iTunes for Windows Vista or Windows 7: Troubleshooting unexpected quits, freezes, or launch issues
iTunes 10 for Windows, iTunes 9 for Windows, Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7
This article provides some general suggestions when trying to troubleshoot an issue where iTunes for Windows Vista or Windows 7 won't open, stops responding, or unexpectedly quits. It may be useful to print this document before following the steps outlined below.
- For a discussion of troubleshooting similar issues in iTunes for Windows XP, see iTunes for Windows XP: Troubleshooting unexpected quits, freezes, or launch issues.
- If you are having trouble installing iTunes, see Trouble installing iTunes or QuickTime for Windows
Start iTunes in Safe Mode
Open iTunes in Safe Mode to isolate any inference with plug-ins or scripts not manufactured by Apple.
- Hold down the Shift and Control keys while opening iTunes. If performed correctly, you should see a dialog that says "iTunes is running in safe mode" before iTunes finishes starting up.
- After clicking Continue, determine whether the issue you were experiencing persists in Safe Mode.
If you see the same issue while iTunes is in Safe Mode, proceed to the Create a New User Account section below. If you do not experience the same issue, consult iTunes: Troubleshooting issues with third-party iTunes plug-ins for steps on how to remove third-party plug-ins.
Create a New User Account
When troubleshooting a variety of issues, it can be useful to determine if the issue affects a specific Windows user account or all accounts. Follow the steps below to create a new user account in Windows Vista or Windows 7:
- From the Start menu, choose Control Panel.
- Open Add or remove user accounts (If using the Classic View in Windows Vista, open User Accounts. Then open Manage another account).
- Select Create a new account and follow the instructions to complete the account setup process.
- Once the new account is created, choose Log Off from the Start menu.
- Log into the newly created user account.
- Open iTunes and determine whether the issue you were experiencing persists in this new user.
If you see the same issue in the newly created user account, proceed to the System-wide troubleshooting section below. If you do not experience the same issue, consult the User-specific troubleshooting section below.
If your issue only happens in one particular user account, some of the suggestions below may resolve the issue. Before proceeding however, you'll need to make hidden files and folder visible in Windows. Follow steps 1-5 in iTunes for Windows in Windows Vista doesn't open after upgrading.
- Remove iTunes Preference files
Some of the files that iTunes uses to store settings and preferences may be unusable and cause issues. iTunes has two folders where preferences are saved. Move one of them to the desktop and test to see if the issue persists. If it does, move it back and remove the second folder. The location for the two preference folders are:
- C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Apple Computer\iTunes
- C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes
- Create a new iTunes Library
- Hold the Shift key while opening iTunes. You will be prompted to Choose iTunes Library.
- Choose Create Library to create a new one. In the following window you will be prompted to select a location to save the new iTunes Library.
- Click Save. iTunes will open the newly created library. After closing iTunes, you can always select the original library by using the Shift key when opening iTunes.
- Recreate your iTunes Library
If you iTunes library has become unusable, rebuilding it as described in How to recreate your iTunes Library and Playlists may resolve the issue.
- Check for content files with issues
Sometimes a certain audio file can cause iTunes to quit unexpectedly or stop responding when it is analyzing gapless playback information. To determine which file(s) may be cause the issue follow the steps below:
- Quit iTunes.
- Navigate to the iTunes folder:
- Windows Vista - C:\users\username\Music\iTunes
- Windows 7 - C:\users\username\My Music\iTunes
- Move the iTunes Library.itl file to your desktop
- Open iTunes. You should not see any content in iTunes.
- From the File menu, choose Add Folder to Library.
- Navigate to the folder where your music is located. Typically this is
Note: This folder may be called iTunes Music if it was created with iTunes 8 or earlier.
- Windows Vista - C:\users\username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media
- Windows 7 - C:\users\username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media
- Choose an artist, album, or single song to add the to the library
- Wait for iTunes to successfully add the songs to your library and perform the gapless playback scan.
- If successful, continue adding back more songs to your library.
- If there is an issue with one of your files, you will notice your issue reappear after you attempt to add it to the library. At this point you should repeat these steps being careful not to add the files that cause the issue to occur.
When troubleshooting system-wide issues with iTunes, there are a few different suggestion to try.
- Check for viruses
Windows viruses can interfere with a variety of computer functions including iTunes. Make sure that you have current anti-virus software installed with updated virus definitions and use it to scan your system.
- Check for anti-virus and/or Internet security software
Internet Security software itself can sometimes cause iTunes to quit unexpectedly. Try disabling the Internet Security software temporarily or exempting iTunes from any active scanning done by such software. If this resolves the issue, check with the maker of the software for an update to the software or its virus definitions. See the following article for more information: iTunes for Windows: Troubleshooting security software issues.
- Conflicting processes
Sometimes other programs and startup items can conflict with iTunes, look at the following article to troubleshoot such conflicts:
Using MSCONFIG to troubleshoot conflicts in Windows Vista and Windows 7
- Removing iTunes configuration files
Removing unusable configuration files that iTunes uses can resolve launch issues. See "iTunes for Windows Vista or Windows 7 doesn't open after upgrading" for information.
- Check the iTunes and QuickTime installations
An improper installation of iTunes or QuickTime can contribute to a variety of issues. Follow the article below to learn how to completely reinstall iTunes and QuickTime:
Trouble installing iTunes or QuickTime software in Windows
- Update the drivers on your PC
Having outdated drivers on your computer can cause strange behavior with iTunes, QuickTime, iPod, and other applications. See this link to update the drivers on your computer.
Additionally, manipulating or incorrectly changing the time setting on your computer can cause iTunes movie rentals to stop playing on Windows. For more information, see iTunes: Movie rental stops playing in Windows.