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No Images in Any Folders

525 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 1, 2013 8:27 AM by léonie RSS
Mac12 Calculating status...
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Jun 22, 2013 4:33 PM

I am using Aperture 2.1.4 and when opening Aperture I see all of my folders and projects listed in the Inspector but now only outlines of the images.


Here is what triggered this.  By mistake I transferred the Aperture Library icon in my Pictures folder to the trash.  Returning to Aperture I received a message disk nearly full and Aperture may be affected (or some similar wording).  I believe I emptied the trash.  I reopened the trash but still saw the icon for the Aperture library and dragged it back into the Pictures folder.  The size for the icon is  listed in the Finder as being 30.3 MB.  When I open Aperture, I see the usual message about "Items not yet stored in a vault" with the number I was seeing previoulsy, that is unchanged.  (Different from previously is that I now get a dialog box "Would you like to import the sample projects" that I was not getting before.)  The Inspector shows all of my folders and projects including the ones I created earlier in this session. In the browser I see dotted outlines of the images but no images themselves. The number and shape of the boxes corresponds to the images that were there previously. Like ghosts of the images.


I have some of my photos backed up on an external hard disk but not a very large number of recent ones.  Is there any way to recover everything?

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,330 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 22, 2013 11:37 PM (in response to Mac12)

    The size for the icon is  listed in the Finder as being 30.3 MB.

    When you emptied the trash, you deleted all original image files in the library, and the previews and thumbs of the image versions. Only an empty shell is left.

    I have some of my photos backed up on an external hard disk but not a very large number of recent ones.  Is there any way to recover everything?

    The backup is all you have right now - how many images are in your vault or on the cards from your camera?


    To recover your recent images, you could try, what recovery software still can find.

    For example Disk Drill will extract any image file, that has not yet been overwritten by other files on your drive. If you want to do that, stop running any unnecessary program that might write to the disk, and download a recovery program. Disk Drill can be downloaded here:

    Disk Drill:


    There are other good programs, but i have not tried any other.


    Note. you will only be able to recover the image files, not a complete Aperture Library, so you will need to start with a new library. After you recovered your image files, I would abandon the partial library you retrieved from the Trash and start from your most recent vault.


    Good Luck


  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,330 points)
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    Jun 23, 2013 6:52 AM (in response to Mac12)

    What is your MacOS X version, Mac12?


    If you are using Mt. Lion or planning to upgrade to Mt.Lion, it would really be better to upgrade to Aperture 3. Some Aperture 2 features, like loupe and brushes, don't work well with Mt. Lion, also the new raw support is not available.


    I assume I should delete the remaining Aperture library from my Pictures folder.  Is there anything else that should be deleted?

    I'd just rename the old library and file it away for reference. This way you will be able to compare the restored vault to the old library and see if projects are missing. If you only trashed the library you do not need to delete anything else.

    Another option I am considering is to use this disaster as an impetus to switch to Aperture 3.  If I do that, I assume I would delete Aperture 2 and the remaining Aperture library from the vault, then install Aperture 3, and then retrieve the images from the old vault of Aperture 2 files?

    I'd suggest a different approach. Aperture 2 knows better how to restore Aperture 2 vaults than Aperture 3.

    So it would be safer to restore your vault as an Aperture library using Aperture 2.

    And use the Aperture library First Aid Tools to rebuild the restored library using Aperture 2.

    The reason for this is, that Aperture 3 will have to upgrade and rebuild the library, and if your library should have glitches, this process may go wrong. You will need the original files to recover. Usually there is no problem, but better e safe than sorry.


    Keep a backup of the Aperture 2 library and the Aperture 2 Application - write down the Aperture 2 serial number, just in case.


    See this:

    Scroll down all the way to "A note on upgrading your Aperture library"


    If you are using plug-ins, check, if for all of them versions are available, that are compatible with the Aperture 3 version, that you will be upgrading to.


    Ask more, if you still have questions.




  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,330 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 1, 2013 8:27 AM (in response to Mac12)
    Thanks very much for your help.  To summarize, per your advice I created a new empty library, restored much of my lost library from the vault, downloaded the images that had not been saved in the vault from a card (will have to be reprocessed though), created a new vault on a new external drive, and successfully backed up the new library in the new vault.


    That is good to know


    (1) I am using Lion, should I upgrade to Mt. Lion before switching to Aperture 3?


    That does not really matter - Aperture 3.4.5 works well with 10.7.5 and 10.8.4.  If you are planning to upgrade to Mavericks in the autumn, you might wish to wait and not invest into Mt. Lion for only a few month.  I personally like Mt. Lion much more than Lion - some features are back, that were gone in Lion.

    (2) You suggested applying Library First Aid to rebuild my library.  Is there any risk to this, is it important to do this before upgrading?

    It is Apple's suggestion in the Release Notes and I second that recommendation.


    Upgrading the library from AP 2 to 3 will have to convert the library to a very different new format. The upgrade of the Aperture library may fail, if the library has a corruption, and we have had quite a few post here, where exactly that had happenend. So it is essential to do the repair (permissions, database, and rebuild in that order)  before you are trying to upgrade.


    The repair options are fairly routine, but it is generally recommended to backup the library before trying to rebuild. Rebuilding is also routine troubleshooting measure, but it is a major transformation.



    (3) You suggested making a backup of the Aperture 2 Library "just in case"; I assume that this is in addition to the backup in the vault on an external drive.  Is there a preferred way to make such a backup?  Just duplicated the library icon in the Pictures folder, rename it, and move it somewhere else?


    Since you already have a vault, I'd indeed duplicate the library to a different folder (or drive), also a copy of Aperture 2.





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