the files aren't located where iTunes expects them to be.

    This most often happens when the files have been deleted or moved to a different location than where iTunes expects them to be.

    If the files are still on your computer but have been moved, the best solution is to get them back where they were in the first place. iTunes will be able to find them again - happy ending.

    It can also happen if the files have been renamed in which case changing the name back to what it was in the first place is the way to go.

    Sometimes though, it seems iTunes loses track of files for no apparent reason. In that case, other than telling iTunes where they are on a one by one basis, your only other option is to start with a new iTunes library. Regrettably, this method will lose your playlists and related information (Ratings, Play Counts, Dates Last Played, etc.).

    If that's not a deal-breaker for you, delete the current entries in your Library by highlighting them - iTunes Edit menu > Select All - and then right-clicking > Delete . You are removing the entries from your Library but keeping the files themselves in your iTunes Music folder, or wheresoever they happen to be stored.

    You can then add them back into your Library by selecting the iTunes Music folder in Windows Explorer and dragging it into the Library entry in the iTunes Source List (left-hand column). Reference this article in the Apple Knowledge Base.
  • qwer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks. How can I tell the location where Itunes expects them to be?

    I think you are correct, but I don't know how to reset the path.

    I did rename my music folder once to "My Music H" when I transferred my library to an external hard drive for storage. Now the computer will not let me delete the "H" because there is another file called "My Music"

    You are a great help. Now I just have to find out how to rename to path.

    One more ? - In your example of creating a new library, how can I be sure that I won't lose the license to play songs I paid for to download off the internet? Where are the licenses stored? How do I back them up?

    Also - If I create a new library, will this be for purchased songs as well as the ones I've ripped from cd's I own?

    I really appreciate your time and help.
  • The Mimico Kid Level 6 Level 6 (10,325 points)
    How can I tell the location where Itunes expects them to be?


    Unfortunately iTunes isn't too eager to reveal that information. : - (

    I can tell you that the default location in Windows XP is C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music so that's most likely where they started out. If your song files hadn't been moved from there previously, that may well be where iTunes is looking for them and you can try copying them back to that location.

    If that doesn't work I have one other idea so post back if necessary.

    ... how can I be sure that I won't lose the license to play songs I paid for to download off the internet? Where are the licenses stored? How do I back them up?


    If you're talking about songs bought from the iTunes Store, you don't have to worry about that.

    Although it's very important to have a back-up of your iTunes Library, there are no licenses to back up. The iTS operates by authorizing your computer to play songs you have bought and that authorization is only affected if and when there is a significant change to your computer's hardware configuration. Moving files around or creating new libraries on one computer won't have an effect on the authorization of that computer.

    If you're talking about songs bought from another online store, I don't know. You'd have to check into what sort of digital rights scheme they use.

    If I create a new library, will this be for purchased songs as well as the ones I've ripped from cd's I own?


    It will be for all the files, purchased and ripped, that you add to it as described in the link at the end of my previous post.

    I really appreciate your time and help.


    Just doing my job. ; - )
  • qwer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello. Thanks you for staying with me. I feel like I'm chasing down a rabbit hole.

    Now I'm getting the message "The folder contining iTunes library 2008.08.18 itl can not be found and is required. Please choose / create new Itunes library."

    I think I had this problem before because I now have lots of paths that even I can not follow. For example, within My music I have Itunes/iTunesmusic/J/DJ2 and also iTunesMusic/itunes/album artwork/precious iTunes libraries/and then 4 libraries one of which is 8/18/08

    Also withing My Music folder I have another My Music folder/J and a My Music H/iTunes/8/18/08.

    I'm don't know which ones to delete and am afraid of deleting them for good. However they are taking up a lot of space on my harddrive. I tried looking at properties to see which are the most recent or largest, but that hasn't gotten me anywhere.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks SO much!
  • The Mimico Kid Level 6 Level 6 (10,325 points)
    I think I had this problem before because I now have lots of paths that even I can not follow.


    In which case I believe the best strategy is for you to start over again. As I said before though, regrettably this method will lose your playlists and related information (Ratings, Play Counts, Dates Last Played, etc.) but at this point it's making the best of a bad situation.

    Can you locate one folder that contains the entire contents of your iTunes Library: songs, videos, audiobooks, podcasts, apps and what have you.

    If so, keep that folder and delete (or at least move out of the way for the time being and delete later) any others that are confusing the issue.

    Okay, now go to the iTunes Edit menu > Preferences > Advanced tab and change the iTunes Music folder location to where you want it to be. It was an external drive as I recall. Make sure Keep iTunes Music folder organized and Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library are both checked.

    You're ready to delete the current entries in your Library by highlighting them - iTunes Edit menu > Select All - and then right-clicking > Delete . Remember: you're removing the entries from your Library but keeping the files themselves in your iTunes Music folder, or wheresoever you happen to have found them.

    And now you can add them back into your Library by using Windows Explorer to select the folder that contains all the files and dragging it into the Library entry in the iTunes Source List (left-hand column). Reference this article in the Apple Knowledge Base.

    You should now have a "new" library that has all the contents of your old one.
  • qwer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Type of files to be deleted?
    I've been looking at the properties to discover the original file, the one with all of my music that I want to keep. It looks like there are several different types of files. I have a lot files. Which type should I delete and what do I need to keep?

    - windows media audio file
    - xml document
    - sentinel
    - itunes data base file
    - MPG-4 Audio file
  • qwer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I think it your suggestion may be working. I never could have done it without you. THANK YOU!!!

    Now I have a new question. I'm not sure if I should start another question or if you are still following along.

    It seems the new library has album covers. How can I get it back to a spreadsheet like it used to be? I like that better.

    It's particularly confusing when there are more than one song on an album and I hover over the album it says "play album", but I can't specify which songs.

    I can't thank you enough for all of your help.
  • qwer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello, I figured out the answer to my last question about getting rid of the album covers.

    Here's my last questions -

    1) Now that I have a new library, how should I sync the actual ipod (which has the old playlists) It's okay if I lose the playlists. I just don't want to wipe out we've done by fixing the file paths on the computer. IMPORTANT*

    2) Extra file appeared - I have my Itunes file (my music/itunes/itunes library Suddenly, there was a new folder labled "itunes1" with these files in it: sentinel, itunes library genius, itunes library extras, itunes library xml and itunes libaray database, album artwork)

    I don't know where the itunes1 folder came from. Is it duplicative? Something that I should erase?
  • fawn512 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    The Mimico Kid wrote:


    Sometimes though, it seems iTunes loses track of files for no apparent reason. In that case, other than telling iTunes where they are on a one by one basis, your only other option is to start with a new iTunes library. Regrettably, this method will lose your playlists and related information (Ratings, Play Counts, Dates Last Played, etc.).


    OMG, i think this is what currently happened to my itunes library. I didn't remove or rename the songs, and yet ALL (music & videos) have broken links!!! now i have to add them all again! Why does this happen? any way i can prevent from happening again?
  • The Mimico Kid Level 6 Level 6 (10,325 points)
    1) Now that I have a new library, how should I sync the actual ipod (which has the old playlists) It's okay if I lose the playlists. I just don't want to wipe out we've done by fixing the file paths on the computer. IMPORTANT*


    The iPod wasn't designed to sync playlist-related information back to the iPod. You might be interested in the last part of polydorus's post here though, starting with Otherwise you can use third party software to manage the transfer....

    That being said, I'd suggest holding off on pursuing those options until we're sure everything else is straightened out.

    2) Extra file appeared - I have my Itunes file (my music/itunes/itunes library Suddenly, there was a new folder labled "itunes1" with these files in it: sentinel, itunes library genius, itunes library extras, itunes library xml and itunes libaray database, album artwork)


    Okay I just want to be clear on your exact situation, so a few questions if you don't mind ...

    When you followed the instructions in my last post, did you choose your external drive as the location for your iTunes Music folder? And does that folder now contain all the files that make up your iTunes Library?

    There are now two iTunes folders on your C: drive? iTunes and iTunes1? And they both have the various files/folders you described - sentinel, itunes library genius, itunes library extras, itunes library xml and itunes libaray database, album artwork - in them?
  • qwer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello. Thank you again for all of your help. You are wonderful.

    1- I am setting up my C (internal) drive. I mentioned an external hardd rive for storage only. I tried to copy my library because we moved and I didn't want to lose anything. After we get this straight, I'd like to delete the music on the harddrive with these wierd paths and copy over the correct one you've helped me to build.

    2- Under my music/ I have 2 folders - "itunes" and "itunes1) They are a little different.
    "iTunes" has these sub folders:
    * Cache, a file shich contains a lot of numbers and they contain 15 files. If I follow it all the way through I get a message saying "Windows can not open this file. lots of ####.itc2
    * iTunes music has all of my music in folders (like you would find in windows). It's 1.6GB with 781 files and 391 folders. If I follow along to the last item I see "MP3 or MPEG4" files. If I click on them it will take me to itunes library. (This one is dated 8/2008 when we moved)

    "iTunes1" folder (the new folder created yesterday) has only 5 items: Sentinel, itunes Library Genius, itunes library extras, itunes library (and xml document) and itunes library (itunes database file 1.37mb. In addition there is a file folder marked "album artwork" which leads to cache and the #'s like the other one.
    *I think the difference is there are no folders like in wndows, but the itunes library leads me directly to my library on the itunes website

    Does that make sense? Do I need both folders?

    1) In the future, when I buy new songs from apple, where will they automatically get stored? I'm trying to keep organized.

    2) What will happen when I sync my ipod on the computer? That's what I was trying to get at last time. I don't know which way the sync goes. From the itunes on the computer to the hand held ipod - or - from the hand held ipod to the itunes on the computer?
    The hand held ipod had my previous playlists & maybe the wrong file paths. It'd like the old stuff to get wiped out so I'm still good to go with all that you've helped me to do. BTW, the polydorus link does not work, but I'm not sure I need it.

    One other strange thing. Before sometimes when my songs played it would be on windows with a kind of light show. Other times it goes through to the itunes playlist on the computer.

    I hope this isn't too confusing. You're really helping me to learn a lot. Is there someone at itunes I can tell how helpful you've been? THANK YOU!!!
  • The Mimico Kid Level 6 Level 6 (10,325 points)
    First, a correction from my previous post: At the beginning I meant to write The iPod wasn't designed to sync playlist-related information back to iTunes.

    And as for the polydorus link, let's try this .

    Sorry about that.

    Does that make sense? Do I need both folders?


    No, in the end you'll only need one but I'm still not sure which one.

    *I think the difference is there are no folders like in wndows, but the itunes library leads me directly to my library on the itunes website


    I don't understand what you mean by the itunes library leads me directly to my library on the itunes website.

    It sounds like there is only one iTunes database - iTunes Library.itl - file and that it's in your iTunes1 folder. Whether or not that is the case, what I'd like you to do is follow the instructions in this article in the Apple Knowledge Base for opening an alternate iTune Library file. Select the Choose Library option and use the navigtion window that appears to make your way to an .itl file.

    Select the .itl and iTunes will open with a Library that may - or may not - be different than what you last saw: somewhat different contents or exclamation marks may be present again.

    If it's not a library you're happy with, close iTunes, wait ten seconds or so and then repeat the procedure looking for another .itl file - each one contains references for a different iTunes library.

    When you find a library you're happy with, i.e. all the contents are listed and no exclamation marks, make a note of the location of that .itl. It's the one you're going to want to work with.

    Using that database file, you can go back to iTunes, right-click various songs > Get Info > Summary tab and look to the bottom of that window to find out where that Library is being directed for those files. Make a note of that location.

    When we know those two things, we should be able to proceed from there with deleting things.

    In the future, when I buy new songs from apple, where will they automatically get stored?


    In the location that's been selected in iTunes Edit menu > Preferences > Advanced tab for the iTunes Music folder.

    What will happen when I sync my ipod on the computer?


    That brings us back to the beginning of this post, by default the synch goes from iTunes to your iPod. So you shouldn't synch your iPod unless there's a satisfactory Library being displayed in iTunes.
  • v4maximus Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    SUCCESS!! The Mimico Kid's post worked for me.

    Thanks