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Jesse, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2287
Experience:  Life-long Apple Geek & Power User, 10+Years Apple Experience
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I was just fiddling around with my itunes library on my imac

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I was just fiddling around with my itunes library on my imac (OS 10.5.8) and all of a sudden one of my playlists disappeared. I thought I was deleting one song from the playlist but the whole playlist disappeared. I can no longer find "female vocal" songs as a category. That playlist remains on my ipod, but not on my playlist on itunes on the desktop computer. I went into time machine for a date a day or two ago, but I can't find any list of playlists there. Relatedly, I can't find a list of all my songs when I am in itunes, so I have no easy way to go through that list and reassign the music to that playlist. I can find the lost songs in my "music" file, but I can't work from that file. Is there any easy way to recover? Is there any hard way to recover?

Since you have a Time Machine backup of your iTunes library, you'll want to bring over the actual Library file, and replace it. Before you do this, make sure iTunes is closed, and navigate to User Folder->Music->iTunes. Drag the "iTunes Library" and "iTunes Music Library.xml" files to your desktop. Then open Time Machine and navigate to the same location. Restore the "iTunes Library" and "iTunes Music Library.xml" files.

Once those files are restored, open iTunes and see if you information is back in place. Let me know if that works, or if you have additional questions.

Jesse and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks so much! I suspected there was some simple fix but wasn't sure what to try. I'd still like to know if there is a simple way to see a list of all of my songs, in database format, so I can work on changes to my play list easily.

BTW, the xml file recreates itself, and doesn't appear in time machine. So only the library file has to be restored.

I'm "accepting" your fix and welcome any additional thoughts you have.
I always like to be extra careful, which is why I recommend dragging out the xml file. As far as seeing your playlist in database format, you really need to make changes exclusively in the iTunes application, otherwise you run into problems. I would try experimenting with the different views in iTunes, and seeing which one shows you the kind of information you want to see.