Leopard 10.5.1 massive data loss bug / JPEG corruption

I strongly do NOT recommend to use Mac OS X Leopard in a productive environment!

The initial release 10.5 got launched on October 26, 2007. It contained a number of serious bugs which should have been addressed in the first upgrade. On November 15th Apple released the first major upgrade 10.5.1. Most people believe all serious bugs are squashed by now and start to use Leopard in productive environments. I would rather wait for 10.5.2 or even 10.5.3!

Here you’ll find an extensive article about the massive data loss bug in Leopard by Tom Karpik.
His tests are based on Leopard 10.5 and I didn’t find any information about this bug still persisting in 10.5.1. But I was pretty shocked about what happened to me last night…

I was moving 31 GB of image data (over 19,000 JPEG images) from a Windows Vista SMB-share to an external USB-drive connected to my Mac Mini with Leopard 10.5.1 on it. It’s a Samsung MP0804H 80GB disk inside an external Revoltec-case, formatted with HFS+ (case-sensitive & journaled). It looks like all data has been successfully moved without any vanished files. But when I look at those fotos, 5% of them were garbled. I could look at those pictures in Quick Look, Finder, Photoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3, iPhoto – no matter in which application I was looking at them, they were really messed up. Part of the picture was covered by pink stripes.
Look at the following sample (click on it to get the original image – messed up by Leopard):

garbled image sample

Also, while importing those 19,000 images to iPhoto ’08 7.1.1 it reported over 500 defective images. Those images were not affected by the pink stripes and looked all fine.

Please note, that this only seems to happen on large data copies/moves (better don’t move anything to Leopard! You might as well run «format c:» or «rm -rf /» :)). The original source files on the Samba-share were not affected. Moving those images one-by-one correctly let me transfer them to my Mac. I did the whole test of moving those 31 GB of data three times, every time the same result with different affected images. Automatic standby was turned off during the whole copy process. Also, I cannot confirm if this only happens on Samba-to-USB drive moves or even on Samba-to-local drive.

UPDATE 2007-11-26: I did some further testing. This bug does not seem to concern Samba shares. No corrupted images were found on copies from a Samba-share to the local drive. The images get corrupted on copies to the USB attached external drive. I used a Samsung MP0804H 80GB IDE drive in a Revoltec USB2 case formatted with HFS+ (case-sensitive & journaled). It also happened on smaller copies of 5 GB. Also, Leopard completely messes up the file system on the external drive after a reboot. Once I forget to unplug the drive, all date on it will be gone for ever. Even the disk utility is not able to repair it. Leopard seems to have some serious problems with external USB drives!

I hope, Apple is going to fix this soon! Microsoft probably got the worst start ever with Vista beginning of this year. Vista is full of bugs. But I never encountered such a serious bug on any Windows OS before like the one I am talking about in Mac OS X Leopard. Sad, but true.

21 Responses

  1. brandon
    Dez 05, 2007 - 09:59 AM

    I have two vista computers and a 500gb wd external mybook hard drive where all my pictures were at. when i transferred the pictures to or from the hard drive, i dont remember what i did, a lot of my pics ended up like yours, even worse on some. it is not an apple conflict i dont know what it is. i have been trying to research this for a while with no luck. if you could please send me any solutions or other info to my email so maybe we can conquer this together.

  2. Jason
    Dez 06, 2007 - 05:07 AM

    Did you let Apple know about this bug? I’m sure you know this, but they can’t fix bugs they don’t know about… and it seems like you might have uncovered a doozy.

  3. iezzip
    Dez 07, 2007 - 02:57 PM

    Right, I tested the external hard drive on a Windows Vista box (with all current SP1 patches, say «Vista SP1 Beta Pre-RC1»), same result. I also tried it with two different USB cables.
    Here’s again the hardware specification: Revoltec Alu Book Edition 2 case, Samsung MP0804H ATA disk. I will send the drive in for guarantee and let you know as soon as I got some other disk to do some further testing.

  4. Bryan
    Dez 09, 2007 - 06:07 AM

    I’m experiencing a suspiciously similar sounding problem. Ever since upgrading to Leopard, when doing bulk transfers of pictures from my Canon PowerShot SD800 IS to my Mac over the Canon-supplied USB cable using Canon’s image transfer software, a good percentage (sometimes «only» 10%, sometimes closer to 40%) of the pictures get corrupted exactly like you describe. I then tried transferring the pictures by plugging the SD card into a SanDisk external USB flash card reader and copying them directly off the file system – i.e., different reader, different USB cable, but still USB – and once again, massive image corruption. The only remaining issue is whether it might be something to do with the SD card (a SanDisk UltraII 2.0GB), or a strange interaction between the card and Leopard…

  5. Alex Blewitt
    Dez 31, 2007 - 04:46 PM

    I found the same problem with 10.5.1 and external USB drives:


    I’ve raised a Radar ticket (5665635) with Apple, in case they don’t know about it already. We’ll see if 10.5.2 helps.

  6. Carmelo Montenegro
    Jan 12, 2008 - 07:14 PM

    Those scambled images are occurring to me since I began with windows Vista in December 2007. When I copy jpg images from SD or Compact Flash cards to my hard drive a few of them appear with a horizontal band displacing the image horizontally in that band to the left or to the righ of the original image. The band is about one step underexposed. Sometimes the band is thin and sometimes the band is half the heigh of the image. The issue appears using sd card, compact flash cards, and either with any of the three digital cameras I shoot as a amateur pothographer: canon xt rebel, canon A640 or olympus c 5060. Using windows explorer or ACD See, the issue is the same. In either programas the thumbnail looks with the mentioned band. And the full opened jpg image can show the band or not. That is, the thumbnail always shows a horizontal band, and the opened image may or may not show it. the 640X480 jpg images never shows this issue. The affected ones are those of 2mb and larger sizes. Sometimes the image in the thumbnail is black or very scrambled and the full image ressembles the same effects.

    Not all digital cameras, or sd cards, or compact flash cards, or pc’s, or usb hard drives outthere are going to be faulty.

    The common factor here is the usb transmission from the card to a usb hard drive. Perhaps the problem lies in the usb drivers of the OS to tranfer images from digital cards to storing devices. Or the decompression technology for jpg images. And I do not think that all graphic cards drivers outthere can be faulty at the same time. When I find a scrambled image in the usb hard drive after being uploaded from the camera card, I upload it again from the card and the image become fixed. But when I see a scrambled image directly seen from the camera card (inserted of course in the pc cards slot or a small card reader)the only way to see it without this anormality is by turning off the computer and beggining the process again. If I turn off the ACD See or the Win explorer and look again in the card, the foulty situacion is the same because the image is read again from the pc memory, but not from the card. So it seems that the origin of the faulty image begins in the process of reading the card,or the process of managing the image compressed code, or the usb transmission to the storing device, or the cache technology of keeping the image in memory, or the virtual memory. «!Doctor WATSON, perhaps I’am near the track!» Only God knows….

    An important thing: when uploading all these jpg images to my Compacq laptop using windows xp there is no problem. For 3 years using this laptop with xp os I have not seein such an abnormal situation with graphic images. So, you may say that Windows Vista shall be revised accordinly to correct this anormality. I think that it will be corrected in the near future to run smoothly with images as the slow and not so secure but beloved win xp professional SP-2.

  7. professional
    Jan 18, 2008 - 08:57 PM

    USB Ports are not build to do professional work. Go FireWire!

  8. Greg
    Jan 20, 2008 - 07:48 PM

    Agree with USB comments. BUT I had similar problems once. They persisted for a year, they were intermittent, and fortunately, I only lost a very few images. The problem turned out to be bad RAM. Did you perhaps add RAM when you upgraded your operating system? Did you perhaps try to save a little money when you bought the RAM?

    If so, I would run a high-level diagnostics suite on your machine’s memory. And if it turns up nothing, I would try the tests without the new RAM.

    Good luck,
    — greg

  9. iezzip
    Jan 20, 2008 - 09:24 PM

    On my side the problem definitely is not RAM. I have tested it both on a IBM T60p Laptop with original built-in RAM and a Mac Mini running Leopard 10.5.1 as well with original RAM. I also run extensive RAM check with memtest by HighLoad (http://geniusx.net/highload/) on my Mac Mini. On both machines I never encountered any similar problems. Also I have connected another external USB drive (AC Ryan AluBox HD50114) to both machines and the problem did not occur.

  10. Carmelo Montenegro
    Feb 08, 2008 - 06:35 AM

    I am including in the second paragraph below some text from an article of the Independent JPEG Group that reports Microsoft and Mac have made efforts to introduce their own standards for JPEG files but no one accepted it. Opening graphic files created with the original standars as for example uploaded to the hard disk from cameras using windows xp and now opening them with another OS like the recent windows Vista may lead to some errors with the files. And that may apply to Mac. That is my best interpretation of said text. The text I selecte from this huge and technical article follows below:

    «Recently, both Microsoft and Apple have started pushing (different :-() «standard» M-JPEG formats… Both companies were… unsuccessful in getting anyone else to adopt their ideas about still-image JPEG file formats…»

    More of this artcle follows:

    «When transferring images between machines running different operating systems, be very careful to get a straight «binary» transfer — any sort of text format conversion will corrupt a JPEG file. Actually that’s true for all image formats not just JPEG».
    tom lane organizer, Independent JPEG Group tgl@netcom.com or tgl@sss.pgh.pa.us

    This article from the Independent JPEG Group is very technical as it is directed to the experts, but I got some messages. My graphic files of photos are being damaged in Vista. And they were not faulty when I opened them in the usb hard drive connected to my old PC with Windows XP. Now I connect that usb drive to my brand new Gateway pc with double core processor and 3 Mb of Ram with Win Vista OS, and about 20% of them looks scrambled. Fortunately I have backup of them performed with wind xp.

    I am still after the causes of «graphic image scrambling» when switching from win xp to window vista. If I never find the culprit, like «using usb drives may lead to images erros, or using bad RAM» as reported by Proffesional and Greg above,or new propietary Mac or Microsoft jpeg decoding sofware, I wont feel as sad as thinking as follow: If 3 years old images managed with win xp are now faulty when managed with win vista, think about ten or twenty years ahead with the new OS´s and new technology that lies in the future. All collections of master digital files of photos may be unrecognizable by the future OS´s and will be lost forever unless they have being printed in good photo paper and kept very secure from ultraviolet sun ligh. Let ask our dear Ansel Adams what would he do to keep his valuable collections if he lives in the present technology time of digital imagery. ???????

  11. iezzip
    Feb 08, 2008 - 09:01 AM

    Wow, Carmelo. Great thanks for this precious information! Could you please email me this article or its URI?
    Right, the more I am backing up my data, the more I’m getting anxious about loosing everything sooner or later. New operating systems like Vista & Leopard showed us perfectly how file destruction works. And besides the OS, hard disks crash all the time. This year I have replaced about 5 – way too much. Modern hard disks give us a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) of 1’2000’0000 hours – who the hell has tested that?!

  12. Carmelo Montengro
    Feb 10, 2008 - 07:49 AM

    HI iezeep:
    This is the URL for this article about jpge file compression.


    Is really a technical article, quiet long to read. But you may like it. It was written by Tom Lane (tgl@netcom.com). I’m an amateur potographer and retired (65). And I would like that my grandchildren and his sons see the photos of this epoch. I have all the photos of my sons from 30 years ago in negatives. They get fungi because here is tropical island. But I clean them when trying to make prints of them. But how are we going to clean the digital fungi of scrambled digital file photos? I woul like to find a program that provides the missing data in that black horizontal bands of scrambled jpeg files. But that is magic.

    I feel very sad that after working during five years with a very nice OS like win xp professioanal, the state of the art, a digital gem, the industry comes now with an unpolished rock like Vista. And you have to accept it, or don’t by the pc wich is loaded with vista. The only ones to sell pc’s without vista appers to be DELL, but I bought mine in Sams from Gateway. A wonderful machine with AMD double core 2.4 GHz processors, NVidia GeForce graphic card, 320 Mb sata drive, 22″ gateway 1680×1050 monitor, but with an unpolished OS like Vista. Suppose you are used to eat great sirloins each weekend and now you only find corn beef. The industry is a digital bastard, I mean beast.

    This Os vista could be a nice upgrade for win xp with it’s transparent windows and the miriad of beautifull things it is loaded (which I personally do not use because it’s a big burden to the proccessor and memory). But the Industry is thirsty for big money and lunched a whole new OS to collect huge earnings. New peripherals are needed certified for Vista, since new drivers for old good equipment is not cost effective to re-desing (printers, scanners, webcam cameras, etc.). New sofware is needed since sofware producers have to pay the «toll» to Microsoft» or «…this program stopped working. Please connet to Internet fo find a solution…». Or «This program (Autoca 2007) is not compatible with Vista. Please go to Office Max and buy the latest version certified for Vista, after all,it’s only a small inversion…» Oh my God,we are really in love with this stuff, or we woulk take a big hammer and end the story here. And that is the problem, the industry knows we are in love with the digital imagery…

  13. Carmelo Montenegro
    Feb 11, 2008 - 03:40 AM

    Dear ieezip:

    The URL for the site or the article about jpeg image compression is this one above:

    It’s a very long and technical article directed for experts (which Iam not) but something can be understood after all.

    Ánothe article, not so technical is in


    that says literally that Microsoft already introduced its new jpeg techonlogy in Vista. You may expect to find it also in Leopard.

    Something is happening, jpeg photos managed wihtout problems in win xp now are damaged in win vista. About 20% of my photos looks garbled in Vista, and they were nice in win xp.

  14. Bob
    Feb 13, 2008 - 04:47 AM

    Carmelo: I found this site ( far below) that says tha Microsoft has already implemented the JPEG XR technology in Windows Vista, but wants it to be adopted universally. They refer to a new technology for jpeg files wich is set to give us better photo quality, yet smaller file sizes.

    Perhaps youre right, a new technology, no stadarization yet, and problably small incompatibilities with the present jpeg standard. But Iam sure that if this is producing garbled images in Vista when opening jpeg files that belong to the JPEG present standard it will be corrected soon.


  15. Jose
    Mrz 13, 2008 - 08:15 PM


    I got those scrambled images in my PC too, taken with a HP PhotoSmart camera and transferred using an external 7-in-1 card reader. But look, the thumbnails look o.k., how is this possible? Does XP use different codecs for thumbnails and full-size images?

    Please help. Thanks.

  16. Stu Radforth
    Mrz 21, 2008 - 08:18 AM

    I have been finding a very very similar problem. When I have two computers on my LAN and I copy images on Computer A’s hard drive via Computer B the image is randomly corrupt ~30% of the time in the way described above.

    I tried taking that same copied image and copy/paste it about 10 times and noticed this is an accumulative effect as more errors appear in the image.

    Next I did a byte compare between the two files, both are identical sizes however there are very specific bits just obliterated with random bytes (About 100-200 bytes each time).

    I next renamed the jpg files .bin files and tried the multiple copy of copy of copy again. Renamed the «Copy of Copy of Copy of A.bin» to a jpg file and sure enough it was still corrupt… now here› the very wierd bit.
    If I create a vast txt file and do the same that works perfectly 100% of the time even though it’s copying the same data??! I’m starting to think this is a virus and spoke to Norton about it. They would happily charge me £70 to try and fix it but can’t guarantee they’ll even find it.

    I’ve since removed this hard drive and scanned it in two other machines running up to date virus scanning software but neither has found anything but the search continues.

    This one is a doozer and I’m eager to find the cause so if anyone else gets an answer first please share it 🙂

  17. Carly Barnett
    Apr 17, 2008 - 12:34 AM

    I agree with everyone else…this is a bummer….I have beautiful photos of my newborn that are all scrambled up…I hope they can figure out how to «fix» this soon!

  18. Heidi
    Mai 04, 2008 - 06:56 AM

    I’m publishing a magazine; I have used an XP for years, and didn’t have problems with its compatibility with jpeg files. Unfortunately my old computer started to «die». With my two new computers with Vista OS, I’ve been so frustrated because most of my photos are either «truncated» or «damaged.» I bought a used XP and started opening and treating photos on it and they were very good. When I copied the photos (using the same FlashCard) in the Vista computer, most were damaged, with a large gray line on them. I thought the problem was the older PhotoShop version I had so I bought the latest version and installed it in the Vista computer, but the result was the same. My problem is, I am doing my magazine layout using the Vista now (since it’s where I installed the new QuarkXpress7 and Adobe Acrobat 8, as well as Photoshop CS3); my latest issue didn’t have great photos because of this.
    Plus, I do my website through ATT Small Business, and Vista isn’t compatible either with my web-builder program! I had to go back to the XP again!
    Plus, I wonder why I couldn’t download any jpeg attachments and documents to emails; but I can open pdf atachments. I have tried removing all security barriers and changed Internet options, but to no avail. Again, I go back to the XP, and everything is fine! But in my business, all these are a waste of precious time and money. I’m so frustrated and am trying not to get angry.

  19. Debbie Henry
    Okt 03, 2008 - 12:16 AM

    Thank God I am not alone. I was pulling my hair out with similar problem. Got a new Canon Rebel xti for my birthday and have taken a couple thousand photos. Uploaded them onto Vista OS (which I didn’t really want, but old puter died a complete and horrible death). Uploaded using USB and Canon software-those photos so far have stayed stable. It is the photos that I have uploaded into a folder onto desktop with the card reader(Compact Flash card-one SanDisk, one unknown brand that came with camera). All of a sudden, a number of photos in that file have become corrupt with gray boxes over part of photo or weird striping-trying to figure out why-was it photo software I was using? HP photo, windows photo gallery for quick stuff, or was it the Zoom EX that came with the Canon? Seemed that there is no real correlation between any program and suddenly messed up images. Yet, if I open Zoom EX-all the images are there, intact, which get uploaded from Canon to C:users/debbie/pictures
    Now, I live in fear of doing anything with images in that file on desktop or moving them into external hard drive where all my other photos are that are still ok (and I don’t want to risk them now in any photo program!) Has anyone else noticed if the Original photos that become corrupt were messed with in any photo program? Were they cropped, altered, photo stitched? It seems that some of the ones that get corrupted, I have played with, but don’t always remember which program I used. I live in fear of opening up that folder on the desktop to see what will be ruined next. Geez, a solution would be grand!

  20. Rahul
    Jan 08, 2009 - 06:04 PM

    Hi Guys

    Anyone of you has any idea how these corrupt files can be recovered. Please let me know if you know of any software that can fix these jpeg files.

  21. Darrell
    Feb 23, 2009 - 09:19 AM

    I got a 16gb in pentax k2000.I just lost 4,326 photo’s I just finished the last recovery program I’m gonna try.I recovered around 600 total around 200 are still bad.If you hear if anything that would work I am all ears…

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