Aperture 3 - Locate Referenced Files

Part of the Aperture 3 - SuperSimpleStuff™ series.

If you have referenced files on one or more drives there is a good chance that sooner or later you will need to use Aperture 3's locate referenced files function. A reader contacted me a few days ago with a very common scenario. He had a drive full of referenced master files that was starting to fail. Thankfully he had an exact copy of that drive as a backup - as we all should have.

It had a intricate folder hierarchy that he had created over time that was also reproduced on his backup drive. His question was how to make Aperture 3 use the backup drive instead of the failing drive. He was having some trouble so I gave him a few suggestions. I hope everything turned out well for him and he is back up and running. I thought it might be a good time to review how to "reconnect" referenced master image files in Aperture 3.

For demonstration purposes let's assume you have a drive with a folder structure such as this conatining your referenced masterfiles.

Everything is humming along, you, Aperture 3, and your photos are doing just fine Then one day you see something like this. Uh-oh - [email protected] Now what?

Assuming you have a copy of that drive, let's call it "HD-bck" for this example. The first thing you may want to do is unmount or eject that drive using disk utility if it still shows up in the finder, just so that you can sort the wheat from that chaf. This is especially true if you have multiple drives of referenced images in which case you will want to focus on just the images that have masters on the failing drive. If the drive is quesiton is wholy off-line then obviously this will be sorted for you.

The next thing you want to do is go to the photos view in the browser and open up the search HUD. Add a new file status criteria from the add rule drop down menu. Make sure you set the criteria for that new rule to off-line and that the rule is checked. You may also want to make sure that there are no other criteria restricting the search.

You should end up with all of the images that have off-line referenced master files showing up in the browser like this.

Using the edit menu or Cmd+A select all of the images. Open up the Locate referenced files dialog from the file menu. At this point your screen should look something like this.

On the top half of the locate dialog you will see all of the images that were selected when the dialoag was activatied. These should be the images that now have off-line master files. On the bottom half of the dialog you should see a list of devices and folders. The goal is to navigate to the appropriate image file on the bottom of that dialog that matches the image selected at the top of the dialog.

Assuming that your backup drive has the same folder structure as the failed drive this should be easy as the folder structure you are looking for is listed in the top half of the dialog. There is also the image itself as well as some important metadata for you to compare and verify against the image that you navigate to. When you have navigated to the corresponding master file on the bottom this is what you should see.

The reconnect all button should become active as long as you matched up the one image with what Aperture believes is the correct master file associate with this image. Now just use that reconnect all button. Aperture should reconnect every image that was selected when you opened the locate referenced files dialog. There are many cases where it will not reconnect every file but many of them. If this is the case the files that are still off-line will still show up in the browser search that is active. Make sure you click somewhere to de-select the images that were selected so that Aperture will refresh the search and show only the images remaining off-line. Repeat the select all / locate steps described until all of the files are reconnected. This may take a few iterations but the number of off-line files will be less every iteration. When you are finished there will be no files that still show up in the search.

This kind of thing and much more is covered from soup to nuts in my Aperture 3 File Management eBook. If you run into a situattion that is more complicated than this I may be able to help you get things set strait again as I offer one-on-one assistance via phone and screensharing.

I hope this helps some of you that have not really understood how locate referenced files works in Aperture 3


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