In the meantime, this series of iPhoto 5.0 salvage suggestions was taken from Apple's discussion forums. It's not a terrible resource for when things go badly. I've done many of these but I can't vouch for all the recommendations and I don't use or recommend iPhoto 5.x I've lightly edited and reformatted the post.
If someone were to ask me what worries me most about Apple's apparent health, I'd say look at iPhoto. Apple has messed up not for just one year, but for over two years. This is not a good thing.
Apple - Discussions - Problems with iPhoto5
[Post is to a person who's "lost" their precious photos.]
- Upgrade to 5.0.1 if you haven't done it yet.
- Quit iPhoto
- Navigate to ~/Library/Preferences and drag the com.apple.iphoto.plist file to the desktop
- Navigate to ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library
Drag out the three thumbnail files you see in there to the desktop
Drag out the Albums folder and the Albums.xml file to the trash.
- For good measure repair permissions and clean out your cache files
- Hold down the option and command keys while launching iPhoto
- Let iPhoto do the rebuilding.
- If it doesn't work or partly works, try rebuilding the library again with the same key combination.
- Rename the library with the problems to old iPhoto Library and place on the desktop.
- Place your backup library in the Pictures folder.
- Start up iPhoto holding down the option key.
- It will ask to find your library or create a new one.
- Tell it to "find your library" and then navigate to it and choose it
- Cross your fingers and say some prayers.
If you finally are tired of trying and want to start fresh, it can be done.
Here is how:
- Drag your iPhoto 5 library to the desktop.
- Start up iPhoto and it will ask to find your library or create a new one.
- Tell it to create a new one.
- Now we are going to start importing the photos from the old library.
iPhoto Extractor (other posters in this forum have used it with great results).
Read the site, and the links on the left so you know exactly what is happening.
He gives you good instructions
Alternatively, If you don't want to do it that way, it is quite simple, but time consuming if you have a lot of photos.
- Open up the library folder on your desktop
- Keep all the folders with the years, and drag all the other stuff to the trash
- Navigate to each folder with pictures, you can start with the oldest year first.
- Drag the thumbnail folder out to the trash.
- If you did any editing there will be an Originals folder. If you want the Originals, then keep those folders to the side. You can import those, but you will be seeing duplicates if you do. You can also put all the original folders aside and burn them after if you want.
Now you can do this as an "all at once" step, or you can do one folder at a time.
If you do it one folder at a time, you can view the importation process and make sure no problems happen each step of the way.
- so, you can clean out the folders of the photos, rename the folder with the date, then import that folder into iPhoto. Then do the next folder.
- Or, you can clean out all the folders with photos, rename them all with the date, then drag all the cleaned out folders into the open iPhoto library window. This is the library view in an open iPhoto application.
I would do the oldest date first and move up the line to the newest date.
Each folder imported will be a roll with the name of the folder. since you named them with a date, you will have an organized library when you are done.
when all folders have been imported, you should have a clean new library. You can then start redoing your albums, keywords, etc.
When all that is done, you should burn this library as another backup. This will be a backup for your iPhoto 5 library.
You can do it within iPhoto or the Finder
If you do it within iPhoto (by highlighting the library and clicking burn), you will be able to put the CD/DVD in and it will show up in the source column of iPhoto to browse within iPhoto.
If you do it in the Finder ( put in blank CD/DVD depending on size of library, then drag the newly created iPhoto library to the mounted disk on the desktop and then burn), then this library is not viewable within iPhoto.
This library can be swapped out to replace the old broken one.