Fix The Folder iTunes Cannot Be Found Or Created

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 24, 2008
Updated • Nov 27, 2012

Starting iTunes after a recent installation returned the error message "The folder iTunes cannot be found or created". It was referring to the My Music directory that is usually located in the My Documents folder on the partition containing the Windows operating system. The iTunes software creates an iTunes folder in the My Music directory on first start and if that directory is not accessible it will throw the error message and fail to load.

The first thing that you may want to do is check if the folder is still existing on the drive. To do that fire up Windows Explorer and look for the folder in My Music. If it does not turn up there, read on.

Since this error is related to the My Music folder it is important to check the directory path of that folder in the Windows Registry. This is best done by using the shortcut [Windows R], typing [regedit] and hitting the [enter] key.

The fastest way of locating the two locations that contain path information for the My Music folder is to use the search by pressing [F3] and entering [My Music] in the search box. A click on [Find Next] will start the search and reveal the two locations.

The test computer system did not have path information listed at all. This can be changed by double-clicking the My Music key in the Registry and changing the path to an valid path manually.

The two Registry locations that list the My Music path are the following two:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Make sure both point to a valid path on the system. Once the path has been changed iTunes will create the iTunes folder in that location and start up without this error message.


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  1. Kris said on April 6, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Big thumbs up…. I was searching everything on the registry under itunes to no avail.

    Thank you.

  2. Sigurþór Heimisson said on March 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Thanx. This really helped. I had to add new expandable strings to the user shell folders and give them the right values, then it worked.

  3. Hack said on March 27, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Thanks, it helps

  4. Slyy said on February 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Fixed!!!! Thank you very much!!!

  5. Ryan said on February 11, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Thanks a bunch! This fixed the problem. My ‘My Music’ folder was mapped to my old backup drive… If iTunes would give the full path it is looking for I could have figured it out no problem. Thanks again!

  6. Austin said on January 22, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Thanks, ur a life(iTunes) saver!

  7. paul l said on January 18, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    January 23, 2009 at 12:23 am

    your a legend man
    thanks paul l

  8. Von said on January 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you for the fix!

  9. Steve said on January 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you so much – I was almost becoming resigned to the fact I’d have to start loading music again from scratch. This was simple to follow and worked.


  10. Brad said on January 8, 2010 at 8:00 am

    dude you totally rock was ready to scream but not now

  11. bluelsw1974 said on January 2, 2010 at 4:56 am

    To repeat an earlier comment – the shift key solution doesn’t work from all iTunes icons. You have to find the one it does work for. But when you find it it’s all good. Fantastic finding this web page. My sister’s boyfriend who claims to be handy with computers claimed to have fixed this after 1.5 hours, but he hadn’t. 5 minutes on the web, using this page, and it’s all sorted.

  12. Tony said on December 31, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Holding shift thing is a masterstroke, i love you

  13. adam said on December 27, 2009 at 7:37 am

    good man

  14. BB said on December 21, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Iphone tech support thanks you.

  15. TP said on December 17, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Did everything up until here:—-

    ——-The two Registry locations that list the My Music path are the following two:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    Make sure both point to a valid path on the system. Once the path has been changed iTunes will create the iTunes folder in that location and start up without this error message.


  16. Anonymous said on December 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    holding shift down worked for me!

  17. Clever Trevor said on November 28, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Despite various reinstalls, i only managed to get passed this issue by doing the following:

    Go to the following folder address: C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunes locate the I Tunes database file called I Tunes Library.ITL, hold down the shift key and then double click the file. A new message will appear and click ok create a new library file. You should then be able to open I Tunes!

  18. laura said on November 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    thank you thank you i was going up the wall with this days and days of trying to work it out and then i found you XX Thank you from not just m but my hole family XX

  19. John Reilly said on November 17, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Thanks. It worked perfectly.

  20. Robin said on November 8, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for all the help!

  21. EBShanghai said on November 3, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Works like a charm!!! Thanks very much!

  22. Richard V said on October 28, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Hey martin the same message keeps appearing, i followed the instructions that you gave and still no good luck. I also tried doing the hold shift while clicking and the same box keeps appearing. Please Help me!

  23. risto said on October 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    jeah MIKE! you’re the man!

  24. Josh said on October 26, 2009 at 10:30 am

    I moved my iTunes folder away so it created a new one, and everything was fixed.

  25. Anonymous said on October 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. cory said on October 19, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    thank you!!

  27. Daniel said on October 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    MAAAN! You’re a bad MoFo!!!!! THHHAAAANNNK YOU!!!!
    Thanks a lot! You’ve helped me very much!

    Hugs from Italia!

  28. radman said on October 10, 2009 at 6:19 am

    The fix is soooo much simpler… but it isn’t published anywhere…

    HOLD THE SHIFT KEY DOWN AND DOUBLE CLICK THE ITUNES ICON and you will get the option to make a new directory …

  29. Inder said on October 1, 2009 at 8:56 am

    It works Man….
    Grt…thanks a ton bro

  30. Beck said on September 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    OMG the shift key tip was brilliant (holding it down for long enough) – sorry I’m sure the other way worked but was a little too complicated for me to get my head around.

    Thanks very much :)

  31. Emit said on September 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

    AMAZING! thanks!

  32. Anonymous said on September 18, 2009 at 2:00 am

    basically if ur itunes wont open, but you know how to find the actual itunes library file in ur computer, then when you try and open itunes hold the shift key and then it will ask you to locate the itunes library file. do that and then itunes opens up

  33. El said on September 16, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Me too, you saved my laptop from a watery grave Mike.

    Anyone else having problems with this fix, try holding the SHIFT key down from before you click, and keep it down till you get the Library message.

  34. Karla said on September 12, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I actually shed a tear. This totally worked. The itunes site sucks. Thank You so much.

  35. joeyb said on September 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    thanks yo!

  36. Alex said on September 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Nice One!!

  37. Jonatan said on August 30, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Nice post. It helped me a lot. Thank you

  38. Jishua9 said on August 16, 2009 at 4:15 am

    hey ive got this problem but an even bigger one
    i moved all my docos including pictures and music and now explorer isnt even the registry how do i fix this problem
    i kno i screwed up like hell but a simple move turned into disaster.
    please help

  39. poney said on August 16, 2009 at 12:07 am

    thank you so much for the help!

  40. VJ said on July 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I got this error too and boy was I mad – especially considering that it gave me the option to change my iTunes folder, and then totally ignored that and gave me this error!

    I f$%king hate iTunes.

  41. john p said on July 4, 2009 at 3:42 am

    A further fix for any folk still unable to fix iTunes problem is described at Apple support

  42. john p said on July 3, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I reinstalled iTunes under a new Windows user name and it now works fine . Even so iTunes still does not work correctly under original user name for some strange reason although some times it does then it fails again although it has not failed under the new user name as yet ..keeping fingers crossed .

  43. ml said on June 25, 2009 at 4:57 am

    thanks so much – fixed my new install … :)

  44. Rexyboy said on June 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks man…. It works… Wonderful and simple fix.

  45. READ THIS! said on June 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm


  46. John said on June 19, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Mike….you rock!!!! I tried doing the regedit version and it was confusing and difficult. Your method of pressing down the shift key while double clicking saved me time and frustration. It was easy to follow and set up. It was worth having to import the files again. Thanks for your help.

  47. Dan said on June 13, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Doesn’t work when “My Music” points to the root of a drive…Has to be in a subfolder :(

  48. FJ said on June 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    the larger issue is that itunes should not require a folder to be created, particularly for those of us behind admin rights or corporate firewalls. i still can’t get this to work and have given up…sure, it’s on my work machine and technically i shouldn’t have installed iTunes to begin with but ya know :)

  49. SkiHard said on June 5, 2009 at 5:57 am

    The shift key doesn’t work from all shortcuts – try different ones. I finally found one that worked and fixed the problem. THANKS Mike!!!!!!

  50. Abraham said on May 30, 2009 at 2:40 am

    It’s been said before, but I love you too

  51. joe said on May 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Ive tried to un install about 50 times now. The registry points to the correct folder. Ive tried ver 7.6+ and 8’s. im running windows xp media center ed. i have a ipod nano 3rd gen and an iphone ver 2. Ive installed in program files, and my music files. no dice. anyone care to help?

  52. gt said on May 18, 2009 at 6:07 am

    This was the best hint published anywhere! How can I thank you for solving a two-month old nightmare! Thanks!

  53. Anonymous said on May 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    You are the boss!!!!

  54. shamshir said on May 8, 2009 at 5:19 am

    thank you! the first time it didn’t work, but the second time i held the shift key and kept it after clicking the icon till the message box came (took about 8 seconds).

  55. jay said on May 3, 2009 at 1:48 am

    mike! you are awesome!!!!!!!!!


  56. J said on April 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm


  57. Craig said on April 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks Mike.
    It cant get any easier than that.
    Thanks for saving my weekend.
    You are the man…

  58. Kae said on April 26, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Thanks so much- this is brilliant.

  59. ALT said on April 17, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Thank you very much,
    That problem was breaking my ballss for days…

  60. FJ said on April 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Still can’t get this to work behind a firewall. The install has occurred with admin rights enabled, now i’m behind the admin firewall again and the folder won’t create. Not sure where it’s trying to create this folder but i tried in all the usual places on multiple drives and no luck.

  61. Tony said on April 16, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Mike!!! Thank you so much… I thought I’d never make this work…

  62. loren said on April 13, 2009 at 5:15 am

    thanks – my girlfriend thinks I’m a hero! you rock

  63. fooztoo said on April 10, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Awesome, thank you for this fix!!! It worked like a charm!!

  64. Jessica said on April 9, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I have been trying for hours to fix this issue. I run Windows Vista and cant seem to find a My Music folder. I have managed to get into the registry and when I search My music a whole lot of files come up… have no idea where they are though.

    How do I fix this? Can someone please help

  65. Gem said on April 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    awesome thanks a bunch

  66. Zach said on March 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    wow, yeah shift, thanks a lot mike!

  67. Tess said on March 21, 2009 at 11:01 am

    OMG!! MIKE! After how many days of installing/uninstalling, you helped me solve my prob. you are FABOLOUS!!

  68. Anonymous said on March 14, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    cheers mike legend

  69. Amy said on March 14, 2009 at 7:20 am


    Thanks so much for your SHIFT tip it saved my life and was so simple!!!!!!!!



  70. Bill said on February 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks for this. You sorted out my problem (created by me!) in two minutes!

  71. FJ said on February 5, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Is the fact that I’m behind an admin firewall stopping me from creating the folder in the right place?

    For those who were successful can you please tell me exactly what you did? I know it sounds simple but maybe I’m not doing it right?

  72. Tbone said on February 5, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Mike, you are the man! It worked perfectly!

  73. FJ said on February 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Doesn’t work for me. When holding shift, clicking the icon doesn’t work. When doing it simultaneously I still get the same error message…if anyone has other ideas please share.

  74. Lev said on February 2, 2009 at 8:39 am

    You hold the shift button while clicking the quicklaunch button on the taskbar. It worked perfectly while nothing else did and was so super quick and easy.

    Thanks Mike for saving me from regedit.

  75. FJ said on January 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    ah..this actually didn’t work. any other ideas? holding down shift while the icon is on the desktop doesn’t allow the shortcut to open. holding down shift via the start menu itunes shortcut or going directly to allprograms>itunes folder still results in teh same error message…let me know if there’s any other way around this.

  76. rajncajn said on January 24, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Mike, you the man! If I read your post first I would have saved 30 minutes of my life I will never get back.

  77. FJ said on January 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Hey Mike
    That’s okay, honestly, I don’t want my library on here, I just want iTunes on here so I can listen to my iPod, so that’s perfect!!

    I’ll try it and let you know how it goes.

  78. mike said on January 23, 2009 at 12:23 am

    don’t bother with jerking around with your registry. That’s for scientists.

    If you hold down SHIFT while you click on the iTunes icon a message box will pop up asking you if you want to create the missing file. You do that and you’re gold.

    The only downside is that you have to re import your library.

    But this trick saved me after all sorts of deadends.

    1. Tazz said on November 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm

      OMG you saved my life! I’ve been driving myself mad with trying to make this work, tried fiddling around with the regedit, not too smart there hehe But i tried your control shift while clicking tip, then IT WORKED!

      Thanks so much, am sooooo happy im finally able to sync my iPod!

    2. Leigh said on October 13, 2009 at 3:14 am

      Buddy you are the best Really you are saves all that messing around
      This chap knows what he is doing

  79. FJ said on January 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Hi – followed these steps but still won’twork. I’m behind admin priveleges on my work machine, but it let me install the program. I can edit the registry, which I’ve done in every instance of “my music” per the instructions to ensure My Music folders are located where the reg keys say they should be. Still no dice. Any suggestions? Is this doomed to fail since I’m behind a work firewall/admin privleges?

  80. Liv said on January 9, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Worked! Thank you for being kind enough to share.

  81. Dima said on January 9, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I’m running vista and have four partitions on two hdd, either way, one of which is for mp3 only. So with vista I was able to relocate my folders to different partitions and after I changed location I got that error showing up. Will your method helpme as well?

  82. Heather Deuter said on January 4, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I found the two registry locations but I don’t know how to “make sure they point to a valid path on the system”

    here’s what it says under shell folders data
    C:\Documents and Settings\Heather\My Documents\My Music

    here’s what it says under User shell folders data
    My Music REG_EXPAND_SZ%USERPROFILE\My Documents\My Music

    How do I change it so that my iTunes will open

  83. Bob said on December 30, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Thanks Martin.

    The My Music folder is in My Documents.
    I’d like to leave it there if I can. What do I need to change to get Itunes installed?

  84. Martin said on December 29, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    You need to change both locations if you want to move the my music folder.

  85. Bob said on December 29, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Noob here.
    I found the two registry locations but I don’t know how to “make sure they point to a valid path on the system”

    here’s what it says under shell folders data
    C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\My Music

    here’s what it says under user shell folders data
    My Music REG_EXPAND_SZ%USERPROFILE\My Documents\My Music

    Should the data be the same? Which one should be changed?

    thanks very much

  86. sudhir said on December 25, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks………Thanks……..Thanks a lot….

  87. kerry said on December 24, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Thank you! Thank you! You are simply Heaven Sent!

  88. manuel said on December 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm


  89. Michelle said on December 9, 2008 at 7:58 pm


  90. William said on December 4, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    You simply are the greatest person living…if I had uninstalled and reinstalled itunes one more time …i was sooo tossing the laptop and ipod in the river!!

  91. Anonymous said on November 2, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Simply: I love you!!! (Thanks for this fix.)

    1. Jassi said on October 11, 2009 at 6:02 am

      You are awesome,, thx for the great and easy fix .

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