I believe this can happen if iTunes doesn't have the correct permissions to write to the intended folders.
Right-click on your main iTunes folder and click Properties, then go to the Security tab and click Advanced. If necessary grant your account and SYSTEM full control of this folder, subfolders and files, then tick the option to replace permissions on child objects which will repair permissions throughout the library. This is the XP dialog but Windows 7 shouldn't be too different.
If it won't let you change the permissions use the Owner tab to take ownership from an account with administrator privileges.
Once you've fixed the permissions you still have to get the media back where it is supposed to be. Use File > Library > Organize Library > Consolidate files which will create duplicates copies of everything until you remove the now redundant copies from the desktop. If that might swamp your computer you may prefer to use my script ConsolidateByMoving.
I do appreciate your help. But I am afraid you have lost me. I don't understand how iTunes permissions could not include me when I am the sole user and administrator. Could you shed any light?
I also don't understand quite what you mean by consolidate. All the tracks are listed now. Why would they need to be consolidated? And although I can see why if I tried to do that and I ended up with more than 25.000 titles and half of them had to be deleted that your script might be very useful, but what does "ConsolidateByMoving" do that isn't available ordinarily?
You may appreciate my retiscence to jump in and do something when I am not sure what it is I am being asked to do and whether it is perfectly safe. I really do wish to take the safest and most secure route to regaining my lost library.
Are you advocating that I should take a backup copy of all the files that are currently on my desktop and where would be the simplest place to put them just in case anything goes wrong? Where I put them before they got overwritten. Should I rename them as well for safety?
Thanks again for you suggestions. And sorry for the simplistic questions.
Don't worry. I'm all for caution. I guess I should have asked a little more about what steps you took while trying to recover your lost library?
The permissions thing may be a red herring, but if there is a problem with file access rights to the designated media folder iTunes has been known to place files on the desktop instead since it can access this location. The most common cause for such problems is working with a folder on an NTFS drive via a differnt account or on a different computer. In the normal course of events folders created inside user profiles have limited rights for other users.
Here are the typical layouts for the iTunes folders:
Normally the iTunes folder will be created at <User's Music>\iTunes with the media folder inside it. The library files should all appear in the same place so your comment about there not being an iTunes Library.itl file is confusing. Is it just the case that the .itl extension is hidden? The two .xml files makes sense from the above and indicates that the active library is not in <User's Music>\iTunes, but you have a recovered file from when it was.
If, in fact, the situation is that your desktop is acting as the main iTunes folder, and contains the library file, Album Artwork, iTunes Media and (optionally) Previous iTunes Libraries folders, with all other content being inside the iTunes Media folder, then it should be relativly easy to rearrange your into the correct shape and move them to the correct location.
If things are more complex, with something other than a library folder containing a media folder, then reestablishing the normal order is more complicated. The iTunes consolidate function is used to bring copies of files stored outside of the media folder into the media folder. It may sometimes be needed as part of the process of tidying up, however it leaves behind originals. There are circumstances where there isn't room for two complete sets of the media files on the same drive which is why I suggested the script might be useful as it produces the same results for the library without leaving the originals for manual clear up.
I think before you do anything however, we should get a clearer picture of exactly what is where. Could you perhaps take a screenshot of the desktop and post it here? Take a look at this post on making a split library portable. The same techniques I outline there can be used to lick your library into shape, it is just a question of working out which to use in which order for the best effect.
Oh dear, sorry if I have confused you. It think it is because I am confused and am not sure what iTunes has done.
I have tried to post a screenshot of my desktop, but I got an error message when I tried to do that, yesterday and the message did not get through. Here are the iTunes-related files on my desktop:
Album Artwork folder
iTunes Library Extras.itdb
iTunes Library Genius.itdb
iTunes Music Library.xml
iTunes Media folder
iTunes Music Library.xm_
do you need to know what the icons look like, is that why you ask for a screenshot?
I haven't looked at the links you have given me because I really don't quite know what the situation is and guess that I am looking for a diagnosis first so we can work out the appropriate treatment. Does that sound OK?
I looked inside the iTunes Media folder on the desktop, but it is empty apart from the iTunes preferences.plist and the Automatically Add to iTunes folder which is also empty.
I have again searched the computer for *.itl files and only old backup copies are here. Yet the library really has been restored; when I opened iTunes there everything was. I have refrained from using the programme since I don't think that it is stable, hence my postings.
Sorry for the strange situation. I appreciate your thoughts and help.
Normally it is and it is where it used to be, but during the auto restoration that placed all files and folders on the desktop, the iTunes Media folder is also on the desktop.
The iTunes Media folder contains just the iTunes preferences.plist and the folder Automatically Add to iTunes
I hesistate to open iTunes again since when I did just that it again produced a new empty iTunes Libary.itl (On the desktop) and overwrote my iTunes Music Library.xml that was sitting on the desktop after the autorestoration.
What autorestoration? Did you recover files from CD/DVD? Do you have AVG AnitVirus?
Let's try another tack. Search the entire computer for files of the form *.itl - please list the folders where different .itl files are stored. Find one of your actual music files - please give the full path to this file.
The autorestoration was what happened at the beginning when I moved everything to the desktop and recovered my library file from a temporary file from the previous evening. It is described in the original post.
No I have not used a CD nor DVD. I have not changed iTunes version it is 10.5.1.
Yes I do have AVG antivirus
the file iTunes Library.itl is on Desktop (C:\User\Users). I have made a backup copy of it and placed it in a backup folder. Are you asking me to give you that as well?
All the other iTunes files (I gave you a list of all on the desktop) are on the desktop with the same address and I have also placed those on the desktop in a backup folder too. Just in case I make a mess up.
Sorry if my descriptions are opaque.
See this post regarding empty libraries and AVG. Somehow I thought we talking about something completely different, but perhaps not.
I was hoping to get a sense of how many alternate library files are stored on the computer, whether there are dated files in a Previous iTunes Libraries folder and confirm which is the active library file. The script iTunesXMLPath is one way to check this last piece of information.
Hmm... if there is no iTunes Library.itl file on the desktop, but the .xml file is there, then did you shift-start-iTunes and open iT.tmp? No, I've just checked. If you had done that then you would also have iT.tmp Extras.itdb & iT.tmp Genius.itdb files.
Well I have been using AVG for many years and iTunes has been stable for more than 12 months now.
I have therefore refrained from upgrading iTunes because it was so stable I didn't want to risk it.
Therefore all old iTunes Library.itl files are all old. the way I got everything on the desktop was to move everything on to the desktop and delete the useless files and rename some tmp files. Then I opened iTunes by single clicking the icon, pressing shift and enter and then pointing to the temporary file on the desktop at the Library file I wanted use.
That was when the process started, but an error message appeared which stated something to the effect that it was not an iTunes library file but it would deal with it. Then iTunes started again and loaded up the music in my library. As though it were working from scratch analysing all the tracks.
But the problem now is that all the files are on the desktop. How do I get them back into the iTunes folder where they are supposed to be? I tried to do that by opening iTunes normally and altering the preferences and changing the site of iTunes back into the iTunes folder from the desktop. But all that happened was that the itl and music library files got wrtten over and became useless again.
So now on the desktop are the following folders: Sentinel, iTunes Media and Album Artwork
plus the following files:
iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library.xml, iTunes Music Library.xml, iTunes Extras Library.itdb, iTunes Library Genius.itdb, iT.tmp,
I shall now go and run the script iTunes XMLPath and post that to you too.
You can move or copy the active library files wherever you want, then shift-start iTunes to connect to them. TreatiTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library Extras.itdb, iTunes Library Genius.itdb, sentinel and Album Artwork as a unit, the .xml file can be copied over too, but it gets a different name when in the default location of <User's Music>\iTunes so it may be easier to ignore it. When the active iTunes Media folder is inside the same folder as the library files (and the library is working properly) it can be moved\copied with the rest and the libray carries on working. If the media folder is elsewhere then iTunes should remain connected to the unmoved files.
This is a general post on nomalizing the library which I can turn into specific instructions if I know where everything is and where you want to end up. It also requires that the library has working connections to each file before getting started.
AVG started becoming a problem for some users about 6-8 weeks ago following an update to its code. Two patches since then have failed to stop it disrupting the libraries of most of those affected. The main symptom is repeated dumping of the library files and .tmp files being left in the iTunes folder. Normally these pop in and out of existence as the library files are updated. AVG seems to interfere with the process, though doesn't flag up any problems, however the iTunes library goes AWOL.
Thank you for this post. I think that you are correct in your analysis because I started to get a lot of temporary files named iTx.tmp from early March. At the beginning of April I started to collect Temp Filex.tmp files as well. Yes I do use AVG.
All the files you mention - iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library Extras.itdb, iTunes Library Genius.itdb, sentinel and Album Artwork, are currently on my desktop. Also on my desktop are two .xml files, not one, they are iTunes Library.xml and iTunes Music Library.xml.
Is that how it ought to be?
On my computer, one iTunes Media folder is on the desktop. There is another iTunes Media folder in the iTunes folder. There are duplicate copies of the other files in iTunes folder at present. But these files don't have the full information of my library; I cannot stop them reappearing.
My problem is that if I try to open iTunes unless I keep backup copies, everything that is active is getting written over. How can I stop this from happening? Is it to do with the iTunes Media folder? Which one should I have? Should it be empty to start?
OK what I would like to ask is 1) which files are getting in the way in iTunes and can be deleted? 2) Which iTunes Media folder should I keep? 3) Should I move everything together including the iTunes Media folder from the desktop or should I do the moving separately? 4) What should I move from within iTunes and what should I move before I start iTunes up even when I use the SHIFT and point start method? Assume that what I would like is to move all the active files on the desktop from the desktop to the default position in iTunes. Then I think that I shall be able to follow what you would like me to do. Could you describe that in detail, please?
5) Having got everything safely back into iTunes in the default setting and working. How do I stop my antiviral software from changing everything again immediately?
6) What should I do with all the temporary files when everything is working again? Can I safely delete them all?
Sorry about the long pauses in between postings, but lots of things are happening this end. Also sorry for not being terribly quick on the uptake and having to ask you lots of simple questions. I am just very keen to work out what's gone wrong and what to do. The first part, I think has now been answered, so I am just keen to fix it.
Thanks a lot.
My script iTunesInfo may help clarify which library files iTunes is actually using now, though it is as well to check to see if the media folder it suggests agrees with that given under Edit > Preferences > Advanced. If you post back the .itl location, the media folder as infered by the script and that given in preferences I should be able to make suggestions.