iTunes: software with a personality (disorder)

10 PM March 2, 2006

I am a Windows XP user. I want to uninstall iTunes. I am out of luck.

If iTunes were a person, it would be diagnosed with a personality disorder. When I first installed it, it was real friendly. Very helpful. Almost obsequious. The way it wanted to search my disk drive for mp3s and then “consolidate” them into its own special data directories was a bit freaky, but iTunes did a pretty good job of playing mp3s, so I let it hang around. Its peculiarities didn’t annoy me too much, back then.

A few weeks later, I was a little irked to find that iTunes was poking around in parts of my PC that it had no right to. It had installed a whole bunch of background processes, without my asking for them: an iTunes quick starter, a QuickTime quick starter, something to watch out for my iPod being connected, and a Bonjour service.1

Grrr. iTunes and QuickTime started fast enough without the quick starters, thankyou. I don’t own an iPod, so constantly looking for one is useless. Bonjour really got my goat – I didn’t ask for my PC to be exposing extra network services, and I have no idea what benefit I might have gained from leaving it running. iTunes made my PC slower to start up, slowed down my day-to-day work, and provided a small security risk.

It looks like iTunes thinks it is entitled to use my entire PC to perform any task that it thinks is helpful. This would be a great attitude for it to have, if it had first asked for – and received – permission.

Still, I persevered with iTunes, right up until the day I moved some songs from one directory to another. iTunes decided that the each of these songs was now “missing” and put up a little red icon next to each one when it tried to play them. It also re-added all the songs in their new location. So now I had a whole bunch of songs doubled up in iTunes lists, one broken, one not, and no easy way to delete the broken ones from iTunes’ memory.

Was iTunes is punishing me for challenging its right to organise my music collection? It certainly felt like it. iTunes was starting to creep me out, so I left it alone for a few months.

This morning I decided that, as I hadn’t started iTunes at all this year, I would uninstall it. Ha. iTunes provides no uninstall option on the Windows Control Panel. It provides no uninstall option in the start menu. It provides no uninstall.exe in the iTunes program file directory. Like a pissed-off wierdo blocking a train carriage door, iTunes ain’t movin’ for nut’in an’ nobody.

So congratulations to Apple. I now think of them as purveyors of socially spastic software.

But I still want an iPod Nano.

1 iTunes may have installed even more services, but a month long campaign to slim down my PC’s startup overhead has erased the evidence.

By alang | # | Comments (5)
(Posted to Rants, Software Development and javablogs)


At 01:43, 03 Mar 2006 Alastair wrote:

Alan, I think some of your criticisms are valid, but not all:

- There's an option to uninstall iTunes in my "Add/Remove Programs" control panel. I have no idea why you don't have this. As they say, Works For Me.

- I don't know what you expected to happen when moving audio files behind the back of iTunes. Windows just doesn't (AFAIK) provide a way of tracking when files get moved from one location to another (unlike, it has to be said, MacOS X). So by all means criticise the limitations of Windows for this one, but it's a bit much to expect iTunes to magically fix it.

- I don't have either an iTunes starter service or a Bonjour service on my Winbox. I *haven't* made any attempt to slim down my startup services, and I count three Apple processes currently: iTunes itself, the Quicktime starter qttask, and the ipod service. (And I agree that the iPod service should be an optional install)

- "consolidating" your music is a strictly optional function of iTunes. IIRC it doesn't do this by default. How do you mean that it "wants" to consolidate your library? In my experience iTunes is very forgiving about how you decide to organise your music, and only takes over the task of organising if you tell it to.

- Deleting the missing tracks is simply a matter of selecting them and hitting delete. Couldn't be easier. Did you try this?

At 03:45, 03 Mar 2006 Alastair wrote:

re: missing files. OIC what you mean. No you can't find the missing files very easily. Yes I agree this is a limitation. It would be great for it to include an option to say "hey iTunes, I just moved all your tracks, but don't worry because you can find them here...."

I don't have an mDNSResponder service installed/running either. Perhaps you installed the Bonjour SDK? (Or it was an artifact from an earlier release?)

re: "tie your entire mp3 collection to an Apple proprietary application", not sure what you mean. The mp3s are still usable outside of iTunes, right? If you're talking about selfishly grabbing ownership of file extensions at seemingly random intervals, this is behaviour that is common to a lot of windows apps. WMP, winamp, realplayer, etc etc all try to grab the association with your .mp3 files. It drives me nutty.

At 11:16, 03 Mar 2006 Cairsten wrote:

When you try to play the tracks that have been moved using their old pointers, iTunes will bring up the dialog that will let you change the pointers to their new home. If there are only one or two of them, this is the better option. Alternately, however, if you are sure you are done moving files, you may go to My Documents\My Music\iTunes and delete the two iTunes Music Library files in that folder. This will clear your entire library. Then you go back to iTunes and add all your music (great incentive to keep it all in one or two main folders, heh) and that's that. I have something approaching 10 gigs of music: the process of adding my files takes about five minutes.

At 17:10, 03 Mar 2006 Simon wrote:

iTunes is easy to drive with Python and COM. ;-)

At 00:01, 28 Oct 2006 ron wrote:

reinstall itunes and then uninstall it from add/remove.

there is a option in preference where you can choose which type of files you can open with itunes and quick time.

there is a option in itunes where you can tell it not to automatically search and add your mp3 directory. when you move the mp3 directory, you should remove the old library entries and then readd the new location. its that simple.

open msconfig and turn off the itunes startup that you don't want.

no need to be complaining just need to think about user preference.


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