10 Replies Latest reply: Dec 4, 2005 6:09 AM by amhainn
amhainn Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I opened my iTunes yesterday (without connecting the iPod) to upload another batch of CD's and to my dismay the Library was completely empty. The day before I had switched the PC off (with iTunes still open) with the standard Windows procedure, something I had done several times with no ensuing problem. I then tried to upload my new CD's and as I feared only these were shown in the library afterwards. What can I do? Is there some sort of backup of previous iTunes sessions? How can I now manage my iPod library if it exists only on the iPod itself? It took me quite a while to upload over 2,600 tracks and I certainly don't want to go through it all again. Thank you very much for your support.

   
  • Lomin Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)
    Do you know where your music files are located? If not do a search for *.mp3 or *.m4a files, it should point to where all your music files are. In Itunes click on file, add folder to library, point to where your songs are, and you should be good to go. Sounds like the library file became corrupted, nothing more.
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    Perhaps you may still have the music files on your PC -- but not seen in iTunes. Buegie

    Check using Windows Explorer in 'My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\...' for folders containing your music (or wherever you keep your music folders). If it is there (unchanged), we can get iTunes to recognize it. Try one of these:

    If you have a backup iTunes database file available....
    1. --- Close iTunes. If you have a backup (or previous version) of the ‘iTunes Library’itl’ database file, then place a copy of that file in the ‘...\My Music\iTunes’ folder (or wherever the current, incomplete file resides).

    If no backup ITL file exists….
    2a. --- In iTunes choose: Edit==>Preferences==>Advanced tab. Select 'Change' and browse to the music folder in your PC drive (if it isn’t already). Click OK to save that setting.
    Then....
    2b. --- In iTunes choose: File==>’Add Folder to Library’ & browse to the music folder in your PC drive. Click OK.
    Without the ITL file, re-‘Adding’ the music files to the Library will lose you the Ratings, Play Counts, Date Added and Last Played attributes, as well as your Playlists. No real way to recover them if you haven’t made prior backups. Something to consider for the future....

    Also check in your Recycle Bin to see if you accidentally deleted it. If so, ‘Restore’ it back to it’s original spot.

    Then try running a search using Windows Explorer (or similar) for files with the extensions of: m4a, m4p, MP3, OR with the partial names of the songs you are missing.

    Do all the above before you decide that your music files have been completely erased from your hard drive.

    If your music files are truly gone, and you have some or all of your music files on your iPod, these links will give you several methods of recovering whatever songs remain on your iPod; some free, some third-party software, some more comprehensive for restoring playlists, ratings, playcounts, etc. Read them and their associated links before deciding on a strategy that works for you. There are many various third-party software programs that will offer a more robust process, or an easier GUI. Do a Google search for them if the links below leave you wanting…
    Don King Resurrected: Deleted files from hard drive (free user steps – music recovery only)
    MacMuse: Computer Crashed (free user steps – music recovery only)
    Copying music from iPod to computer (a primer on various methods and software)
    Copying Songs from Your iPod to a Mac or PC (resource for 3rd party software)
    iPodRip Software
    PodUtil Software
    XPlay (Software For Cross-Platform Functionality & Music Recovery)
    XPlay Photo Browser (For recovering Photos)

    After recovering your song files, strongly consider developing a thorough backup strategy for just this type of situation.
    You need at least three sets of your music:
    -- One full set on the PC within iTunes (on internal HD or ExHD)
    -- One full set on an separate external backup medium (CD/DVD/ExHD/other)
    -- One (full or partial) set on the iPod
    Music files on just the iPod and the computer is not considered having any backup. If you cannot store your complete music files on the computer, then create and maintain two external sets.
    Backup both the music files and the Library database file (iTunes Library.itl). What are the iTunes Library files?

    Here is a post on developing a backup strategy: http://discussions.apple.com/click.jspa?searchID=210939&messageID=1215125
  • ray3d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have a similar issue. I did a clean install of my OS. Before I did it, I save a folder called "iTunes" full of other folders representing every album and song I had in my iTunes library. There are also 2 documents in there called "iTunes Library" and "iTunes Music Library". I have re-pointed iTunes toward that folder using the procedures you described above.

    Now when I try to play a song, I get the message: "The song "X" could not be used because the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it?"

    This would be OK, except that I have to trace down each song, one at a time.

    I've got 1,000 tunes to re-locate!

    Is there a way to load the whole set of files together, or at least an album at a time.

    Pentium4   Windows 2000  
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    Ray, Buegie

    iTunes operates as a database of information for your music files. The actual music files are stored on your PC, not within iTunes. iTunes keeps absolute references of the music file location and other information in its database file. This allows iTunes to use music files from any location on the PC: different directories/folders on the main HD, another internal drive, and external drive or a network drive (or any combination of the above). Each song reference has a specific and hardcoded path so iTunes can find and play (or sync) it. Move the file, change the path, re-map the drive it is on, and iTunes will lose the file (again giving you the '!'). Lose, move or corrupt the ‘iTunes Music.itl’ file and your complete Library will ‘vanish’.

    If you delete, corrupt, or otherwise lose your ‘iTunes Library.itl’ file, you will end up with a ‘blank’ Library within iTunes. Nine time out of ten, your underlying music files are still on the PC. They can be ‘re-Added’ via the File==>Add Folder/File menu command, but you will lose some of the music meta-data. Recovering your Library via backup copies of the iTunes database file, or from importing the XML file is always preferable.

    As you have the previous (and complete) working ITL database file, you need to put the music files back on the PC in the exact same path as they were before the reformat. This is critical. This means drive letter and the complete directory path.

    You can determine what iTunes expects by viewing the XML file (via Word, Text Editor, even IE). You will be able to see the complete path of the music files. Choose one and compare it to where they are now. Chances are, you have a slight naming difference that needs correcting.

    Post back if you have additional questions.
  • ray3d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    You wrote:
    As you have the previous (and complete) working ITL
    database file, you need to put the music files back
    on the PC in the exact same path as
    they were before the reformat. This is critical.
    This means drive letter and the complete directory
    path.


    Thanks Buegie.

    Not so easy, I'm afraid. I've completely rebuilt my PC. What was once a partition, ("D"), is now a DVD burner. Can I edit the XML file instead?

    RH

    Pentium4   Windows 2000  
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    Yes, you can edit the XML file, then 'Import' it into iTunes. It will get you your Playlists back along with the songs. Buegie

    You will not be able to recover your Ratings, Play Counts, Last Played, and Date Added attributes via an XML import even though those attributes can be seen in the XML file.

    It may be just as easy to 'Add' the complete folder structure into iTunes. Just delete all the current references within iTunes and 'File=>Add Folder' to 'Refresh' your Library.

    No way to re-map the DVD and create a D: drive for the music? Even temporarily?
  • ray3d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It may be just as easy to 'Add' the complete folder
    structure into iTunes. Just delete all the current
    references within iTunes and 'File=>Add Folder' to
    'Refresh' your Library.

    No way to re-map the DVD and create a D: drive for
    the music? Even temporarily?


    Believe it or not, while I was waiting for answers, I manually reopened all of the album folders and readded all of the missing songs. Then I went through and eliminated all of the duplicates. Now I need a shortcut for revitalizing my individual playlist which has about half of the full library. Any ideas there?

    I've spent 2 weeks re-building my PC for a specific application. I'm not going to mess with it for now. Anyway, what would a temporary change do? How would I keep the results when I rewire it agian

    Pentium4   Windows 2000  
  • Buegie Level 6 Level 6 (13,330 points)
    "Anyway, what would a temporary change do? How would I keep the results when I rewire it agian" Buegie

    Here's the theory. If you could remap any HD to be seen as D:, then you could completely recover the previous Library on theat drive (all attributes and playlists). Then you could use the 'Consolidate' feature within iTunes to move the music to another drive.

    The second drive could be another temp location or the final permanent location. Then re-map the PC back to the state you want and re-consolidate the Library to the final drive (if not there already).

    If you have 1 or 2 ExHDs available, this becomes rather easy, other than the time spent repeatedly copying songs from drive to drive. It may be a PITA, but if you are seriously invested in ratings, play counts, etc., then it may be worth it.

    May..., & if, if, if. There is usually a way to skin every cat. Some just wiggle a bit before you finally succeed.
  • ray3d Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the advice, Buegie. I'll study the details more when time permits.
  • amhainn Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanx all for your help. Problem solved!