"Media files are missing"

  • Live Versions: 6-10
  • Operating System: All

Live saves a reference to any used media file's location in each set, but doesn't actually copy those files into the project unless you specifically "Collect all and Save" your projects. Read our guide to transferring projects to another computer or user.

Here are the most common reasons you might get a "Media Files are missing" error message:

  • The Project has been transferred to another computer without collecting the samples first.
  • The media files have been deleted or moved.
  • The media files are located on an external hard-drive which is currently not connected, or has changed name/letter assignment.
  • If using a cloud storage provider, the media files are stored in the cloud only.
  • Live has been upgraded and the previous version uninstalled including version-specific Core Library content.

1. Automatic search and replacement of missing files


In order to locate and replace missing media files using the Automatic search: 

  1. Open File Manager by clicking the orange status Bar. Alternatively you can open File Manager at any time from the View menu.
  2. Unfold the arrow to the left of "Automatic Search".
  3. If you know the folder where the missing files are located, you can click "Set Folder" to choose that folder and then set the Search Folder option to "Yes". Alternatively you can drop the folder from Live's browser or from Finder/Explorer onto the File manager window where indicated:
  4. Press "Go". Live will search and replace the missing files once the correct candidates have been found. In case there are multiple candidates found for the missing files, Live will prompt you to review these. Please see the Live manual for more details: Locating Missing Files.

2. Manual Replacement of missing files

In case automatic search and replace is unable to find any candidates, or if you don't know the original location of the sample, you can right-click on header bar and select "Path" from the context menu. You will then be shown the original path of the file. This is useful as it may point you in the right direction for finding the missing file(s):


To manually fix a broken file reference, locate the missing file in Live's Browser or in Finder/Explorer, drag it over to the File Manager and drop it on the respective line in the list of missing files. Live will not care if the file you offer is really the file that was missing.

If there are more than one missing files, a dialog pops up and asks if you want to search in the same location for the other missing files. Click "Yes" if they are located in the same folder or nearby folders. Otherwise proceed manually to find the rest of them.

Tip: Use the search function on Finder (Mac)/Explorer (Windows) to search for the file name

"Media Files are missing" when using Cloud Storage

ICloud Optimized Storage: The Optimized Storage feature in iCloud Drive deletes older files from the Desktop and Documents folders when storage is low, which includes Live documents and media files if you have saved them there. If you have saved media files or Live documents to either of these folders and if they get deleted automatically then Live will not be able to locate the missing media files.

There are a few ways around this:

  1. Re-download the deleted files from iCloud Drive, then turn off Optimized Storage
  2. Re-download the deleted files from iCloud Drive, then move them to your Music folder (or any location other than Desktop or Documents)
  3. Re-download the deleted files from iCloud Drive, then turn off Desktop and Documents from iCloud drive

OneDrive Files on Demand: The Files on Demand feature in OneDrive stores references to files on your computer, while the actual file itself resides in the cloud. Media files need to be located locally on your computer in order for Live to find them. Make sure that "Always keep on device" is selected, to store the media file locally at all times.

Core Libary content differences between different versions of Live

The Core Library content is different between Live Lite/Intro and Standard/Suite, likewise each new major release version of Live has new Core Library content. Therefore if you've upgraded and have uninstalled the previous version, you might be missing files in your existing projects. Here's how to restore the missing content.