Missing files in iTune

Q: Is there any way to either remove iTunes tracks that can’t be found (they show the exclamation point icon) or map them to the closest file in the folder?

– Brendon

A: I regret to answer that if you’re on a Windows PC, our only two suggestions are to remove the missing files with either (1) manual labor, simply deleting missing tracks as you come across them, or (2) brute force, causing loss of playlists, playcounts, and ratings. In neither case can the missing files be automatically mapped to a “close” file.

Choice (2) involves emptying your library completely and re-populating it with only the tracks that still exist. The advantage to this is that you won’t be doing a manual search-and-destroy on missing files, but a significant disadvantage is that you will lose your music library’s playcounts, playlists, and song ratings.

First, select all tracks in your library and go to Edit—> Select All.  hen hit “Delete” on your keyboard. iTunes will prompt to ask you if you’d like to “Keep Files” or “Move to Recycle Bin.” Choose Keep Files. Next, go to iTunes’ “File” menu and choose “Add Folder to Library.” Pick your iTunes Music Folder, which is likely the “My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music” folder.

In a slight twist on choice (2), you could restore your music library from your iPod using the tutorial here.

Neither of these options are favorable, but there is one refuge – if you’re on a Mac. iTunes Applescript guru Doug Adams has written an AppleScript that is a life-saver in this situation. Available Jerrod H.