Scans library forever -- UI / Documentation Issue

I solved this problem myself, but wanted to describe it for you, because I nearly gave up on Photostructure due to it.


I already have all my photos in one folder (+ its subfolders), and I don’t want Photostructure importing random pics from elsewhere on my drive.

I think this issue is totally unrelated to platform, but I’ll still mention: I’m on an M1 Mac, macos 11.5.2, Photostructure 1.1.0.

What I did

  1. I downloaded and installed Photostructure.
  2. When it asked me to choose my library folder, I picked the folder where I have all my photos (say, “Users/my_user/Documents/photos”).
  3. I didn’t have any other folders to scan and I didn’t want it to scan my whole drive, so in the “Where else are your photos and videos?” section of the settings, I chose “manual”, and then left the path blank, so there were no paths to scan.

Expected behavior

I assumed it would then scan my library. Or, if I’d configured it in some sort of incorrect way, it would raise an error. Or, if it didn’t have any paths to scan, it would start scanning and then say “Oops, there’s nothing to scan… fix by this by doing X.”

Actual behavior

It sat running for hours (I kept it running/“scanning” for almost 30 hours) and just said “Scanning…” I didn’t understand what was going on or why it wasn’t making any progress. I searched on the forums, tried uninstalling and reinstalling, deleted the .toml file, set logs to debug and tried checking for errors, upped the memory limits, and nothing made any difference. I went to post about it on the forum and…


I checked the “About Photostructure” page and saw a warning under “Health checks”. I can’t remember the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of “nothing to scan. no manual scan folders selected and full-disk scan not selected.”

I found that message somewhat cryptic but I got the gist of it and figured I’d try manually adding my library folder to the manual paths option in settings. That seems to have solved the issue and it’s now scanning my photos.

I’ll reiterate that I was really excited about this program but this confusing bug nearly had me deleting it and giving up. I’d suggest that you should raise an error if there’s nothing to scan, and should automatically import existing photos from the library folder. As a rationale for that second suggestion… can you come up with a scenario where a user would not want the photos in their chosen library folder to be scanned?

Addendum: existing docs

I now see a few small breadcrumbs that maybe could have clued me in to what was going on, but neither was sufficient to help me figure it out:

  1. In the “Your PhotoStructure library” settings section, it says that it won’t re-import your existing photos if you change your library location… but I didnt even finish reading that at first bc I wasn’t “changing my library location”.

  2. I just went here and now I see “If you opt into automatic organization, your library will also contain your original photos and videos.” But “lite” doesn’t come with automatic organization.

Apologies for the hassle!

I actually found this issue myself a couple days ago: it will be fixed in the next release. I just linked that reference to this forum post:

Also: if there are ways that you think I can improve documentation, feature discoverability, or really anything, know that I’m all ears: email, DM me here on the forum, or via discord, whatever’s more convenient.

Thanks for taking the time to write this down!

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Awesome, thank you!

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