Safe to store iphoto library on windows server?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by stevewynn, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. stevewynn macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2010
    Ive been searching for a definitive answer for this but it seems there is much mystique surrounding the topic. (I maybe wrong of course, so please excuse me if this is obvious.)

    Sorry for the long write-up, but Id really appreciate anyone´s help for peace of mind and not potentially making a big mistake :)

    My iPhoto library is about to outgrow my MBP hard drive. Im battling with keeping enough free space on my drive as i have a lot of other stuff there in addition to the drive having a boot camp partition as well. Anyway, moving the library to an _physically attached_ external drive is not an option as my MBP needs to be mobile inside my home network. It is a laptop after all.

    The good thing about keeping the library locally on my MBP is that its fast and also backed up through time machine on a network server in case my drive will fail.

    The network server i have is (please dont kill me) is a HP windows home server. It plays pretty well for TM backups in my experience. With disk redundancy etc. its perfect for file storage and TM backups even if Im using a mac. Time Capsule doesnt offer redundancy so its really not a safe backup device in my opinion.

    I have however been very reluctant to even think about storing my iphoto library on the server and pointing iphoto to that library location (through the "option open iphoto"), both because of the obvious performance drop (lag), but also because i read from time to time about storing iphoto library on a windows formatted system is not entirely safe.

    But what is the "unbiased" objective lowdown on storing an iphoto library on a windows server? Is it so that i risk corrupting the library over time? When i read forum posts about the subject, I get the feeling this is "statements" not necessarily with proper reference.

    Of course it would be best to have a HFS+ journaled disk. But is it a must? And is SMB okay?

    An alternative would be to put the iphoto library into a sparsebundle. This would retain the HFS+ format even though its stored on the windows file system wouldn´t it? But then again, if that sparsebundle (or any file parts, as windows would see it) gets corrupted I will not be able to manually pick out the jps/raws as a last resort (which would be visible if the library file was stored directly on the server (again from a windows point of view)).

    Anyway i´d thought it try it to see if it works. Ive copied my 70 gb+ iphoto library to the server volume while still keeping my local copy in tact just in case. So far it has worked just fine (apart from the obvious lag when opening files). But I feel kind of nervous that something would go wrong with my most precious years of family photos.

    Any thoughts about this? Am I right to worry, or is this no problem? (or should should i use a sparsebundle for that matter?)

    Thanks for any insight :) I really appreciate it.
  2. sparkie1984 macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    anybody have any thought on this? as its kind of the point of me building a home server to if poss store all my media on it
  3. jgATL macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
    I'm currently storing my itunes library files and music files on a windows home server v1 (2008). The drive extender that came with this server OS is fantastic, I've had disks fail and lost no data. FYI, this feature was deprecated in the 2011 version. You might find a WHS 2008 version disk on ebay. I would assume that the iphoto library would be work the same as the itunes library. My photos are stored on the server, but not the library file.

    I would, however, recommend to keep an online backup. I pay $6/mo for unlimited storage and it works on windows home server.

    FYI, there is also a compatibility issue with SMB shares on windows server with Lion. SMB shares are no longer supported for time machine backups. Go to and search on OS X lion. There's a workaround in place that's documented in the forums, but I haven't tried it yet. For now, I'm staying with Snow Leopard until I test this new capability.

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