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Question: I receive "file location not found" when i attempt to play music in itunes. Is there a solution that will not destroy my library & playlists? I have about 6,000 songs.

"File location not found" displays every time I try to play from iTunes. What solution will work & not destroy my library?

iPod classic, Windows 7

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Apr 20, 2018 6:56 PM in response to needmorehelpplease In response to needmorehelpplease

The "missing file" issue with exclamation marks happens if the file is no longer where iTunes expects to find it. Possible causes are that you or some third party tool has moved, renamed or deleted the file, one of its parent folders, or the drive it lives on has had a change of drive letter, or you've moved a non-portable library to a different path (see Make a split library portable and/or Move your iTunes library to a new computer for details). It is also possible that iTunes has changed from expecting the files to be in the pre-iTunes 9 layout to post-iTunes 9 layout, or vice-versa, and so is looking in slightly the wrong place, or that you've been too aggressive when deleting duplicates. See Getting iTunes & Windows Media Player to play nicely if you're trying to access your media with any other media players.


Select a track with an exclamation mark, use Ctrl-I to Get Info, then click No when asked to try to locate the track. Look on the file tab for the location that iTunes thinks the file should be. Now take a look around your hard drive(s). Hopefully you can locate the track in question. If a section of your library has simply been moved, a folder renamed, or a drive letter has changed, it should be possible to reverse the actions. If the difference between the two paths is an additional Music folder in one path then this is a layout issue. I can explain further if that is the case. If everything is where it is supposed to be try Repair security permissions for iTunes for Windows.


In some cases iTunes may be able to repair itself if you go through the same steps with Get Info, or when playing a track, but this time click Locate and browse to the lost track. It may then offer to attempt to automatically fix other broken links. Although it says something like "use the same location" I think it expects to find the tracks in the same artist & album layout they were in previously, with one systematic change to the path.


If another application like Windows Media Player has moved/renamed the files, or the library has been moved from OS X to Windows, then the chances are that subtle differences in naming strategies will make it hard to restore the media to the precise path that iTunes is expecting. In such cases, as long as the missing files can be found somewhere, you should be able to use my FindTracks script to reconnect them to iTunes. See this post for an explanation of how it works. It might need some tweaking if your media is in a non-standard layout.


If you want me to try to provide specific advice please post back the following details:

  1. The location of the media folder under Edit > Preferences > Advanced
  2. The location of a sample missing track shown under Get Info > File > Location that begins file://localhost/
  3. The true path to the file whose details you gave in 2


Note the addition of file://localhost/ (and the flipped direction of slashes in Windows) is normal for a file that isn't quite where iTunes is expecting to find it.


tt2

Question marked as Helpful

Apr 22, 2018 3:02 PM in response to needmorehelpplease In response to needmorehelpplease

If you look inside C:\Geek Squad back Up 7.4.15\Dianne\music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music\ do you by any chance see a Neil Young folder with the unplugged album inside it? If not can you locate on your external drive? I'm interested in whether or not the missing media exists somewhere it could be systematically reconnected to. I.e. Instead of being at <Path 1>\<Artist>\<Album> it is, or can be made to be, at <Path 2>\<Artist>\<Album>. If so it should be possible to use my FindTracks script to reconnect things. If not it may be easier to simply add all of the content that you have from the various locations they are in, consolidate to gather it all into the active media folder (space permitting - I have another script if not), then deduplicate the library in a way that merges ratings, playcounts, and playlist membership. The aim would be to have all media referenced by the library stored inside the iTunes Media folder of your library, and clear away anything stored outside of it. You would then backup the state of the library to an external drive for security.


See Re: duplicated songs for one of my posts on deduping.


tt2

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Question marked as Helpful

Apr 20, 2018 6:56 PM in response to needmorehelpplease In response to needmorehelpplease

The "missing file" issue with exclamation marks happens if the file is no longer where iTunes expects to find it. Possible causes are that you or some third party tool has moved, renamed or deleted the file, one of its parent folders, or the drive it lives on has had a change of drive letter, or you've moved a non-portable library to a different path (see Make a split library portable and/or Move your iTunes library to a new computer for details). It is also possible that iTunes has changed from expecting the files to be in the pre-iTunes 9 layout to post-iTunes 9 layout, or vice-versa, and so is looking in slightly the wrong place, or that you've been too aggressive when deleting duplicates. See Getting iTunes & Windows Media Player to play nicely if you're trying to access your media with any other media players.


Select a track with an exclamation mark, use Ctrl-I to Get Info, then click No when asked to try to locate the track. Look on the file tab for the location that iTunes thinks the file should be. Now take a look around your hard drive(s). Hopefully you can locate the track in question. If a section of your library has simply been moved, a folder renamed, or a drive letter has changed, it should be possible to reverse the actions. If the difference between the two paths is an additional Music folder in one path then this is a layout issue. I can explain further if that is the case. If everything is where it is supposed to be try Repair security permissions for iTunes for Windows.


In some cases iTunes may be able to repair itself if you go through the same steps with Get Info, or when playing a track, but this time click Locate and browse to the lost track. It may then offer to attempt to automatically fix other broken links. Although it says something like "use the same location" I think it expects to find the tracks in the same artist & album layout they were in previously, with one systematic change to the path.


If another application like Windows Media Player has moved/renamed the files, or the library has been moved from OS X to Windows, then the chances are that subtle differences in naming strategies will make it hard to restore the media to the precise path that iTunes is expecting. In such cases, as long as the missing files can be found somewhere, you should be able to use my FindTracks script to reconnect them to iTunes. See this post for an explanation of how it works. It might need some tweaking if your media is in a non-standard layout.


If you want me to try to provide specific advice please post back the following details:

  1. The location of the media folder under Edit > Preferences > Advanced
  2. The location of a sample missing track shown under Get Info > File > Location that begins file://localhost/
  3. The true path to the file whose details you gave in 2


Note the addition of file://localhost/ (and the flipped direction of slashes in Windows) is normal for a file that isn't quite where iTunes is expecting to find it.


tt2

Apr 20, 2018 6:56 PM

Reply Helpful (1)

Apr 21, 2018 8:04 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Thank you so much for the advice, T2. I was to use many pieces of the advice you provided to change settings, make Windows play nice w/iTunes, etc. As providing example, I went through steps 1 and 2 above, with a sample track, but on step 3, I could find the file nowhere, including on C:\, and as high as My Computer. Apparently, the greater portion of my 6,786 files has gone missing. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that I need to restore all those files (I probably have them on an external hard drive - well, most of them anyway). Do you agree that's the next step I need to take?

Apr 21, 2018 8:04 AM

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Apr 21, 2018 8:08 AM in response to needmorehelpplease In response to needmorehelpplease

Is the external drive connected now, or if it is has it's drive letter changed? Perhaps you added content to iTunes in a way that means it is linked to the original on the external drive rather than a local copy in the media folder. If so that content stops working when the drive is disconnected or the drive letter changes. What about the answer to questions 1 & 2 even if you cannot find 3?


tt2

Apr 21, 2018 8:08 AM

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Apr 22, 2018 12:43 PM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

I appreciate your advice, and apologize that I haven't had a solid block of time to dedicate to troubleshooting. So, the external hard drive isn't connected. I only use it for periodic back-ups, disconnecting it when not in use. I will apologize now for the length of this reply. Fair warning - it's a mess - and I won't be offended if you run & hide after reading it.


Details on a file I cannot recover - I copied the CD into iTunes, 2007

#1. Checking Edit/Preferences: "C:\Users\Dianne\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media"

#2: From Get Info: "file://local host/C:/Users/Dianne/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/Neil Young/Neil Young Unplugged/08 Helpless.mp3"

#3. the file doesn't exist on the computer - searching C:\ and then My Computer


A file I was able to recover - I purchased from iTunes, 4/8/2009
#1. Checking Edit/Preferences: "C:\Users\Dianne\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media"
#2. From Get Info: "C:\Geek Squad back Up 7.4.15\Dianne\music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music\Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds\Abattoir Blues _ Lyre of Orpheus\17 O Children.m4a"
#3. There are three places I can find the track...see below.


In Explorer, I have two "Users" folders with different dates. One dated 06/12/2016, the other 7/11/2015 (which is close to when my prior laptop was dying).

The 6/12 "Users" folder has iTunes and iTunes Media folders at the same level.

The My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music path has just 9 items...artist folders.

The My Music\iTunes Media\Music path has 163 items, combination of artist folders and individual tracks.

  • The 7/11 "Users" folder has only My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music path...and has the same 163 items...
  • The "Libraries > My Music" shortcut appears to be set up like the 6/12 Users folder - there is an iTunes Media folder on the same level as iTunes, except the My Music\iTunes Media\Music path yields 178 tracks - no folders.


O Children.m4a is visible via both "Users" folders...but not the "Libraries > My Music" shortcut.

  1. 6/12...OS(C:) \Users\Dianne\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music\Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds\Abattoir Blues _ Lyre of Orpheus\17 O Children.m4a (the Users folder dated 6/12) - in Properties...location is same as shown here
  2. 6/12...OS(C:)\Users\Dianne\My Music\iTunes Media\Music\Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds\Abattoir Blues _ Lyre of Orpheus\17 O Children.m4a (the iTunes Media folder is also avail. on the same level as iTunes...) - in Properties...location is same as shown here
  3. 7/11...OS(C:) \Users\Dianne\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music\Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds\Abattoir Blues _ Lyre of \Orpheus\17 O Children.m4a (Users folder dated 7/11) - in Properties...location matches #2 above from Get Info.

Apr 22, 2018 12:43 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Apr 22, 2018 3:02 PM in response to needmorehelpplease In response to needmorehelpplease

If you look inside C:\Geek Squad back Up 7.4.15\Dianne\music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music\ do you by any chance see a Neil Young folder with the unplugged album inside it? If not can you locate on your external drive? I'm interested in whether or not the missing media exists somewhere it could be systematically reconnected to. I.e. Instead of being at <Path 1>\<Artist>\<Album> it is, or can be made to be, at <Path 2>\<Artist>\<Album>. If so it should be possible to use my FindTracks script to reconnect things. If not it may be easier to simply add all of the content that you have from the various locations they are in, consolidate to gather it all into the active media folder (space permitting - I have another script if not), then deduplicate the library in a way that merges ratings, playcounts, and playlist membership. The aim would be to have all media referenced by the library stored inside the iTunes Media folder of your library, and clear away anything stored outside of it. You would then backup the state of the library to an external drive for security.


See Re: duplicated songs for one of my posts on deduping.


tt2

Apr 22, 2018 3:02 PM

Reply Helpful (1)

Apr 22, 2018 3:07 PM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

I will def take a look on the x-drive. I do need to clean up...in the iTunes library (at least), I see some tracks two to four times, despite my being relatively sure I only loaded things once - but honestly, I'd rather have to ditch duplicates. I will let you know how it goes. I remembered that when I was populating my account back in '08, a friend backed up my entire iTunes list sourced from CDs - onto 3 DVDs - so I've got those puppies, too. I'll have time again a little later this week to look into the additional advice you offered. Thanks again.

Apr 22, 2018 3:07 PM

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Apr 22, 2018 3:13 PM in response to needmorehelpplease In response to needmorehelpplease

You're welcome. 🙂


Take it slowly, testing how things behave. Ideally backup what you have now before you start, then update the backup as things improve, or claw back what you need to if you make a mistake at any point. See Backup your iTunes for Windows library with SyncToy for my suggested approach.


tt2

Apr 22, 2018 3:13 PM

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Question: I receive "file location not found" when i attempt to play music in itunes. Is there a solution that will not destroy my library & playlists? I have about 6,000 songs.