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

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,526
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Mike Boreham wrote:

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.

Another thought....How did you restore from Time Machine? Did you use the Time Machine interface, initiated by launching the Time Machine app?

Or did you do it with Finder from the TM drive? I ask because I found a thread where the same message occurred because the person restored from TM with Finder. (I didn't read the whole thing but it seems worth asking you how you restored from TM). That thread includes a good explanation why you cant restore from TM using Finder.

What size is your restored from Time Machine Library ? should be close to 166GB?

Jim in Hudson Senior Member • Posts: 2,371
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Mike Boreham wrote:

Mike Boreham wrote:

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.

Another thought....How did you restore from Time Machine? Did you use the Time Machine interface, initiated by launching the Time Machine app?

Or did you do it with Finder from the TM drive? I ask because I found a thread where the same message occurred because the person restored from TM with Finder. (I didn't read the whole thing but it seems worth asking you how you restored from TM). That thread includes a good explanation why you cant restore from TM using Finder.

What size is your restored from Time Machine Library ? should be close to 166GB?

Another thing to make sure of is to go back far enough to make sure that you're really restoring a version that was captured under High Sierra and not Catalina.

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terrydev Regular Member • Posts: 256
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.

Does it list the items?

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,236
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Mike Boreham wrote:

Another thought....How did you restore from Time Machine? Did you use the Time Machine interface, initiated by launching the Time Machine app?

Or did you do it with Finder from the TM drive? I ask because I found a thread where the same message occurred because the person restored from TM with Finder. (I didn't read the whole thing but it seems worth asking you how you restored from TM). That thread includes a good explanation why you cant restore from TM using Finder.

What size is your restored from Time Machine Library ? should be close to 166GB?

I restored from TM using a backup that came from High Sierra and not after the upgrade.

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OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,236
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

terrydev wrote:

Does it list the items?

Just the file name which is "Photos Library".

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Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,526
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

Mike Boreham wrote:

Another thought....How did you restore from Time Machine? Did you use the Time Machine interface, initiated by launching the Time Machine app?

Or did you do it with Finder from the TM drive? I ask because I found a thread where the same message occurred because the person restored from TM with Finder. (I didn't read the whole thing but it seems worth asking you how you restored from TM). That thread includes a good explanation why you cant restore from TM using Finder.

What size is your restored from Time Machine Library ? should be close to 166GB?

I restored from TM using a backup that came from High Sierra and not after the upgrade.

It was Jim in Hudson who asked that.....I asked  if you restored with the Time Machine app or Finder, and how big the restored Library is.

The message you got after restoring is the same as the guy who restored using Finder in the thread I linked.

terrydev Regular Member • Posts: 256
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

Does it list the items?

Just the file name which is "Photos Library".

So, that suggests that you're trying to IMPORT one Photos Library to another. I thought you would be trying to migrate a restored iPhoto Library to Photos. There is no importing involved anywhere in the process.

Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,526
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

terrydev wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

terrydev wrote:

Does it list the items?

Just the file name which is "Photos Library".

So, that suggests that you're trying to IMPORT one Photos Library to another. I thought you would be trying to migrate a restored iPhoto Library to Photos. There is no importing involved anywhere in the process.

Terry, if you have a look at the thread I linked you can see that the guy got the same message about can't import because he had dragged what he thought was the Photos Library out of the TM back up with Finder. In reality he had only dragged a TM increment across and tried to open it with Photos app, which complained of course.

This is why I keep asking our OP how he restored from TM and how big his restored Photos Library is. If he has done it correctly it should be 166GB...in which case I am out of ideas except what I said in my first reply about uploading it while in Catalina and downloading in Mojave or High Sierra....that and trying repairing the library with opt+cmd.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,236
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

What I restored from TM was 166GB.

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Jim in Hudson Senior Member • Posts: 2,371
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

What I restored from TM was 166GB.

Did you first delete the library that can't be opened?  If not, Photos may still be trying to open that one instead of the backup.

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Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 16,808
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Jim in Hudson wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

What I restored from TM was 166GB.

Did you first delete the library that can't be opened? If not, Photos may still be trying to open that one instead of the backup.

If you hold down the Option key while launching Photos, it will put up a dialog where you can choose or create a library.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,236
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Tom_N wrote:

Jim in Hudson wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

What I restored from TM was 166GB.

Did you first delete the library that can't be opened? If not, Photos may still be trying to open that one instead of the backup.

If you hold down the Option key while launching Photos, it will put up a dialog where you can choose or create a library.

I just held down the option key before launching Photos and there was no dialog. Instead the Photos app opened showing just one picture that was saved after the upgrade. Should I delete that picture?

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OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,236
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Jim in Hudson wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

What I restored from TM was 166GB.

Did you first delete the library that can't be opened? If not, Photos may still be trying to open that one instead of the backup.

I didn't delete that library but this is what appears on my external drive right now.

The one that says "original" had a date/time that was definitely saved before I did the upgrade to Catalina.

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Mike Boreham Senior Member • Posts: 1,526
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

Tom_N wrote:

Jim in Hudson wrote:

RSSrsvp wrote:

What I restored from TM was 166GB.

Did you first delete the library that can't be opened? If not, Photos may still be trying to open that one instead of the backup.

If you hold down the Option key while launching Photos, it will put up a dialog where you can choose or create a library.

I just held down the option key before launching Photos and there was no dialog. Instead the Photos app opened showing just one picture that was saved after the upgrade. Should I delete that picture?

If you have two libraries there should be a dialogue. If not something is wrong.

The restored from TM library should have opened OK without that message....so something is wrong again.

There is a limit to the support than can be given via a forum. We may be missing something that would be obvious if sitting in front of the machine.

It might be sensible to try and find some local support before the situation becomes unrecoverable.

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 16,808
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

Tom_N wrote:

If you hold down the Option key while launching Photos, it will put up a dialog where you can choose or create a library.

I just held down the option key before launching Photos and there was no dialog. Instead the Photos app opened showing just one picture that was saved after the upgrade.

I held down the Option key until the dialog appeared:

Photos (El Capitan) library selection dialog

The Quit menu item was not available at this point, but closing the window by clicking the red button on the title bar had the same effect.

OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,236
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive
1

Mike Boreham wrote:

If you have two libraries there should be a dialogue. If not something is wrong.

The restored from TM library should have opened OK without that message....so something is wrong again.

There is a limit to the support than can be given via a forum. We may be missing something that would be obvious if sitting in front of the machine.

It might be sensible to try and find some local support before the situation becomes unrecoverable.

Thanks for all of your help. I just scheduled an appointment with Apple tech support for tomorrow morning. I will post the results after we finish.

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OP RSSrsvp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,236
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

Tom_N wrote:

I held down the Option key until the dialog appeared:

Photos (El Capitan) library selection dialog

The Quit menu item was not available at this point, but closing the window by clicking the red button on the title bar had the same effect.

I held down the options key for over 2 minutes and the dialog did not appear. 

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JPAlbert Contributing Member • Posts: 714
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

OP:
re the comment:
"thanks for the lecture"...

You're welcome. It was intended to be exactly that.

But you have a backup, that's a good thing, so let's go forward.

You posted this:

What happens if you try opening each and every one of the libraries listed? INCLUDING the old iPhoto libraries?
(you will need to quit photos each time).

I'm thinking that if you can't open the Photos library, you could still open (and upgrade) one of the iPhoto libraries, or more than one of them.

Jim in Hudson Senior Member • Posts: 2,371
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive

RSSrsvp wrote:

Tom_N wrote:

I held down the Option key until the dialog appeared:

Photos (El Capitan) library selection dialog

The Quit menu item was not available at this point, but closing the window by clicking the red button on the title bar had the same effect.

I held down the options key for over 2 minutes and the dialog did not appear.

Just to be sure... did you hold down the Option key before you launched Photos?  Also, what actually happened when you tried it?  BTW, the dialogue box should appear instantly so no need to hold it down for a couple minutes.

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Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 16,808
Re: "Unsupported Library" cannot open my photos stored on an external drive
1

JPAlbert wrote:

OP:

You posted this:

What happens if you try opening each and every one of the libraries listed? INCLUDING the old iPhoto libraries?
(you will need to quit photos each time).

He didn't post that. I posted it as an example of what the dialog would look like, if you brought it up by holding down the Option key while launching Photos. So ignore the specific libraries in that screenshot, They're not available to him.

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