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tallnate

iPhoto library corruption and slow copying

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My iPhoto library won't open, or rebuild, probably due to the fact that a few days ago I ran CleanMyMac and CCleaner and one of them offered to clean up "iPhoto trash files", which I did. Given that all of our family photos are in this library, I am very concerned. It's a large library, 40,000 photos and about 125 GB. Deleting the plist file and trying to launch again didn't help. When I click on the iPhoto icon in the dock, sometimes it bounces, sometimes it doesn't, but nothing happens. When I option-click on iPhoto, it bounces for a while and then stops, but never launches iPhoto. I have backups, but they're hard to use...:

 

It would take forever to retrieve 125 GB from my online backup service, Backblaze, so I tried to restore from Time Machine over the top of the corrupted iPhoto library. Since my internal MacBook Pro drive only has about 55 GB free, TM eventually stopped and informed me that there wasn't enough free space to restore it. So I'm thinking I'll need to delete the iPhoto library on my main drive and then hopefully Time Machine will restore it.

 

So then I decided that first I should have an extra backup copy of the corrupted iPhoto library, in case it isn't possible to restore from Time Machine or Backblaze. I tried to copy it to an external USB 2.0 drive, and as I've found before, the copying slows to a brutal crawl at certain points. Between 900MB and 1GB complete, it was barely progressing - I think it said it was going to take 6 days to complete or something. I've seen this before and my theory is that inside the library package, there are a huge number of very small files and/or deep nested folders that take orders of magnitude longer to copy than their size would indicate. But after a few hours, it sped up greatly and finished the copy in about 4 hours (I think). I wasn't running anything else on my computer during this time.

 

For safety and paranoia, I decided to make another direct copy of the corrupted iPhoto library to my NAS, over the network via Ethernet. It has been copying for 1.5 days, and has only completed 1.04 GB and says it will take another 155 days to complete! YIKES. In the last 12 hours, it has only progressed from 1.02 GB to 1.04 GB complete. It's interesting that it's brutally slow in the same part of the iPhoto library as bogged down during the copy to the local USB 2.0 drive, but I'm not sure that it will speed up, and not sure when it might.

 

Has anyone seen this kind of slowdown when copying a large iPhoto library, and is there anything I can do about it? At 125 GB, I think the library would be too large to compress, and you can't compress JPGs much anyway. Plus I wouldn't have enough space on my internal drive to store a huge saved ZIP file. If the copy job gets past the slow ugly part of the library and speeds up, the 155 days to complete will come down quickly, but I don't know if I can wait this out. Plus then if I get to the point where I try to restore from Time Machine, that could take forever as well. UGH...your help is appreciated!

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sounds like you have a BAD hard drive.

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I thought so too, but I've repaired permissions, and the internal drive was able to allow the whole library to be copied out to the external drive. The NAS drive also seems ok since it has passed all diagnostics, and does fine on all copy jobs other than ones like this that consist of probably hundreds of thousands of files within the package.

 

Our IT guys at work (admittedly more familiar with Windows and enterprise than Macs) say that file operations using extremely long path names and/or file names can take significantly longer, even in the Windows world. It seems dumb, but I think I'm experiencing that after watching dozens of copy jobs to my NAS over the past few weeks.

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"repair permissions" doesn't do anything to "fix" bad media. ever. it's a worthless artifact of support steps left over from 10.2 when installers actually damaged permissions. if there is a BAD sector or TRACK on the harddrive every time the drive goes to there it will get hung up trying to read the disk. this is what is causing it to go slow.

 

a long path name won't slow down access. saying somethig like that is just making stuff up. like saying it's slow today because "sunspots are in magnetic alignment with rotational media in the Northern hemisphere."

 

the next thing to do is to listen to the hard drive as it's copying files. if it makes a repeat, repeat, repeating noise it's likely tripping on bad surface or the heads are failing in certain areas of the platter.

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First I agree with what John is saying your issue is.

 

I'd just like to add that even though it does not appear to be the case in your situation, I am always hesitant to use any of these " one step solution " programs like clean my Mac. Most of the time they are OK, but almost all of their functionality can also be done through the OS and/or the app itself ( in this case iPhoto ) ... and if the functionality is NOT there, maybe there's a reason for it. Better to do that maintenance ( if you really think it necessary ) manually. IMO this goes for both Macs and PC's

 

But again, I don't believe this affected your situation ... I agree with John.

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