iMovie: How to Save Projects to Another Hard Disk

This document explains how to work with a hard disk other than your computer's startup disk in iMovie.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
If your computer's startup disk is low on disk space, you can use a secondary hard drive to save, back up, or archive your projects.

If you are creating a new project, simply select the secondary volume as the destination in the save dialog. If you do not see the disk in the destination list, click the disclosure triangle in the save window and scroll to the left to see all available volumes (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Save dialog with multiple volumes

To copy an iMovie project to another disk:
    1. Quit iMovie if it is open.
    2. Locate the project folder in the Finder.
    3. Drag the project folder to the other disk.

Note: You must move the complete project folder, intact, to the other disk in order to successfully copy the project. The project folder has the same name as the project listed in the iMovie window. This folder includes the iMovie project file, as well as a Media folder, which contains all of the clips associated with this project. If you don't copy all of these items, the project may no longer be readable in iMovie.

Once you have copied the project, try opening it in iMovie to ensure that it copied to the other disk successfully.

Important Considerations

Drive speed, bandwidth, and format are important when editing an iMovie project. Keep the following in mind when transferring a project to a volume other than the internal hard drive:
  • Zip drives, floppy drives, hard drives connected via USB, and file server volumes are too slow to support direct editing of iMovie projects. These storage devices should only be used to back up and archive your projects.
  • The drive must be formatted as Mac OS Extended (HFS Plus) or Mac OS Standard (HFS) format. Copying your iMovie project to disks that use DOS, UFS, or other formats may result in a project that is no longer useable in iMovie.
  • When using drives connected to your computer with FireWire, connect the drive directly to the computer. If playback appears to stutter, or if iMovie indicates that the "disk responded slowly" consider disconnecting other FireWire devices.
  • Disk fragmentation can cause playback issues within iMovie. If playback appears to stutter, or if iMovie indicates that the "disk responded slowly", consider defragmenting the disk using a defragmentation utility.

Published Date: Feb 18, 2012