4 Replies Latest reply: Sep 10, 2013 6:42 PM by Tom Meade1
granitev Level 1 (0 points)

We are in the process of bringing up a new iMac and are having difficulty opening our old iPhoto library.  We've been running iPhoto '08 (version 7.1.5) on a vintage 2006 iMac.  The iPhoto '08 photo library has approximately 35,000 photos in 1000+ events with an additional 60+ albums and slideshows.  The library takes up 165 GB on an external hard drive.  I have tried to convert the old library to iPhoto '11 three times - option key iPhoto to open the existing library on the external hard drive, import photos to a new library on the new iMac and drag the library from the external hard drive to the Pictures folder on the new iMac.  Each time I end with some version of the following (a few photos/events and no albums, etc.) ...


Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 11.43.01 AM.png


This has generated an additional problem.  When I end up with a bad library on the new iMac, I try to delete from within iPhoto '11 by Edit -> Select All and then choosing iPhoto->Empty iPhoto Trash.  The pictures go away in iPhoto but there is still a 165 GB iphoto library (actually 2 at this point) on the hard drive of the new iMac.


I could use help on these two issues -

  1. How do I convert (is this the right term) an iPhoto '08 Library to iPhoto '11 Library while retaining all photos, events, albums, etc.?
  2. How do I get rid of the bad iPhoto '11 libraries that are now on the hard drive of the new iMac.  I know that I can Move to Trash in Finder, but deleting those files will take FOREVER.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.


One additional quirky detail ... we're still running the old iMac until this is resolved.  I copied the iPhoto '08 library to another external drive and attached it to the old iMac.  I opened iPhoto '08 just to be sure that everything was okay (it was).  With the old iMac still powered on, the iPhoto '08 albums showed up on the share section of iPhoto '11 on the new iMac.  Probably normal but weird given the current frustrations.



iMac (27-inch, Late 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4)
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)

    1. To get rid of the bad iPhoto Libraries. Go to wherever they are in the Finder and drag them to trash on your dock. Then empty that. Deleting large numbers of files takes a little time. Read a book.


    2. The other issue suggests that there is some corruption in the original 08 Library.


    Download iPhoto Library Manager and use its rebuild function. (In early versions of Library Manager it's the File -> Rebuild command. In later versions it's under the Library menu.)



    This will create an entirely new library. It will then copy (or try to) your photos and all the associated metadata and versions to this new Library, and arrange it as close as it can to what you had in the damaged Library. It does this based on information it finds in the iPhoto sharing mechanism - but that means that things not shared won't be there, so no slideshows, books or calendars, for instance - but it should get all your events, albums and keywords, faces and places back.




    Because this process creates an entirely new library and leaves your old one untouched, it is non-destructive, and if you're not happy with the results you can simply return to your old one.


    This will take some time. You may need to read a second book







  • Old Toad Level 10 (135,551 points)

    Do you still have a copy of the earlier version of iPhoto?  If you do open the library and do a rebuild of the database file and repair permissions on it. Then open it with the new version to convert it.


    Make sure the format of the EHD is as shown in this screenshot:





    Before trying the above one thing you can try with one of the failed converted librarys is to apply the two fixes below to it in order as needed:


    Fix #1


    Launch iPhoto with the Command+Option keys held down and rebuild the library. Since you already have a backup on the EHD you can ignore the circled recommendation.




    Since only one option can be run at a time start with

    Option #4, #1 then #2 as needed. It might take several

    attempts for Option #2.


    Fix #2


    Using iPhoto Library Manager  to Rebuild Your iPhoto Library


    1 - download iPhoto Library Manager and launch.


    2 - click on the Add Library button, 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 File ➙ Rebuild Library menu option.


    4 - In the next  window name the new library and select the location you want it to be placed.


    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. The original library will be left untouched for further attempts at fixing the problem or in case the rebuilt library is not satisfactory.

  • granitev Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm back.


    On my most recent experiences with my iPhoto Library


    ... Photo Library First Aid - This looked like an easy quick fix so I used it first.  However, I think that our library was sufficiently out of sync/corrupted that it didn't work.  It only seem to generate another replication of the library.  I may have been doing something wrong.  However, I think that this was a good place to start and for others it might be the right way to go.  I'm glad that I know about this now.


    ... iPhoto Library Manager - I downloaded this to our old iMac.  I had to go with version 3.8.6 since we had an older version of iPhoto.  I ran this to rebuild the library on an external hard drive.  It took 46 hours to run.


    ... Cleaning up the mess - Meanwhile back at the new iMac I set about "trashing" all of the bad iPhoto data I had gererated and then "securely emptying the trash".  This ran for 67 hours.


    ... Opening the rebuilt iPhoto Library - I connected the hard drive with the rebuilt iPhoto Library and opened it (I did not move the file into the Pictures folder on the new iMac).  It started to update the library for iPhoto '11.  It ran for 36 hours and IT WORKED!!!


    ... On missing slideshows - While I was "trashing" files on the new iMac, I noticed that the Movies folder I transferred seemed to have a lot of data in it.  When I opened the folder I discovered all of the slideshows.  I had a Homer Simpson moment (Doah!!!) when I remembered that a slideshow was a QuickTime movie.


    A couple of curious questions at this point.


    1. Are the processing times I experienced typical given the size of the files I was working with or did I do something wrong?

    2. I've always assumed that the Mac world was a simpler place to get things done than the Windows world (I work in both).  When I do things on the Mac I just go ahead and do it.  I almost NEVER look for a "how to" or other reference.  This has been a sobering experience.  Is there a book(s), website(s) or other background that I need on the Mac to help me avoid equivalent, unexpected bad experiences in the future?


    Thank you to Terence Devlin and Old Toad for your advice.

  • Tom Meade1 Level 2 (280 points)

    I'm going to make another stab at upgrading iPhoto 8.1.2 to 9x

    so I can get Photostream going. Last time was a bad experience

    so, TG, I had an external backup of my Library.


    This time I've tuned the Mac, repaired iP permissions and all

    the other options for my currently working Library. I'm also

    duplicating it in case of trouble. I understand I'm to apply the

    9.0.1 uddate to iPhoto '11 before running it the first time. I'm

    confident that '11 won't open without me actually invoking

    it. I expect Software Update to find 9.0.1 for me when '11

    gets settled there in Applications. Why am I nervous?