The Mystery Of The Wandering Music Files


I'll tell you up front. The flaming pile of camel poop did it. It started innocently enough. Alex, Conner and I decided to listen to some music. I fired up iTunes, clicked on The Bear Missed The Train and got a error saying the file was missing. Huh? What do you mean missing?!? We've played that song 20 times a day for the last 6 months!

So I did some digging and found that (1) The Bear Missed The Train was missing from my nicely organized mp3 collection and (2) it looked like someone threw up in the "My Music" folder.

After a little investigation I concluded that ~500 mp3s had been moved out of my nicely organized music collection into an folder structure that can only be described by chaos theory. In this case a butterfly flaps its wings in New York and then a rogue program takes ~500 of your most frequently used music files and scatters them around your file system as if your computer was hit by a tsunami.

So what happened? Why now? It turns out that yesterday John and Reza turned on Windows Media player, henceforth referred to as The Flaming Pile of Camel Poop, for the first time in months in order to play some home movies. During the few minutes they were using it, The Flaming Pile of Camel Poop read in part of my music library and regurgitated it all over the "My Music" folder.

Here's how it works. If you open The Flaming Pile of Camel Poop and click on Tools-> Options->Media Library there is a section called Automatic media information updates for files and under there, you find a check box that reads Rename and rearrange music using media information. It should actually read Scatter my music files about tsunami style because it rearranges files based on media information that appears to be retrieved from the result of the afore mentioned butterfly effect. This feature (and I call it a feature in the loosest sense) is turned on by default. iTunes also has such a feature but they have the good sense to turn it off by default.

In the end our heroes prevailed. They were forced to play with blocks without The Bear Missed The Train while pondering what sort of Flaming Pile of Camel Poop would take away our music. But after about 30 minutes of this they decided to blame John and Reza and that's when all the pieces fell into place. In the end I got to use *VersionBackup for the first time to restore lost files to my computer.


*VersionBackup is a free windows based backup software that I switched over to a few months ago. Its easy to use and it saved The Bear Missed The Train from the wrath of The Flaming Pile of Camel Poop with just a few clicks.