Files missing from the drive and/or entries removed from the database? Depending on which bit of the library you are in and the way you've responded to prompts in the past, tapping the delete key at the wrong moment can be enough to delete an album. Third party software such as Windows Media Player can move files around making them "missing" to iTunes. A crash while you are using iTunes can result in a partially corrupted database.
To find out which tracks are missing in action...
Lost & Found
Create a playlist called Found, select everything in Music and drag it into the Found playlist (it may take some time to count the tracks that are to be dropped). Create a smart playlist called Lost matching All the rules Playlist is Music and Playlist is not Found. Your lost tracks will be in this playlist.
The best protection in such cases is a solid backup strategy. If you've got a corrupt library I can describe how to restore an earlier one from the Previous iTunes Libraries folder and bring it up to date, or just import the unlisted media. If media has "gone missing" but can still be found on the hard drive I have a tool for reconnecting it to iTunes.
The more specific you can be the easier it is to know what to suggest.
For more on duplicates see this thread.
Is your post simply a series of trick questions?
...Why can't I sort by missing tracks?, ...
Er... because they're missing.
what on earth is "Display Duplicates" for other than to prove my point?).
To help you find any song that you have duplicated in your Library because it is on on two different albums.
Granted, I hear tons of complaints about how bad iTunes is at managing a library to begin with
I don't suppose it might be that some people simply don't know how to use a computer and or they try to use iTunes in exactly the same way as other music players instead of learning how to use a programme that's new to them?
It's rhetorical question - I already know the answer. If you tried to use two different photo editing programmes, music editing programmes or even two word processor programmes, you would find differences between the two, every time. One needs to learn how to use a new programme, not simply try to do it the way it was done in the other programme.
Now, down to your problem.
Why would iTunes delete your music, do you think Apple simply want to annoy you? There are reasons why music goes missing from iTunes. It might help to list them. That way, we might be able to identify the cause of your issue.
- Another programme has renamed, moved or deleted the song's file after you imported it into your iTunes Library.
- You have renamed, moved or deleted the file in question, outside of iTunes, since you imported it.
- I don't think there is a number 3. I stand corrected, by tt2. (That's fine by me!)
The first thing to do is check to see if the file is still on your computer. Pick one missing song, preferably on a single-artist album, not a compilation.
For example, Ride Across The River by Dire Straits, from the album Brothers In Arms.
If you have a look in your music folder (the filepath may be slightly different to mine, depending on your current and previous versions of Windows), you should find a folder for "Dire Straits". In that folder will be a folder for the album "Brothers In Arms". In that folder are the songs, by title, possibly with a track number preceding the title. Since that song is in my Library, here's screenshot of the entry in iTunes, from the Summary tab:
and you can see the artist name\album name\song number song title.
So can you find your missing song, the album or even the folder, either for the one I suggested you pick, or for any of your other missing songs?
Compilation albums are listed under "..\iTunes Music\Compilations\Album title\song title.
Use the Windows Search facility to look for the songs. Think about whether you have moved part or all of your Library to an external drive, a popular pastime for some reason. Do you use Windows Media Player or any other music player/mangement programme that may have altered the songs?
You should have noticed that my tough guy approach at the start of my post has actually tried to help you.
Back to the tough guy now though.
Try helping yourself instead of assuming Apple is to blame for every single problem in your world! It isn't.
Message was edited by: the fiend
1. iTunes is the only library tool I use. Being a sofware designer myself, I am intimately familiar with iTunes, Windows Explorer, and software in general.
2. "Missing Tracks" are indicated by an exclamation point. Anyone who uses iTunes knows this and it is the only column that is not sortable. According to iTunes - which offers me a way to "locate" the tracks - the tracks are not yet actually missing. Therefore, why can't I sort by the exclamation point?
3. I know exactly where my files should be. ONLY imported CD files go missing in 10 years of using iTunes.
4. Folders always remain while the files are missing.
5. I never move my library. It is backed up with a third party tool using a "contribute" method that does not delete.
6. There ARE other reasons why music goes missing. I have repeatedly re-imported CD tracks that have somehow disappeared without my intervention or the use of other tools.
An example: A CD that I imported one week ago is no longer in my library. This is a CD I've had for 25 years and I have to re-import it about once a year or so. It's a regular thing with iTunes and seems to be getting worse. It happens on my roommates computer, my mom's, co-workers, and other forum users. I am not alone.
Have you started backing up your library yet? Do these files go missing from the library, the hard drive or both? Have you searched the hard drive exhaustively for a known missing track? While I have seen similar complaints I would not describe them as common and I haven't yet been able to spot any obvious pattern. It may, however, pay to disable the iTunes option to "Keep the iTunes Media folder organized" in case that has any bearing.
If you backup in the way that I suggest and preview each subsequent update of the archive you will be able to spot any unexpected proposed deletions, cancel and then restore the files from the backup folder. You would also be able to document the experience in case that might help reveal what it is actually going on.
Dear Mr. turingtest2:
You were an excellent problem solver for an issue I've experienced before. Therefore, I'm coming back to you once again, asking for help with my recent situation.
I've just ripped a couple of my CD's to my computer -running Win7-, with itunes ver. 11. All songs were recorded accordingly on the subdirectory where all my music is. But, none of these appears in my library. When I type either artist or album name on the search library field, nothing.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
Recent builds of iTunes seem to have a problem where the main music folder doesn't always list all the music that has been added to the library. Create a smart playlist with the name of one of the albums and you should find that the media is actually present. Often adding some more media seems to fix things. Downloading the iTunes Free Single of the Week has a good success rate. Alternatively you could try closing iTunes, then removing the hidden file sentinel from inside the main iTunes folder and restarting. This will cause iTunes run a consistency check on the database which should sort out any anomalies.
Actually I'm finding that the artist folder remains but there are no music files. Since my original post above several artists CD's I added that day now have only empty folders. That day, I ripped the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone soundtrack from CD. Now when I go to the John Williams folder the folder "Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone" is there but it's empty. The tracks are in my backup but have not been REMOVED from my backup (I use SyncToy btw).
My roommate is having to re-rip hundreds of CD's.
Have you actively searched the hard drive for any of these missing tracks?
Do you use Windows Media Player?
Is there more than one profile on the computer looking at a shared media location?
Was this library started on this computer or has it been migrated from another, or has Windows been upgraded?I'm clutching at straws but Windows Vista & later can provide multiple parallel paths to the "User's Music" folder and I wonder if using the "wrong" path to add media could somehow result in iTunes "moving" things out of existance.
Try manually copying the files from the backup into the empty "source" folder. Does iTunes play them now or do they vanish again?
- Yes, I have searched the hard drive. The missing tracks are not found.
- I only use Windows Media Player to play videos. I do not use the library functions and have disabled Media Center.
- There is only one profile on this computer.
- This library was started on this computer.
- This computer is Windows 7 Ultimate.
- I tried moving the files back into the Music>Artist sub-folder but I still had "locate track/file" from within iTunes and it found and played them just fine. I'm well practiced at that.
- We'll have to wait and see if the files get removed again.
WMP has default options that can let it gather and reorganize media. These can fire even if WMP is only used to play media in a browser window. I can't think of any reason why WMP should completely delete media without any action on your part, but then the same is true for iTunes. Nevertheless it might pay to check WMPs settings. See my post on Getting iTunes & WMP to play nicely.