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I very foolishly entrusted iTunes in Windows to manage my mp3 collection (had the "Import to my library folder" and "manage my collection" checkboxes checked), and iTunes has somehow been randomly deleting tracks from disk.

I'm now faced with either:

  • restoring the collection from a backup (which I'd rather avoid - it's an old backup and a fair bit will be missing),
  • merging my backup with what's left of my collection, hopefully restoring many of the missing tracks, or
  • determining which tracks are missing and replacing them manually from backup / other sources.

Before I jump into one of these options, is there a program or script that will let me assess how widespread the damage is? I'm imagining something that:

  • Recurses the directory tree, and on finding a folder containing .mp3 files:
  • Checks that there are a reasonable number of files in the folder (>2, <35?)
  • Checks file metadata to determine that numbering begins at 1 and is a contiguous block
  • If no metadata, checks for filenames that contain numbers, if there are check that they are a contiguous block
  • If the contiguous block of tracks is very short and the durations of those tracks is also short, look up the album listing from an online service
  • Produce a report of what is likely missing.

Does such a thing exist or will I have to resort to rolling my own?

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1 Answer 1

Start with Beyond Compare, the king of file/folder diffs. (Free trial, $30 standard).

It has outstanding diffing and filtering capabilities, and even has an MP3 ID3 tag plugin that can help sort out precisely the kind of mess you've found yourself in. It can also easily produce a report of what's one one side but not the other, etc.

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Is your idea for me to diff my damaged collection against my backup? Unfortunately my backup was self managed (and well organised), and iTunes' "manage my collection" has mangled the folder structures and renamed files, so there's not a 1:1 mapping on filename, folder name, etc. Is there a way to maybe script this tool to look at the track numbers in filenames? But then I suppose writing a python script would be the same difficulty. –  jozzas May 31 '12 at 4:34

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