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prak97@gmail.co
01-07-2016, 02:07 AM
Hi ...A friend has a 2008 iMac and in order to get back some hard drive space , has a TimeMachine backup on an external drive with literally 1000's of pics stored in the iPhoto library file .
A new library file is now on the hard drive , ( which is gradually building ) .
His problem is how to view his original iPhoto library from the TimeMachine back up .
If he opens iPhoto it wants to 'import' all the pics back to the hard drive which has no space .
So how can we make a iPhoto library file , store it on the external drive , and not require importing to the hard drive ?
I'm baffled .:-)

chas_m
01-07-2016, 02:30 AM
I believe you mean "Time Machine" backup. If that's correct, you've fundamentally misunderstood the way Time Machine works, but don't panic. It's all still there, but you're going to have to jump through some hoops.

Time Machine is meant to be a backup of what you have on your boot drive, not extra storage. Consequently, at some point all your original photos are going to be deleted when Time Machine runs out of space due to updating backups.

What you want to do is move the larger, original iPhoto library to A DIFFERENT hard drive to preserve the file as it was. You can do this: simply pick one of the backup folders from before you made the big changeover, locate the larger original iPhoto library, and copy it to another external drive. This will probably take a while.

Once that's done, you can open the original iPhoto library file that is now on the different external hard drive by opening iPhoto with the option key held down and navigating the resulting dialog box to the library you want to open. It will read it from the new external. To switch back, just open iPhoto with the option key held down again and change back to your newer library.

DO NOT repeat DO NOT do this with the backup copy on Time Machine!! That version will eventually disappear as new backups replace old ones, but that's okay -- you have a copy of the original library on your other external that will work for that purpose. You'll want to find a way to back that one up too at some point, but let's address that in a different post.

prak97@gmail.co
01-07-2016, 02:47 AM
@ Chas_m ...You're right I did mean a Time Machine backup :-)
Thanks for the reply , as I understand it , another external drive will be required .
And there I was hoping we could just copy the Library file to the same external drive , which has plenty of space , but in its own folder ??

chas_m
01-07-2016, 03:22 AM
I wouldn't recommend that. Time Machine will eventually use up all the space on that drive.

The way it works is that it initially does a backup of EVERYTHING, and then "increments" the things that have been added or changed every hour. So, over time, the backups take up more and more space -- but this is what allows you to go "back in time" to before you deleted the original library and still retrieve it. However, it's not meant as a file viewer -- it's for retrieval of something lost, and if you wait long enough the old backups are deleted to make room for the new backups.

That's why it is a matter of some urgency that you make an independent backup of the original iPhoto Library as soon as possible, while it still exists. Time Machine's job is to back up your boot drive: since you deleted the original iPhoto library, it is just a matter of time and capacity before the old one is permanently gone otherwise.

prak97@gmail.co
01-07-2016, 03:11 PM
OK , I've instructed him to turn OFF Time machine auto back ups until we can get this sorted .
So if and when he gets this iPhoto Library file stored on an external drive , when he opens it in iPhoto will it still want to import the files to the machine's hard drive ??
If that is the case , then he still has the original problem .
There is no space left on the Hard Drive for all those pics .

He spent a huge amount of time scanning old family photos , and work files and chucking them on the hard drive , like 20 years worth , then wondered why his machine was slow and un responsive .
This is the danger of people using computers with no basic understanding of file storage etc .
And obviously I don't know much either and Ive been playing with computers for nearly 30 years :-)

Thanks for the help .

chas_m
01-07-2016, 03:20 PM
So if and when he gets this iPhoto Library file stored on an external drive , when he opens it in iPhoto will it still want to import the files to the machine's hard drive ??

No, when you point iPhoto to a different library, it opens that library "in place" and makes that the new default library until you switch back.



He spent a huge amount of time scanning old family photos , and work files and chucking them on the hard drive , like 20 years worth , then wondered why his machine was slow and un responsive .

That would not cause the machine to become slow and unresponsive unless he filled up the hard drive to less than 10 percent or so available free space. Obviously a huge iPhoto library will cause **iPhoto** to become slower and less responsive, but assuming the library isn't consuming the whole of the storage, the rest of the machine should operate normally. I have a 100GB+ photo library in Photos (more about that later) and it's not slow at all.

prak97@gmail.co
01-07-2016, 05:02 PM
"he filled up the hard drive to less than 10 percent or so available free space"

That's what happened , he had less than 300Mb , a wonder the machine started at all .

Slydude
01-07-2016, 09:57 PM
"he filled up the hard drive to less than 10 percent or so available free space"

That's what happened , he had less than 300Mb , a wonder the machine started at all .
You're right. That would explain the slowdown. Take it from someone who has done it once or twice.

prak97@gmail.co
01-07-2016, 11:38 PM
What you want to do is move the larger, original iPhoto library to A DIFFERENT hard drive to preserve the file as it was. You can do this: simply pick one of the backup folders from before you made the big changeover, locate the larger original iPhoto library, and copy it to another external drive. This will probably take a while.

So just to confirm , he can copy the Library file FROM the Time Machine backup ?? without installing the back up to the hard drive ?

chas_m
01-08-2016, 02:44 AM
Yes. Just don't open it until it is safely copied to the other external hard drive.

Let me list the steps with a little visual aid, and I'm sure you'll quickly get it.

Open a Finder window for the Time Machine drive. Don't do anything there just yet.

Open a Finder window for the new external drive. I will presume it is blank for now, but be sure it is formatted for Mac.

Now, back to the Finder window for the Time Machine drive. You'll see a folder called backups.backup. Double-click it to open it.

You'll see a folder called "[NAME OF YOUR HARD DRIVE]". Double-click that to open it.

You'll see folders with dates. Pick a folder from a date you know was before you deleted the original iPhoto library off the boot drive. Double-click to open it.

Scroll down to "Users," open that, select the home folder of the user in question, open that, scroll down to the Pictures folder, open that, and look for a file called iPhoto Library.

Almost done. DRAG that folder from the window you're in into the window for the new external hard drive. This will make a copy, and it will take a while.

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Once that is done, properly eject the Time Machine drive (just temporarily so you don't get confused in the next step).

Now go to iPhoto in your Dock, and hold the option key down and keep holding it while you launch iPhoto. A dialog box will come up asking you if you want to create a new library or open an existing one. Navigate to the iPhoto library you just copied on that new external drive and select it, then click okay. Now iPhoto will launch, but it will just rely on that existing library on the new external drive and load up your "old" iPhoto library without importing anything.

This will now be the default iPhoto library. Each time you launch iPhoto with this new external drive attached, it will automatically open the copy of the old library UNTIL you launch iPhoto with the option key held down to change back.

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This is what it will look like when you launch iPhoto with the option key held down -- you'll see two choices. They may both be named iPhoto Library, but you can tell which is which because underneath each selection it will tell you where that selection is located.

prak97@gmail.co
01-08-2016, 03:38 AM
Chas_m ...you are an absolute star , thanks so much for this , owe you big time ....Cheers