iTunes: Clear All Library and Playlists

My iTunes was a rickety mess. I had links to songs that didn’t exist on my hard drive anymore, duplicates and a bunch of playlists that I didn’t need anymore. I wanted to start over. I could delete all of this data by individually selecting each item and deleting them, but that’s a pain. There is an easier way. Here’s what I did.

1. Close iTunes.

2. Open My Documents > My Music > iTunes.

3. Right-click iTunes Music Library.xml and select Rename. Give it a name of iTunes Music Library.old. Do the same thing for the iTunes Library.itl file.

4. Open iTunes. The library, playlist, ratings will then be cleared out. New iTunes Music Library.xml and iTunes Library.itl files will be created.

5. You can now drag and drop your music files you want to get back to the main window of iTunes. The main folder for iTunes music is located at My Documents > My Music > iTunes > iTunes Music. It’s a good idea to organize your music files first before you re-add your music files back to iTunes to avoid duplicates and errant file names.


  1. Badajoz says

    did this and it deleted all the apps from my library and so my iphone would no longer sync apps. Definitely do not delete the iTunes Library.itl file. Fixed my by putting the original itl file back and then redownloading all my new apps. Nasty.

  2. Christina says

    I did this and i can’t open itunes anymore…. like i clicked the icon on my desktop and it won’t open anymore

  3. Kai Imamura says

    I had the same problem and it was very irritating. But thanks, this one helped me! :-)
    I’m only wondering why after I did that, I was already able to select all files in my playlist and library (Ctrl+A) and delete them. I also found the the select all option under the edit button which I don’t think I found there at first. Did I get an iTunes update that I’m probably not aware of or iTunes just has glitches?

    I’m using Windows 7, iTunes
    Please help. Can somebody please explain how that happened?

  4. Bren says

    I didn’t find the iTunes Library.itl. Is it supposed to be on the same column as iTunes Music Library.xml? I have itunes 9.2 if that matters.

  5. gc says

    once you do this can you then transfer from ipod to itunes to repopulate your library?

  6. Axium Coder says

    Thanks, my database was a mess too.

    Amazing that Apple haven’t thought of this themselves. Also amazing that they haven’t thought of occasionally checking if the links to the files are still valid. That’s something that Windows Media Player manages to do.

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