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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fixed! iPhoto Trash Can Will Not Empty

At some point my iPhoto ‘09 trash can stopped emptying. I think it was after a large delete of roughly 500 photos when my iPhoto library’s total size was around 8,000 images. I discovered it when I looked in my trash folder and saw all the thumbnails grayed out or empty, depending on what you consider them.

Screenshot of empty images in from my trash in iPhoto.Screenshot of empty images in from my trash in iPhoto.

Simple fix, right?

I right clicked on the trash and selected the “Empty Trash”. The beach ball came and spun for about 30 seconds and the iPhoto application went away. Crash. Then the following error message shows up.

Empty Trash function causes iPhoto to crash or quit unexpectedly.
I tried it a few more times, even after a reboot of both my networked machine that holds the iPhoto library and my Mac Mini. Same result, iPhoto ’09 crashed. I went ahead and submitted the error to Apple.

iPhoto Trash will not empty: A quick look at the error message shows some sort of kernal protection error.  iPhoto probably lost it's pointers to files, or had pointers to files that it could not find or had already been deleted.
A quick look at the error message shows some sort of kernal protection error. iPhoto probably lost it's pointers to files, or had pointers to files that it could not find or had already been deleted.

Not willing to give up, I tried a few other things that were ineffective.

1. Since all the items in the trash can were missing or orphaned thumbnails, I thought that maybe adding some new photos into the trash can would improve the situation. No luck.
2. Rebuilding the iPhoto database seems to be a common catch-all for most iPhoto problems. I exited iPhoto and then relaunched it while holding the open apple and option keys to get the database rebuild dialog. In order to be safe, I selected all the options for Rebuild Photo Library:

Rebuild the photos' small thumbnails
Rebuild all of the photos' thumbnails (this may take a while)
Recover orphaned photos in the iPhoto Library folder
Examine and repair iPhoto Library file permissions
Rebuild the iPhoto Library Database from automatic backup

3 hours later, the trash still would not empty.

In a last ditch effort, I decided that since my iPhoto Library was now small enough that it would fit locally on my Mac Mini, I would move locally. This would, among other things make the application run a little faster overall. After the move, just for kicks – I rebuilt the database one more time.

Guess what? That worked – the rebuild of the iPhoto database with all the other options selected FIXED the problem with the trash can. After the rebuild, the trash was empty and standard functionality was restored.

If you happen to encounter a problem with your trash can while trying to empty with iPhoto, your first step should be to rebuild the database. However, if you are storing your iPhoto library on a network or external drive / device, move it local first. That is likely to solve your problem if is similar to mine.

Good luck!

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please tell me how to move my iphoto library from my external backup drive to local. From what I could understand on your post, it seems that it's my backup drive that could be the problem? I am not very computer literate, so any help is appreciated.

Lynn