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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 6975
Experience:  10+ Years Mac Support as contractor and currently an IT Manager for law firm
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Hi - I went to open iPhoto and got a message asking me, "which

Resolved Question:

Hi - I went to open iPhoto and got a message asking me, "which photo library do you want iPhoto to use?" instead of my regular pictures popping up. There were no libraries listed in the text box and when I hit "other library" I get a link to a handful of pictures….but not all of mine. Do you know where they could have gone to?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 10 months ago.

Brandon M. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us, a paid expert support site. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be glad to assist you with your issue.

Brandon M. :

If you look in your home folder, in the Pictures folder, do you see and iPhoto libraries?

Customer:

Sorry - I'm not so tech savvy. What do you mean when you say home folder?

Brandon M. :

Click the Happy face in your dock, then use the Go menu at the very top and choose Home

Customer:

ok - my home folder has a name but I'm guessing you mean the one with the house icon

Customer:

I see several folders there but none called iphoto

Brandon M. :

In the Pictures folder?

Customer:

nope - there are 2 folders there - just iChat icons and Photo Booth Library

Brandon M. :

Something happened to it, then. Do you have an external hard drive?

Customer:

I do. It is an iomega device

Customer:

I'm not sure how to access it

Customer:

there is an icon on the top rich that says the last back up it ran was on Sept 18, 2013 though so that is a good sign

Brandon M. :

What is it used for? The Iomega drive

Customer:

I think the icon is a time machine icon

Brandon M. :

Yeah, we may need to pull your iPhoto library from your backups

Customer:

the iomega drive is linked to time machine to back up everything on the computer - mostly pictures and some music. we've never retrieved anything from it

Customer:

how do i do that?

Customer:

how did all my pictures just disappear?

Brandon M. :

Gotcha. Ok, with the Pictures folder up, use the time machine icon in the top right corner and choose Enter Time Machine. Go back in time (on the right) until you see your iPhoto library. Choose it and click Restore in the bottom right corner.

Brandon M. :

It must've gotten deleted somehow

Customer:

It says my time machine back up disc can't be found

Customer:

it is asking me if i want to set it up

Brandon M. :

Hrm - that isn't good. Choose to set it up and see if the Iomega drive is listed.

Customer:

It says time machine is on. It says the oldest back-up is Feb 5, 2013 and the latest back up is Sept 18, 2013. It is asking me to either "select disk" or "options"

Customer:

the time machine button is also in the on position

Brandon M. :

Ok, is the Iomega drive on?

Customer:

It must be. In the time machine box it is listed

Brandon M. :

But it said it was missing. Can you try entering time machine again?

Customer:

When I select entering time machine I get the same box. It says

Customer:

"your time machine backup disk can't be found" and gives me 2 choices "cancel" and "set up time machine"

Customer:

When I click set up time machine I get a window with a lot of text that lists the name of the device (the iomega_HDD), then it says available and show "--" then it says oldest backup and says "February 5, 2013" then it says latest backup "September 18, 2013" then it says backing up and there is a status bar that is moving

Customer:

On the left of the box it says time machine is on

Customer:

I am given 2 choices of things to click - "select disk" or "options"

Brandon M. :

Ok, Is the -- a separate item listed?

Customer:

the "--" is listed to the right of the phrase "available"

Brandon M. :

Ah ok. But it says it is backing up now?

Customer:

there is an item that says "backing up" and there is a bar that looks like a twirling sideways barber pole next to it. Underneath the pole it says "stopping backup" but the pole keeps moving.

Brandon M. :

if it says -- available, it sounds like it still cannot find the drive.

Brandon M. :

Can you try unplugging the iomega drive and plugging it back in? Also, is there a light on it?

Customer:

ok - but it must have stuff in there from september as it says it backed up then

Customer:

i am unplugging and replugging - there is a light on it.

Customer:

i unplugged and replugged and got the following message "the disk you inserted was not readable by this computer" it is giving me 3 options - initialize, ignore or eject

Brandon M. :

Oh no... that isn't good

Brandon M. :

Would you mind if we setup a remote control session so I can take a look at it?

Customer:

that would be great. I'm starting to freak out. my pictures disappeared and now i find out my back up isn't working….omg

Brandon M. :

No problem. Let's see what we can find. Click here and run the software that downloads: http://166.78.231.170:8040/?Session=8623da44-ae00-488d-8a26-6406452d2fbb

Customer:

it says 'joining your session" but it feels like it is taking a while…is that normal?

Brandon M. :

It should've downloaded a program. Can you check your downloads?

Customer:

thnx. doing that now

Customer:

i think i am in

Brandon M. :

Yup. I am connected.

Brandon M. :

I will take control now.

Brandon M. :

System can't repair it. Going to see if any third party programs can

Customer:

do you know what happened?

Customer:

my son was on the computer earlier. could he have done something?

Brandon M. :

Not yet. Hoping one of these programs will say what is going on

Brandon M. :

Nah, this honestly looks like hard drive failure. But I don't want to jump to anything yet. About how old is the drive?

Customer:

the computer and the iomega are both <1 year old….this is nuts

Brandon M. :

Ok, then it shouldn't have failed yet.

Brandon M. :

Let me see what is going on

Brandon M. :

Looks like that drive is actually failing... It is having trouble reading a very early in the drive and each block is failing. Now, that would also be a controller issue (the case itself, basically) and not the drive itself.

Customer:

so are you saying my entire computer is melting down??

Customer:

What should we do? Go back to the Apple store?

Brandon M. :

Haha, no, no. There is something wrong with that drive. There is nothing wrong with your Mac. However, I would like to take a look around and see if I can find your iPhoto library, if you don't mind.

Customer:

yes, please!

Customer:

And it sounds like we need to get a new external hard drive too - I'd love any of your recos

Brandon M. :

Sure. I will recommend one or two models when we finish up.

Brandon M. :

Can you unplug the Iomega for now?

Customer:

done

Brandon M. :

Thanks

Brandon M. :

Not going to be able to use this program - it needs another drive to use for temp storage. Oi.

Brandon M. :

I don't see it anywhere on the system or in the Trash so I don't know if it was deleted or something else happened to it.

Customer:

is it even possible to delete all your photos???

Brandon M. :

Was going to try to look for deleted items.

Brandon M. :

Yes, the iPhoto library is a single file on the hard drive

Brandon M. :

If you delete that single file, everything goes with it

Customer:

I was looking at pictures yesterday

Customer:

I can't believe my son could have really deleted everything and deleted it from trash - is that possible?

Brandon M. :

Ok, so then I would assume it would be in the Trash since there is quite a history in there. But I don't see it.

Customer:

so this doesn't make sense - it just up and vanished!!

Brandon M. :

No, unless he knew what he was doing (technologically)

Customer:

he is 7

Brandon M. :

Yeah haha, he couldn't have done that

Brandon M. :

Now... here is a question.

Brandon M. :

Do you know if the Iomega was working yesterday?>

Customer:

i don't know. I set it up months ago with the apple tech and have ignored it

Customer:

my guess is that things haven't been working since it says last successful back up was in sept. could iomega have caused this to happen?

Brandon M. :

Well, what I am thinking is that the iPhoto library may actually be on the Iomega drive

Brandon M. :

Would explain how it vanished without being deleted

Customer:

how do i get it off the iomega drive?

Brandon M. :

Well, the Iomega drive isn't responding at the moment. I have a crazy suggestion but it is not something that would be easy for you (no offense) to do. Not sure if the Apple Store would do it for you (not sure the extent of their support beyond their own products). Basically, there is a hard drive inside that case. As a test, you could take the hard drive out of that case and put it in a new case and see if it responds properly. If it does, it is the Iomega case. If not, the hard drive itself failed.

Brandon M. :

If the drive is only 1 year old, it doesn't make sense that it failed already.

Customer:

you are right - i have no idea how to do that.

Customer:

I also don't understand how iPhoto could up and jump from my computer to the hard drive. I've had iMacs for years and never had this happen before. the whole thing just doesn't add up

Customer:

any other suggestions for me. i'm devastated to lose my pics, especially when I thought i was doing everything right…even backing up with a hard drive

Brandon M. :

Well, the iPhoto library can be stored anywhere. If Apple helped you set this up, they may have suggested storing the library on the external for safe keeping.

Brandon M. :

As that is common practice.

Customer:

ok. i guess i will try to go to the store tomorrow. thanks for trying. this sucks

Brandon M. :

You were doing everything right, believe me. Everything looks great. I would suggest stopping in the store and explaining and see if they will help at all. For the future, you might want to look at getting an external RAID (like the bug spray). Apple can help you with that. Basically, what that does is when you back up to one drive, it will backup to a second drive. It's called a mirrored array.

Brandon M. :

So that if something like this happens again, there is a second drive still in the case that still has your data.

Customer:

thanks

Brandon M. :

Also, there is a data recovery service, if you are interested, that I work with on a regular basis. It really depends on how critical or how sensitive the data is. They basically take the drive apart and extract the data that way. They usually have excellent recovery success rates. (98-100% for me in the past)

Customer:

what is their contact info?

Brandon M. :

They are just very pricy (up to $1,000). They have a photo-only recovery service which is only a few hundred. If you are interested, their name isXXXXX 1-800-440-1904

Brandon M. :

But it is on a per-case basis. You send the drive to them and they give you a quote

Customer:

ok. thanks for your help. bye

Brandon M. :

No problem. Please be sure to rate the service positively! I will close the remote session now.

Brandon M., Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 6975
Experience: 10+ Years Mac Support as contractor and currently an IT Manager for law firm
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