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Corrupted iPhoto Library – Crashed and Burned!

January 17, 2008 by debbie T | Digital PhotographyiPhotoMac Software

I was in the middle of viewing some new RAW photos in iPhoto 06 the other night, and no surprise, I could tell iPhoto was going to crash, and it did.

But this time, when I relaunched, most of my photos were gone from the iPhoto library view. I checked Finder, and thankfully all photos appeared to be safe and sound, but they were not viewable in iPhoto.

Now comes the stupid part. Instead of thinking things through, I panicked and backed up to my external hard drive, which in turn overwrote the only file that could have saved me….the Library6.iPhoto file located in the iPhoto Library folder.

After some online googling, I found out that the Library6.iPhoto is the file that stores all the tags and descriptions, and since that file was now overwritten, I was out of luck.

I tried to rebuild the library database – hold down Option & Apple keys while launching iPhoto. I chose all options, including find orphaned files. No luck, my photos were still missing. I tried switching to a new Library, and that didn’t help.

So, I started to search through my DVD backups, hoping to find something that would help. I did find an older backup from September that included my descriptions/comments, but no tags were saved in the backup.

I was ready to throw in the towel, when I remembered another backup on my external hard drive. The bootable backup I made was at the end of October, so I did have a fairly recent backup of the Library6.iPhoto file!!

I launched iPhoto using this library (hold down the Option key while starting iPhoto, will give the option to either start a new library or choose another) and my files were there.

So now, all I have to do is import and update 2 1/2 months of photos, which shouldn’t be too bad.

Lesson learned! NO matter how good you think your backup is, check to see if you are missing some important files for recovery! I thought I was covered, but if I just saved the Library6.iPhoto file, I might have been a lot safer!

Right now, I just overwrote the Library6.iPhoto with the one from my backup….and when I launched iPhoto, the thumbnails were missing. So, I am now rebuilding the library database and thumbnails. So hopefully my files will be intact, at least up to November, and I will manually add the rest.

There are 2 comments

  1. I just went through the same problem. Unfortunately, I had already overwritten the file, but I now know how to backup properly now. Thanks!

    Comment by Kyle Eppard on April 13th, 2008
  2. Yes, I am much more careful about my backups too now. Plus I am running Leopard and Time Machine. I don’t want to go through this again!!!

    Although I am using iPhoto 08 now, and hopefully it is more stable, but ya never know!!!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, Kyle!

    Comment by debbieT on April 15th, 2008