One thing a lot of Windows users hate about iTunes is that it wants to be your “everything” media player. When you first install iTunes it scans your computer for digital music files; from that point on, the only way to add music to your iTunes library is to buy it from the iTunes online store or rip it from CD (using iTunes, of course). If you’d prefer to use some other program to rip your music, or if you download music from somewhere other than iTunes (legitimately or not), there’s simply no way to add those new files to your library from within the iTunes program itself*. This is unacceptable for those of us that prefer using some other program (such as WinAMP) for listening to music and only use iTunes to copy files to their iPods.
That’s where the iTunes Library Updater (iTLU) comes in. This free program will scan any folder or folders you point it to (and their subfolders, if you wish). It will then add any music files it finds to your iTunes library. It can also delete any missing files (“orphaned entries”) from your iTunes library, so if you delete a bunch of music files via Windows Explorer, it can remove them from iTunes as well. That’s about all that iTLU does, and it does it well. I’ve been using this program for over six months now, and it’s never crashed or screwed up anything in my iTunes library. It does all I ask for, and that’s all I want from it. However, be advised that the program is a little slow on computers with large music libraries. It takes around 15 minutes to update my iTunes library, and I have around 13,500 songs – I expect that it’ll be much faster on systems with smaller collections.
iTunes Library Updater is free and is for Windows only. It worked fine for me in XP and works just as well in Windows Vista.
* – There actually is an option within iTunes called “Consolidate Library” that will do what iTLU does, but (as I understand it) it only works for users that let iTunes control their music libraries. For people like me – who have their music libraries set up in a certain way and do not want iTunes moving and renaming files – iTLU isthe only option.