Yesterday morning, I opened iTunes and tried to play a file. I got the old "iTunes cannot find the original file" error. I tried another file. Same thing. I tried restarting iTunes, holding down the shift key, and making sure iTunes knew where my Library file was. Yep. Still no dice. So I came here, and did a search for help. I could not find any definitive answers to this question. So I did a Google search and found the fix in an old Metafilter thread. Given that this problem seems a little common, I thought I'd post my solution here, for anyone who has this issue in the future.
First things first, make sure that it's not just an issue of pointing iTunes to your current library location. Go to your advanced preferences and double-check the library location path. If this doesn't fix it, then it's time to go my route:
1) Open your iTunes folder in windows explorer. Look for a file called "itunes library.xml". Copy that file to your desktop or somewhere else so that it's backed up...in case something goes wrong.
2) Open the original XML file in notepad (right-click, "open with", "notepad").
3) In this XML file, you will see a paragraph of information for every file you have (songs, podcasts, videos, etc.). In each of those paragraphs, there is a file path specifying where the file is supposed to reside. This is how the itunes library.itl file knows where to look. In my case, it should have been "e:/my music/itunes", but instead, it was "e:/my music/itunes/itunes music". The program had created that folder for some reason, and all my files were pointing there.
4) Check a few of the paragraphs and see if they are pointing to your actual music folder. If so, then you have another problem...sorry. If not, then continue on:
5) Go to edit->replace (or control-H). In the "find what" box, enter the incorrect file path (in my case, e:/my music/itunes/itunes music"). In the "replace with" box, enter the correct path of your itunes music folder (in my case, "e:/my music/itunes". Then click "replace all".
If you have a lot of songs, this may take awhile. I have over 25,000 files, so it took at least 18 hours.
6) When it's done, quit notepad and save the XML file. Open iTunes. If it doesn't automatically start updating your library, then try to play a song. If you get the same old error, then quite iTunes, then re-open it, go to the advanced preferences and select the correct file path for the library location. This should fix it.
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only.
Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site.