I'm having this problem too. My iTunes has deleted everything but the stuff I've bought through the iTunes store twice in the last week. The first time was on April 1st, and I assumed it was some kind of stupid prank being played on everyone. The songs never came back so I went and imported them again. Very frustrating as I had many playlists and had rated everything (thousands of songs).
I also have AVG, and I am on the free trial month for the premium crap. If this is definitely the problem then I'll get rid of it straight away. For me it's not a problem with syncing as I don't have an iPod/iPad etc. so my iTunes never syncs with anything. In the past I've avoided Apple products, and now I wish I'd carried on. I've spent the last ten minutes just trying to find my Apple ID and password because of how ******** the site is. (Told them I didn't know my ID, they sent me an e-mail on how to reset my password. Nice one.)
Anyway. Yeah it's simple to just add everything back but that's still a lot of hassle. And if Apple genuinely know about this problem and just don't care, I don't even know what to say about that.
I followed the instructions in the support article here, and it worked perfectly (so far!):
This was really easy, just dragging the library file to the desktop and then copying the correct file from the Previous iTunes Libraries and renaming it. Reopened iTunes and everything was back where it was.
Also, if you have AVG, make sure you have updated.
AVG is not the cause. I uninstalled it yesterday but woke up today to find my music has once again "disappeared" from iTunes.
This is the 5th time in the last couple of weeks this has happened. It's the latest version of iTunes as I only reinstalled it again yesterday. I initially suspected it must have been AVG's new trial version causing the issue as that was the only recent software change I had made but as this has now been uninstalled it can only mean that Apple iTunes is the cause.
I don't keep my music in the iTunes folder as I have less space available on that drive, everything is on the D drive. All the music is still in the D drive.
Nearing my wits end, as others have said, it's not an isolated incident and Apple are obviously aware of it.
I'm now looking at other jukebox options.
In the past Sony VIAOs have also had been supplied with software that can interfere with the iTunes library. I assume that AVG did at least some testing to confirm suspicions that their software was the cause for some people's problems, before issuing a patch that they claim will fix it. The mechanism that I think was involved with AVG could also cause problems with any AV scanner that holds up the renaming of files. If you have installed something else I would recommend that you exclude the iTunes library folder from all real-time scanning processes.
Your best defense against loss of your library is a solid backup. If space is at a premium on the C: drive you may also find that everything works better if you place the library on the other drive with the media folder inside it. See make a split library portable for a "how to". This also makes backing up and migrating the library easier.
It is hard to know what Apple are aware of as they tend to be silent on such matters. Unless you and anyone else with problems actively files feedback or bug reports then they may well be aware that some people sometimes complain that stuff sometimes goes missing but have no real clues as the nature or scale of such incidents. They don't monitor these forums for issues. If you backup the way I suggest then next time you update your backup you would see if any files were to be deleted from the backup set unexpectedly. I've never personally found any proposed update to my backup set that I couldn't trace back to my own activity with the library.
My music files ARE backed up, but at this point, I have to reload them into Itunes at least twice a day. (This has been happening for a week or more now.) I can as well listen to them on Windows until I buy another player; I'll be damned if I'm going to keep trying to figure out why Apple has this problem. Enough users are obviously having the problem that it IS Apple that should be coming up with the fix.
I don't believe it's AVG as I uninstalled it yesterday but when I turned on my PC this morning my music had disappeared again.
There are many others who state they don't have AVG but are also experiencing the same problems. In fact by the looks of other forums and searches it seems to have become an extremely common issue.
I don't believe it's AVG either, and I'm certainly not going to turn off my virus protection to thwart what acts like a virus! In any case, none of the files are disappearing; they are just being removed from within the Itunes Library.
It is actually easy to "solve" the problem. I just click on "Add File to Library" and add all my music back in. The problem is that I've done this at least 20 times by now. I'm stubborn, but not stubborn enough that I'm going to put up with this much longer.
If AVG were the culprit, I'd expect the files to be removed from the Library after an AVG scan or an AVG update. That isn't the case. The files are being removed on a regular basis, so I assume some update is creating the problem; I just can't figure out the timing to get any idea of whose update might be the cause. Likeliest candidate is the Itunes updates, though, so I've disabled those for now.
I've also followed the advice from this thread (http://discussions.apple.com/thread/3678846?start=0&tstart=0) to make the Itunes Library files an exception in AVG's Resident Shield, in case something in there is acting like a virus. I haven't gotten any warnings from AVG, but I'm still not too happy about that work-around because the problem could BE a virus....
Anyway, Itunes still contained the Library when I turned on the computer this morning. I expect my music won't go missing again until later today. In every previous disappearance, all that remains are the few purchases I've made from the Itunes Cloud.
Maybe Apple is trying to tell me I'm not worth it as a customer. I'm sure getting that message.
Here is what I think is going on (but I could be wrong). As I see it every action in iTunes triggers updates to the database files, in particular both iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Music Library.xml. The update process involves writing out a new temporary copy of the database file, deleting the original, then renaming the temporary file to take its place. I think AVG in particular, of late, has been stalling one part of the process, presumably the renaming of the temporary files since people have successfully recovered their libraries by renaming such files manually. I don't think a virus is detected, seemingly no files are actually removed by AVG, but iTunes doesn't check to confirm that the .tmp file has been renamed after the original is deleted so the library vanishes. I'm sure iTunes could be better at detecting when this has happened and recover gracefully, but there it is. It's annoying when it happens to you but I suspect in the great scheme of things it is not happening often enough to register with the behemoth that is Apple, and even if it does there is no reason not to act rationally and unilaterally to protect your data now.
One noble soul in another thread who had moved to Microsoft Security Essentials reinstalled AVG to test things since their patch was released, but I've just seen a report where his library has vanished again and he plans to switch back to MSE. There may be other factors involved but if the problem were purely of iTunes making then more people ought to be affected, and switching AV engines wouldn't be as successful a resolution as it appears to be. Several users have reported that adding exceptions in AVG hasn't helped which made me wonder if AVG isn't (or at least wasn't) obeying its exceptions. A folder level exception will be more useful since you want to allow the uninterrupted creation and renaming of as yet unarmed and non-existent temporary files. The iTunes library folder holds no executable files so unless you were to go poking around at random there is no reason for anyone to copy a virus to the iTunes folders, or for you to execute it.
Note that in iTunes 11 an "emprty" library shows cloud links to past purchases if you are "signed in". It is still essentially empty, even though your data is on the drive.
I don't have AVG, so that can't be the problem. I appreciate the advice you and others have provided, but having spent hours on the phone to Apple support, been into the store, had my IT manager on the case etc, it's just too much like hard work!
In the days before I chose Itunes as my music playing / storing solution, I just went to the cabinet, selected a CD, put it in the machine and pressed play. I'm tempted to shift to Sonos now, because I'm not sure how we can be confident of this being sorted out?
Let me explain - Apple MUST know this is a problem. A 'behemoth' the company may be as you describe, but there's just too much on the web for that not to be the case. But as they won't admit there's a problem, then how can they let everyone know when it's been sorted?
If anyone can answer that, then I might hold out a bit longer before taking the Sonos plunge
I can't give you a definitive answer as to why things go missing in your case, although other software is perfectly capable of interfering with iTunes in a similar manner to AVGs recent behavior, as users with Sony VIAOs well know. To some extent I wish it was happening to me because at least I'd get some data to work with. Up until recently I've tended to see occurences of this problem pick up immediately after a new iTunes release and then die away again, so I've treated it as an iTunes "thing". The fact that it was happening "out of season" this time led me think about other external causes and, after asking a few sufferers which AV there were using it became apparent that AVG was responsible for at least part of the current rash of cases.
Do you have lots of .tmp files in your iTunes folders? What AV package do you use? Do you backup everything?
I'm conscious this thread started life with mystery disappearances of random songs from the library rather than the entire database, again an issue I've not personally experienced, nor one I've so far been able to think of a likely explanation for.
Yup, all of my IT library was eliminated from Itunes again today. This time it happened (several times, as it happens) while I was checking through Windows Explorer to see what files were there...or not. And yes, at some point I had over 70 temporary files in the folder, all just numbered. I tried deleting them, until I realized that the main Library folder wasn't even there. Somehow, it's being eliminated even if all the music files are all still intact under the Itunes Media folder. At one point during my troubleshooting, I actually saw the Library folder (the one with the icon of little musical notes) vanish in front of my eyes.
After wasting another day with the Itunes folder/program that cannot maintain my music files long enough for me to play them, I'm just deleting the whole program once and for all. I can live without my little nano ipod. Lucky me, I can still pull out all my CDs and play them--since I never bought into this "cloud" business. I knew there would be problems, and I have the most reliable back-up there is!
I thank TT2 for the input, too, but I still don't believe the problem lies with AVG, even though they have issued an ineffective patch and are indicating they're aware of the problem (unlike Apple) in their forums.
Interestingly, both AVG and Itunes put out their new versions around the same time (or at least I downloaded them almost simultaneously), so it's been a challenge to figure out where the real problem lies. If these two big companies can't figure it out, though, I'm not bothering anymore. I don't feel like doing their work for them.
I assume they'll eventually figure it out. But as Petederby worried, I don't see how I'm going to know if they do--I'm really tired of crawling through these chats to get word of the long overdue fix.
Thanks for the help, y'all.
If you have AVG I really would recommend switching to another AV solution to see if that resolves the issue for you. If you use another AV package I would try excluding the iTunes folder from all real time scanning activity. I've been reminded in another thread that another possible cause could be any automatic backup tool, this might include Windows' Shadow Copy system.
If you read this post you should see that it may be possible to restore your library quickly by renaming a copy of relevant .tmp file. Once you have a known good library you should back that up, and be prepared to take periodic backups. Once you have it working you can clear out the rest of the .tmp files. The fact that they remain after iTunes has finished with them is proof that the normal process of updating library files is being affected.