If like me you have been experiencing issues with the new iTunes 8.1 Windows release then this might help you out.

For me at least iTunes crashes during the transmission of Genius data to Apple, stopping this process with the “X” that appears in the notification area resulted in an immediate crash, if it was left it would simply crash a few minutes later.

If you really can’t wait for Apple to fix this issue and aren’t really bothered about using Genius then the most obvious solution would be to turn off the Genius feature until a fix is released, unfortunately for me the Store > Turn Off Genius option was unavailable so here is how I managed to get round it:

  1. Go to your iTunes folder (mine was in C:/Users/Myles/Music/iTunes but yours may be somewhere else)
  2. Find “iTunes Library Genius.itdb” and rename it to something like iTunes Library Genius.itdb.old (Make sure you can see file extension – if not un-tick the “Hide extensions for known file┬átypes” option in the Folder and Search Options Menu)
  3. Start iTunes
  4. iTunes will still try to generate Genius Data but after renaming the file you should be able to stop the process by clicking on the “x” in the notification area at the top without it resulting in an immediate crash.
  5. Then Select Store > Turn Off Genius from the menu at the top

For some reason that seemed to sort the problem for me, or at least long enough for me to disable the Genius Feature, it may not work for anyone else, but its worth a shot – iTunes has been running for about 10 minutes so far and no crash as of yet.

Hope this works for you!

EDIT: Didn’t realise this fix had already been suggested on the Apple Support Forums, you can follow the discussion at: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1938223&tstart=0