iPhoto App - I screwed up my iPhoto (Long)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Wakh, May 15, 2009.

  1. Wakh macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009
    I hope this is the right subforum, if not point me in the right direction.

    I am very ignorant of manipulating computers, be patiernt with me.

    I'm not even sure I can describe what I did or what has happened or what I am now seeing.

    When I switched from PC to Mac, I pulled all my photos from the PC (onto a memory stick) to the Mac and it went into iPhoto fine. Then when I opened iphoto, on the left side was a column that showed folders of the pics arranged by year, listed under the "Library" folder(awesome! I don't think I did anything, it just happened!), and when I open iPhoto all my photos pulled up and displayed on the screen - I have no groupings, so all XXXX many pics show and I can scroll through them.

    Yesterday, I was trying to extract some photos from an email and put into iphoto when all hell broke loose, so to speak.

    I have no idea what I did, but now, my folders are in "Pictures", and in fooling around trying to get those photos (back into iPhoto?) , I came to a page which gave me options to check off showing photos for the past XX months when I really wanted to show in iPhto opening page, ALL my photos. Well, when I opened iphoto before, all my photos came up for my viewing (here is how illiterate I am - 4000+ photos, and none in folders, just arranged in rolls and then nto the aforementioned (now disappeared) Year Folders.

    The longest period it offerred me to view photos was 18 months.

    OK, so now, when I open Iphoto, pictures load, and come up, but then as the pics are scrolling down appearing on the page, a bunch of them disappear, there is just a blank square made with dashed lines. Oh Gosh this is long and painful, I know. Later down the page, the pics load and stay visible.

    I was trying during this session of Hell to import my Year folders from "Pictures" back into iphoto. One it seems I could, but others would not let me - said there was some damn file that was already in iphoto library so I couldn't import it. It was those darn pics from an email, I 'think', by looking at the name it listed, but I am not positive. I searched, found them and dragged them to Trash and then deleted trash.

    I still cannot imported those folders

    What did I do, and can I make my iphoto look like it used to?

    I 'think' when I click on the empty boxes (it was a long day yesterday can'r recall for sure) I could pull the photo up. I also at times (no idea how and when it would happen) I would get a bunch of thumbnails across the top of the page like a toolbar, and I 'think' they are the pics that do not show on full page.

    Do these blank photo spots have something to do with me checking off that '18' months back show photos thing? How do I get back all my photos loading up, and how do I get my year folders listed on the left side of screen under "Library" as it was before?

    I thought to maybe reload all pics from the memory stick BUT MY HUSBAND HAD IT IN HIS BRIEFCASE WHEN IT WAS STOLEN! AAAARRRRGGHH!

    Am I making any sense, can anyone advise?

    It seems my photos are all still on the Mac, but how to I put things back to how they were?

    Is there an instruction manual or online instructions that may help me, since I suspect I won't understand what you kind folks tell me.

    What a way to enter as a new member, eh? TIA

    I hope I posted in the right place.
  2. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    Ok, I'm not totally clear on what you did, or what has happened. It really depends on which version of iPhoto you have, and what you have set up iPhoto to do. In particular, whether you have iPhoto 'reference' your images during import, or if you have iPhoto 'make a copy into its library' (the default, and preferred method).

    The best way to help is to educate you on what iPhoto is, and what it does.

    Referencing - this means you have your photos in your own folder structure, and all iPhoto does is 'remember' the location when you import. This is generally a bad idea, because if you touch those files, BOOM, iPhoto loses them.

    Copying into library - this means iPhoto copies the images into its own folder structure, typically in your Pictures under a file or folder called 'iPhoto Library'. DO NOT EVER TOUCH THESE FILES. It's basically the same as referencing, but it is much more 'safe' as the files (in newer versions) are hidden away so the user can't mess with them, leading to much less headaches. With this method, once imported you can delete the source photo.

    Basically, iPhoto is a photo management program. It knows where your files are, and upon importing, it updates its own databases, creates several versions of the photo (various sized thumbnails for faster viewing). It also manages edits on the photos, keeping track of changes and the original files so you can always go back to the unmodified version of a photo. This is obviously space intensive.

    Now where things can go wrong:

    If you mess with the source files, either in the iPhoto Library itself, or your own if you are referencing them, then you can imagine iPhoto can start messing up. It's like a Library - if you go an remove the books without telling the Librarian, it can mess up the system. If this is what you have done, then the photos are gone. In future, also try to delete photos THROUGH the iPhoto interface - this is basically working with the 'Librarian'. The 'blank squares' could be a result of this, as the Library still thinks the photo is there, but it's not.

    Another way for it to mess up is for the database to be corrupted. That is, the photo is in the library, but the Librarian is incorrect. There may be a way for this to be resolved, but it depends on the nature and extent of the problem.

    Another way is that the photos are still there, and the Library knows that too, but the thumbnails for quick display are missing, mis-referenced or corrupted. This will cause the 'blank squares' to show, but still able to access the file when opening in iPhoto. This should easily be fixed. See below.

    Ok what can you do about this? Well it really depends on what exactly you have done and which version of iPhoto you are using.

    A good place to start would be the utilities menu in iPhoto.

    1) Before doing this, I recommend backing up your iPhoto Library somewhere first (make a copy of the iPhoto Library folder if you are importing, and if you are referencing, make a copy of that folder, but also your photos aswell, preferably onto another drive).

    2) hold down option+command while opening iPhoto. This brings up a hidden menu to try and fix some problems. I've heard it can do nasty things, hence the backup (although I don't think it can do bad things if you have not done bad things yourself).

    3) try various options, maybe one by one, starting with the least intrusive, such as rebuilding thumbnails, small, or large, or repairing permissions. The options available to you will depend on which version of iPhoto you have.

    Good luck! (Also, I want to iterate a backup before trying this stuff).
  3. Wakh thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009
    Thank you mrkgoo, you have given me a lot of interesting info to digest.

    I have iPhoto 6.0.6

    When I first imported pics from the PC, I plugged in the memory stick, iPhoto opened, and did its thing, I didn't tell it to do anything.

    It created Library, with subfolders of the photos by year(2003, 2004, 2005, etc.). I didn't tell it to do anything, it did that automatically.

    Now, after whatever the hell I did,When I click on the blank square of a pic that is on the full-page display of my photos (some there, some blank squares) that pops up when I open iPhoto, yes a photo comes up large on the screen, same as if I clicked on a visible photo; at the same time, appearing across the top in toolbar form, are ALL of my photos! That 'toolbar' view only shows when I click on a photo square to pull up the photo that should be in that square

    My Year Folders with the photos in them are in my "Pictures" when I use Finder to go to Pictures. These folders no longer (reside?), are no longer listed as subfolders of the Library. The Library is all one big (mess!).

    The only choice on the left of the page upon which I can click on is Library, and then "all" of my pics come up, except many of them are blank squares (which as I said, do pull up a large photo when I click on the blank squares)

    I would just like to restore the setup to its original, it was whatever default iPhoto did when I imported photos.

    So, I guesss I had better back up "Library" as well as those Year Folders in the "Pictures" I am almost afraid to do anyhting because my photos are still on my computer, I can find them all, just not displayed like they used to be.

    I need to cogitate on this awhile, gird my loins to go into the fray. Maybe this weekend ;o)

    Again, thank you.
  4. Wakh thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009
    mrkgoo said,

    "Another way is that the photos are still there, and the Library knows that too, but the thumbnails for quick display are missing, mis-referenced or corrupted. This will cause the 'blank squares' to show, but still able to access the file when opening in iPhoto. This should easily be fixed. See below."

    I think this is the case - my photos all seem to be in the computer.
  5. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    Sounds like the case, if you can see the full size windows.

    Hmm. iLife '06. Current iterations (started with version 7) of iPhoto have the iPhoto Library folder all bundled up in a single file 'wrapper' to avoid the issue with people messing the files.

    Rebuilding your thumbnails sounds like a good bet. I would still reserve some space to back up the library before doing so, just to be safe.

    Good luck!
  6. Wakh thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009

    -So, if and when I get things back to working, should I upgrade my OS - does that come with the latest iPhoto? Or if I manage to fix this, leave well enough alone? I don't do much with my computer except photos, email, surfing - but apparently I am dangerous in the iPhoto Area. The newest version makes it harder to screw up, from what you are saying?

    God I wish that memory stick hadn't been stolen. Because I am not even confident that I know how to back up things properly. I had a major tantrum yesterday when I found out, I had no idea he had taken it; he 'didn't have one', and thought he'd take mine on a business trip. :eek:P
  7. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    Upgrading your os will not upgrade iphoto. iPhoto is part of the iLife suite which is sold separately for us$79. It comes free with new macs.

    Don't be scared to use the utility menu. It's actually rather benign in it experience, but I have heard of things going wrong.in those cases, however, the damage as probably done by the user before the utility did anything. I still recommend a backup just in case. Even if that just means copying the entire iPhoto library folder in another location on the same drive. If the fix doesn't work or more issues arise, you can restore the library.

    The new versions of iphoto may or may not be to your liking. The jump to 7 is pretty significant, I reckon, in terms of features, by some things are changed for the worse.
  8. Wakh thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009
    OK, I haven't done anything yet to try and fix my iPhoto problem. I'm scared to (not so lol).

    I have a simple stupid basic question. I know the instructions exist somewhere, but maybe you can yell me in simple terms. All the help things I look at say "back up iphoto library folder" but does not tell me exactly how.

    What do I need to get to do this, and how do I exactly do it - Copying the folder to somewhere, I don't know how. I am lost can't do a damn thing computer-wise.

    Tonight I highlighted the 'iphoto library' folder and then clicked on Copy from the EDIT Menu just to see what it would ask me to do next, but nothing happened.

    I am so scared to lose my photos in trying to copy or backup, even before possibly losing them when I try to rebuild.

    I did some searches here, but a lot of the backup questions were from very experienced people who had gadgets and gizmos and programs etc to back up all kinds of other things.

    I didn't see any other simple-minded question like mine.

    Where can I find instructions A, B, C, then D, etc.? I went to MAc Help, but here is where it says 'backup your folder to external drive or a CD or DVD. I don't even know how to do that. I guess CD would be my best choice? What kind of CD do I need? (I know some packages of CDs say different things on them than others"

    You can't imagine how embarrasing it is for me to have to type this stuff - thank goodness for the anonymity of the Internet!
  9. JediMeister macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    After selecting Copy from the Edit menu while in Finder, go back to the Edit menu and hit Paste. You'll end up with a folder named iPhoto Library copy. Note that because of this duplication process, your iPhoto library will take up twice as much hard drive space as it did previously. Instructions for the actual rebuild process to be found here.

    With regards to the toolbar displaying all your images and one large image taking up the central position on the screen, sounds like your scale-meter has been moved all the way to the right. In the lower right hand corner of the screen is a tool that looks like a ruler with several notches and a indicator dot you can move to the left. Move it a couple notches to the left and if you begin to see more images than just the one and in the familiar grid format, you're doing it. That said, you will probably still need to rebuild the library to address the issue you seem to be having with some of the blank thumbnail images.
  10. Wakh thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009
    -Thank you JediMeister - so it is not unsafe to store a copy on my hard drive? It will not be affected by my rebuilding if something screws up in rebuilding?

    I'll go take a look at the bottom right screen as you suggested, and take a look at that thingie.
  11. Wakh thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009
    Well now, this is odd; when I rolled the ruler all the way to the left and made the thumbnails as small as they will go - none of the pics were blank boxes! What's up with that? All my pics were there, and as I scrolled down, there were rolls listed and everything. But it is all in one huge 'pile' so to speak - no organization like before. So yes, I will still rebuild.

    Can you explain why I got no blank thumbnails any more when I slid the 'size' bar all the way to the left?

    When I click on a thumbnail to get a large pic I still get thumbnails scrolling across the top of the page.

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