Moving iPhoto to new drive - Alias problems

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by typecase, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. typecase macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2005
    Hello all,

    When I switched to the Macintosh more than three years ago I arrived with a whole bunch of pictures (tens of gigabytes worth) already organized on an external drive. I didn't want iPhoto to duplicate them again on the main disk so I imported all the pictures manually but iPhotod didn't copy the original to the main disk. iPhoto only has the alias to the original photo and stores any thumbnails and duplicates from editing in its folder. My library is still on my main drive.

    Recently, I migrated to a larger external drive which I want to rename. How can I get iPhoto to still see the aliases and find the link to the originals? The only thing that's changed is the drive name. The path is exactly the same otherwise. Currently it gets confused and still looks for the original drive name and asks me to locate it.

    As my photo library has grown considerably over the years and I've made quite a few metadata additions in iPhoto, I'd rather not add them manually.

    Can anyone offer some help?


  2. outaru macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008

    I've been on that situation, I'n not sure regarding aliases, what i did is move my iPhoto library to an external harddrive so all photos are on the external HD and iPhoto doesn't have to deal with aliases. Moving iPhoto to an external HD is fairly simple this will make your entire library safe and all your meta data intact..
  3. typecase thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2005
    Thanks, Outaru. I'm familiar with the procedure of moving the entire iPhoto library to an external. The complicated part is the aliases. Can anyone offer any help?
  4. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I think, that if you perform the move while iPhoto is open it will update the aliases to the new location.
  5. elvtnedge macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    I think I might be in the same boat as you. My wife and I share the photos so any imports I do she also sees when she is logged in and vica versa. I just moved my photo library which was under "shared" to my external drive and loaded up iphoto and the pictures loaded up but I never did have to specify a location. With that said, I deleted the original 10 gig file on my main harddrive and it still opened.

    I must not be doing something right and this I think is in relation to aliases... .

    ***update - I just relinked the alias to point to the external drive.... and it worked***
  6. seeka macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    moving iphoto library after moving the iPhoto library to an external HD, how do you then perform a Time Machine backup on a second external drive?
  7. rangerrick337 macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    Trials and errors

    Ok, so far I have tried many things. The most successful was:

    1) copy over the actual picture files from one external to the other
    2) create a duplicate of the original iPhoto library using iPhoto library manager (this is duplicating it mostly just to have a backup so the original stays intact in case you mess something up)
    3) Import photos from the new hard drive (yes you are creating doubles of all your aliases)
    4) Delete the events in iPhoto that point to your original hard drive (make sure you delete the right ones)

    I see no major problem with this approach aside from the time consuming aspect of it; however, when I compared the size of the folder labeled "modified" within the new library with that of the old, there were differences. So I'm not positive all the changes I'd made to photos was preserved.

    There must be a better way. If anyone else has an idea I'd really appreciate it.
  8. rangerrick337 macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    Still working on it

    Well, I have tried the method I laid out in the previous post with several different libraries and each time it seemed to do something different with the "originals" and "modified" folders within the libraries. So I don't trust it.

    What I am thinking now is exporting a copy of all the photos from the original library onto the new external and then just importing them into a new library.

    I have 2 questions. 1) When exporting photos are they exported with all changes that have been made to them? 2) Is there any way to export them into folders by the name of the events instead of into one large folder?

    This is a legitimate problem that I've been puzzling on for a while. If anyone has a ray of wisdom, now would be the time to share before I join the Scarecrow in Arkham Asylum!
  9. elvtnedge macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    I copied them all over to the external drive and what has happened is there is one file of about 10 gigs but I cant access individual pictures. If I open up a iphoto they are all there but if I want to attach pics, I can only drag from iphoto to the email. I cant upload a photo to photobucket for example.

    can anyone explain what happened?
  10. rangerrick337 macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    elvtnedge, when you say you copied them to the external, does that mean you copied the whole library to the external? If you did then it will show up as one file while browsing through the finder. The best way I have found to make individual uploads is to drag whatever pictures you want to upload into a folder on the desktop. This will create a copy of those images. Then upload from that folder to wherever you like and just delete that folder when finished.

    Hope this helps.
  11. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nashville, TN, USA
  12. rangerrick337 macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    Sorry for the confusion Mary, but we are not trying to move the library off the internal hard drive. We did this originally when we moved the photos to an external and created an alias for all the pictures on our internal.

    The question posted now is how to move them from the external they have been on to a different external. That is the difficult part. If you try to do it outside of iphoto, when you open iphoto it tries to have you locate each picture individually which is way too slow. And obviously you can not do it within iphoto.

    This topic has not been posted on Macrumors before, I have searched extensively. So we are stuck until a smarter person than I can figure this out.

    Thanks for the help.
  13. rangerrick337 macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    Last hope that someone has a solution for me. I have tried so many different things now that I won't go into the details, but in the end I still want the same seemingly simple thing accomplished:

    move the photos from one external to another while preserving all the event names and the edits that have been made to the photos previously with iphoto.

    What I am about to do is the long process of dragging each event into a new folder with the corresponding name on the new external, and then importing these folders into new libraries and then deleting the old. This will take a long and tedious time, but there seems to be no other way.

    Any last thoughts?
  14. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Can you connect the two externals to the computer at the same time (in other words -- 2 USB drives or one USB and one firewire?)? If so, once they are both mounted, use the instructions Apple provides and copy the library from one to the other. Then set your iPhoto preferences to access whichever external you want to use. I have done this and it works perfectly and easily.

    If that does not address your problem, then I am afraid I do not understand your question.
  15. rangerrick337 macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008

    Sorry skybolt no cigar. Your solution would have been grand if I had all my photos in the library on the external. But the way I had it set up was having the library file on the internal filled with alias files that pointed to the stored photos on the external.

    What I finally did was:

    1) copy all original photos from the old external to the new

    2) create a new library and import the photos from the new drive into it (with the option in preferences unchecked for "copy files to library")

    3) then I copied everything from the original library except the "originals" folder (i.e. modified folder, library06 file, etc.) to the new library

    4) once I was sure everything ran well with the new library I deleted the old

    This four step process kept all my events organized as before as well as retained all edits I had made in iPhoto previously. Hopefully this is helpful to someone else. Thanks to everyone that helped! :D

    PS: The whole benefit of storing your library on the internal but your photos on the external is that you have your library with you when you travel. Although you cannot edit photos, you still have the whole library of thumbnails so that you can show your photos to others.

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