My MP3s keep disappearing and show up with an exclamation in iTunes! :(

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bobby Corwen, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. Bobby Corwen macrumors 68030

    Jul 16, 2010
    I have this scary problem happening to me.

    My music keeps disappearing from my general media folder and it shows as an exclamation in iTunes. When I try to search for the file, it's gone from the media folder.

    I have a main OS SSD drive and a Scorpio Black in the optibay drive.

    All my iTunes media is on the Scorpio drive.

    I hope I copied it properly. Organize my media is checked?

    This has been happening, I thought I was suffering hd corruption/data loss, but it was only MP3 files.

    When I try to search for the files, sometimes they have been moved to an iTunes subfolder but the files are missing and corrupted.

    (for example there will be duplicates of track 1-4 and 10-14, and then 5-10 just will be gone)

    This is insane.

    Does anybody know why this is happening? I can't find a solution or cause anywhere.
  2. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    ok calm down.

    First, where did you define the location change for the library.
    If you did it in iTunes, that means that your iTunes folder on the os drive will contain the library file, and any time you add music without the external drive connected, it'll place this music on your ssd iTunes folder. This of course will mean that some of your files are unavailable while some are (if I understand the problem correctly).

    The best way that i've found to do this is to move the entire iTunes folder off of the os drive and move it to an external drive. Then use a utility like symbolic linker to make a link to the iTunes folder on the external drive. Then drag this link to the music folder on your os drive. This will make iTunes use the external drive for all iTunes related things every time (and if you start iTunes with the drive disconnected it'll complain about the library folder missing).

    Then to find the missing music go to a song thats missing right click and get info, then at the bottom it'll say where it was last seen. After restoring it do a library reconsolidation so that all of your media is in one place, then do the symbolic link as described above.
  3. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    that just means the music is not in the same location as when you imported it to your library
  4. Bobby Corwen thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 16, 2010
    Thanks for helping me, so I moved the iTunes XML or something to a folder named iTunes Library from the SSD onto the Scorpio drive and for all intents and purposes it worked. I was accessing my library and then as time passed one day I noticed some files missing and I thought maybe i had hard drive problems maybe from moving it around.

    I defined it to that folder after I did all that initially.

    Side note: should I turn off organize files and folders?

    Would symbolic linking prevent this issue?

    Do you have an idea why this corruption happens when the files are moved by iTunes? If they are moved from the Scorpio to another place on the Scorpio? Why mess up the files?

    There are literally hundreds of files wiped from the drive forever, inconsistently, and some survive while some don't.

    I mean songs belonging to the same album in the same folder will be split, some songs on the album surviving while others just being point blank deleted?

    I can take a pic of the folders and you can see an example of how jumbled they are.

    Why is this happening???
  5. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    take a pic. I need to see this.

    And yes, symbolic links will fix things.
  6. Bobby Corwen, Sep 17, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011

    Bobby Corwen thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 16, 2010
    So this is what it looks like in iTunes. Notice that within a same album located in the same location, some are still playable, and some are exclamation marked.


    In the next one you can see directly in the finder folder where it moved it to and the fact that there are duplicates of the ones that exist almost as if the files were corrupted when moved.


    So I am less concerned with getting my music back and restoring the messed up albums.

    I just want to find out why this is happening and to make sure it won't happen in the future.

    Is this happening because I switched the hard drive location? Or because I have automatically organize files checked?

    Location of music files where I had initially put them:

    Location they get "moved" to and become corrupt:
    Scorpio>iTunes Music Folder>Music>Artist Names>Album Names

    Location of iTunes Music Library.XML:

    So nothing at all iTunes related is on my SSD OS drive.
  7. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Right click on one of the missing songs and snap a screenshot of where it says it was last located.

    Note: To take screen shots you can just use the program grab which is in your utilities folder in Applications, or just it into spotlight.

    But if you want to prevent this from happening in the future you MUST do the symbolic link procedure to make a more...robust assignment of the iTunes folder to your hard drive. The problem with just changing the library folder assignment is that iTunes will have no problems reverting back to your old library possibly messing things up. So do the following for a new library install (which at this point doesn't sound like a bad idea):

    1. Download Symbolic Linker
    2. Copy your entire iTunes folder from your SSD (or wherever it is) to the hard drive. (again, assuming all of your music is in this one folder).
    3. Right click on the copied iTunes folder on your external drive, go down to services, and select symbolic link.
    4. Delete the iTunes folder off of your SSD (or just move it, if you want to test), and copy the iTunes symlink to your music folder.
    5. Lastly, rename the link to newly copied symbolic link from 'iTunes symlink' to 'iTunes'.
    This is the safest way in my opinion.

    And yes I do think this might have been caused by the hard drive switch. though i'm sure someone else may have experienced this phenomena and may offer more specific guidance.
  8. Bobby Corwen thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 16, 2010
    I right clicked on it but couldn't find a last location. I searched in spotlight and it didn't exist. Not in trash either. I believe they are totally gone.

    All of the files are already on the Scorpio Harddrive. Does this mean I should move the XML file somewhere??
  9. rsj macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2011
    Me Too!

    Just posted on another string, this is happening to me too. The files are just gone, they are still in the library, but the file is gone from the hardrive so iTunes can't find it. Crazy, crazy problem to have, I see no way of rebuilding the library i have spent a decade creating, maybe going back to old hard drives and piecing it together, and old CDs, what fun!
    The real beatch is that since I did not notice it, my backups of my current 500G hardrive are no help, they are consistent with my current hardrive.


    do you have an overloaded iPhone like I do that is set up to sink to iTunes? obviously deleted on iPhone should not affect the mother library, but also obvious that this should not be happening

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