iTunes Can't Find a Song in My Library

I try to play a song in the iTunes Library, but I see a message stating the song can't be used because the original file can't be found.

iTunes doesn't actually store music files in the Library, but rather contains pointers to music files. If the original file is moved around or deleted from your machine, iTunes can't find it and doesn't know how to play that song. When you see this dialog box, you can attempt to locate the file yourself. If you are successful, iTunes will restore its link in the Library and it will work as before. If you can't find the file, you will have to re-create it and add it to the Library again.

iTunes Can't Find My CD Recorder

When I start up iTunes for the first time, I see a message stating that no supported CD recorders were found. Or, my CD recorder is not recognized when I try to record a CD.

This problem occurs when iTunes doesn't detect a supported CD-R or CD-RW drive in your Mac system. In order to be supported, iTunes must have the appropriate device software incorporated into it. This can also occur if your CD-R or CD-RW drive is not properly connected to and working with your Mac.

The first step is to ensure that your drive can work with at least one other application on your Mac. For example, if the CD writing software included with your drive is Toast, use Toast to record a CD. If that works, you know that the problem is related to iTunes. If it doesn't work, you need to troubleshoot your CD-R or CD-RW drive before trying to use it with iTunes.

The second step is relatively easy, but if it doesn't work, there isn't much you can do. Go to the Apple iTunes Web site ( to see whether a newer version of iTunes is available. If so, download and install it and try again. Apple will continue to add support for various CD-R or CD-RW mechanisms to iTunes, and if you get lucky, yours will be one of them.

If neither of these steps works, you still have several options. One is to buy a CD-R or CD-RW drive that is supported by iTunes (hey, you needed a good reason to buy a new Mac, right?). The other is to use another application to create the CD. For example, Toast also enables you to create audio CDs.

iTunes Stops Recording Before the Process Is Complete

The CD that I am attempting to record is ejected before the process is finished. What is causing this?

When you see a message stating that iTunes is stopping the burn process, some error has prevented iTunes from being able to complete the CD. You usually see an error dialog box; unfortunately, such a dialog box almost always contains an indecipherable message.

The most likely cause of such errors is the inability of iTunes to write data to the drive fast enough. If there are pauses in the data stream that is being recorded to the CD, the process will sometimes fail. Make the following changes to attempt to correct the problem:

  1. Stop all other applications except iTunes. Although Mac OS X provides iTunes with protected memory, other applications might be accessing other drives in your system. This can slow the data being transferred to the CD recorder.

  2. Reconfigure iTunes so that it uses a slow burn speed because slower burn speeds are easier to maintain.

After making these changes, try to burn the disc again. If it still doesn't work, try Apple's support site and search for the specific error message you are seeing.

The CDs I Make Won't Play in My Noncomputer CD Player

When I install a CD that I have burned in a regular CD player, such as that in my car, the disc is ejected and won't play, or the player acts as if no CD were in the player at all.

There are a couple of causes for this problem. One possibility is that the CD you burned was a CD-RW disc rather than a CD-R disc. Standard CD players (noncomputer CD players) are usually not able to read CD-RW discs. You should always create audio CDs that you intend to play in other CD players using CD-R discs.

The other possibility is that the standard CD player you are trying to use does not recognize the format of the CD-R disc. This usually happens only when the CD player is relatively old. The only solution to this is to use a different CD player.

The MP3 Player Doesn't Appear in the iTunes Window

When I attach my MP3 player and start iTunes, it never appears as a source in the iTunes window.

If iTunes doesn't recognize your MP3 player, you won't be able to use it to download music to the player. First, check to make sure that the USB connection you are using is working (use it with another device). Next, check the iTunes Web site for an updated version of the application that might support your particular player. If iTunes does not support your player, your primary options are to use a different MP3 application or to get a different MP3 player (think iPod!).

    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Lifestyle