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Posted by on Feb 20, 2010 in Entertainment, Technology | 21 comments

The Folder Containing iTunes Library Cannot Be Found

CaptureUpdating my installation of iTunes recently triggered the message “The folder containing “iTunes Library.itl” cannot be found, and is required. Please choose or create a new iTunes library.

Now that is a fairly understandable message, but not very useful. Clicking on the “OK” button doesn’t do anything at all. iTunes simply does not start.

I worked out that the message occurs because the Music folder on my machine is not in the default place. I store my music files on a secondary hard drive and had moved all the shortcuts and pointers to it. The reinstalled iTunes update simply reset the location settings for the Music folder to the defaults.

All that needed to be done in order to get things back up and running was to find a way to get the updated installation pointing to the right folder again. And whilst this sounds straightforward enough, all my solutions-to-the-problem searching on the internet uncovered were suggestions to make manual changes to registry settings.

Now I’m not adverse to fiddling in the registry. But I’d rather avoid it if possible. As luck would have it, I remember a neat shortcut to get the same result without having to go near the registry settings.

Simply hold down the “Shift” key on your keyboard when starting iTunes!

Capture2 Yes, I know it sounds ridiculously simple, but I assure you it works. Holding down the Shift key as you click on the iTunes icon to start up the programme will trigger the “Choose iTunes Library” message. This dialogue allows you to choose an existing iTunes library or to create a new one just as the original error message suggests is required.

Once you have the message on screen, it’s a simple task to click on the “Choose Library…” button, browse to the location of your music files, find the iTunes folder, and select the library file in it. This will also automatically correct the registry settings for you, and you should be good to get rocking once more.

Awesomely easy solution, right?! You can thank me in the comments below.

For those who insist on complicating their lives, the long way round is to manually edit two registry settings to ensure the location of your music folder is correct.

Run “regedit” from a command prompt, navigate to the following two keys, and ensure the settings for “Music” or “My Music” are accurate:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerShell Folders
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerUser Shell Folders


  1. Ouch. I know the feeling. Fortunately you found a solution. I have a friend coming round today, who installed another program, not iTunes, and all his document folders, email, etc have dissapeared. Is it a virus, who know. But he is in a state of panic, 3 years of work related data, gone.

    Hopefully we can fix it today.

    • OUCHIT…….That's OUCH SHIT AND IT in one word……

    • The Three Laws of Business Data:

      #1 – Backup.

      #2 – Backup!

      #3 – Backup now!

      Sadly, we only find them out once we go through what your friend is going through. Hope you are able to salvage as much as possible. Good luck.

  2. iTunes sucks anyways. Why don't you run Media player and install the iPod plugin?

    • To be honest, I have thought about doing that, but have never been able to find a iPod plugin for MP that is free AND that works. What plugin are you using?

      Also, I kind of enjoy using the Genius feature in the newer iTunes versions. Makes for some "haven't heard in a loooong time" play list selections.

      That said, I've always preferred the file system and tagging abilities in MP, and find that updating information and importing album art is a lot easier and a lot more (successful) in MP. If I could get it to sync to my iPod, so much the better.

      • For free? For ever? Never, nothing worth using is free for ever. I use MGTEK dopisp, it works, and I am sure there is a crack for it out there somewere………or just pay the couple of dollars and be happy………or try ASTALAVISTA for some help…….

  3. Greg,

    Your a genius!!!!!! It worked perfectly!!! Thanks a bunch!!!!!

    • 'Genius' I'm not so sure about, but I'll take the thanks with pleasure.

      Glad it helped you out Joe & thanks for taking the time to comment – come visit us more often.

  4. I'm having kind of the opposite problem. I wanted to put my library on another computer (NOT an easy task!) and used the itunes library mover to do it, storing my music on an external hard drive to make the transfer. Ideally, I want to store my music on my internal hard drive (it's a laptop; don't want to mess with transporting the external drive), but now every time I go to open iTunes, and don't have the external drive hooked up, I get that message. My iTunes Media folder path is set to C:Documents and Settings(name)My DocumentsMy MusiciTunes, which is basically the same path as the original computer the music was taken from. Any advice?

  5. Thankyouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

  6. guess what? that did not work at all. Glad it worked for you tho

    • Sorry to hear that it doesn't work for you not grateful. We tried. Here's hoping you find a solution that does.

  7. Thank you!! Only a few hours of searching before I found your clue. First I mistakenly created an empty and useless library which I had to delete.

  8. Thanks buddy. I thought I was screwed. I still had all my music in the original library I had created on my external drive, but not connected to iTunes. Worked like a charm. Thanks again. 🙂

    • Glad to have been able to help Tommy. Thanks for taking the time to pop a comment in.

  9. hmmmm i’ve installed itunes10 but all it is is quicktime!!!! help

    • ohhh, that is a bit odd. You tried downloading from here right? Normally quicktime is offered as an additional download with itunes. Weird that it would only download quicktime and not the main itunes app at the same time…

  10. Thanks!!! Your information worked for me. Thank you for including which botton to use because another website didn’t include which button to press to show the “Choose or Create Library”. Very quick than doing so the manual way which didn’t work either. So, THANKS AGAIN!!!

  11. Thank you very much. Your suggestion was quite helpful.

  12. This worked! I tried so many different suggestions, and this worked easily! THANKS


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