Naming and Organization
The biggest reason by far for items to not be found during a library scan is due to naming. Plex’s scanners are generally quite robust and can often do a good job even with content that doesn’t follow the naming recommendations. However, there are times where the scanners may need some help and that’s done by naming and organizing the content in an expected way. Two broad guidelines can often help here, too:
- The movie scanners will skip content that is named like a television episode (including date-based episodes)
- The TV scanners will skip content that is not named like a television episode
If you run into issues with content not being found, being ignored, or simply not matching well, the first thing you should do is to follow the naming and organization recommendations.
Related Page: Your Media
Content might be excluded explicitly by use of a .plexignore file or the file/folder name might include a special word that can trigger it to be ignored. Some content – including ISO, IMG, VIDEO_TS, BDMV, and other disk image content – is also automatically excluded.
Related Page: Special Keyword File/Folder Exclusion
Disk Image Format Content
As mentioned above, if your content is in a “disk image” format (e.g. ISO, IMG, VIDEO_TS, BDMV, or similar), those are not supported by Plex Media Server. You can, however, convert the content to a compatible format.
Content that is inside an archive container (such as ZIP, RAR, GZIP, TAR, or similar files) will be ignored. Plex does not support reading content stored inside such archive containers/files. You’ll need to extract the content so that the standard media file itself is available.
If no content at all is being found or you’re unable to see particular directories when trying to set up a library, you may be encountering permission issues (which prevent Plex from being allowed to see/access the content). The user account under which your Plex Media Server is running needs to have “permission” to access your content.
For Windows or OS X installs, this will almost always be the user account logged into the computer. For NAS- or Linux-based Plex Media Server installs, it will usually be the
plex:plex user in a default install.
If using a network share, you need to ensure that the share is under a user that has appropriate access permissions.
The user account needs to have at least read and execute permission for the directories and content.
Tip!: You’ll want to make sure that not only the folder that contains the files but also the files themselves have the correct permissions. That includes new files you copy into the content location.
Related Page: File system permissions (Wikipedia)
Copy In Progress
Another thing that can cause issues is if you’re copying content to the drive and directly into the content location. In such a situation, when the content copy first starts, the Plex Media Server scanner can note the change and then wait 60s. If nothing else has changed at that point, it will perform a library scan.
However, if your content is copying and takes longer than a minute, then it’s possible for a situation to occur where the scan occurs before the copy finishes (and thus the content is not ready/available for the scan). Subsequent scans would not actually look in the directory because it doesn’t appear that the directory changed since the previous scan.
The easy solution for that is to not copy the content directly to your content location on the drive. Instead, copy it to another, temporary or “staging” location/folder on the drive first and then when the copying is completed, move it into the standard content location.