Devastated... Years of photos just poofed...

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by picturespoofed, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. picturespoofed, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2018

    picturespoofed macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2018
    Hi all,

    I have a Macbook Pro Retina, 15inch, Late 2013 running High Sierra
    Recently, I realized that ALL my photo libraries completely disappeared (iPhoto, Photobooth, Photos).

    Is there anyway I can recover my photos? A lot of them have sentimental value...

    Relevant details:
    • *When opening Finder and looking on the left side tab under "Devices" my MBP is called "MacBook Pro (2)" now* (I never paid attention to this, but would a device ordinarily be named just "MacBook Pro"? Why the "(2)"?)
    • I recently deleted Google Drive from my Macbook (it was taking a lot of space)
    • I recently plugged a disk drive (usb disk drive to play CDs) into my macbook to view a video on that disk, and unplugged it without ejecting.
    • I recently deleted MalwareBytes.
    • I usually do not check my trash before I delete it, so if my libraries were somehow moved to the trash, they are gone without me knowing.
    • I have a Windows Partition that is now full (even though I haven't touched it in a long time... and I'm pretty certain it wasn't full last time I touched it)

    Has anybody else experienced this? I'm really hoping that the libraries didn't just completely disappear, and that they
  2. Sterkenburg macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2016
    Since you're asking this, I suppose that... you kept "years of photos with sentimental value" on a single drive with no backup at all?

    Don't want to sound condescending, believe me, but the first thing to keep in mind when using a computer is that any data stored on it is just one little hardware failure or trivial accident away from disappearing forever. Data that can't be reproduced, like photos, should be backed up very consistently, and the more redundancy the better.

    Is the disk space previously occupied by photos now showing as empty if you check the storage tab in the "About this Mac" window? Files usually don't disappear by themselves unless you delete them yourself or the drive on which they're stored is failing. And unless the photos were stored in Google Drive, which you deleted, I don't see how those operations you performed could have caused the issue.
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    When you say your photo libraries are gone, is that based on opening the apps, or finding their the libraries through Finder?
  4. mpainesyd macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    Cannot guess at what has happened but Powerphotos from Fatcatsoftware is useful for managing Photos libraries. It has copy and repair tools. If the Photoslibrary folder (home/pictures/photoslibrary) is still accessible then Powerphotos might save them. It should also work for iPhotos libraries.

    I assume you don’t have a Time Machine backup of the MBP.
  5. picturespoofed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2018
    No time machine back up unfortunately...

    When I open these apps, they ask me to choose from a library because it cannot find one, and the list of libraries to choose from is empty. Furthermore, if it try to search for the libraries through finder, I cannot find them.

    No back up :(...

    Yes... I have checked "About this Mac" and the space is showing 0KB being taken up where Photos would take up space.

    Do you think it odd that my device name is now "MacBook Pro (2)"?
  6. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    Ok Backup, backup, backup, and enough as that's not going to help, well not in this context.

    Stop using the computer, it's possible that the libraries still exist, however are marked as free space. More you use it the greater potential the data will be overwritten/destroyed. Being an SSD I am unsure how to proceed, what needs to be done is clone/imaged the drive in it's entirety. Then work on the clone to recover the images. The renaming of the system I believe is pertinent and potentially related to a compromised update. I cant specifics, however I once in the dim distant past had similar problem where the system name changed and some data inaccessible.

    You need to ideally work on a full clone image of the drive or at very least boot the notebook from an external drive with OS X installed. If you have access to another Mac you can slave the afflicted MBP in Target Disk mode. Ultimately you want to be able to read the damaged drive/data without writing to the drive.

    Generally it's possible to recover data as long as it's not overwritten, equally usually requires specialist software or a professional service. You need to think if recent usage, updates, installations etc. more details provided the more chance help will be forthcoming.

  7. picturespoofed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2018
    I recently bought a 1TB external HD. Will I be able to move disk image to that? And how would I go about doing this?
    The images have likely been gone for 1-2months at the least now... I'm really can't say. But I would say that that between the last two mac updates I had, the photos were lost. Is there anyway I can track the updates to my mac and when I updated?
  8. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    I just try to briefly list
    • Create an external bootable OS X drive on another Mac. More you write to the damaged drive more chance of loss. You can then boot from the external and read the notebooks internal SSD.
    • If possible clone the damaged SSD, you need to do a little research Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper may work, equally you need to see if the SW can copy everything on the SSD not just visible data.
    • 1-2 months, you may be lucky depending on the amount of free space. Less space, less chance.
    • Probably going to need a recovery specific application to search and potentially reconstruct the data run from the external boot drive
    Sorry I can't give absolute specifics as it's a very time consuming process. I'm hoping others will chime in with more detail on how to create and boot from an external drive, recovery SW etc.. There is a wealth of information here on MR just break it down to step by step questions, and use the search.

    What I do emphasise is the more you boot from and use the drive the less chance you have for recovery, with ideally a 100% clone of the damaged drive and another drive to boot the system from. Another alternative is to pay for a professional service as this may be the easier solution. Data can be recovered, however you need a minimum level of knowledge and or be prepared and learn the process above all have patience, nor is 100% recovery guaranteed.

    There are a lot of other options, however without a 100% disk clone, all risk compromising the data.

  9. 1rottenapple macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2004
    scary man. I can't really help you here but for anyone that has no backup of their photos heed this warning. There's free photo uploads online aside from keeping an extra HD copy.

    I have my photos copied to an external. And I have my photos also backed up on google photos using one of my other email accounts.

    If you have amazon prime they have free photo storage as well.
  10. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    The libraries should be in your ~/Photos/ folder. Try and look for them manually there.

    Also, to rule out there wasn't a system level error and your user got duplicated, check how many users are currently on the machine in System Preferences -> Users and Groups.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    "What you had" is probably gone forever.
    Better accept that.
    In all likelihood, you're NOT "getting it back".

    As others have said, this is what "backing up your computer" is about.

    I'll give you the best advice you're ever going to get:

    TIP #1:
    Create a cloned backup of your internal drive using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
    Both are FREE to download and use for 30 days.
    SuperDuper will continue to do a "full clone" of your drive FOREVER without registering (but you need to register to do incremental backups).
    CCC has a bit of an edge, it can clone and maintain the recovery partition as well.

    EITHER ONE OF THESE WILL SERVE YOU WELL, and if you keep a regularly-maintained cloned backup, you'll have a better chance that you won't suffer a catastrophic loss (such as you have just experienced) again.

    TIP #2:
    Never, never, NEVER "trust the cloud" again.
    NEVER (have I said that enough?)
    The only one you should "trust" insofar as maintaining a backup of your stuff is concerned, is.... YOU.

    This is to say, use the cloud if you wish, but DO NOT MOVE your stuff to the cloud unless you also KEEP A COPY FOR YOURSELF ON DRIVES THAT YOU CONTROL.
    Again, see tip #1.

    TIP #3:
    You should have AT LEAST TWO backup drives, with one of them stored at a location "out of your house". What if your house burns down?
    I keep a second backup in my car. Granted, the car could get stolen, but then I can just run off another backup for the new car...
  12. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Careful, the interior temperature of a car in summertime can easily exceed the non-operating temperature spec for many drives. Better than not having an offsite backup, but by no means ideal.

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11 February 13, 2018