2006-07-11 Restoring an iPhoto Library from DVD

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< Tags: [[tag:iphoto]] [[tag:mac]] [[tag:gadgets]] [[tag:software]]


> Tags: [[tag:iphoto]] [[tag:mac]] [[tag:gadgets]] [[tag:software]] [[tag:backup]]

I burnt a copy of Claudia’s iPhoto library on a DVD, for backup purposes. I also looked at the files in the iPhoto Library folder and found that the movies (little 30s AVI files from my digital camera) where not to be found in the iPhoto Library. So I decided to try the following experiment: Renaming the existing library and restoring the library from DVD. After all, that’s my worst case scenario anyway.

I renamed the existing library, and when iPhoto started, I had to create a new one. That seems reasonable. When I inserted the DVD, I was able to browse it. Cool. But how to merge them, including originals?

After some googling “merging iphoto library” I decided I just wanted to drag the folder from the Finder into iPhoto. This worked, in a way: All the pictures got imported, but since I had about twice as many images after the import, and I spotted several duplicates, I’m assuming that it imported all the files from the Data, Originals, and Modified folders. No good! I deleted the new library folder again.

Then I tried the thing that seems like the most natural thing to do: I just copied the iPhoto Library folder from the DVD into my Pictures directory. Why merge a new library with an empty one, if I can just copy it? After restarting iPhoto it regenerates the thumbnail cache, which seems reasonable enough. The number of images is correct. And the AVI files are part of the library folder, too. Great!

Simpler than I thought. It’s not always the system’s fault. I wonder how I turned out to be as paranoid and irrational about software… 8-)

I also used rsync -av Pictures/iPhoto\ Library/ /Volumes/Extern/iPhoto\ Library/ to copy all the data to an external harddisk. Just to be safe. ;) I heard rumours about the resource fork being used, and wonder I could use this directory to restore the data… Even though I am lazy by nature, I’ve become paranoid, so I’ll try it.

I also wonder how useful it is to run rsync when copying data between local discs. It seems to me that this would be only beneficial if writing data takes significantly longer than reading data. That might be true. But I don’t feel like measuring it. Well, actually I do, because now I decided to rsync the entire Pictures folder. It contains the iPhoto Library and iChat Icons folders. So I created a new Pictures folder on the extern disk, moved the 1.9G iPhoto Library into it, and ran rsync -av Pictures/ /Volumes/Extern/Pictures/:

Pyrobombus:~ claudia$ rsync -av Pictures/ /Volumes/Extern/Pictures/
building file list ... done
iChat Icons -> /Library/Application Support/Apple/iChat Icons/
iPhoto Library/
iPhoto Library/.ipspot_update

sent 73505 bytes  received 60 bytes  147130.00 bytes/sec
total size is 2019142949  speedup is 27447.06

Nice! It was blazing fast. Thanks rsync!

Anyway, back to my test: I now renamed the iPhoto Library I had copied from DVD and copied the rsync copy from the external harddisk back into my Pictures folder. (Well, Claudia’s folder…) Restarted iPhoto. The number of images is correct. The thumbnail cache does not need to be rebuilt. It seems to work. Awesome! I picked an image I had rotated, and reverted it back to the original. It worked, too! Awesome!! :-D

You might be wondering why I’m doing all this if her pictures fit on a single DVD. Well, here MP3 collection does not… I have more backing up to do today!

Here’s what I’m using right now:

if [ -z "$1" ]; then
    echo Missing volume name
    echo Currently available:
    ls /Volumes/
    exit 1

if [ ! -d "/Volumes/$1" ]; then
    echo Volume $1 does not exist
    echo Currently available:
    ls /Volumes/
    exit 1

for d in Desktop Documents Movies Music Pictures; do
        rsync -av ~/$d/ "/Volumes/$1/$d/"


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