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Referenced images - experiences? #1
jemostrom's picture
by jemostrom
May 4, 2013 - 6:01pm

It looks like I'm going to get a new computer set up at home which has made my think of how I organize my aperture libraries. One thing I've been thinking of is to start using referenced images but since I have never used this before I have a few questions.

I'm thinking of having a desktop/laptop with the aperture library/libraries and external disk(s) (or some kind of NAS). I'm aware of the added steps for backup etc. and that shouldn't be a problem. My questions are

+ Assuming that I mostly would be tagging, searching, exporting for web use, after the initial editing. I understand that performance depends on if I use NAS, USB 3, Thunderbold, USB 2 etc but how does editing work performance wise?

+ If I change desktop/laptop do I only have to move the libraries to the new machine? Any potential problems here?

+ If I get a new disk/NAS/whatever can I just copy the images to the new disk and re-attach the originals in Aperture? Any potential problems here?


Scott Davenport's picture
by Scott Davenport
May 6, 2013 - 5:41pm

Congrats on your new system!

I’ll have to defer to other forum members wrt NAS vs USB3 vs Thunderbolt. From what I’ve heard, Thunderbolt would be the better option - it’s the fastest. Network-attached storage is something Joseph has suggested against (see past posting on AE).

On your question about changing the desktop/laptop … there’s always potential problems … software has bugs :) But with a referenced library, it should be a matter of detaching the disk(s) that house your originals, move the library to your new system,
and doing a Locate Referenced Files. There’s more information on the Apple site (


The Big Cheese's picture
by The Big Cheese
June 24, 2013 - 3:37pm

I'm commenting on your thing, sonny!

jan wessel's picture
by jan wessel
May 6, 2013 - 6:45pm

Hi Jan Erik,
I went from Managed to Referenced.
And I bought a Western Digital Live Book Duo 6TB NAS to store my images.
However, there are some problems here.
The NAS has it’s own File System.
There is no problem for “normal” files to store there.
But…. the problem I ran into, when deleting images from Aperture, there is pop-up asking you if the referenced image should be moved to the trash.
If you answer no, all goes well, but you are left with an orphaned image on your NAS.
If you answer yes, you get an error there is no trash on the NAS, so it could not be removed.
You can off course try to keep this in sync manually. But I didn’t want that.

I did buy a LACIE 6TB 2BIG THUNDERBOLT W/CABLE-ZML direct from Apple.
And on that I now store my referenced images and my vaults.

The NAS is now only used to store other files, like video’s, documents etc.

I do want to point out one other thing.
Extended attributes. I didn’t know they existed until I ran into these problems.
They exist on the Mac, they seem to exist on Windows, but they don’t on the File System of the NAS.
These extended attributes are used to keep information, like when you downloaded a file from the internet and lots of other information.

If you want to take a look at it, open up a Terminal window, and type :
xattr -l <filename>
also you might try:
ls -@l <filename>

So my advise, do not use a NAS for Aperture related things.

Good luck


jemostrom's picture
by jemostrom
May 8, 2013 - 3:42pm

Thanks, the thunderbolt solution seem nice and seem to be the best way to go.


Butch Miller's picture
by Butch Miller
May 8, 2013 - 7:46pm

I know I’m going with Thunderbolt for my next transition. It won’t be tomorrow … but sooner rather than later ….

For now, I’m actually not disappointed with my ancient FW800 drives …but then I’m not trying to mass process D800 files either ;-)

jan wessel's picture
by jan wessel
May 8, 2013 - 8:05pm

I paid 650 Euro on march 30th, but I now see offerings for 399, so probably there is an update coming for the LaCie, so it’s a good idea to search for a good deal on this drive…

Butch Miller's picture
by Butch Miller
May 8, 2013 - 8:33pm

If you are based in the US … keep an eye open at MacMall … they often have LaCie Thunderbolt drives available as refurbs at VERY substantial savings, plus free shipping … and sometimes include a TB cable. Quantities are limited and can go quickly so timing is everything.

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