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destructive bug: deleting a version deletes the master

1069 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Jun 8, 2011 2:46 PM by Bruce Michel RSS
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Mark Alan Thomas Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 1, 2011 12:00 AM

This is reproducible with every image in my library. I have two versions of an image. I reject one version, then delete it. Now my remaining version shows a file offline warning. In other words, by deleting one of two versions — not the last remaining version, mind you — the master is being deleted.


I have tried all of the database repair/rebuild options multiple times, but this behavior persists and I am now afraid to delete anything. My confidence is blown.


Thank goodness for Time Machine, because this happened to over 2000 photos in one shot when I emptied the trash of what I presumed to be unimportant versions, only to watch with horror as 2000+ remaining versions sprouted the file-offline badge, but I was able to restore my entire Aperture Library in under an hour.


Any ideas on the root cause of this, or how to fix it?


I’m using a managed library.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,890 points)

    Yes what you have discovered is true. Back before the change to the forums there was a section at the top of the postings for user tips. Thats gone now but the tips are still around.  I posted this:


    Deleting version also deleted the master


    back in February.


    Hopefully some day Apple will clarify this behavior.


    Also remember while this is a huge hole  the deleted masters will be in the Aperture trash and can be put back.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,890 points)

    Are the images in question managed or referenced? And had you emptied the Aperture trash before getting these symptoms?

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,890 points)

    I've never seen or heard (until now) of Aperture deleting a master if there are still versions of it in the library. Given the way the database is setup its not possible under normal conditions.


    I've tried re-creating your situation  there is no way I can deleted a master and have a version remain. Actually that sentence doesn't even make sense given the way Aperture works. Versions don't exist as a stand alone image. They are basically text instructions describing how to make the version our of the master. What you are really seeing are the previews Aperture normally creates. And hey are normally removed along with the master and versions.


    What you are describing is the classic situation where a referenced master is removed with the finder for example and Aperture continues to display the preview with missing icon on it signifying that the master is missing. Which is why I asked if the images are referenced. This can also happen if the Aperture library  package is opened and the interior files of the library are messed with.


    You're not drilling down into the Aperture library by any chance?


    Rebuilding the database is always an action of last resort. It is very destructive to the library and in the troubleshooting tips for Aperture it is strongly advised to have a backup before attempting the repair.


    What you're describing is definitely not normal behavior for Aperture. Perhaps there was a corruption in the library originally and the repeated rebuilds pushed it over the edge.


    Sorry I can't be of more help.



  • John Kitchen Level 3 Level 3 (635 points)



    A database rebuild function (any database, not just Aperture), is an attempt to rebuild. It's not guaranteed.  If corruption has occurred that confuses the rebuild function, the result may not be pretty.  So it's not that they build a self-destruct button and call it a feature, it's a tool, like a hammer.  Sometimes it misses and hits a thumb.  That's why it's a good idea to take backup of the database before trying tools which are intended to fix it.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,890 points)

    From Aperture 3: Troubleshooting Basics


    Screen shot 2011-06-03 at 06-03 10.19.50.png

    You can bet when a software company says backups are strongly recommended before performing some step they are telling you this operation has a lot of downside.

    iMac Intel 3.06 GHz 8GB Mem; Macbook5.1 2.4ghz 4GB Mem, Mac OS X (10.6.7), Aperture 3.1.2
  • John Kitchen Level 3 Level 3 (635 points)

    Mark, you can ask them to do this by going to


    I think there is a section for Aperture under that link.

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