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As of something like two or three days ago, the vast majority of my iTunes library no longer exists. The list is cursed with little grey exclamation marks indicating the program can no longer find the once-associated file. I don't know what happened. I moved a few folders around that day, but none of them were associated with iTunes, to my knowledge (unless it hides music files in my photo album?). The missing music is not in the Trash. I cannot find it using either Finder or Spotlight (not for specific filenames, not for mp3 or m4a etc). I would like to know what the hell happened and how I can (try) get my music back. Help?

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I was going to make a suggestion but realized I didn't know what I was talkign about and deleated it.

Until someone comes up with a better idea listen to this:


Music made freely availabel with no DRM can never be lost on a hard drive.

I've been a CVB / Cracker fanatic for years but rediscover them again periodicly as they seem to rediscover themselves.

The latest incarnation has blown me away and i'm ranting to anyone who will listen and quite a few people who won't.

The new cracker album came out the 1st of this month but they have been playing some of the stuff live for a while. It sounds like david lowry has finely figured out that he old and is more than a little bit bitter about it.

The fact that he now sings "what the world needs now is another folk singer like I need a hole in my head" in the style of a folk song pretty much sums it up.

Humor me and try these tracks. If they work for you, get the whole show.




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Do a search for one of the songs that went away and see if it migrated to another folder.

I did that already. Finder and Spotlight are Mac search features. Any other ideas?

I cannot find [the missing music] using either Finder or Spotlight (not for specific filenames, not for mp3 or m4a etc).
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By default, if you have iTunes store stuff in its folder and organize it for you, it's in Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/ in your user folder. You can change that in the iTunes preferences (which I've done and put the music folder it looks in on an external hard drive, so it shows the exclamation points if I don't have the drive hooked up, but I'm assuming it's not something like that, since the files don't even show up when you search for them), but otherwise, they just sit there.

Also by default, iTunes will do that for you (move/copy things to its music folder for you and organize the files) unless you disable it, I think, although it's been a while since I've checked the default settings. However, if you turned that off at some point or if it's not the default anymore or something, then stuff would just hang around wherever you happen to leave it.

Anyway, the point is that with the default settings (as far as I can remember them off the top of my head), stuff should be in Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/ in your user folder. If it's not there and doesn't show up in searches...well, that's kind of strange. There should be other files in the Music/iTunes/ folder, too, although I'm not entirely sure which of the ones I have are necessary for the current version and which are from old versions. I suspect iTunes Music Library.xml and iTunes Library are important and keep track for iTunes of what files it knows which things about and where they are in the current version, though.

If the files still exist and haven't been deleted somehow, it'd be weird for them to not show up when you search for them, unless for some reason you can't see the files or don't have permission to read them or something. Might as well run Disk Utility and run the tests in there on the off chance it finds something set funny with those things. Otherwise I guess start looking at folders modified in the past few days that seem to be too big or things like that. If you do want to think ahead about the case that they're gone and you want to try to recover the missing files, the less you overwrite them with new files, the better.

And, uh, I'll shut up until I get some sleep and you say more, since I'm only slightly awake.

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"Might as well run Disk Utility"

Yup...that was going to be my next suggestion. Run the permissions repair. Or even just a restart can some times fix stuff.

You may have already thought of this but...be a little vague with your search. If the song is called "Cycle of Life" just search for "Cycle" in case the file name is not complete.

Another thing that popped into my mind...did you log in under the same user name as the one you used to buy the songs? This ties in to what Nalgas said about not having the permissions to use those songs.

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I have never bought a song online. The music in question is from ripped CDs, songs emailed by friends, and free downloads from the sites of artists too minor to even think about copy-protecting their files even if they wanted to (which they generally don't, because they're small enough to not be assholes and such things and don't have some label to deal with). Nothing should have permissions associated with it.

There is only one user on my iBook. Me.

I did try searching for vague file names, and as mentioned above I also tried searching for audio file types, and I couldn't find things. That's what I find especially weird. Why should hundreds of files just disappear? It's a good suggestion, though. Must be why I'd already used it. :devilish:

Is their a way to have my computer revert things to the way they were on Tuesday? I can resort my non-audio files without losing my mind. I'd be losing a handful of documents, a couple of icons, and some bookmarks, none of which is likely to be essential to my personal well-being.

I'll look at the disk utility later in the day. I don't think I'm up to it at the moment.

Thanks, guys.

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I don't mean permission like DRM for stuff you buy online. I mean filesystem permissions for which users can read/write which files on the drive. Every file has that kind of permissions associated with it. Even if you're the only person with an account on there, the OS itself has a few internal users to keep things separated and to keep you and other things from screwing with each other.

There is no way to just magically revert your computer to a particular point in time unless you do regular backups of your hard drive. If it turns out that the files have somehow mysteriously been deleted, it may be possible to recover some/most of them that haven't already been overwritten with other files, but that would require some kind of third-party data recovery software which I'm a few years behind on. Stuff like that does exist, though, if it does come down to that.

Oh, and did you look around in the iTunes folder in your Music folder? I have a ton of stuff of my own (i.e. not bought from the ITMS) that I let iTunes organize for me, because it's a lot easier than managing it all myself, and it's all in there, and I was wondering if there was anything going on in yours or if it was just a vast swath of destruction.

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And today, again without changing anything:


I've checked the music folder as per Nalgas' suggestion. The ten per cent of my music which did not disappear in the initial Great Blanking is quietly nestled there, though iTunes has a case of complete amnesia.

And people dare wonder why I don't want to "buy" music online. *fumes* At least the music all exists on CDs and the library can be rebuilt... whenever I give a shit.

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Buy something that isn't made by Mac?


Well, let us all know when someone comes up with a hardware/software combination that never does anything like this, and everyone and their monkey will start using it. The same kinds of things happen in Windows, Linux, and everything else, since they're all created, operated, and maintained by human beings, who are imperfect. They are all imperfect systems, in different ways from each other, and good for different things, but considering that this is not some sort of endemic problem, that was a particularly non-helpful comment, and it also stopped being funny ten years ago.

Oh, and the company is Apple. That's like saying "made by Windows" instead of Microsoft or "made by Vaio" instead of Sony or something. Just while I'm being mildly annoyed and correcting things. Heh.

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Sorry if you have already tried this. Do you a an app or a command to make invisible files visible? You might find out where you music went if it still on the HD and hasn't been deleted. MainMenu application is freeware and can reveal invisible files.

I do not store any music in my iTunes library or folder. I made an alias audio file on my desktop and store all of my tunes there.

Paying to download music.... people actually do this!?!

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  • 1 month later...

School tech people say (now that my laptop has died) that the directory structures are fucked, which would explain the Incredible Missing Files. Glad that mystery's been solved... though I really hope they just wrong enough for me to get my data back before Apple replaces the hard drive.

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