13 Replies Latest reply: Dec 27, 2015 1:47 AM by Terence Devlin
huggs2 Level 1 (100 points)

I want to copy my iphoto library to my eHD to free up space on my laptop. but it stops part the way through and gives an error.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 12.13.25.png

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Iphoto library first aid did not cure the problem. or using iphoto library manager.

I have managed to extract the photos using ILM. but i also want to move over

all the photo details as well.Any ideas? Iphoto seems to work fine on my macbook pro 3,1

with no problems or errors.

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion, macbook pro 3,1
  • léonie Level 10 (90,550 points)

    What is your iPhoto version?


    How is your external harddrive formatted? To be able to move an iPhoto library there, it should be formatted MacOS X Extended (journaled). Is the formatting correct? Otherwise reformat it using Disk Utility.


    Iphoto library first aid did not cure the problem.

    Have you tried all four first-aid options? Including repairing permissions?


    Sometimes you get this error message, when you have imported photo files with illegal filenames. In this case, copy the iPhoto library in parts.

    The library package is a folder with other folders inside. You can show the contents by ctrl-clicking the iPhoto  library and selecting "Show Package Contents". Then copy the parts over to your EHD - folder by folder. And try to find out, which of the files inside will give you the error message. If you remove that file from the iPhoto Library by deleting the photo in iPhoto you may be able to copy the library in one piece.




  • huggs2 Level 1 (100 points)

    Yes I formatted the drive to MacOS X Extended (journaled).I should have mentioned i already transferred Itunes

    without any problems.I also tried all four first-aid options including permissions.I will try next as you suggest to copy over in parts.I will let you know how i get on thanks.

  • LarryHN Level 9 (76,877 points)

    Try a clone program like Carbon Copy Cloner to clone it on the EHD



  • Old Toad Level 10 (135,334 points)

    Try the following:

    Using iPhoto Library Manager  to Rebuild Your iPhoto Library


      1. Download iPhoto Library Manager and launch.
      2. Click on the Add Library button,

        iPhoto Library Manager002.jpg 

        navigate to your Home/Pictures folder and select your iPhoto Library folder.

      3. Now that the library is listed in the left hand pane of iPLM, click on your library and go to the Library ➙ Rebuild Library menu option

        iPhoto Library Manager001.jpg

      4. In the next  window name the new library and set the location of the new library to your EHD.
      5. Click on the Create button.


    Note: This creates a new library based on the LIbraryData.xml file in the library and will recover Events, Albums, keywords, titles and comments. However, books, calendars, cards and slideshows will be lost.

    Note:  your current library will be left untouched for further attempts at a fix if so desired.




  • huggs2 Level 1 (100 points)

    Much kudos to you Old Toad.That accomplished everything i needed doing.


    Message was edited by: huggs2

  • Deleteplz Level 1 (0 points)

    Thx Old Toad!

    Using iPhoto Library Manager i've rebuilt the iPhoto Library except one album! Then i switched to the old library to test that album and turns out it was an .avi file that didn't let me copy the whole library!


    so...after about a whole day of searching the net, thx again Old Toad! I've managed to save my entire photo library (except that video )

  • SLODuke Level 1 (0 points)

    instead of a 3rd party software you can also try to launch iPhoto while holding the Command + Option Key and repairing or rebuilding the libary first.

  • LarryHN Level 9 (76,877 points)

    Per the OP in their original post


    Iphoto library first aid did not cure the problem.

    Hence te next (sucessful) step of using IPLM



  • SLODuke Level 1 (0 points)

    I found a fast soution 45 Gb Library copied in ~30 min. over USB 2.0 - first I rebuilt the library with iPhoto Library Manager and it still wouldn't drag and drop, took forever and errored out.


    I did a semi-manual copy, by opening the iPhoto Library - "Show package contents" (in right click menu)  then copying the contents to a new iPhoto libaray "Package"


    Instead of copying all at once copy the small files/folders in one batch, wati to complete, then copy the larger files folders.  You can copy the package contents one folder at a time or a few at a time. I found that copying the Library files in one batch, then copying the Masters, Previews, & Thumbnails in a second batch seemed to work well without choking up.



    Here's the steps


    1. Connect your hard drive or Mac in Target disk mode
    2. navigate to the folder containing the iPhoto Library you wish to copy
    3. 'Right click'
      1. Show Package Contents
    4. You'll see apx 19 files - select all but exclude 3 folders: Masters, Previews, &Thumbnails you'll come back for theses later
    5. Copy these files to an empty folder on your destination drive/Mac (Later you'll use iPhoto to make a new libary "Package" then you'll put these files inside it) The copy should take  a few minutes, high volume + tiny files
    6. When the first copy is finished, go back and copy the remaining 3 folders Masters, Previews, & Thumbnails.  This is the opposite as previous step, lower volume + larger filesCopy speeds should be normal ie 30 min. for 45 Gb over USB 2.0.
    7. Once all these files and folders are copied you need to put them into an empty iPhoto Library container.  An easy way to do this is
      1. Launch iPhoto holding the Option key
      2. Choose 'New Library' (choose an apprpriate name)
      3. Quit iPhoto
      4. in Finder go to the new Library you just created (User/Pictures/) - be sure its the one you just made
      5. Right Click (Control + Click) the iPhoto Libraray
      6. Choose - Show Package Contents (now you're looking at the contents that makup an iPhoto library)
      7. Select all these files and folders and delete them to the trash
        1. Open the folder that has your freshly copied files and put them in this empty iPhoto Library package.
      8. Close finder windows (disconnect your hard drive or Mac)
      9. Launch iPhoto (you can hold the Option Key while launching iPhoto to choose the correct Library if you have more than one).
      10. Viola. You should have a functional copy from your old Mac/External hard drive.




      The easiest way to mess up your iPhoto Library is to move things around inside the "Package contents" of your iPhoto Library.  Its hidden in there for a reason, so don't go mucking about under the hood.  Best practice is to touch nothing inside the "Show Package Contetns" of your iPhoto library.    As described above, we're merely just speeding up a file transfer and copying files so they mirror their source in a new destination.  Good luck.


    1. amba_k Level 1 (0 points)

      Thank you! This worked.  I only lost 6 months of photos where my hard drive failed to add to Time Machine to spite no error message during the entire period.

    2. ChristophG Level 1 (0 points)

      Thanks a lot! I had the same issue and rebuilding helped. The issue (so says the log file) was a single image file which couldn't be opened, copied or anything. iPhoto Library Manager just skipped it and now my library is fine again. Wonderful program <3

    3. retlawtoot Level 1 (0 points)

      Found this gem for older mac's.  Secret keystrokes to open iPhoto in mode ready for repair.




      http://www.macyourself.com/2008/10/31/rebuild-your-iphoto-library-to-fix-common- errors-or-missing-pics/

    4. Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,895 points)

      Hardly secret when they're already mentioned in this thread and all over this forum...