4180 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Mar 18, 2009 1:20 PM by Buegie
When you add a song to the iTunes library, whether by ripping, purchasing, or manually adding, iTunes creates a path to it. If you later rename or move the song file or any of its containing folders, iTunes loses it, you will see the dreaded exclamation point, and you will have to manually find it.
Once songs are in the library, don't touch them except through iTunes.
Changing your music folder location will direct where iTunes deposits future additions to the Library.
Each song reference has a specific and hardcoded location (both drive letter & complete path) to the actual song file so iTunes can find and play (or sync) it. Move the file, rename the file, change the path, re-map the drive it is on, shut down or remove the Drive, and iTunes will lose the file (giving you the '!' of a ‘Broken Link’). Lose, move or corrupt the ‘iTunes Library.itl’ file and your complete Library will ‘vanish’.
*It Cannot Be Stressed Enough:* If you move, edit, delete or otherwise change a music file listed in the iTunes Library with a program or tool other than iTunes, you may end up with a "!" in front of the song name or a message like “the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it?" It is important to note that iTunes does not keep track of music file changes made outside of iTunes.
This can also happen if you store some/all of your music on an External HD (ExHD) that is not permanently mapped to a specific drive letter. Attaching another external connection (USB Flash Pen, Camera, etc.) can take that drive letter and move your ExHD down the alphabet. iTunes will get lost when this happens. Bet to initially mount any iTunes music ExHD further down the alphabet – say L: (for Lossless) or M: (for Music). This way, your ExHD drive designation should not inadvertently change.
See these Threads for ways of finding &/or removing the Broken Links:
Download this to your Desktop: http://ottodestruct.com/itunes/FindDeadTracks.txt (right-click, save-link-as)
and this, as well: http://ottodestruct.com/itunes/RemoveDeadTracks.txt (right-click, save-link-as)
Rename each to FindDeadTracks.js & RemoveDeadTracks.js respectively.
1) While iTunes is running, double click FindDeadTracks.js to run the script.
It will give you a list of all the exclamation marked tracks.
2) While iTunes is running, double click RemoveDeadTracks.js to run the script.
It will remove all the exclamation marked tracks.
One step, no fuss, no muss.
Then, give Otto42 a big 'Thanks' for this one.
Best of Luck
Thanks for your response!
I do have my music stored on an external Hard Drive and that was about the time this started hapening (although not right away, so I didn't link the two as problematic).
What is the best solution going forward. I have about 5k songs on my hard drive and all of them are showing that !exclamation mark!.
You need to determine why iTunes cannot find the song files.
Within iTunes, 'Right-Click' on any missing song and 'Get Info'. You will see the complete path of the file that iTunes is looking for. If the physical file is no longer on that path, iTunes will not find it.
You have not given us much info to go on.
More than likely, you directly changed the Drive Letter of the ExHD, or it got re-mapped due to other USB attached equipment taking its 'iTunes expected' drive letter.
You may have moved the music Folders around on the drive. That too can disrupt iTunes.
Go back to your system, do some investigating and report back with some details. Otherwise we are all just guessing on your behalf -- not too productive.
This well-written iLounge Article is a must-read for anyone considering moving their Library to a new computer or a new location. Or, just wants a better understanding of how iTunes manages your music.
Also see: Moving your iTunes Music folder (Consolidate function)
Best of Luck