Dealing with iTunes freezing up in Windows

Righty, fair enough, this post isn’t really along the lines of most of my other ones, but it has to be said that I’ve been particularly faithful to iTunes in the past, and I’m fairly certain I’ve blogged about things that have bugged me which I’ve fixed / resolved in one way or another. Tonight I decided to finally sort out another annoying ‘feature’ of iTunes, whereby it would freeze up every time a new song started playing.

As a quick background on my situation, I’m on a 64-bit Windows 7 install, but I’m fairly certain I’ve been suffering this throughout my time on a 32-bit Vista install as well. Whilst I obviously can’t be completely certain, the following has resolved the issue for me, and at least to me, it makes sense.

I’ve used Google Desktop for some time to index my system to make it searchable. I long resisted using one of these ‘always indexing’ applications, but I gave in a few years back when I got a decent computer, powerful enough that any slowdowns caused by constant indexing are negligible. My opinion now is that it’s a real life saver – and you should certainly consider installing it.

There is a caveat with these indexing tools however, and it’s pretty obvious: it likes touching all your files. Especially the ones you’re currently working with. This leads to frustration when I compile code, test something, and then want to send it off to the Windows equivalent of /dev/null – the files are being indexed by Google Desktop, and Windows packs a sad. When I’m doing a lot of compile/test/delete cycles, I normally turn off Google Desktop for a few hours – it makes life easier.

So, getting onto the iTunes freezeup issue. For whatever reason – I never looked into it – iTunes writes out to an XML file every time a new song plays. I’m sure you can see where this is going: it seems like there is a little bit of a tussle going on between iTunes and Google Desktop, leading to this iTunes freezeup.

Fortunately, the solution is simple: in Google Desktop (or your indexing system of choice), simply go into the preferences, and tell it to not bother indexing the following file:

c:\users\<account name>\appdata\roaming\apple computer\itunes\iTunesPrefs.xml

Of course, replace <account name> with your windows user name.

After doing this, everything works far better for me in iTunes. I probably won’t have another complaint for six months 🙂

I hope this helps.

1 thought on “Dealing with iTunes freezing up in Windows”

  1. Hey Jon,
    Nice post – great info. I too am running 64-bit Windows 7 and have a similar problem with iTunes freezing up, but only when I try to play the first song with in a session. I usually need to restart iTunes (sometimes twice), and then I can get it to play songs. Once it is working it rarely freezes up again during that session. I typically stay up to date with the latest iTunes version, but I seem to have the same problem with all versions. Anyways, I don’t use an aftermarket indexer, such as Google Desktop, but I did check my current index and the entire “appdata” folder (and everything within it) is excluded. Do you suspect that this problem could be rectified by using Google Desktop, or do you think this problem is not related to the indexing at all? If not related to the indexing, any thoughts on what the root problem could be?

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