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Thread: Anyone know how to recover an iTunes playlist?

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior
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    Anyone know how to recover an iTunes playlist?

    I apologize if this subject has been posted before but the search brought up page-after-page of podcast threads that I'd never find it if there was...

    There seems to be an expert or two (or twenty) on almost every subject around these parts and I haven't had any luck finding an answer that works (or makes sense) via search engine so I figured I'd put the question up to the .org-ers...

    Anyway, back in July I updated my iTunes software (running Window X) for the first time in a few years and it wiped my playlist folder in the process. I'd never had that happen when I'd updated before and I've updated a few times since then it hasn't affected the meager playlist I've created since. I have an external backup drive and I pretty sure that the files from before the update are there but I haven't figured out exactly which files I need or how to get iTunes to recognize the old files.

    Anybody got any suggestions at all?...

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior Neophron's Avatar
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    I am not sure how to recover an iTunes playlist since I don't have one.
    Anybody?
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  3. #3
    Hang in there, Bow! Mer-Man's Minion's Avatar
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    I wish I had more help to offer. I just know that there are some programs out there that can transfer everything from your iPhone into iTunes; I remember looking into this when I recovered iTunes and it didn't save anything (!).
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  4. #4
    Master of Arms He-Fan's Avatar
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    Chris here...

    I'm not an expert on this subject by any stretch, but I do have some experience - so here are some suggestions...

    First things first - what I'm about to suggest will only work if you HAVEN'T added any new music, TV shows, or other media to your iTunes library since you performed the update you mention! If you have added any new media to your iTunes library, restoring your playlists won't cause the media to get deleted but it won't be included in your iTunes database file and so will effectively disappear from your iTunes library until re-added.

    iTunes is basically like a music / media database. Files are added to it and get saved in a folder, usually called "iTunes Media". What you see when you fire up iTunes is simply a piece of software that allows you to access the files in the database. Consequently in this way, it's possible to save several different iTunes libraries and switch between them as necessary. (For example, I look after the iTunes library for my Dad and all his devices, as he's not very "tech-y"! )

    So, the first thing I would do is this:

    - On your PC, close down iTunes

    - Once iTunes is closed, re-open iTunes but holding down the "SHIFT" key (at least I'm guessing it's the "SHIFT" key - it's the "OPTION" key on a Mac)

    - You should then get a window that looks slightly like this:



    (Apologies that this image is so huge!!)

    - Click "Choose library" and navigate to the library file that's saved on your external backup drive - the file you want is called "iTunes Library.itl" - and then click to select it

    - iTunes should then open with the version of the iTunes Library file that had your playlists that have now been lost - check to see if your playlists are there

    ...Now, after this point is where it gets tricky! So my recommendation would be that, before you do anything else, you follow those steps and see if your playlists reappear. If they do, then it is possible that they can be restored by using this backed-up Library file to overwrite the Library file on your PC - however, as I say, for that to work smoothly & seamlessly, that would need for you to have not added any new iTunes media.

    Once you've completed this test, then I would recommend that you straight away:

    - Close down iTunes

    - Re-open iTunes, again holding down the "SHIFT" key, and this time choose the Library file that's saved on your PC's hard drive

    ...the reason for this being that, otherwise, things could get messed-up between the two database files. (Take it from someone who's been there, done that, and learnt from bitter experience, LOL!! )

    Here's a useful page from Apple's tech support about switching between iTunes Libraries: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201596 .

    Really hope some of that is of help to you - I've had a lot of headaches using iTunes over the years due to me not understanding properly how it worked, and one time I didn't use it, or update my iPod, at all from about 9 months because I couldn't get my head round a problem with it. So if I can help someone else avoid that sort of scenario, then I'm eager to help!

    Take care...
    Last edited by He-Fan; March 2, 2018 at 02:16pm.
    Part of the "Kidult" craze long before it was a thing! : )

  5. #5
    Hang in there, Bow! Mer-Man's Minion's Avatar
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    Neat info He-Fan, thanks (even though I wasn't the one asking, lol).

    I do have a clarification question for you, though. My apologies if I'm missing something here, but it sounds like you're saying open iTunes + Shift, "Choose Library", pick the "iTunes Library.itl" file, see if all lists look good, then close iTunes and open it with Shift again, and choose the same library? You said "this time choose the Library file that's saved on your PC's hard drive"---am I missing something?
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  6. #6
    Master of Arms He-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mer-Man's Minion View Post
    Neat info He-Fan, thanks (even though I wasn't the one asking, lol).

    I do have a clarification question for you, though. My apologies if I'm missing something here, but it sounds like you're saying open iTunes + Shift, "Choose Library", pick the "iTunes Library.itl" file, see if all lists look good, then close iTunes and open it with Shift again, and choose the same library? You said "this time choose the Library file that's saved on your PC's hard drive"---am I missing something?
    Almost, but not quite! The iTunes Library file I'm suggesting he opens first is the version saved to his external backup drive - the reason for this being that, if I'm right, this should still have the playlists that have gone missing. After that I'm suggesting he closes down & restarts iTunes, but this time opening the version of the Library file saved to his PC's own hard drive (which is the version of the Library file where the playlists have gone missing.)

    Take care...
    Part of the "Kidult" craze long before it was a thing! : )

  7. #7
    Hang in there, Bow! Mer-Man's Minion's Avatar
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    O...kay...lol, I forgot an external hard drive came into play here, I don't have one so that would only confuse me right now, lol. :-)
    Muppet fans, if you like Janice of The Electric Mayhem, check out: Janice: "Fer sure!"

  8. #8
    Heroic Warrior
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    Thank you for the info, He-Fan. Been a hectic couple of weeks and haven't had a chance to get back here to see if anyone responded, I apologize in the delay for the thanks. I'll certainly give that a try. I don't think I've added anything new from the store but I did create a single list to get one artist "back" though the list is short and I'd happily lose it to get the old one back. Thank you, again... Fingers crossed!

  9. #9
    Master of Arms He-Fan's Avatar
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    Chris here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim_Abell View Post
    Thank you for the info, He-Fan. Been a hectic couple of weeks and haven't had a chance to get back here to see if anyone responded, I apologize in the delay for the thanks. I'll certainly give that a try. I don't think I've added anything new from the store but I did create a single list to get one artist "back" though the list is short and I'd happily lose it to get the old one back. Thank you, again... Fingers crossed!
    My pleasure, very happy to try & spare someone else going through the agonies I've gone through with iTunes library files!!

    As I say, give those steps a try, and if it works then hopefully we might be able to get the iTunes library back to how it was with your old playlists.

    Take care...
    Part of the "Kidult" craze long before it was a thing! : )

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