I seem to be having the same problem as the original poster. I have a fairly large collection of 170gb of music and iTunes has started deleting the files (but not the folders where they were located) without notice or prompts and seemingly at random. I have files that iTunes created by ripping CDs, files bought from the iTunes store and files converted from flac to m4a in my library but iTunes does not discriminate and has deleted some from each group at one point or another. I thought I was going crazy at first but just yesterday I caught it in the act by playing a recently imported album in iTunes and then tryed to sync with my iPod nano 6th (and add the same album to it) straight after. I got the warning telling me that the files could not be found and therefore could not be sync'ed, even though they had just played through fine. My recycle bin was empty. Full hard drive advanced thorough search in windows found no trace of them. I realise this thread is supposed to be iTunes for Mac but can't help that feel that I've run into the same issues. I'm running Windows 7 and iTunes 10.6.0.40. iTunes is set to keep the library organised. I cannot think of any other operation (bar a virus or other malware) that would have deleted these files at this exact time without warning or prompts. I had no other minimized programs running.
After I caught this, I tried sync'ing other albums in my library and got the album locations up in windows explorer so I could see the files all on the same screen. I picked eight albums at random from my library. It deleted one of the albums right before my eyes during the sync - I saw the files disappear from one of the windows explorer windows. My iTunes is set to convert to lower bitrate m4a to this particular iPod (maybe this has something to do with it?). I got the sync error message for the files that had been deleted. Exclamation marks had been put next on the tracks in my iTunes library list and asked me to locate them. I got angry and shut the PC down to run chkdsk. I am fairly confident it isn't malware - it MUST be my hardware, right?
I definitely knew it was happening (I had my suspicions previously but put it down to my error of block deleting while tabbed with another program or something) so I ran chkdsk because I was paranoid that maybe my hard drive was failing or had some bad sectors, even though the problem had never happened under any other circumstances with my PC. Chkdsk said it was fine. I don't really know how to test this any further but my problem is that since restarting the PC, I have not been able to replicate the issue (and I have spent hours trying to). I'm sure it has happened before and I am quite sure it will happen again.
I have been using iTunes for (7?) years and I have a pretty good idea how it does things by now. My library is on my boot drive (the same as the iTunes program) and all my media is copied by iTunes to my iTunes folder. I play random tracks from the recently imported albums to make sure they have copied fine. I have no duplicates.
From my experience, sometimes the whole album just isn't listed in the iTunes library any more and sometimes the cover is still there in cover view but then the '!' icons appear for each track in the album when I try to play (or sync) it and I am asked to locate the file (which has been deleted - though its folder is still there on the disc). It has always been full albums and not just individual tracks it takes out.
Apologies for the wall of text - I just wanted to convey how much detail (and time and effort) I have put into trying to test this issue to destruction but I can find no rhyme or reason in what files iTunes will delete or when. Because I have such a large collection of music that the whole family uses, we often can't tell what has disappeared until the next time we want to play it. I found it very difficult to believe that a program like iTunes would just delete files without warning but after all that has happened, I've just lost all faith in the program and will now begrudgingly use an alternative.
Since updating iTunes to 10.6 I am seeing this as well. For the past several days (which means several batches of cds being ripped / sync'd) I have had the displeasure of finding songs missing from iTunes when I next started it up. My normal practice is to spend some time in the evening ripping cds. I generally start playing the songs as they're ripped, so I know the ripping works fine. Then I sync, shut down, and go to bed. The next day some random number of new tracks - but only new tracks - would be missing.
I had also upgraded my network storage device, so my first concern was that it was dropping files. But nothing outside of iTunes was being impacted.
So tonight I ran a controlled test. Here's what I did, and what I observed.
1. I ripped three new cds (new meaning ones that I had not ripped from my collection yet)
2. I navigated to the folder and confirmed that all songs had been ripped. I then zipped up the contents of each folder.
3. I made some minor edits to the data once the cds were ripped. For example, I prefer artist names to be "Last, First" rather than "First Last" so I generally update the artist and the album artist to reflect this. I also have a group tagging strategy, so every song has at least one entry in the grouping field. All of this worked fine.
4. I sync'd to my iPod. But this time I kept a Windows Explorer session open on one of the new folders. Gotcha... I watched some (but not all) of the files disappear.
5. I then checked my iPod. The files were there on the iPod, they just were no longer on my hard drive. Of the 3 new albums, here are the specific details.
Album 1 - 11 tracks ripped, track 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10 missing after sync
Album 2 - 9 tracks ripped, track 1, missing after sync
Album 3 - 11 tracks ripped, all 11 tracks deleted during sync process
6. I unzipped the archived files I made for each album, and verified that iTunes could see the data (no more ! next to the song).
7. I sync'd to my iPod again. Now remember that the songs already exist on my iPod, they were just deleted from my hard drive. So there's nothing to update. After the sync (the second time) the songs are still there on the hard drive, still on the iPod, and no issues.
I did not have this problem until upgrading to 10.6. I'm running Windows XP and connecting to an iPod classic. I realize this is the iTunes for Mac forum, but this post seemed to be the closest to the symptoms I'm experiencing.
Ripped another album this morning. Same workflow. Rip album, update album artist, update album art, then sync. Album had 21 tracks. After syncing tracks 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 21 were deleted from my hard drive. I restored them from the zip file I had created and iTunes was fine.
I repeated this experiment with the same cd on another computer. This computer also has iTunes 10.6 but is only used to sync to an iPhone belonging to my wife. There were no songs on this computer prior to me adding these test albums, so the library is very small. The library on my computer contains over 40,000 songs. Nothing went wrong on my wife's computer, which is also running Windows XP.
The other difference between my computer and my wife's computer (other than library size) is my library is stored on a network attached drive while my wife's computer had the library on a local drive. Since prior to 10.6 my library has been installed on the network drive with no issues whatsoever.
Your experiences are an interesting read and it sounds like you might have gone a long way towards solving your particular problem. I went back to iTunes and tried the same methods you used a few times over with different settings (some where iTunes managed my library, some where I set to manage it manually, imported my own album art, some downloaded and so on) and I can't reproduce the same results - at least instantly - as either what was happening to me where the full album would go or as your problem with the individual tracks vanishing. I've spent over 30 hours on this and I'm not committing any more. I'm beaten.
I use a different media manager now which wasn't difficult to set up and it seems fine although I'm only in the very early days of using it. Something else to be weary of is that when this new program did the initial scan of my library for media, it found 16 files at 0bytes in size (another problem that people on these forums have put down to iTunes corrupting files) which i replaced by re-ripping the CDs. iTunes said these corrupted files were fine, even after trying to play them (which it wouldn't). I scanned the rest of my PC for 0bytes files just to make sure it wasn't my hardware (and widespread file corruption) but all it found was the same media files and a few dummy files that Steam uses after updates to some applications.
Apologies to Mac users of iTunes for hijacking their section for a little while - I really thought I was getting close to a solution that might help everyone but it wasn't to be.
Good luck people.
Today I noticed that even though the songs were on my iPod, there was no cover art. I don't know what that means, other than it indicates that the sync process is not working 100% either.
Tonight I am going to try two new experiments. First, I am going to unmark some of the newer tracks which will delete them from my iPod. Then I will mark them again, and resync, which will put the songs back on the device. It will be interesting to see if the same tracks get removed, or if any tracks get removed.
Next I am going to get everything set up (ripped, artwork, etc.) and then mark the mp3 files as "read only" files and see what iTunes does. If it tries to once again delete the tracks the error message that it gives might provide some hint as to what is going on.
I did what I said above and unmarked several albums (all tracks). I synced to iPod with no issues. In this case it's removing tracks from my iPod only. Then I remarked the same tracks and synced once again. No tracks were deleted during the process.
I notice in the 10.6 release notes that they've "improved" how album art is managed. Perhaps my process is messing something up. My next experiment is to go back to my wife's computer and remove the tracks, then re-rip them and then reassign the album artwork. I generally get better album artwork for all of my albums, either my directly scanning my own cds or from albumartexchange.com so this is part of my standard process. I'm wondering if re-assigning the album artwork is contributing to the issue; the clue was that the tracks that were deleted from my computer still existed on my iPod, just without their artwork.
I guess I'll find out after my next experiment. As of now, all of the tracks on my hard disk are in place, and everything is synced properly. The tracks that were missing artwork on my iPod now are pretty again.
Hello. I have just bought an iMac, but that is not really relevant as I havent even opened the box yet. I have been playing songs through my iTunes from my old PC this morning (7 year old Dell desktop with Windows XP) and was thinking about moving all my music to my iMac. Running through my library getting rid of songs I don't want, which I have done a couple of times in the last few weeks, I noticed some albums I had previously ripped from a CD had the exclamation mark thing and would not play as could not find the original file. I hadn't even touched these. Looking in my iTunes folder, complete albums had disappeared!! I tried syncing my iPod a few times and not much happened, the songs are still there and play OK on the iPod, but are completely gone from my PC. I am no computer wizard and I got scared and pulled out the internet in case it was some virus or other, but it seems this is a wider issue across all platforms!! I don't know when this originally happened, as I don't play music off my PC a lot, but it's very disappointing to find. Seems there is no answer other than to reimport the albums, however I may not have all the CDs to hand. I am worried it is going to keep on going and evetually delete everything. Not sure what to do!! I find it hard t believe there has been no news or feedback from Apple about this!