When iTunes can’t find your music, it usually gives an error message saying the original file could not be found. If you see an exclamation point next to a song in iTunes and try playing the song, this error will be displayed.
The exclamation point is displayed when iTunes doesn’t know the exact location of the AAC or MP3 file for the specific song you’re looking for. iTunes doesn’t store your music, which is why it can’t find the files. Instead, when you click on a song to play it, the program reaches out to the hard drive where the file is stored and expects to find it there.
If the music file isn’t in your hard drive, iTunes won’t play the song, hence the error shows up.
One of the most common causes is that you may have moved the file from your hard drive or its original location. Similarly, the file could have been moved outside the iTunes music folder, was deleted, or the entire library was moved.
Such issues also happen when other media programs move files without your knowledge or alerting you. While it may seem frustrating, you can fix it.
How to fix iTunes Original File Could Not Be Found error
If you see this error in one or two songs, here’s what to do to fix it:
- Find the song with the exclamation point next to it and double-click the song
- iTunes will show the Original File Could Not Be Found error
- Click Locate in the popup
- Find the missing song by browsing your computer’s hard drive
- Click Open or double click the song
- Another popup will open to try and find missing files
- Click Find files
iTunes will add more files or let you know that it can’t add them. Click Continue and try to play the song again. The exclamation point should be gone and the songs should work fine again.
This won’t move the music file location; instead it’ll update the location in the directory where iTunes expects it to be.
If the exclamation mark is next to many songs, you can solve it by consolidating the iTunes library. To do this:
- Open iTunes and click File>Library>Organize Library
- Click Consolidate files>OK
- iTunes will scan the hard drive to find missing files, make copies and move the copies to the proper location in the Music folder. This makes two copies and takes up disk space, but you can delete the old files from their original locations
To avoid this problem in future, do this:
- Open iTunes and click the iTunes menu or Edit menu
- Click Preferences
- Click Advanced tab in the preferences popup
- Check the Keep iTunes Media folder organized box
- Click OK
Now each time you add a new song to iTunes, it’ll be added automatically to the right place in your Music folder on iTunes regardless of its original location.
Elsie is a tech writer with 8+ years professional experience. For Tech News Watch, she brings rich experience contributing to topics such as Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS among others. In her spare time, she loves checking out the latest tech trends, gadgets, and news, listening to music and cars.