2 Replies Latest reply: Dec 7, 2012 9:44 AM by MattBerlin
MattBerlin Level 1 (15 points)

For the last several months I have experienced lots of crashes and hangs and despite all efforts to fix my database using all three repair options (“Repairing Permissions”, “Repair Database” and “Rebuild Database”) these have continued to occur.

As this is a problem that many other (but, importantly, not all) users seem to share, I have decided to make this rather detailed post.


My Setup

I have been using Aperture since version 1.5 and have regularly updated the programme versions.

I am currently running Aperture 3.4.3 and OS X 10.8.2 on a 2011 MacBook Pro (2GHz Intel Core i7) with 8 GB of RAM and a 500 GB Solid State Drive.

My library consists of around 70,000 images all of which are referenced (totalling 350 GB, they reside on an external hard drive and not within the Aperture library).

The master images reflect my evolving photography patterns over the years: initially smallish JPGs moving to larger JPGs and then shifting to RAW (Nikon NEF files), most recently using a Nikon D800 with very large NEF files.

I am always creating previews, always sharing them with iLife and iWork (“Fit with 1680x1680”,  quality: ‘8-Medium’).


Frequent Aperture Crashes

Most often Aperture hangs (spinning ball of death which I can only resolve by force quitting Aperture) after I have pushed the “Auto” Exposure button to adjust a RAW image. Interestingly, the risk of such a crash seems to reduce, if I first adjust the exposure manually by a notch and THEN press the ‘Auto’ button. But irrespective of what I do, I do experience crashes very frequently which is very frustrating.


Huge Library caused by large Thumbnail folder

My library which is residing on my SSD drive is very large (140 GB). Having used Space Gremlin to analyse the drive (see attached image), I can see that the Previews take up about 35 GB but that the Thumbnails (which should be much smaller) use a whopping 84 GB. (The rest of the library consists of the iPod photo cache, the database and a few masters – iPhone images imported by photo stream).

Looking at the Thumbnail folder more closely, it looks as if there’s quite a bit of corruption here – lots of folders with odd names).


Inconsistent Vaults

I have a Vault on an external hard drive which also is very large (108 GB), again closer inspection of the vault shows that the Previews are 28 GB whereas the Thumbnails are 70 GB – with the same odd subfolders.

I have now created a brand new Vault on another hard drive (not without problems – the Vault creation did not complete for 20 hours, being stuck at around 70%, I then force quit Aperture and then updated both Vaults which completed very quickly)

The new Vault is much smaller 37 GB (2 GB  Thumbnails and 31 GB Previews) which looks much more sensible, also at closer inspection, YET BOTH VAULTS ARE SHOWN AS UP-TO DATE, even though the old Vault is almost three times the size of the new one.



Unless somebody has a better idea, I will do the following as a next step.

  1. 1) Delete the existing Aperture library
  2. 2) Restore the library using the newest small Vault

Even though I have made sure that I have reliable backups of the library, I am a bit nervous, would not want to lose anything.


Therefore, I’d be grateful for any comments and suggestions before I proceed.


Aperture Library.jpg

MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), iPad 2, iPhone 5
  • m2usa Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, just wanted to confirm that I am having the same issue with the Auto Exposure button as well. I have been using Aperture since version 2. Same situation that you are facing as well. Always have to Force Quit to gain access to the library. I will try to see if the minor adjustment makes a difference with the Auto Exposure button. If I find anything worth posting I will update this thread.

  • MattBerlin Level 1 (15 points)

    I have gone ahead and done what I wanted to do.


    1) Deleted the old Aperture library (140 GB)

    2) Restored from the brand new Vault (35 GB)

    3) Selected all images and chose Photos - Generate Thumbnails


    The thumbnail creation took some 30 hours...


    But now that it's complete, it seems to have been worth it:

    The size of library has virtually halved: from 140 GB to 73 GB (Thumbnails are now 36.5 GB, previously 84 GB, all "odd" folders have disappeared).


    Also, it appears as if the previous crash problems may have disappeared (note that this is early days). But freeing up 70 GB on my SSD is pretty good in any case!


    Perhaps Aperture 3.4.3 (or one of the other recent versions) has become better at creating vaults without copying any corruption in the source library?


    My suggestion: if you have similar problems, try creating a brand-new Vault and see if this is much smaller than the original library (or older Vaults)...


    Good luck!