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View Full Version : ITunes crapped out again read and weep



TheIBM
2008-05-29, 02:53
Help! Yes I admit its a pathetic cry from the wilderness but read on and you will understand... Today I noticed for the first time that some tracks and albums were giving the dreaded '!' in ITunes. I thought it was just a few tracks then discovered it was affecting half of my collection of round about 2500 tracks. Before you ask the Linux server and my Windoz PC are on UPS supplies and there have been no network or hardware problems. The issue is simply ITunes being flakey. I had duplicated the ITunes .XML & .ITL files as any good sysadmin would do and tried a restore before fiddling. That was a fat lot of good. I then read up on numerous blogs how to recreate the ITunes database by zeroing the ITL file and then dragging the music folders into ITunes. No problem I thought as it jiggled away and off I went to make dinner. I returned to discover ALL the folders containing my albums had vanished and all the tracks are now in a single folder called 'unknown artist' and all the album folders have gone. AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH So after a couple of (VERY) stiff drinks I find the original ITunes listings of track and album etc. info is still there in ITunes together with the dreaded '!' together with 2500 unattached tracks comprising of the track name. I do have a clean CSV file containing the full album, artist, track etc. etc extracted from ITunes however I can't think of an easy way of recreating the directory and file structure let alone parsing the tracks themselves. Does anyone have or can recommend any software that can parse this file to recreate the directories and move the tracks to where they should be???? Personally I am a fool for using ITunes and trusting software that is well documented as a being crock of sh1t. It also just so happened my backup routine kicked in after ITunes screwed the directory structure so I have been screwed twice! Another pathetic 'help' is called for... Any comments or ideas will be well received even if its is only a TeHe! To all ITunes users let this be a warning.

Nonreality
2008-05-29, 03:42
Are the tags still in the files? Just to understand whats going on, did it move all your actual files into one folder? If the actual files still have tags it will be no problem to fix, but if not, I don't know what to tell you. I'd recommend Mediamonkey next time if you need a library organizer.

TheIBM
2008-05-29, 04:36
I stored all my music on a RAID protected SAMBA server in a dedicated directory (M:\)
Each artist had a directory and then a sub directory for each album. In what I understand to be a standard music storage format.
My ITunes XML and ITL files were stored in a separate directory (P:\) and were backed up. ITunes moved the tracks and then deleted the album and artist directories!!!!
When I now open ITunes (including opening the backed up files) it shows the original album, artist, track listing plus '!' next to each track however now in addition (50% through the listing) it lists the same tracks (as stored in the directory ITunes created named 'Unknown Artist') with no artist, album or other details and certainly no tags. If you click one of those tracks they play O.K. There are no other tags on the track name save for the original track numbering. I do have a TXT file that I exported from ITunes that does contain the track, album and other details however this does not point or show a link to any file or directory.
I have about 50% of the music backed up on my PC as I was ripping on to my PC it first prior to moving it to the server a few weeks ago, so I have not quite lost everything, it will however be a momentous job recreating and sorting each album.
I fully agree MediaMonkey is a better solution and was considering options other than ITunes prior to experiencing this fiasco. I was hoping someone may have written a script to parse the TXT file and generate the directories based on artist and album name. If so I can use a time and date filter to move the tracks to the directories manually which won't be too much work. I will sleep on it and consider options with a fresh mind in the morning.

Nonreality
2008-05-29, 06:03
You need to use a tool like mp3tag and actually look at one of the files and see if it still has the artist, album and track tags in it. If it does it will be no problem. If this is redundent sorry but it sounds like you are just using itunes to look at them. Hopefully they are there. What a bummer. I feel for you.

damager
2008-05-29, 07:14
There is an option in iTunes preferences to "allow iTunes to manage your library" or something like that - is that turned on?

sc53
2008-05-29, 10:13
The ! in iTunes just means iTunes lost track of your files, not that any got deleted. There are various good articles on how to point iTunes back to the files, moving iTunes libraries between computers or to and from external drives etc. I have had this happen a couple of times and always have to re-read the articles to get the iTunes library correct again. I can send you links or even copies of the articles when I get home if you can't find any on your own using Google in the meantime. Really there's no need to panic! Somehow the .xml files got separated from the music files but they did not get deleted (unless you moved them into the trash without knowing it). This is easily fixable--believe me I have had to do it at least 4 times so far.

bigfool1956
2008-05-29, 10:53
If Windows decided to assign a different drive letter to your server, then this will happen. Is your server still on M:\ ?

TheIBM
2008-05-29, 13:51
Thanks for the advice.

To confirm:
The drive letters never changed and all files are stored as WAV not MP3 so there are no file tags.
After sleeping on it I have sort of worked out a method of recovering. At least 50% of the music is backed up on a local drive so all I have to do is move it to the right locations then by using the listing extracted from ITunes I can recreate the remainder of directories and transfer the individual tracks that can be grouped by time and date from when they were copied.
Just to add to the misery I have two kids off sick and the missus is away on business so its is going to be a long........... day!

TheIBM
2008-06-01, 17:24
Well the mission is almost over. I have recovered all but 46 songs from the list of over 2000 and still have a few albums to check where the song or track name is just 'XX TRACK XX' and that it is the same as in the old ITunes xml database(i.e. when there was no CDDB entry).
I managed to fathom a reasonable method of re-ordering and re-creating the database. It may be of help to anyone else in the same boat. Lucky for me I had 50% of the albums backed up so I simply dragged them to the server music store directory. When ITunes moved all the songs it left the original listings in place save it had a '!' next to each track, it moved all the actual tracks to one directory and renamed some of the tracks to boot! It also appended the new track listing to the end of its listing minus the artist name, album or other details.

Here is my method:
1. Copy the ITunes XML and ITL to a backup directory. 2. Delete the iTunes Library.itl 3. Open a TXT editor and create a file called 'iTunes Library.itl' it should have 0 bytes. Keep ITunes closed.
Open the XML in Excel and do a sort on the data based on creation date, album and then artist (I removed the 50% of albums I had already recovered to reduce the list) This provided the reference table. I renamed the directory where all the songs were stored to 'old'. Then deleted the new segment out of the Excel XML file to save confusion. The Excel file was open across the bottom half of the screen, the root of the music store directory was open on the top left and the 'old' directory on the top right. Sorting by date and working from the bottom up (last created file date) and using the find function in Excel I could get the album details and track names then grab the individual block of tracks from the 'old' and drag them to the new directory. Then when complete open ITunes and import the XML file from the backup directory. If all is right it will find every track and report no errors. If you are missing tracks any then its a manual check through ITunes to see whats missing then either re-rip the album or check the location and track name in the XML file open it this time in WORD or similar. Remember in XML a space is shown as '%20'.

All in all it took about a days work. I have a few CD's to identify and re-import. I also noted the 'created date' is not consistent. Quite often I see albums tracks having different 'created times' even though I know they were ripped at exactly the same time making the sort more complex!

All in all an important lesson to be learned about how flaky ITunes actually can be!

Russell
2008-06-01, 17:43
And this is a piece of hardware designed for the masses? Try peice of crap
designed for techno weenies. A total maste of time deisgned for people who
have no life!

Sorry but I'm replacing mibe with a multi CD p[ayer.

----- Original Message -----
From: "TheIBM" <TheIBM.3acq7o1212366303 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
To: <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2008 8:24 PM
Subject: Re: [slim] ITunes crapped out again read and weep


>
> Well the mission is almost over. I have recovered all but 46 songs from
> the list of over 2000 and still have a few albums to check where the
> song or track name is just 'XX TRACK XX' and that it is the same as in
> the old ITunes xml database(i.e. when there was no CDDB entry).
> I managed to fathom a reasonable method of re-ordering and re-creating
> the database. It may be of help to anyone else in the same boat. Lucky
> for me I had 50% of the albums backed up so I simply dragged them to
> the server music store directory. When ITunes moved all the songs it
> left the original listings in place save it had a '!' next to each
> track, it moved all the actual tracks to one directory and renamed some
> of the tracks to boot! It also appended the new track listing to the end
> of its listing minus the artist name, album or other details.
>
> Here is my method:
> 1. Copy the ITunes XML and ITL to a backup directory. 2. Delete the
> iTunes Library.itl 3. Open a TXT editor and create a file called
> 'iTunes Library.itl' it should have 0 bytes. Keep ITunes closed.
> Open the XML in Excel and do a sort on the data based on creation date,
> album and then artist (I removed the 50% of albums I had already
> recovered to reduce the list) This provided the reference table. I
> renamed the directory where all the songs were stored to 'old'. Then
> deleted the new segment out of the Excel XML file to save confusion.
> The Excel file was open across the bottom half of the screen, the root
> of the music store directory was open on the top left and the 'old'
> directory on the top right. Sorting by date and working from the bottom
> up (last created file date) and using the find function in Excel I could
> get the album details and track names then grab the individual block of
> tracks from the 'old' and drag them to the new directory. Then when
> complete open ITunes and import the XML file from the backup directory.
> If all is right it will find every track and report no errors. If you
> are missing tracks any then its a manual check through ITunes to see
> whats missing then either re-rip the album or check the location and
> track name in the XML file open it this time in WORD or similar.
> Remember in XML a space is shown as '%20'.
>
> All in all it took about a days work. I have a few CD's to identify and
> re-import. I also noted the 'created date' is not consistent. Quite
> often I see albums tracks having different 'created times' even though
> I know they were ripped at exactly the same time making the sort more
> complex!
>
> All in all an important lesson to be learned about how flaky ITunes
> actually can be!
>
>
> --
> TheIBM
>
> I love my Squeezebox almost as much as we Kiwis love sheep.
>
> New Zealand: The land where men are men and sheep are worried!
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> TheIBM's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=17309
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=48243
>
>

egd
2008-06-01, 18:07
And this is a piece of hardware designed for the masses? Try peice of crap
designed for techno weenies. A total maste of time deisgned for people who
have no life!

Sorry but I'm replacing mibe with a multi CD p[ayer.Go ahead and cut your nose off to spite your face. Nobody is forcing you to use iTunes with your Squeezebox, Transporter and/or Duet. If you accept for a minute that SC is not really intended to be a library management system, but rather a means of interfacing with your music via a Controller, IR Remote or a myriad of web based interfaces, you'd come to realise that it does just that, and bloody well too.

Yes, we all would like it to do a million other things in addition to what it does already, but absence of these doesn't for a second mean you cannot reliably access your music library in ways you couldn't even begin to imagine with physical media.

Rip, tag, store, Look for new and changed music - that's all there is to it. Anything else is added complexity of your own choosing.

egd
2008-06-01, 18:12
All in all it took about a days work. I have a few CD's to identify and re-import. I also noted the 'created date' is not consistent. Quite often I see albums tracks having different 'created times' even though I know they were ripped at exactly the same time making the sort more complex!

All in all an important lesson to be learned about how flaky ITunes actually can be!

A couple of things:
- if your media is tagged you can use mp3tag to move the tracks to the folder structure of your choice using the tag info.
- you can use MusicIP to recognise the tracks you've not been able to identify, Picard would work too albeit I think MusicIP is generally easier to use.

TheIBM
2008-06-02, 14:36
Re: EGD's and Russell's messages

egd---- if your media is tagged you can use mp3tag to move the tracks to the folder structure of your choice using the tag info.

That would be the case if I had: (1)Encoded in MP3 (2) Realised that using a lossless encoder would have been a wiser choice. Rather I used ITunes as it was installed and working with my IPod. Doh!

egd----- you can use MusicIP to recognise the tracks you've not been able to identify, Picard would work too albeit I think MusicIP is generally easier to use.

I will give that a try to see. I have virtually finished the checking task anyway.

As for Russell's comment----- And this is a piece of hardware designed for the masses? Try peice of crap designed for techno weenies. A total maste of time deisgned for people who have no life!

Aside from the bad grammar, contradictions and spelling mistakes. I somehow (and I can't think why?;-!) suspect Russell is missing the point about SC!

Personally I have worked in the IT industry for 32 years and have witnessed all sorts of gadgets, gimmicks and software all promising to save(your)the world. The majority of solutions are often ill conceived, poorly constructed and have a very short lifespan.

The SC does not fall into any of the former categories. It has been well thought out, interfaces to a multitude of systems, is customisable, promotes an excellent feedback and help system, is open source i.e. If you can do something better then go ahead. Do it! Then shout it from the rooftops, share it to the world and get the credit for it. Unlike CD's or other hardware choices, even when handled with care they get damaged and fail, SC allows unlimited options to securely back up your collections and then play them back... AND still play them elsewhere, on other equipment, using a plethora of methods, all of your choosing. More importantly it provides future proofing.

If Russell cares to (can) read this note and posts sensible requests for help to this forum I am certain he will be inundated with offers of assistance. As for having no life: Aside from my recent ITunes glitch (which IS software for the masses). The issue was nothing to do with my SC. Thanks to SC I now don't have to manage my CD collection thus freeing important time necessary to pen scathing rebukes to the ignorant!