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Iphoto is showing most of my thumbnails as black

906 Views 22 Replies Latest reply: Nov 15, 2012 5:11 PM by joeannabel RSS
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jtrottweiler Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 18, 2012 10:16 AM

ok im on imac running 10.7.3 using iphoto 11 (9.2.1) with a 1Tb HD


My iphoto library is saved on my imac HD, and i do back up onto my external 1Tb HD using Time machine. However i can not go back and rebuild from that as i had a problem and i had to delete all saved backups to free up space on it as it stopped saving my backups. I am now desperately trying to free up space to allow the back ups to restart!!! As i can not afford another larger HD.


However i do have 1 back up of my entire 'pictures' folder from my HD, to an external HD which is 239Gb in size.


I opened up iphotos 3 days ago and for seemingly no reason - many of my thumbnails are showing up as black, Also the thumbnails of events are showing up black, when i lcick on them the actual photo is still there, so i am assuming its a thumbnails issue.


I have tried rebuilding the thumbnails and indeed the whole library, to no avail. i have reset permissions also no help it seems.



the more upto date thumbnails are fine it seems to be older thumbnails. which appear as above, as i say when i click them the actual photos appear no problem,


So i have tried rebuilding entire library - doesnt work,

have tried rebuilding just the thumbnails - as soon as i do this it then begins to try to find the thumbnails and rebuild


i then get this message


I click cancel (as it just wont find the photo if i try to), but then another alert comes up and another etc etc etc, after 5 hours the progress wasnt even visible after 2 days it was just visible as a tiny blue progress bar!!!!!!!!


So i am now at a loss, i have tried rebuilding via library manager, but for some reason this just crashes!!!!!!


as you can see i have 26,000 photos as i do this for a living.


If anyone has any ideas on how i can restore my thumbnails would be greatly appreciated.


thank you in advance


Kris Watson


  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,630 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2012 11:38 AM (in response to jtrottweiler)

    Are you running a Managed or a Referenced Library?


    A Managed Library, is the default setting, and iPhoto copies files into the iPhoto Library when Importing. The files are then stored in the Library package


    A Referenced Library is when iPhoto is NOT copying the files into the iPhoto Library when importing because you made a change at iPhoto -> Preferences -> Advanced. (You unchecked the option to copy files into the Library on import) The files are then stored where ever you put them and not in the Library package. In this scenario you are responsible for the File Management.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,810 points)

    default "managed" library (the iPhoto preference to "copy imported items to the iPhoto library is in its checked state)



  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,630 points)

    you made a change at iPhoto -> Preferences -> Advanced. (You uncheckedthe option to copy files into the Library on import)

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,630 points)

    Download iPhoto Library Manager and use its rebuild function. This will create a new library based on data in the albumdata.xml file. Not everything will be brought over - no slideshows, books or calendars, for instance - but it should get all your albums and keywords back.


    Because this process creates an entirely new library and leaves your old one untouched, it is non-destructive, and if you're not happy with the results you can simply return to your old one. 

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,630 points)

    You can use your Mac for other things while the Library rebuilds. If iPhoto is going to crash then it will do whether you're at other stuff or not.


    Yes you can restore a Library from back up.


    Yes you can create a new Library, but what would do better than restoring?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,630 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 12, 2012 11:23 AM (in response to jtrottweiler)

    You're not a pain and I have no idea about your nuts


    The safe thing is to restore before deleting anything. Just in case there's a problem with the restore.






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