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“iTunes Music Library file cannot be saved”? Here’s a fix

Sections: Apple Software, Features, How-To, iTunes, Mac Software, Operating Systems, Originals, Windows

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The iTunes Library file cannot be saved. You do not have enough access privleges for this operation

“The iTunes Music Library file cannot be saved. You do not have enough access privileges for this operation.” Those words have plagued my nightmares for the past week.

I generally consider myself a rather computer-savvy fellow, but that error kept popping up in iTunes, seemingly out of nowhere, and I couldn’t find a fix for the error after days of trying. Which left me, of course, unable to add new music to my library, and meant that I was constantly re-downloading the same podcasts over and over.

I began my search for a fix in the C:UsersDennisMusiciTunes directory, since that’s where my iTunes library files reside (I’m on Windows 7, by the way), and noticed that “Temp File.tmp” had no “owner.” Despite trying every known fix in the book (including contacting Apple and Microsoft tech support), nothing I tried would resolve the situation. I scoured the ‘net in search of a solution, and found more than a few helpless iTunes users with the same problem, but none of the suggested fixes helped in my case.

Thank the Force, I’ve finally stumbled upon a solution, and it has nothing to do with the “Temp File.tmp” file, or anything else in that directory, for that matter. If you’re having the same problem, here’s what worked for me (again, in Windows 7):

  1. Navigate to the directory in which iTunes is installed (most likely C:Program Files (x86)iTunes)
  2. Right lick on iTunes.exe and select “Properties”
  3. Under the Security tab, select “Edit”
  4. Under “Group or user names,” select your user name (or if your user name isn’t there, select “Add” and add it
  5. Make sure “Full Control” is checked under “Permissions for…”
  6. Click “Apply”

I have no idea how my user name lost Full control access under iTunes, especially given that I haven’t installed anything related to iTunes in the past few weeks (I suspect my antivirus software may be to blame). Whatever the cause, this resolved my situation lickety split.

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45 Comments

  1. Sadly, your fix didn't work for me. But, what has seemed to work is running Ccleaner on the Registry – I seemed to have two missing typeLib Ref entries – one for iuserHelper and ipodManagerUI. I cleaned those out and I also stopped the WMPNetworkSvc from running automatically because it showed up in the security settings as a read only and I couldn't change the permissions because they were inherited. I think the registry fix was the trick but who knows. Hope this helps anyone who couldn't fix it with iTunes permissions.

    Tamala
  2. Thank you! A million thank yous, Ive had this problem for over a week and your solution worked perfectly for me.

    Cathleen
  3. Thanx. Finally my problem is solved

    Babyjakees
  4. I had the same problem, but solved it by deleting the temp files in the Itunes folder. Delete the temp files that are generally hidden.

    ccannard
  5. I am on macbook pro, and cannot find iTunes.exe. I need help with this problem as soon as possible. Thank you as I find that this would be the solution to this problem except that i can’t find the file iTunes.exe

    chris
  6. Thanks for the fix!

    J Mann
  7. For what its worth I think I know WHY it occurs.

    For the mac user you might have done this via running in WINE, or virtualbox or even with restricted access rights at one point.
    For windows 7 opening itunes with administrator access is my guess.
    It might also need an itunes crash during one any of those times to lock up the database files also to get this error.

    Reasoning…?

    Itunes can have only one music library AND insists on storing the library / database files in My Music on your local drive (not to be confused with the itunes media folder location).

    I ran itunes once in a virtual environment via a (very cool) windows app called sandboxie () – (which will end up copying only the files it needs for that session from your local environment). Now remember itunes only has one set of database+settings files per (user) per PC.

    /rant

    Contrast this with something like firefox which maintains user settings etc. in one directory also and has to copy this into the sandbox but DOESN’T have this issue because it is able to respecify the location of the user settings each time it starts up.
    Itunes insists on My Music being the one and only location for its database files. (This causes all sorts of problems if you dare to do something “unusual” like store your files on an external drive and move them between different PCs…..sigh…)

    /endrant

    Now sandboxie keeps a mirror of your relevant local environment in a subdirectory (your sandboxes). So now the itunes database files are being looked for in My Music in the sandboxie sub directory – which has specific access rights only to the sandbox (which is the whole point of sandboxing).

    In my case it just involves killing all Sandboxie processes and all itunes processes.

    (taskkill /F /IM “sandbo*”)
    (taskkill /F /IM “itune*”)

    This also deleted the incorrectly used database/library files.

    For those with this problem it is likely they have a somehow acquired another itunes settings/library database file from one method or another (e.g. crashed itunes, running in virtual environment, run with different access rights etc.) and have managed to have itunes pointing to this instead. (In itself this is quite a feat and may be a way to get round the portability problem of itunes).

    Jp
  8. thankyou so much, was panicking i wouldnt be able to fix it!

    Jemma
  9. THANK YOU!!!!

    Laura
  10. Thank you so much for the quick fix!

    Stephen Johnson
  11. Many many thanks. It worked a treat.

    Peter
  12. This has been bugging me for a while, and I think that fixed it. Thank you so much!

    L
  13. Thanks it helped and worked perfectly fine on my Vista OS.

    I recently updated my AntiVirus-AVG and encountered this problem and a bigger problem was my iTunes didn’t recognise my iPhone 3GS too.

    You saved the pain of painstakingly going thru a lot of trouble, Thanks.
    - Tejasvi

    Tejasvi
  14. Thank you, it worked for me. A quick fix. I appreciate you letting me know step by step how to fix it. Thanks again

    simone
  15. Just what i was looking for. You sir, have done myself and probably many other people a solid. I thank you. And why apple would not know about this really leaves their customer service with much to be desired, though it does not necessarily surprise me.

    In any case, thanks! I was starting to worry i was running out of space to store songs on my itunes or something. As a music lover with just under 12,000 songs on my itunes (yeah i’m a loser b/c i feel the need to mention it and brag a bit) the thought of maxing out song collection really gave me a scare. I suppose i should back up my music anyways, but i digress.

    Sure enough, it was as you said. My user now has full control, and did not before. Apple should offer you a job.

    Jon
  16. Glad I could help! You guys are warming this old Wookiee’s heart. :)

    Dennis Burger
  17. I have Windows Vista. So it is under iTunesSetup. I followed your directions to the “t”. I right clicked on iTunesSetup and clicked properties…and so on. Thank you! It worked!

    Janet
  18. Thanks mate, you’re a legend. Fixed it first time after trying many other solutions unsuccessfully. Cheers.

    Jasmin
  19. Thank you thank you thank you! (I still don’t know what caused this problem to suddenly show up, but this seems to have fixed it. Fingers crossed.)

    Toon
  20. I *think* I’ve finally figured out why it kept happening to me: my suspicion that my antivirus software was at least partially to blame seems to have been correct. When I had PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Antivirus installed, this would hit me nearly every time I updated to a new version of iTunes. Now that I’m using different antivirus software (going on nearly nine months now), it hasn’t plagued me once!

    That could have just been the trigger in my case, though, so don’t assume!

    Dennis Burger
  21. Thank you so much…this was driving me crazy. Your fix worked like a charm!

    Maureen
  22. I have had this problem for over a week now, and I’m not sure your fix helped. Itunes is still telling me the library can’t be saved. If I go to the My Music folder in Windows 7, it lists music that I can play with Windows Media Player, but I can’t get it into itunes. Any ideas?

    Susan
  23. just seen this for the first time- no idea why. but I went to the area suggested and it says: (wish I could post an SS here)

    SYSTEM
    Administrators (name-HPAdministrators)
    Users (name-HPUsers)

    and I checked all boxes under those I could- ‘special permissions’ was grayed out.

    ‘zat ok?

    eknirb
  24. Thank you!

    Meghan
  25. Thanks a million!! I followed your instructions and it worked. You saved me a lot of aggravation.

    lina
  26. I rt clicked iTunes.exe … There is no security tab, only general, version, compatibility, digital signatures & summary. I noticed when I upgraded my avg a month ago I could no longer download via iTunes on my phone or iPad … Says there is something wrong with my method of payment when I know there is not.
    Lately gmail is telling me something is wrong, I soft reset & it’s fine. Just turned on iTunes & it says something like I don’t have privilige to my library & it doesn’t matter which of the phone cords I try to back up with … Suddenly it doesn’t recognize my phone. Ohhh this bites!

    April
  27. April,

    Do you mind my asking which OS you’re running?

    If it’s Windows 7 or later, my strong advice would be to ditch AVG in favor of Windows Security Essentials (or Defender, if you’re on Win8.) In the past few years, MIcrosoft has turned it into one of the best anti-virus solutions on the market, in terms of protection vs. system resources eaten.

    If removing AVG completely from your system doesn’t help, we might have to break bad and perform a Takedown on it: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753024%28WS.10%29.aspx

    Dennis Burger
  28. I recently transferred from an older PC to a new one. When I finished, I ended up with duplicates of all my iTunes music (and in some cases I have a total of 4 copies). My niece found and deleted a duplicate library from the computer and now I’m removing the songs, one at a time. Not fun. Now I’m getting the message about the library not being saved due to not enough memory. It has stopped crashing but if I don’t close i/tunes, the songs I’ve deleted are added back. (That’s no fun when I have thousands to go!)
    Any ideas here?

    Sue
  29. Thanks for the help!

    eLIZabeth Floyd
  30. AVG-Free 2013 was the culprit for me. Uninstall, reboot, and no more issues I’ve seen so far.

    Ryan
  31. HI
    my problem that started recently is that i get the maximum memory nearly reched message, and if i dont shut down, it then wont let me save itunes (i would have but i was away from pc when message came up !)
    regardless i re-started laptop and itnes was not impaired
    i have been watching my memory useage from starting up itunes, and over a few hours it takes up more and more cache , until nearly all the available is used up. thats obviously when memory warning comes up
    i have 6gb of memory currently, and will be adding another 2gb
    but why does itunes keep grabbing more and more cache ? ?
    i do have a large itunes of approx 18 gb, but its been over 16gb for a long time without issues
    im concerned that when i install the extra 2gb it will just keep on eating into that until memory exceeded again?
    a restart puts available back to around 4gb then it erodes over a number of hours……………….
    any ideas ?

    john
    • i removed and replaced mcafee antivirus and problem went away!

      i have had mcafee a while though, so maybe it becomes an issue if itunes gets over a certain size? dont know why else it started

      john
  32. My problem stopped entirely with a recent iTunes update download. No more messages or freezes. Hopefully it won’t happen again.

    Sue
  33. Hey – thanks! Just had this happen to me and I think it must have been my antivirus software too! Awesome!

    Rachel
  34. Worked for me! Thanks.

    joeshmo
  35. This definately helped me! That pop up was driving me crazy! lol =) Thank you!

    Sabrina
  36. Thanks. Actually was logical as long as I was on standard account. I`v tried with “read-only” to but …. For know that error does n appear anymore. Have a nice day.

    Edward
  37. After updating to iTunes 11.1 I started to get this message. Your fix worked though. Thanks for figuring this out and sharing!

    April
    • Glad to know it still works!

      Dennis Burger
  38. Hi everyone,

    After installing iTunes 11.1 this week on my win 7 64-bit system, like April immediately above, I too am now getting this infamous and never before seen message of “The iTunes library file cannot be saved. there is not enough memory available” My problem is, UNLIKE April, the much appreciated solution posted herein above (regarding verifying and editing/changing potential settings to the “user” permissions of the iTunes.exe file) did NOT, unfortunately, fix my issue. My Anti-Viral software is Bitdefender (latest version) and it was off line while installing the newest version of iTunes. I am increasingly concerned about this problem since I have currently 84,527 songs occupying 568GB on a dedicated (and RAID 0) 2TB drive. My system also has 12GB of RAM.

    According to Windows Task Manager, I am faithfully using anywhere from 58 to 72% of my RAM when running the current iTunes.

    The actual library of my music in on a separate internal hard drive (Drive I:) while the C: drive contains my OS and program software as well as iTunes library files and the actual iTunes.exe file. I am the administrator on this machine and its only user. My system was working PERFECTLY until the installation of this latest version of iTunes (Ver.11.1). It was installed about 3 days ago.

    Now every time I download music from either Amazon or iTunes I get this damned annoying warning and iTunes ceases to work anymore and I am unable to clear the warning from my screen forcing me to “End Process” for iTunes using Windows Task Manager and then restart iTunes again. It will work fine until the next download of purchased music and then I must “End Process” and restart iTunes again.

    Does knowing when I actually receive this warning (just after purchasing new music that is downloaded from the internet) and the fact that I have never seen this error before with any prior version of iTunes help with anyone suggesting an alternate fix for me? This is making me crazy and extremely frustrated. I have tried repairing the iTunes program through the control panel and even this did not work. Question: Must the computer be restarted after changing and applying revised permissions in the security section of the Properties Dialog box of the iTunes.exe file (as the solution above in this thread advises)? There was no mention of this that I recall and windows certainly did not demand a reboot from changing the permissions of the iTunes.exe file. Apart from this I am not sure what other things I can try to fix this issue.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks everyone!

    Steve
    • Steve, I know it’s counter-intuitive, but I’ve actually seen this error before when there wasn’t a single problem with my memory. In my case, it was a matter of iTunes being unable to locate my music, and it happened when I tried to relocate my iTunes library to an external hard drive. Once I moved my library back to my C: drive, I was no longer plagued by this error.

      Dennis Burger
  39. Thanks for the comments Dennis. Moving my library to my C drive is not a feasible option due to it massive size. My C drive is an SSD and is only 512GB. What I cannot understand is all versions of iTunes since version 8 through 10.5 worked flawlessly with my current configuration. Therefore, I think I can say with a modicum of certainty that this issue is related to the latest version of iTunes (Version 11.1). One interesting note, I found changing the permissions to BOTH the iTunes.exe AND the iTunesHelper.exe files (this morning) may have fixed the problem since this morning I have downloaded music from BOTH iTunes and Amazon and so far I have not seen that nasty warning again (since I also edited the permissions on the iTuneshelper.exe file as well this morning). I am keeping my fingers crossed that editing permissions on BOTH of these files (instead of just editing the permissions on just the iTunes.exe only) may actually have done the trick. I will post back if otherwise over the next 24 hours. Thanks again Dennis.

    Steve
  40. I am posting back to advise that the steps followed above were NOT successful after all in fixing my problem with the memory warning message discussed in this thread. As of today, I still have this issue with the latest version of iTunes and no foreseeable way to fix this problem. I am so FRUSTRATED!.

    Steve
  41. thank you! Been pulling my hair out over this one and spending days trying to download songs onto an ipod for my son for Christmas but to no avail. You saved Christmas! ;)

    karyn
  42. Saved Christmas? Aww, yay! My heart grew three sizes this day!

    Dennis Burger
  43. Thanks for the tip. Your initial instructions didn’t work, but when I cleaned out my %tmp directory it fixed my problem.
    Thx,

    Oscar