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iTunes response INCREDIBLY slow since library transfer to Mac


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iTunes response INCREDIBLY slow since library transfer to Mac
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LenrdZelig
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Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-09-12, 14:36

*i all
Specs upfront:

Mac Mini PowerPC 1.5gig
Tiger with latest updates10.4.7
Bluetooth Apple Wireless Keyboard and Bluetooth Apple Wireless Mouse Pro

brand new Newertech ministack 500gb drive and 512 later upgrade to 1gig memory (explained below)


My problem is that iTunes has been running INCREDIBLY slowly since I moved my library yesterday. Allow me to give some backstory.....

I purchased the mac mini last winter, and I have a large music collection that would not completely fit onto the mini hard drive at that time (approx. 330 gig - >73,000 files) - so what I did was get a crossover cable and networked my mac to my pc and would access my music files on my Windows iTunes library via the "shared library via network" option. It worked fine. I couldn't update track information nor change artwork as needed, but I could at least access my music, and it would do it at a fairly fast clip. When I first would select the Windows iTunes library the beach ball would spin for about a minute, presumably to load in the library informationfrom the PC, but then I could search change tracks, etc, with relative ease and spriteness. Additionally I could do other things on the mac (mostly just goof on the internet and check email, but occassionally do higher function tasks like edit photos in iPhoto or Photoshop elements.) Again, all without any problem.

So last week I took advantage of a sale online of the Newertech ministack drives, and bought a 500gb model. Via the crossover cable I transferred all the music files to the new external hard drive (which is either firewire or USB, my choice) - I accomplished this by making the library folders on the XP sharable, clicked "add to library" on the mac and chose the music folders on the XP, but then had the mac automatically copy the files to the Mac library and also set the Mac itunes to keep the library organized. This took quite a long time - probably close to 20 hours or so. I lost playcounts and the dates things were added, but I figured what the heck. Clean start on a new machine. And also figured that I would figure out a way to get that information moved eventually anyway.



This is when the problem started - and the source of my quandry that I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with.



When I first start iTunes it take a LONG time (about 3 miuntes) to load up - but then again, no problem as I figure it is reading the xml file. HOWEVER< When i now select a song, it will take a few seconds to begin to play, but then what's more odd it that it just about pulls my system down completely. And this is only using iTunes, and perhaps being online (via telephone line) - no other processor or memory intensive thing going on. Switching through songs is a nightmare, and has rendered the entire system non responsive at times forcing a restart.

Furthermore, when it will switch from one song to the other, the information window in itunes (that shows the songs, time elapsed etc) will hang - the next song will already be playing, but the old information will be there hanging - and then the information will "jump" to the current track (usually about 30-45 sconds into it) , but oftentimes I will get the spinning beach ball, as well as itunes not responding at all. Music stutters or cuts out completely for a few seconds. There have been times I've attempted to change information on the ID3 tag through itunes, but clicking the get information button has sometimes resulted in the dialogue box for said track not coming up until the next track is playing because of the beach ball spinning.

I went out and bought 1 gig of RAM for the machine (the max this model can take) and it has MOSTLY stopped the stuttering of the music as it plays (I was watching istat nano, and would notice when a track played my RAM would slowly go down from approx 200 meg free to about 5 meg free, and then the stuttering would begin) - installing the extra memory has stopped this mostly as I said although in watching the istat nano there is a significant chunk of memory being used during the first part of any song before it jumps back to less memory being used). From what I can tell however, it doesn't use up much CPU cycles (using istat nano)


What I find most aggrivating about this, is that when I NOW choose the shared playlist from my XP - it STILL works great as it did before. I can click through, have the computer play songs randomly, do search queues as before and it operates without a hitch, and those hard drives are on a different machine on the floor. Mind you I can't change any information on those tracks, but I can hear and search and change through songs, play, pause responds immediately no problems..........But when I switch back to the "local" mac library eveything goes to **** again. A few times iTunes has completely stopped responding, resulting in me having to force quit the appication.

So having said all that (and if you are still reading this, thank you - I know it is long windeed but figure too much information is better than just my saying "it's not working, how do I fix it" ) I understand that this is a rather large music file (used at my place of employment, I had the guys I work with add their music to it, and use it as a library for the workplace) but I'm sure also that there are others out there with much larger music collections who are doing this without a hitch.

What I HAVE tried so far is to repair the permissions (which were only on the internal Mac drive - no permissions were on the external drive according the the Utilities as that option was greyed out - is that normal? I'm still new to macintosh and have no idea what permissions are, other than people with similar problems as mine on the board were reccommended this as a potential remedy) - and of course I doubled my RAM as described earlier. When I installed the new memory I zapped the PRAM (two chimes on startup) and when I check system preferences the extra memory is showing as available. I even defragged the internal drive thinking that might help, but to no avail. I attempted running the hard drive using the firewire connection and then attempted the USB connection, again, with no luck.

It is most frustrating in that I was looking forward to FINALLY having everything on my Macintosh properly and all things running smoothly - but so far it has just been an aggrivation and has had me scratching my head wondering if I should just have left well enough alone and always have the Mac networked with the Windows machine, or even just stuck with the Windows machine ....... :: shudders ::

Should I delete the xml file and have iTunes rebuild it? Or should I uninstall iTunes and reinsall it? If so, on the internal drive, or on the external drive (provided I can even do that) - as I said before I have no favorite tracks or playlists on the mac yet, so I'd be losing nothing in trying it, and would gladly welcome anything that would resolve this.


I hope you can help, and I anxiously await your response which could be the soluton to my problem.

Respectfully submitted,

Len
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alcimedes
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2006-09-13, 13:01

You said you can choose to connect via USB or Firewire, which one are you using? Does useing firewire fix the problem?
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LenrdZelig
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Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-09-14, 09:28

Hi and thanks for responding.

It can work as either a FireWire or USB (2.0) hard drive. I have attempted both configurations but the result is the same for either.
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alcimedes
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2006-09-14, 14:01

Have you brought up the Activity monitor when you're trying to play music to see where your CPU cycles are going? I wonder if it isn't Spotlight or something else trying to index the songs.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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LenrdZelig
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Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-09-14, 21:06

Hi, and thanks again for responding.

I took your suggestion and opened up the activity monitor before I started itunes to see what it was telling me.

On first starting iTunes, the program used as much as 75.3% CPU cycles with 4 threads (what is a thread anyway?) - the program itself takes about 8 minutes to load, and there is a thermometer bar saying "loading iTunes library" that pops up. This is iTunes 7 I'm using currently - in iTunes 6 I would receive no such thermometer window, leading me initially to believe the program had become "stuck".

Ok so now that the program is loaded and idle, it is showing approx 2.20% CPU cicles, and the threads have gone up to 5. ( The cycles are between 2.10 and 3.50 at idle - have been sitting here watching it for a minute)

Clicking on the iTune interface and scroling through tracks made it jump as much as 40%, but this was only for a moment, and then went back down to the approx2/3% as reported before.

Clicking a track to play has made it jump up quite a bit - to to about 80% inititially, then bouncing around between 40-65% for about 20 seconds (around the same time the controls are nonoperational) - one minute into the song it appears to be staying around 31%, with occassional jumps up to 36%. Also 8 threads - if that information helps at all. When it went to the second track it again jumped up to about 75% for a few seconds, then back down around in the 30% area.
When the CPU cycles are high, I have noticed that the time indicator bar is "stuck" at a particular time, usually around 8-12 seconds, and will hang for around 10-15 seconds.

Right clicking and choosing "Get info" on a track also causes the CPU cycles to jump to around 70%, and the interface hangs for about 20-25 seconds, before the information dialogue box opend and I'm able to edit. Once this dialogue box opens, the CPU cycles drop back down to the 30's.

Selecting multiple tracks and right clicking has the CPU cycles going up as before, but in the activity monitor is actually said "itunes not responding" for approx 15 seconds. After that clicked off the cycles went down and the information box opened.

I don't see a specific thing under the activity monitor for Spotlight - would it be called something else? Obviously there are other things running but scrolling through I don't see spotlight listed specifically.

Does any of this information help or do I need to be looking at something else? I DO know that while watching all this with iTunes nothing else running on the computer even approached what iTunes was running like. Everything else at the time that I could see was running well under 10% CPU activity.

Thanks again, and keeping my fingers crossed.
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alcimedes
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2006-09-14, 22:39

That's really weird. Try deleting any iTunes preferences etc., then hold down the option key to select your iTunes library and have it recreate it from your current iTunes location on the networked drive.

Also, if you want more detailed info as to what's running, go to Terminal, then type top. It will list off the processes you have running. Let me know what that shows.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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LenrdZelig
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Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-09-14, 23:41

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
That's really weird. Try deleting any iTunes preferences etc., then hold down the option key to select your iTunes library and have it recreate it from your current iTunes location on the networked drive.
Not trying to appear TOO stupid here, but how do I go about deleting iTunes preferences (that is to say what ARE they to begin with and how would I go about Deleting them)

Also, when you state holding down the option key, is this within the iTunes program, or what?

And when you say networked drive, do you mean the MiniStack that is drectly connected to the Macintosh OR the library that exists on the Windows computer that I can access through the shared library feature?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
Also, if you want more detailed info as to what's running, go to Terminal, then type top. It will list off the processes you have running. Let me know what that shows.
This I believe I can get to, but want to wait until I know how to implement the first two suggested steps before I do this.

as before, thanks for taking this on.

Last edited by LenrdZelig : 2006-09-15 at 00:00.
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alcimedes
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2006-09-15, 08:41

There should be a file in your /users/username/library/preferences folder called com.apple.itunes or something like that. Basically a file in your user folder's library with iTunes in the name.

Throw that in the trash.

As for selecting the Library, hold down the option key before you click on the iTunes icon. While holding that button down, click on iTunes and it will ask you to pick a music library.

From there, pick the one on the MiniStack.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
  quote
LenrdZelig
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Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-09-15, 13:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
There should be a file in your /users/username/library/preferences folder called com.apple.itunes or something like that. Basically a file in your user folder's library with iTunes in the name.
Looking in said folder I found several files that were related to iTunes. I assume you want me to toss any related iTunes files.


Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
As for selecting the Library, hold down the option key before you click on the iTunes icon. While holding that button down, click on iTunes and it will ask you to pick a music library.

From there, pick the one on the MiniStack.
I had deleted the files and began this process earlier, it gave me the option to either choose library or create library - when I selected choose, it said there was not one to be found (naturally so since I deleted the related files) So I set about creating one and pointed the program to the folder that houses the music on the mini stack, and let it begin doing it's thing.

However, I then realised that the computer would need to be in use for the business day, so I closed out iTunes, and pasted back the files I had trashed initially (kept them on a memory stick just in case I needed them).

I will implement your suggestions later this evening once the store closes, as if I were to do it now, and the other workers did not have "their" music playing, it would cause a riot.

If by chance I have misunderstood your intention with regards to the iTunes file(s), please let me know as to whether I'm supposed to trash all the com.apple.itunes.xxx files or just a specific one located within.

I will let you know the results, and run the terminal check at that time.

Ever grateful,

Len
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alcimedes
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2006-09-15, 14:03

No, that sounds about right.

However, I would caution against "building" a proper iTunes library yourself. That could very well be the root of the problem here.

If you have the space, I'd move all of your music files to a single folder on your Mini stack. From there, open iTunes. Once in iTunes, go to preferences and set iTunes to copy your music folders to your music library location, and pick what you want your final music folder destination to be.

Now, take the folder that you put all of your music files in, and drag it onto your iTunes application. This should cause iTunes to import all the music files from that folder, and create a proper music library. The only problem with this method is it requires you to have enough space to temp. double your mp3 collection.

If the above works, you can ignore everything else I said. I didn't realize the iTunes library had started to build once then stopped. That can cause all sorts of weirdness.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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LenrdZelig
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Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-09-15, 17:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
No, that sounds about right.

However, I would caution against "building" a proper iTunes library yourself. That could very well be the root of the problem here. .
Hi again
Still waiting for the end of the day, but I though I would point out for what it may be worth that the folder on the ministack was initially created by the mac version of iTunes. When I initially connected the ministack I chose the option "let iTunes keep music folder organized" and also "copy music into iTunes library" - after that it was just a matter of selecting the drives on the XP over the network, and iTunes on Mac essentially built the library from there all within the "iTunes2" folder on the Ministack. The original library on the Mac iTunes (C Drive) had only two albums in it, and I consolidated those two said albums onto folder on the Ministack drive using the consolidate feature. The origianal iTunes music files (xml and such) remained in the original location on the Mac, however.

I would have it copy itself over again, but I don't have enough room on the ministack to implement this.

When I stopped and reinserted the original files in the preference folder this morning I made sure to delete the files that had just been created. When I opened ITunes right before work it looks and behaves as it did when I posted the initialy inquiry.

I supose if all else fails I could delete everything on the ministack, and reimport everything all over again- it took a hell of a long time to do it (about 20 hours the first go 'round I'm guessing) but if it corrected the severe lagging it would be worth it in the long run.

Regardless of the outcome, my hat is off to you for helping me.

Counting down the hours till closing,
Len
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alcimedes
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2006-09-16, 09:04

Let me know if it improves any.
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LenrdZelig
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Join Date: Feb 2006
 
2006-09-16, 14:22

Hi
After work last night I set the iTunes up the way you recommended. Initially, it was copying to the "new" iTunes folder, so I stopped that process, erased the preference files, and deleted the begginings of the new library. The next go in, I created an iTunes folder, and within that folder there was the iTunes music folder, so I moved all the music files into that folder. Once the interface opened, I directed iTunes to that folder and it processed the files. Since they were already in the chosen iTunes music folder, it didnt copy anything, just processed and created the xml file.

I left it running this overnight. When I returned this morning the library is showing up in iTunes, and it does seem at least initialy to be responding quicker. I am holding off on final judgement on it at the moment, however, as there are two processes running within iTunes in the background at the moment (Processing Album artwork and Determining Gapless playback)..... looks like that may take awhile yet.

It's nice to have ALL the iTunes information (music files and XML, etc files) all in one location.


Once those background things are done, I will give it a more in-depth examination.

And again, thank you for walking me through it.

Len
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