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Should I Edit iTunes Files in Windows Explorer or iTunes?

October 20, 2010DavidiTunes0

Q:  I’m comfortable with Windows Explorer and I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to edit multiple iTunes tracks in Windows Explorer?

A:  Good question.  Before you do any editing,  it’s important to make the distinction between a file’s  (e.g. a music track’s)  filename as seen by Windows Explorer (or a USB key, or any drive, etc) and the tags that iTunes will see.  Windows Explorer treats a music file, say, C:\music\mozart41-1.mp3  as it would any other file.  You can copy, paste, rename, etc.   iTunes, however, looks at the tags (actually it looks at the filename too in order to know where the file is when you play it but you won’t see the disc location information in iTunes unless you specifically look for it).  Recall that the iTunes tags are the metdata information that you see in iTunes:  album, artist, track, etc.

So getting back to your question, if you want to simply change the filename from C:\music\mozart41-1.mp3 to C:\music\Mozart41-1.mp3 then Windows Explorer is an ok place to do that.  Know, however, that if you change the filemane, iTunes won’t know where to look for that file the next time you play it.  To fix this problem, you can drag the newly renamed file from WIndows Explorer directly into the iTunes library and manually delete the old file reference from iTunes…OR…when you play the track the next time and iTunes tells you it can’t find the file, you can tell iTunes where to find the new file (e.g. same location but with a different name).

But if you, on the other hand, want to change the tag info, that should be done within iTunes (e.g. to change the album or artist info).

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