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Rebuilding iTunes library and playlists... with a twist

Posted on 2015-02-11
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Last Modified: 2015-03-10
Quick question: how do I rebuild corrupted iTunes music database/playlists, where the location of the library is NOT in the default location (it's on E rather than C).

Details:

I have a client who has a large (~35,000 tracks) iTunes collection on a Windows 7 PC.

The library is located on his E: drive.  All has been working fine for the past couple of years.

He does a lot of tinkering: changing album titles slightly, renaming one or two of the genres ("holiday" to "Christmas", that sort of thing).  He has about 25 custom playlists, some standard, some smart playlists.

Last week he upgraded to the new version of iTunes (12.1.0.71).  After that, his collection disappeared because iTunes somehow reset the default location to his C drive.  In fact, according to the client, iTunes appeared to move his collection over to C.  I wasn't there so I can't verify that.  Suffice to say he picked up the entire collection and dragged it back to E.  However, iTunes lost track of where everything is.

I did this:
1. Copied his .itl and .xml files for his collection to the desktop, and deleted them from the standard location.
2. Started iTunes and went into preferences and pointed it to his collection on E.
3. Imported his playlists from an older (one month old) .xml file.

Basically the problem is that some but not all of his music appears in iTunes.  

The important point is that the checkbox for "keep iTunes media folder organized" is CLEARED, because he doesn't want iTunes to change anything he himself has changed (album titles, etc.)  I don't know exactly what the itunes "keep organized" checkbox does in terms of prior user changes.

How do I simply point iTunes to the new collection and have it recognize everything? Surely I don't have to move the whole folder into "automatically add to iTunes" folder, do I?

Thanks.
Dave
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Question by:DaveWWW
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40603128
I have not seen playlists moved like that. Try the following, although I am not certain the playlists will be restored.

First Uninstall iTunes.
Control Panel > Programs and Features:
Uninstall the following in order as shown:

iTunes
Quick Time
Apple Software Update
Apple Mobile Device Support
Bonjour
Apple Application Support

Restart the computer.

Remove the folder:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes  <-- This is the step I am not sure of

Now install the latest version of iTunes, restart and test.
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40604098
Possibly use symbolic links to point to E:

See http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/16226/complete-guide-to-symbolic-links-symlinks-on-windows-or-linux/?PageSpeed=noscript

and also http://lifehacker.com/5496652/how-to-use-symlinks-in-windows

I'd experiment cautiously creating and deleting symbolic links for other drives and directories to see how the links work before implementing the iTunes one.
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Author Comment

by:DaveWWW
ID: 40604199
John, to confirm, it appears that the itunes itl and xml files reside in c:\<user>\music\iTunes even when the library is on E: correct?
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Author Comment

by:DaveWWW
ID: 40604247
dbrunton, that's an interesting approach.  However, I know I've done this kind of thing before with my media in non-standard locations, and it wasn't a problem.  It's got me baffled.  I'll likely proceed with a remove/reinstall of itunes.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40604447
iTunes uses the location in my post by default. If a user is having trouble, deleting the folder can help re-create things. For you, there should be nothing there. I am hoping by deleting it, you can make iTunes use your own location.
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Accepted Solution

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DaveWWW earned 0 total points
ID: 40631299
I discovered that by using the "add folder to library", and re-specifying the iTunes Music folder, duplicates did not seem to result.  This is therefore the approach I took.

Thanks.
Dave
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Author Closing Comment

by:DaveWWW
ID: 40655804
The client did not want to do a full uninstall, and so "add folder to library" was the method that worked.  In the future, and assuming enough free disk space, I would definitely just rename the iTunes Music folder, then select that folder and add it to the library.
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