4 Replies Latest reply: Jan 12, 2013 5:08 AM by leelee500
leelee500 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi.  I am on a 2 year old macbook pro and have all latest updates installed. I have over 20000 photos in iphoto.  A few days ago iphoto crashed on me and my screen went black (scary!).  I was able to turn the computer back on and when I opened iphoto it started 'rebuilding the library' (I think that is what it said it was doing!).  I thought phew, its all fine now when it seemed to be working, but I have since noticed that some of the thumbnails in iphoto disappeared.  I can still double click on the square and get to my photo.  I have read other posts that I need to rebuild the library by holding certain keys when opening iphoto.  My question is about back up.  I am on holiday and prior to leaving a month ago I backed up my computer to an EHD using Time Machine.  Since being on holiday I have added more photos to iphoto plus a number of other paid for downloads and other documents I don't want to lose. 


Should I back up again before trying to rebuild the thumbnails (thus protecting everything else I have added to the computer the last 4 weeks) or keep my older backup which at least I know did not have problems with iphoto?  Hope that makes sense?  (Its confusing me and I'm writing it!).


I would also love some advice as to how to get everything out of iphoto as this experience has freaked me out.  I just want to go back to my old way of saving my images in folders in my pictures folder where at least I know where they are and they act the way I expect them to act!


Thanks for your time!

MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2010)
  • 1. Re: Missing Thumbnails - which backup to use? plus escape from iphoto
    Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (123,800 points)

    To rebuild the thumbnails:


    Back Up and try rebuild the library: hold down the command and option (or alt) keys while launching iPhoto. Use the resulting dialogue to rebuild. Include the option to rebuild the thumbnails. It can take 3 or 4 goes for this to work


    Yes, back up first. You need an up-to-date back up of all your important data all the time.


    To migrate from iPhoto: That's what File -> Export is for...


    That said: you photos are no safer in folders in the finder than they are in iPhoto. (After all, Folders in the FInder is exactly how iPhoto saves them.  An up-to-date backup is protection against problems. Giving up Photo protects you against... well nothing.






  • 2. Re: Missing Thumbnails - which backup to use? plus escape from iphoto
    leelee500 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks TD.  Unfortunately I don't have my EHD with me (2TB EHD is too difficult to travel with) so will have to wait until Monday when return home to backup and then try to rebuild.    I think what you are saying is that the backup won't override the back up time machine made before I left if I backup to the same EHD on Monday (in case the backup I do on Monday is of a faulty iphoto) and I can resort to the backup I made before I left if I need to.  btw i hate to think how long a rebuild of 20000 photos & videos (RAW and jpeg) will take!


    Also, I've just noticed that the thumbnails that are missing seem to be of those images that I have duplicates of that I didn't realise I had (seems I downloaded photos from my iphone and old computer that were duplicates when I first got this macbook).  Have you heard of that before?  Maybe all I need to do is delete the duplicates and that will fix the missing thumbnail problem and iphoto crashing?  (Don't know why its taken two years before it caused problems though).


    If so, the question is then which duplicate do I delete - the one with the missing thumbnail, or the other one?  The one with the missing thumbnail has a normal file number (eg. IMG_0778) whereas the one that has the thumbnail showing has a strange file number (eg. IMG_0778-1).   Have you ever come across that before?


    If my photos are safe in iphoto, why is iphoto crashing and why is it doing funny things to the thumbnails?  If they were just in normal folders in Finder I would know if the file had something wrong with it just by opening it, in iphoto I can't do that - I have no idea where the file is . . . (other than somewhere in 'Pictures' in a library in a 'package' that everyone tells me I'm not allowed to touch so I'm too scared to even look in it!)   Also a normal folder system surely would have asked me when I was downloading duplicate files whether I wanted to replace the original rather than creating another copy with another filename like it appears iphoto did?  (My other issue which may have a solution but I haven't checked apple support communities yet is that every time I open a photo in an external editor iphoto makes a duplicate of it even if i don't make any changes - but thats for another day).  I would love you to convince me to keep iphoto as I love all the other features but this experience really has shaken me.

  • 3. Re: Missing Thumbnails - which backup to use? plus escape from iphoto
    Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (123,800 points)

    If my photos are safe in iphoto, why is iphoto crashing and why is it doing funny things to the thumbnails?


    This has nothing to do with the actual photos, though, They are - by your own description - safe and sound. The file has nothing wrong with it.


    You can see any of your master files simply by using the Show File command.


    The important thing about the library is that you make no changes with the Finder - don't move anything, don't rename anything. So, look inside:


    Go to your Pictures Folder and find the iPhoto Library there. Right (or Control-) Click on the icon and select 'Show Package Contents'. A finder window will open with the Library exposed. Your original files are in the Folder called Originals - or in later versions, Masters.


    Is this crashing an ongoing problem? From your first post it sounded like a once-off?






  • 4. Re: Missing Thumbnails - which backup to use? plus escape from iphoto
    leelee500 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks again.  I dared to peek inside but it didn't help me much!  I'm not sure of the system of filing it has created.  eg. it starts with a 2011 folder but I have images from before then.  I can't find the files it has renamed with a -1 or -1-2 after the name.


    crashing is not an ongoing problem, my macbook crashed twice before but not sure it was iphoto - and so I updated my macbook to 1TB harddrive and 8mb of ram.  After that I still got the 'wheel of death' often when using iphoto, but this was the first time it crashed since then.  And the very first time thumbnails went missing.


    Its after midnight here so I'll check in again in the morning.  thanks again for your time.