"Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Started 2 months ago | Discussions
RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
"Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Over the weekend I upgraded to Catalina from High Sierra and discovered I couldn't use my Microsoft Office apps (Outlook, Word, Excel and Power Point because they were 32 bit. I used the Data Migration tool and rolled back to High Sierra. My photos are stored on an external hard drive and I discovered the following message when I attempted to open my Photos app. I then upgraded to Mojave which still supports 32 bit apps and this message still appears. I have 166GB of photos stored on the external drive and frankly and I am freaking out! How do I recover these pictures?

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,508
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive
1

RSSrsvp wrote:

Over the weekend I upgraded to Catalina from High Sierra and discovered I couldn't use my Microsoft Office apps (Outlook, Word, Excel and Power Point because they were 32 bit. I used the Data Migration tool and rolled back to High Sierra. My photos are stored on an external hard drive and I discovered the following message when I attempted to open my Photos app. I then upgraded to Mojave which still supports 32 bit apps and this message still appears. I have 166GB of photos stored on the external drive and frankly and I am freaking out! How do I recover these pictures?

This is normal between major OS upgrades and some point releases.

Is the the Photos Library your iCloud Photos Library? If so you can just delete the unsupported local copy (which has been upgraded for Catalina) from your High Sierra volume and download a fresh one from iCloud, which will be High Sierra compatible of course.

If it is not your iCloud library, you could restore from Time Machine or other backup, but I guess you don't have a backup or you wouldn't be asking.

If neither of the above apply the only thing I can suggest at the moment is:

1. Install Catalina temporarily on an external, and sign in to iCloud on it.

2. While booted on the temporary Catalina make this Catalina standard library your iCloud Photos library (you might have to buy some storage for a month to get this done)

3. Let it upload to iCloud.

4. Sign in to iCloud on your High Sierra installation,

5. Download the library to your High Sierra installation

6. Turn off iCloud Photos on the High Sierra install (or leave it as your iCloud Photos Library)

There may be other ways someone will suggest.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Mike Boreham wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

Over the weekend I upgraded to Catalina from High Sierra and discovered I couldn't use my Microsoft Office apps (Outlook, Word, Excel and Power Point because they were 32 bit. I used the Data Migration tool and rolled back to High Sierra. My photos are stored on an external hard drive and I discovered the following message when I attempted to open my Photos app. I then upgraded to Mojave which still supports 32 bit apps and this message still appears. I have 166GB of photos stored on the external drive and frankly and I am freaking out! How do I recover these pictures?

This is normal between major OS upgrades and some point releases.

Is the the Photos Library your iCloud Photos Library? If so you can just delete the unsupported local copy (which has been upgraded for Catalina) from your High Sierra volume and download a fresh one from iCloud, which will be High Sierra compatible of course.

If it is not your iCloud library, you could restore from Time Machine or other backup, but I guess you don't have a backup or you wouldn't be asking.

If neither of the above apply the only thing I can suggest at the moment is:

1. Install Catalina temporarily on an external, and sign in to iCloud on it.

2. While booted on the temporary Catalina make this Catalina standard library your iCloud Photos library (you might have to buy some storage for a month to get this done)

3. Let it upload to iCloud.

4. Sign in to iCloud on your High Sierra installation,

5. Download the library to your High Sierra installation

6. Turn off iCloud Photos on the High Sierra install (or leave it as your iCloud Photos Library)

There may be other ways someone will suggest.

Hi Mike,

Many thanks for the quick reply. Right now I am running Mojave which I upgraded to after getting this "unsupported library" message when I downgraded to High Sierra hoping that Mojave would be able to open it. I have never stored my photos on iCloud and they are only on my backup drive.

I could upgrade from Mojave to Catalina but I would not be able to use my Microsoft for Mac 2011 apps and I rely on Outlook for communicating.

Buying extra iCloud storage isn't a big deal but I cannot even open up the Photos app on the external drive in order to transfer it the pictures to iCloud. Am I not understanding the steps to do this properly.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,508
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

Mike Boreham wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

Over the weekend I upgraded to Catalina from High Sierra and discovered I couldn't use my Microsoft Office apps (Outlook, Word, Excel and Power Point because they were 32 bit. I used the Data Migration tool and rolled back to High Sierra. My photos are stored on an external hard drive and I discovered the following message when I attempted to open my Photos app. I then upgraded to Mojave which still supports 32 bit apps and this message still appears. I have 166GB of photos stored on the external drive and frankly and I am freaking out! How do I recover these pictures?

This is normal between major OS upgrades and some point releases.

Is the the Photos Library your iCloud Photos Library? If so you can just delete the unsupported local copy (which has been upgraded for Catalina) from your High Sierra volume and download a fresh one from iCloud, which will be High Sierra compatible of course.

If it is not your iCloud library, you could restore from Time Machine or other backup, but I guess you don't have a backup or you wouldn't be asking.

If neither of the above apply the only thing I can suggest at the moment is:

1. Install Catalina temporarily on an external, and sign in to iCloud on it.

2. While booted on the temporary Catalina make this Catalina standard library your iCloud Photos library (you might have to buy some storage for a month to get this done)

3. Let it upload to iCloud.

4. Sign in to iCloud on your High Sierra installation,

5. Download the library to your High Sierra installation

6. Turn off iCloud Photos on the High Sierra install (or leave it as your iCloud Photos Library)

There may be other ways someone will suggest.

Hi Mike,

Many thanks for the quick reply. Right now I am running Mojave which I upgraded to after getting this "unsupported library" message when I downgraded to High Sierra hoping that Mojave would be able to open it. I have never stored my photos on iCloud and they are only on my backup drive.

I could upgrade from Mojave to Catalina but I would not be able to use my Microsoft for Mac 2011 apps and I rely on Outlook for communicating.

Buying extra iCloud storage isn't a big deal but I cannot even open up the Photos app on the external drive in order to transfer it the pictures to iCloud. Am I not understanding the steps to do this properly.

You will have to create a temporary Catalina installation somewhere to make this unsupported library usable. When you have done that you can upload it to iCloud from Catalina, then download a new local copy to Mojave or HighSierra. Then you can the delete the temporary Catalina install. It has served its purpose.
I would recommend keeping it as your iCloud lib on HS or Mojave. For £2.49 per month you have a live backup and syncing to all devices.

johnbandry Senior Member • Posts: 2,864
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Your easiest option may be to update your MS Office to the Catalina compatible version and then upgrade to Catalina again.

-- hide signature --

John Bandry
“Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of ... self-serving men” - Robert A. Heinlein

 johnbandry's gear list:johnbandry's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Fujifilm X-Pro1 Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

johnbandry wrote:

Your easiest option may be to update yourMS Office to the Catalina compatible version and then upgrade to Catalina again.

Frankly I don’t want to spend $99 a year for Office 365 or $249 for Office for Mac 2019.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
JPAlbert Contributing Member • Posts: 699
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive
1

This is the kind of consequence that happens when one takes "a blind leap of faith" forward into a new version of the OS (and one that represents MAJOR change) without considering the implications beforehand.

You didn't know beforehand that Catalina won't run 32 bit software, and that your old Office 2011 wouldn't run under it? Apple has been warning us for TWO YEARS that Catalina would "break" 32 bit software.

Are you telling us that your ONLY library is on that one external drive?
Don't you have a backup around someplace?
What if your external drive FAILS?
Where will your 166gb of pics be then?

IF you didn't mung up the backup during the aborted attempt at Catalina, I'd suggest taking the backup, and seeing if you could make something out of that.

Otherwise, you can try what others have suggested, that is, installing Catalina on an external drive, then uploading the ENTIRE LIBRARY to iCloud, then downloading it to your Mojave install and see if that works.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

JPAlbert wrote:

This is the kind of consequence that happens when one takes "a blind leap of faith" forward into a new version of the OS (and one that represents MAJOR change) without considering the implications beforehand.

You didn't know beforehand that Catalina won't run 32 bit software, and that your old Office 2011 wouldn't run under it? Apple has been warning us for TWO YEARS that Catalina would "break" 32 bit software.

Are you telling us that your ONLY library is on that one external drive?
Don't you have a backup around someplace?
What if your external drive FAILS?
Where will your 166gb of pics be then?

IF you didn't mung up the backup during the aborted attempt at Catalina, I'd suggest taking the backup, and seeing if you could make something out of that.

Otherwise, you can try what others have suggested, that is, installing Catalina on an external drive, then uploading the ENTIRE LIBRARY to iCloud, then downloading it to your Mojave install and see if that works.

Thanks for the lecture.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
johnbandry Senior Member • Posts: 2,864
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive
2

RSSrsvp wrote:

johnbandry wrote:

Your easiest option may be to update yourMS Office to the Catalina compatible version and then upgrade to Catalina again.

Frankly I don’t want to spend $99 a year for Office 365 or $249 for Office for Mac 2019.

Sheesh. You "rely on outlook for communicating" and you won't spend $249 to ensure you have a version that works for the next several years?

Save your money then, and invest some time in migrating your email to a free alternative.

-- hide signature --

John Bandry
“Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of ... self-serving men” - Robert A. Heinlein

 johnbandry's gear list:johnbandry's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Fujifilm X-Pro1 Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
Jim in Hudson Senior Member • Posts: 2,361
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive
2

....

I could upgrade from Mojave to Catalina but I would not be able to use my Microsoft for Mac 2011 apps and I rely on Outlook for communicating.

....

Microsoft doesn't support Office for 2011 anymore.  Are you sure it's a good idea to rely on Outlook at this point?  There are alternatives if you don't want to purchase or rent the current version.

 Jim in Hudson's gear list:Jim in Hudson's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-3 Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR +4 more
terrydev Regular Member • Posts: 250
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive
1

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

terrydev wrote:

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

Thanks, I am following your recommendation and replacing the Photos library from the last Time Machine backup done before I upgraded to Catalina right now. I am crossing my fingers that it works.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

johnbandry wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

johnbandry wrote:

Your easiest option may be to update yourMS Office to the Catalina compatible version and then upgrade to Catalina again.

Frankly I don’t want to spend $99 a year for Office 365 or $249 for Office for Mac 2019.

Sheesh. You "rely on outlook for communicating" and you won't spend $249 to ensure you have a version that works for the next several years?

Save your money then, and invest some time in migrating your email to a free alternative.

Thanks for the suggestion.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Jim in Hudson wrote:

....

I could upgrade from Mojave to Catalina but I would not be able to use my Microsoft for Mac 2011 apps and I rely on Outlook for communicating.

....

Microsoft doesn't support Office for 2011 anymore. Are you sure it's a good idea to rely on Outlook at this point? There are alternatives if you don't want to purchase or rent the current version.

Thanks for the suggestion.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,508
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

Thanks, I am following your recommendation and replacing the Photos library from the last Time Machine backup done before I upgraded to Catalina right now. I am crossing my fingers that it works.

I suggested restoring from Time Machine in the very first reply to this thread. As I said in that post I assumed you hadn't got a TM back up or you wouldn't be asking, so I went on to explain (twice) what the more complicated alternative was. I am a bit surprised that you have only now revealed that you had a TM Backup all along.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

Thanks, I am following your recommendation and replacing the Photos library from the last Time Machine backup done before I upgraded to Catalina right now. I am crossing my fingers that it works.

Update: it was not successful. This is the message I am seeing when attempting to open up the Photos app that I just replaced.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 16,612
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

Thanks, I am following your recommendation and replacing the Photos library from the last Time Machine backup done before I upgraded to Catalina right now. I am crossing my fingers that it works.

Update: it was not successful. This is the message I am seeing when attempting to open up the Photos app that I just replaced.

He said to replace the Photos Library – not the Photos app.

(You might want to back up the 'Catalina-format' Photos Library on a spare drive first, just as a precaution.)

Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,508
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

Thanks, I am following your recommendation and replacing the Photos library from the last Time Machine backup done before I upgraded to Catalina right now. I am crossing my fingers that it works.

Update: it was not successful. This is the message I am seeing when attempting to open up the Photos app that I just replaced.

Is that a typo...that you replaced the “Photos app”....you need to restore the Photos library from your TM backup, not the app.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Mike Boreham wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

Thanks, I am following your recommendation and replacing the Photos library from the last Time Machine backup done before I upgraded to Catalina right now. I am crossing my fingers that it works.

Update: it was not successful. This is the message I am seeing when attempting to open up the Photos app that I just replaced.

Is that a typo...that you replaced the “Photos app”....you need to restore the Photos library from your TM backup, not the app.

Sorry, I meant Photos Library, not the app.

 RSSrsvp's gear list:RSSrsvp's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +1 more
Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,508
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

Mike Boreham wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

The problem here is that your Photos library was upgraded to a v5 library when you went to Catalina. Photos on Mojave is a v4 and the earlier app can't ope the later libraries structure.

I'm sure you had a back up before upgrading from HS, so simply replace the Photos library with the back up and upgrade to v4.

Thanks, I am following your recommendation and replacing the Photos library from the last Time Machine backup done before I upgraded to Catalina right now. I am crossing my fingers that it works.

Update: it was not successful. This is the message I am seeing when attempting to open up the Photos app that I just replaced.

Is that a typo...that you replaced the “Photos app”....you need to restore the Photos library from your TM backup, not the app.

Sorry, I meant Photos Library, not the app.

As I understand it you were on High Sierra, Then you upgraded To Catalina. Then you rolled back to High Sierra, then you upgraded to Mojave.

So the TM version you have is a High Sierra? and it sounds like you are restoring it to Mojave? This should be OK, it should just upgrade the library to be compatible with Mojave.

I have not seen that message before and I have successfully restored a complete Photos Library from Time Machine three times, but always to the same macOS.

One thing you could try is repairing the restored Library by opening it while holding down the cmd+opt keys.

I agree with the suggestion to save a copy of the unsupported library somewhere safe while you experiment.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads