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Advice requested please re: longer-term storage/transfer/backups to make space on my MBA #1
Jen minisuitcase's picture
by Jen minisuitcase
July 30, 2013 - 2:43pm

Hi All,

I have Aperture 3 running on a 128gb 2011 MacBook Air. The problem is I have run out of space. The other problem is I am living out of a 33l bag and cannot carry all sorts of external drives for multiple backups. I'm using Time Machine on the one external drive I have with me.

At the present time I have been backing up all versions to the cloud (to Picasa, using the exporter plugin) and I have the 'best' photos elsewhere on the cloud too. Once they are safely in the cloud I have been deleting most of them from my laptop. I have come to the conclusion that this is not the best system as I have already gone back to try and re-edit after downloading from the cloud and obviously I don't have the masters anymore. (I can't re-crop or put colour back into a shot I made b+w for instance) (There is no way I can keep everything on my computer - we've been living out of small backpacks and traveling for almost 2 years now - that's a lot of photos)

I have a new camera and want to start shooting in RAW. It is a 24mp camera so the files are obviously large. I need more room to work!

Ideally I would like to remove, say, most of the files that are more than a few months old from my computer. But, I want them to be saved completely - original, master, version, keywords, and project structures etc onto my (partitioned) external drive. (as well as continuing to put the versions in the cloud.) Then, delete them from my computer and have lots more space.

After all that, which is the best way to move them to the external drive whilst saving all the information about each image? (Am I correct in thinking exporting is not the answer?) Should I just take a copy of the whole library at this time then have a good old clear out? Would I then be able to access those pics without importing the whole thing back in??

Extra info: Aperture is version 3.4.3 on Lion. Oh, and I'm using the 'shared' iphoto library system from the time before I had Aperture. And, one thing I don't want to do is have the entire library on the external drive. I use the laptop out and about all the time and I don't want to have to take the drive with me. I'm fine with plugging it in to get to the older pics when needed, which should not be too often - but I won't have room to import all the stored ones back in just to get at a couple…

Bonus question: would I use the same process for making a second complete copy of everything in the cloud?

Thanks in advance experts!

Walter Rowe's picture
by Walter Rowe
July 30, 2013 - 9:01pm

If you are mobile, and you need access to your master library, then your master library also needs to be mobile. That means you need mobile disk drives. Look for USB powered drives to minimize the extra “junk” you need to carry. I use Western Digital MyPassport 1TB drives. They are USB2 and USB3. Seagate also makes mobile USB-powered drives and the too have an excellent reputation. These cost around $90 dollars US. Don’t know how much they would cost in other parts of the world.

Get two of them. Move your master library to one, then clone that to the other. Then create a new library on your MBA that you only use for new stuff. When new stuff is done, import the MBA library into the master library on the external mobile HD. Then wipe the MBA library and start over. Every time you update the master library, make sure your second copy also gets updated. This will provide a safety net for you in case one of your mobile drives stops working.

Jen minisuitcase's picture
by Jen minisuitcase
August 2, 2013 - 10:33am


Thanks for your reply. In the end I did what was described in this link - which was to relocated some of the older originals to the external HD. (I still have another copy in the cloud and I did not want my entire library on the external drive and have to plug it in when I’m out and about.) Cheers

This is resolved.

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