My iTunes media library is located on an external hard disk.

Occasionally when I try to play an old saved podcast episode, I will get this alert box:

Alert box

This means the file was mysteriously deleted (or moved) from its original location without iTunes' knowledge (if iTunes had deleted it intentionally then it wouldn't still be listed in my library). If I check the storage location in Finder I can see that the file is missing. This podcast episode is saved and I have set options in the podcast settings to prevent iTunes from deleting old episodes.

Why is this happening? I always safely eject my external hard disk, and sometimes I will check the disk for errors but it's always OK.

I have experienced this issue over last 3-4 years, using different external hard disks, always keeping my computer and iTunes up to date, and the problem still persists. It can even occur sometimes with normal (non-podcast) songs.

I also sync some tracks to/from my iPhone.

Is iTunes this unreliable for other people too?

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