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Question: How do I copy Photos from one external hard drive to another external hard drive?

1. I am trying to copy Photos from one external hard drive to another. I can't do so. The copying process almost completes when a notificatioin pops up telling me the operation can't be completed because there is already a Photos folder, or words to that effect. I have done this before successfully. There is plenty of space on the hard drive I'm copying to. I hope someone can help me with this.


2. I am also trying to delete my Time Machine backups from one external hard drive. I tried dumping the Backups folder into the trash and deleting it. This doesn't seem to work. The trash won't empty. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.


Thanks for looking... 😕

iMac with Retina 5K display, macOS High Sierra (10.13.3)

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Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM in response to Doug Chisholm In response to Doug Chisholm

1 - What format is each drive? they both must meet these requirements - Where is it safe to store a Photos Library? Requirements for the external drive

What is the exact, complete error message?

Is there already a Photos library on the drive? If so copy this one to a different folder or rename one of them

Is either drive used for a TimeMachine backup volume?


2 - what does happen? Why does the trash not empty?


LN

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Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM in response to Doug Chisholm In response to Doug Chisholm

- I can’t quote the exact message because it popped up 3 hours into the transfer process and I didn’t write it down unfortunately. It indicated that I already had a Photos library on the drive.

Then create a new folder on the destination drive, as Larry suggested, and copy the library you want to transfer by drag and drop into that folder. This will prevent a name conflict.

The Photos Library on the second drive hadn’t been updated for a while so I thought I could just overwrite it by dragging and dropping from the first Photos Library to the second)

This will not overwrite the old library, but create a second copy, if the names differ, or will result in a warning "Library exists".


To deal with the "In Use" messages when trying to empty the Trash, try to restart your Mac.

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Question marked as Helpful

Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM in response to Doug Chisholm In response to Doug Chisholm

1 - What format is each drive? they both must meet these requirements - Where is it safe to store a Photos Library? Requirements for the external drive

What is the exact, complete error message?

Is there already a Photos library on the drive? If so copy this one to a different folder or rename one of them

Is either drive used for a TimeMachine backup volume?


2 - what does happen? Why does the trash not empty?


LN

Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM

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Mar 9, 2018 8:36 PM in response to LarryHN In response to LarryHN

Hi! Thanks for replying.

1. Both my external hard drives are MacOS Extended (Journaled). The external drive I’m trying to export from (drag and drop) does have my TimeMachine backups on it. I see this can be a problem. The backup drive I’m trying to export to doesn’t have TimeMachine backups on it. There was a Photos Library on that drive but it disappeared during the transfer process (ie: My primary Photos Library is on a drive that is running out of space. The Photos Library on the second drive hadn’t been updated for a while so I thought I could just overwrite it by dragging and dropping from the first Photos Library to the second).

- I can’t quote the exact message because it popped up 3 hours into the transfer process and I didn’t write it down unfortunately. It indicated that I already had a Photos library on the drive.

2. The Trash would delete a few items at a time interspersed with messages such as: "The operation can't be completed because the item 'folder' is in use"; "The operation can't be completed because the item 'Library' is in use"; The operation can't be completed because the item 'system' is in use". I terminated the process after 2 hours. The supposedly deleted items remain in the Trash and the backup files I had put in the Trash remain in the original external hard drive. I'm stumped.

Mar 9, 2018 8:36 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM in response to Doug Chisholm In response to Doug Chisholm

- I can’t quote the exact message because it popped up 3 hours into the transfer process and I didn’t write it down unfortunately. It indicated that I already had a Photos library on the drive.

Then create a new folder on the destination drive, as Larry suggested, and copy the library you want to transfer by drag and drop into that folder. This will prevent a name conflict.

The Photos Library on the second drive hadn’t been updated for a while so I thought I could just overwrite it by dragging and dropping from the first Photos Library to the second)

This will not overwrite the old library, but create a second copy, if the names differ, or will result in a warning "Library exists".


To deal with the "In Use" messages when trying to empty the Trash, try to restart your Mac.

Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM

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Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM in response to léonie In response to léonie

Hi, again!


I. Thank you both LarryHN and leonie. I was able to transfer my Photos Library to the new external hard drive as a result of your advice.


2. I still can't empty the trash. I ran OnyX and Apple's Disk Utility. Both said the disk was fine. I restarted the computer. When using OnyX I tried cleaning out the Trash with its cleaning function. It ran for 3-4 hours without success. I tried emptying the Trash in the conventional way about an hour to an hour and a half ago. It says its emptied 63,000 items and is still running. I keep getting the following popups every now and then: "The operation can't be completed because the item 'share' is in use"; "The operation can't be completed because the item 'usr' is in use"; "The operation can't be completed because the item 'folders' is in use"; The operation can't be completed because the item '2017-10-4-010820' is in use"; The operation can't be completed because the item 'folders' is in use"; The operation can't be completed because the item 'Library' is in use"; "The operation can't be completed because the item 'System' is in use". Does anyone have any further suggestions? They'd be most welcome. 😕

Mar 10, 2018 7:19 PM

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Mar 10, 2018 10:33 PM in response to Doug Chisholm In response to Doug Chisholm

1 - you are welcome


2 - this issue has noting to do with Photos and I do not have any additional suggestions - Léonie may and posting system issues in the forum for your OS exposes it to many folks with great Mac system experience


LN

Mar 10, 2018 10:33 PM

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Mar 11, 2018 12:39 AM in response to Doug Chisholm In response to Doug Chisholm

Please, ask about emptying the Trash in the forum for your the system version of your Mac.

I never used Onyx, so I cannot tell, if it managed to put parts of the system software into the Trash.

The operation can't be completed because the item 'Library' is in use"; "The operation can't be completed because the item 'System' is in use".

The error messages you are seeing may be caused by the parts of the Time Machine backups in your Trash. But Onyx may have removed system components as well. If you are not sure, what you cleaned with Onyx, I would not touch the Trash without help from a system expert.


As to the Time Machine items in your Trash:

For the future: The only save and convenient way to delete items from a Time Machine backup is to enter Time Machine and ctrl-click the item you want to remove in the Time Machine star wars display. Then select the command "Delete all backed up items".

As the items are already in the Trash, you may try to use the Terminal to remove them as it had been described on Pondini's page: pondini.org/TM/E6.html - this website does no longer exist.

But here is a quote:

If the trash still won't empty:


Open a Finder window and be sure your Time Machine drive appears in the sidebar, or on your desktop. If it isn't, select Finder > Preferences from the menubar, then either Sidebar or General(for the desktop), and click the box for External disks.

Also open the Terminal app (in your Applications/Utilities folder). Be extremely careful when using Terminal. It is a direct interface into UNIX, the underpinnings of OSX. Unlike the Finder, there are few protections against making a mistake, which can cause untold damage.

In Terminal, the prompt looks like this: <Computer name>:~ <your name>$

(where <your name> is your short user name). It's followed by a non-blinking block cursor.


At the prompt, type the

User uploaded file


letters cd and leave a space:

Now drag the Time Machine volume from the Finder Sidebar or desktop to the Terminal window:

When you release your

User uploaded file


mouse, Terminal will fill in the "path" to the backups:

Note that if there are any spaces in the name, it will insert a backslash before them, as in the sample. That's correct.

Press Return.

The next p

User uploaded file


rompt should include the name of your Time Machine drive, as underlined in red here:

If it doesn't, STOP! Do NOT proceed.

If that's correct, copy this after the prompt: sudo rm -rf .Trashes

Then press Return.

You may see some warnings, and will be prompted for your Admin password (which won't be displayed). Press Return again. Nothing else will be displayed immediately.

If there were many items involved, this may take quite a long time. Unless there are problems, once the deletion is complete, you'll see another prompt (there's no progress bar or completion message).

Then Repair your backups, per item #A5.

For future reference, you usually shouldn't have to delete backups. But there is a way to delete individual backups, or all backups of selected items. See Time Machine FAQ #12.

Mar 11, 2018 12:39 AM

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Question: How do I copy Photos from one external hard drive to another external hard drive?