Keeping Aperture Running Like a Cheetah

Posted Aug. 27th, 2013 by Daniel J. Cox

As I wait for the update to Apple’s newest MacPro line I’ve had some wrestling matches with my main Aperture library that contains all my digital files. Keep in mind that my library is over 750GB in size and holds nearly 400,000 Referenced images. So it’s larger than most, however, I’ve found two utility type tricks that help keep all my Aperture Libraries humming along at full tilt. Those two utilities are the Repair Permissions and Repair Database within the Aperture Library. Don’t confuse the Repair Permissions with the overall Apple system Repair Permissions which is another blog post. Repairing your Aperture Library Permissions is completely different and here is how you do it.

Repair Permissions and Repair Database dialog box

Repair Permissions and Repair Database dialog box

When opening the Aperture Library you want to repair, you have to hold down the Option+ Command keys. Hold these two keys down and continue to hold them down as you click on the Aperture icon in your dock. This will bring up the last Aperture library you were working on in Aperture. If you want to repair a different library, find that Aperture library on the hard drive, hold the same two keys down while double clicking on the Aperture Library icon you want to fix. Keep holding the Option+ Command keys down as the Aperture Library opens. Keep them held down until the  Repair Library screen opens. I’ve included a screen shot  above for you to see what the Repair Library screen looks like. The first option is Repair Permissions. Click that option and let it run. It doesn’t’ take very long, generally only about 5-10 minutes for my huge 750GB library. Once that has run I close Aperture down, then repeat the steps I outlined above, again holding down the Option+ Command keys to reopen the Repair window. I then select Repair Database, second option from the top of the Repair window, and let it go. Repair Database takes maybe 2-3 times longer than Repair Permissions. These two little tricks have saved countless spinning beach ball episodes that I would experience before I decided to run these tools every night before leaving the studio. Now I’m running this monster Aperture Library on a Mac Mini that uses an Intel Core i7 , 2.6 Ghz, with 16GB of RAM and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 768MB video card. It’s not the fastest machine to run Aperture on but it works pretty well.

Keep these two utility tricks in mind if you start to see the spinning beach ball. I’ve saved a lot of time running these utilities to head off the downtime waiting for Aperture to process so many files. I’ll be waiting for the price and performance details of the new upcoming MacPro before I jump to that ship. With the huge improvements I’ve found by repairing permissions and the database on a regular basis, I’m actually thinking I may not have to spend the extra cash on Apple’s largest, most powerful machine.  Time will tell and I’ll let you know. Stay tuned.

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