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Help with getting old photo library to High Sierra after a clean install - repost #1
Ada's picture
by Ada
December 6, 2017 - 4:24am

Hi all,

I have been disappointed that I didn’t get any reply to my post, only to find out today that my post was actually blank! I can still see it when I moused over the title and it’s clearly a newbie mistake…Anyway, I hope that’s the reason no one has responded and I am re-posting it now….

Background - Currently I have Aperture on El Capitan and I am considering doing a clean install of High Sierra over the Christmas holiday on my late 2015 iMac as it has become quite sluggish. I have a 1T fusion drive and it has got 300GB free space left. I found out that 368GB of the drive was photos, even though for the past 5 years I have imported all my original photos and videos on external hard drives and have only used referenced files in Aperture. Before I started using Aperture, I used to import photos into iphoto and did some editing and photo projects in there (but still keeping all original on external hard drives).

In my Pictures folder, there are 3 libraries:

1) Photos library has 1.36GB in the “Masters folder” and 38.56GB in the “Previews” folder

2) iphoto library has 60.76GB in Masters and 189.3GB in Previews

3) Aperture library has zero KB in both Masters and Previews folders.


1) I want to reduce the size of my photo library on High Sierra (once updated and installed on my existing iMac)

2) when I open Aperture again on High Sierra, I would like to be able to see all my photo projects in there, i.e., the referenced files neatly organized into projects as it was before, and that these files will be able to locate the referenced masters on my external drives when I click on them.


1) I have never done a clean install before and only ever restored from Time Machine backup. So what steps do I need to do to backup my photo libraries and after that, how do I insert it back into the new OS, and achieve my goal of having a smaller photo library that doesn’t take up one third of my hard drive?  If it is of any help, since I have all my photos on external hard drives, I don’t worry too much about losing the older photos from the photo library. My main objective is not to lose the organization I have in Aperture since 2012 so I can still easily access photo projects by date and event and preview the photos that have been marked for upcoming projects.

2) I also colour code photos for different albums and projects - can those be “back-up” and migrated to the new OS?

Any advice would be much appreciated!


lolee1942ja's picture
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Michel Blanchard's picture
by Michel Blanchard
September 26, 2020 - 8:17pm

Not sure when this was reposted, maybe I’ma little late. Still need help?

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