March 15, 2004

iPhoto Meltdown

My iPhoto database is corrupt. When I run iPhoto it crashes instantly and I’ve had no luck getting it to launch without losing all my database info such as film rolls and image rotation and so forth. Further, I haven’t been able to find anyone who’s had similar problems and been able to fix it. So frustrating.

[Update: I gave up trying to figure out which file was to blame for my shredded iPhoto library and have started to rebuild. I’m happy to see that there’s an iPhoto update available now which may prevent issues like the one I had.]

[iWalt.com reader Mike Maskalans writes: “I had the exact same problem with iPhoto, under the same circumstances as your issue. I’m working with a small iPhoto library right now, thankfully. My testing indicates that deleting Thumb*.data files will likely bring iPhoto back to life. I also had already trashed the cache and prefs out of ~/Library, and haven’t bothered trying to restore them. It doesn’t seem that these Thumb files store anything useful: comments remain, rolls remain, albums remain.”]

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This also happened to me after installing iLife. Only today was I able to get it to open without crashing and this was a lame hack of just moving all my photos out of the library and starting new. I’m planning of importing all the albums manually. This measure was a quick fix that I tried after throwing away my preferences (in case they were corrupted) and seeing no improvement. I’d be interested in knowing what file is causing this exactly.

Nick Runco

damian had this happen. i can ask him how he fixed it. i believe installing form the iLife CD was the fix though. how that is more effective than trashing the prefs is beyond me.

Walt Dickinson

I think the corruption occurred when I force-restarted the machine when it wouldn’t wake up the other night. I’m pretty sure iPhoto was open at the time. First I tried trashing the prefs. Then I tried isolating which of the multiple data files in the iPhoto Library folder was the unhappy one. Finally I tried cursing at it under my breath. So far, no luck. I’m going to cry if I have to rebuild my film rolls manually. Actually, if it comes to that I’m going to pass on iPhoto 4. I don’t need to live in fear of my photo database. I’ll post any progress I make.

Sean Peisert

I live in fear for my documents of damage from any application if the documents aren’t backed up (which they are, nightly).

Hey! This happened to me, and I have the warranty, so I called them. Here is what they had me do: Close iPhoto

Open up the “Library” directory and find something to do with iPhoto. Move Library items related to your thumbnails and library onto your desktop.

Start iPhoto.

If it starts, you know that your stuff is corrupted. Then, they had me do a couple things. When it was all done, i was able to drag all my old libraries and the like back into iPhoto and it worked perfectly.

Shoot. I can’t remember the details right now, and I’m on my Windoze system at work now (no Mac), so I’ll have to look when I get home. If you’re still having problems, get in touch.

Walt Dickinson

I decided to rebuild a couple days ago. Looks now like there’s an update which will prevent these kinds of errors. If you do happen to come across the specifics of your fix, please feel free to post them.

I hate to be a spelling nazi - BUT - it’s “losing”. Loosing, I would imagine, means “to make loose”, or something. Feel free to correct anything I write as well ;)

Walt Dickinson

Yes, of course, loosing. As in my database info was “loosened” and disappeared into the ether. Yeah, sure, that’s what I meant.

Seriously, thanks. =-)