itunes moved and/or copied tons of music files, ruined my library. how can i reverse?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ttppmm, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. ttppmm macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2013
    hey all,

    i've got a tough one for you.

    background: i have a massive (150+ GB) music collection that I normally keep on my external drive. when i dragged and dropped this collection into itunes, i didn't realize that I had itunes set to "organize" my music files and move them to the itunes folder, which is on my main harddrive.

    well, what appears to have happened is that itunes moved MOST (but not ALL) of my music, from my drive, to the itunes folder on my computer. it then sorted them into artist/album folders, which are often split weirdly/annoyingly (say, a compilation album will be split into ten separate folders, one for each artist, or the album will only be copied halfway, leaving the other half on my drive).

    what is even MORE annoying is that itunes copied SOME files from my drive, and appears to have MOVED others from my drive. i've done a lot of comparing with finder and another finder-type program and there are definitely music files that were in my library on my drive, which are now ONLY on my computer in the itunes folder.

    because of this, i can't just move all of the music in the itunes folder on my computer back onto my drive. the folders are not organized how i want them AT ALL, and so many of them are duplicates that i would be adding 100 GB+ of duplicate music. (but not all of the files are duplicates! if they were, i would just delete the itunes music folder entirely).

    i would go through the files in the itunes music folder, but there are seriously at least a thousand subfolders; doing so is really out of the question. is there any way i can REVERSE what itunes did--that is, have some kind of program or process that moves files back to the drive that were moved and not copied, and deletes files that were simply copied?

    seriously, this might be a long shot but i've been working on this music library for about a decade, it's infuriating that it got messed up so badly so easily. i'm also a music TA and this is going to suck for finding stuff for class...

    any help is hugely appreciated.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The predicament you face now is the reason why -- even though I have been a Mac user for 26 years, since the Macintosh SE -- I will _NEVER_ use iTunes as my "music program".

    The reality is that iTunes isn't a "music app" per se -- it's more like a database app that organizes files (music files, etc.) and then plays them.

    The problem (as you've discovered) is that it "organizes" things its own way, into an incomprehensible array of folders through which it becomes all-but impossible for an end user to navigate.

    Normally, I wouldn't object -- EXCEPT FOR the reason that iTunes will automatically and surreptitiously re-arrange the computer user's files without the user's permission and without telling the user where specific files were moved to, and without offering a method to restore the user's drive to a "pre-iTunes" condition.

    This is completely unacceptable to me, and why I will NEVER use iTunes as my music app.

    On my computer, _I_ put files where I want them, particularly mp3's.
    I don't want ANY application moving or re-arranging them for me.

    As to your specific case, I find it almost incredible that iTunes would muck with files on an external drive beyond just copying them.

    My guess is that if this really occurred, there isn't much you can do about it now, other than make sure that external drive never is connected when you run iTunes again.

    If I need to play a bunch of songs, I use something called "Cog".
    Free to use, easy to use, and it DOESN'T muck with your files!

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