iTunes 11

iTunes 11 can’t import folders. How I fixed the problem

TL;DR: Delete the .m3u, nfo, cue, and pls files in your directory. They  files cause iTunes to freeze when you import folders of music files. Update: I have discovered that nfo, cue, and pls files cause iTunes to choke, too. Delete those as well. (FLAC files don’t seem to cause any problems.)

After I updated to iTunes 11 (a huge update!), I was unable to import folders as I had been able to in the past. I have a couple thousand CDs that I’ve been ripping for the last few years, and suddenly, things stopped working. After a lot of trial and error, I have fixed the problem–iTunes was choking on the playlist files (m3u) that were in the folder.

Relevant info
  • Operating system: Windows XP and Windows 7 (the same thing happened on two different computers)
  • Location of files to import: External hard disk drive. Letter was J:\ or so.
  • iTunes version: iTunes
  • Keep iTunes Media folder organized: Checked
  • Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library: Checked
Duplicate the problem: iTunes crashes when it imports folders
  1. Start up your Windows 7 computer
  2. Make sure you have a folder with at least one .mp3 files and one .m3u file in it.
  3. Open iTunes 11
    1. Make sure this option is selected: Keep iTunes Media folder organized
    2. Make sure this option is selected: Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library: Checked
  4. Click File > Add Folder to LIbrary…
  5. Navigate to the folder listed in Step 2
  6. Click on that folder
  7. Click Select Folder
  8. iTunes, at least on my computer, starts the import, but freezes
  9. To force iTunes to close, do a quick CTRL+Shift+ Esc (CTRL+ALT+DEL doesn’t work in Windows 7 as it did in earlier Windows version)
Solution: How to search for all .m3u, files on an external drive in Windows 7

Simply delete the .m3u files. In my case, I actually moved them to a different folder for later use. The easiest way to do this is to use Windows search. Just enter *.m3u in the search box. You can also specify a location as well, if you don’t want to search all of your drives. Here’s how:

  1. Start your Windows 7 computer
  2. Click the Start button or the Windows key
  3. In the search box (which says Select programs and files) type *.m3u
  4. Right above that, you should, in a split second, see an option that says See more results Click on that. A new window should appear.
  5. At the very bottom of the window, you’ll see some options. If you don’t see the options, try scrolling all the way to the bottom.
  6. Click on Custom…
  7. Click the locations you’d like to search. In my case, to search an external drive, I just click the little triangle next to Computer, which will expand more options right below. Check the box to the left of the drive you’d like to search.
  8. Click OK
  9. Wait for your results.
  10. Update: Repeat for nfo, cue, and pls files.

That’s it! You should now see the files you were searching for.

Hope that helps someone.



  1. Thanks mate, couldn’t work why iTunes crashes all the time when importing a dozen albums. Deleted the files and hey presto ithey now import perfectly. Many thanks again.

  2. Many may not see *deleting files* as a viable option. Why not just write an applescript to watch a folder/directory, and auto add any new mp3/aac files to iTunes. That way all the worthless stuff that iTunes cannot use is automatically ignored, and new music is automagically added. 😉

    • Great idea! Got a sample script? I’ve (currently) got iTunes installed on a Windows computer, but I’m sure others could benefit.

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