iTunes for Windows XP: Troubleshooting unexpected quits, freezes, or launch issues

This article provides some general suggestions when trying to troubleshoot an issue where iTunes for Windows XP won't open or unexpectedly quits. It may be useful to print this document before following the steps outlined below.

Start iTunes in Safe Mode

Open iTunes in Safe Mode to isolate any interference with plug-ins or scripts not manufactured by Apple.

  1. 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
  2. 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 XP:

  1. From the Start menu, choose Control Panel.
  2. Open User Accounts.
  3. Select Create a new account and follow the instructions to complete the account setup process.
  4. Once the new account is created, choose Log Off from the Start menu.
  5. Log in to the newly created user account.
  6. 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.

User-specific troubleshooting

If your issue only happens in one user account, some of the suggestions below may resolve the issue. Before proceeding however, you'll need to make hidden files and folders visible in Windows. To do so, follow steps one through five in this article.

  • 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:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes



      C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes


  • Create a new iTunes Library
    1. Hold the Shift key while opening iTunes. You will be prompted to Choose iTunes Library.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 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 causing the issue, follow the steps below.

    1. Quit iTunes.
    2. Move the iTunes Library.itl file to your Desktop. The file is located in:


      C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes


    3. Open iTunes.
    4. From the File menu, choose Add Folder to Library.
    5. Navigate to the folder where your music is located. Typically this is:


      C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media

      Note: This folder may also be called "iTunes Music."


    6. Choose an artist, album, or single song to add the to the library.
    7. Wait for iTunes to successfully add the songs to your library and perform the gapless playback scan.
    8. If successful, continue adding back more songs to your library.
    9. 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.

System-wide troubleshooting

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 start-up items can conflict with iTunes.

  • Removing iTunes Configuration Files

    Removing unusable configuration files that iTunes uses can resolve launch issues.

  • Check the iTunes and QuickTime installations

    An improper installation of iTunes or QuickTime can contribute to a variety of issues. Learn how to completely reinstall iTunes and QuickTime.

  • Fix digital signing of Windows drivers

    In some cases an issue with the digital signing of certain Windows XP drivers can prevent iTunes from launching. Use the following steps to correct such issues:

    1. Highlight all of the following 4 lines of text that begin with regsvr32 and then choose Copy from the Edit menu of your web browser:


      regsvr32 /s wintrust.dll
      regsvr32 /s softpub.dll
      regsvr32 /s mssip32.dll
      regsvr32 /s initpki.dll


    2. Open the Notepad program by navigating to:

      Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad

    3. In Notepad, choose Paste from the Edit menu. Note: Make sure that the text that appears in Notepad is the same as what is shown above.
    4. From the File menu, choose Save As.
    5. In the File name: field type iTunes.bat and save the file to the Desktop.
    6. Close Notepad and locate the iTunes.bat file. It should appear on the Desktop.
    7. Double-click the file and you will see a black window appear on the screen for about a minute. Wait until the window automatically disappears and proceed to the next step.
    8. The iTunes.bat file can be deleted at this time.
    9. Try opening iTunes again.
  • Disconnect your computer from the Internet

    See if that resolves the quitting, freezing, or launching issue with iTunes.

  • 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.

Learn more

See also:

This document will be updated as more information becomes available.

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