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Nadster07
Currently Being Moderated

Lost original image files, Can I recover from what is in Catalog?

Mar 7, 2013 8:19 AM

Tags: #lightroom #lost #files #export #4 #lr4 #help_missing #original_image #recover_help

Require help or guidance :

My hard drive died, and I was able to recover my catalog and light room backups.  However, I lost my original photo files.  The images show up in my catalog but have a question mark on them, and the file is offline or not available.  Is there a way to take what is in the catalog and convert them to usable  photos?  Is there any hope of ever accessing these photos again?

 

Also, when I do look at the backed up catalogs, they show all the folder structures, but there are no images?  is everything lost?

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2013 8:21 AM   in reply to Nadster07

    My hard drive died, and I was able to recover my catalog and light room backups.

    Please clarify, are these backups the photos, or something else?

     

    If you have backups of the photos, then you have to reconnect them to the Lightroom Catalog.

    http://www.computer-darkroom.com/lr2_find_folder/find-folder.htm

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2013 8:58 AM   in reply to Nadster07

    That was a bad assumption.  Lightroom backs up the catalog, which contains a history of what you have done to your images.  But it does not back up the images.  That is your responsibility.  If you don't have them anywhere than there really isn't anything you can do except cry a little.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2013 9:01 AM   in reply to Nadster07

    When you import into Lightroom, the images are never stored in Lightroom. They are stored on your hard disk. If you could recover the catalog from this hard disk, you might be able to recover the images from this hard disk.

     

    In the future, you need to begin a program of making regular backups of your catalog file AND your photos.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2013 9:06 AM   in reply to Nadster07

    What you are seeing is the preview images that Lightroom generates.  As DJ has suggested, if you are able to recover the catalog and the previews, there is a possibility that the images could be recovered as well.  They were on the same hard drive, correct?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2013 2:21 PM   in reply to JimHess

    JimHess wrote:

     

    If you don't have them anywhere than there really isn't anything you can do except cry a little.

    As last resort some people use preview recovery.

     

    Just beware you won't necessarily get big sizes, and color may be off depending on method chosen.

     

    Do an internet search for "Lightroom preview export extraction recovery" and several options will turn up, some may be better suited to you than others...

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2013 2:34 PM   in reply to Rob Cole

    I guess I had better learn to stay out of these discussions.  I forget about plugins because I haven't used any of them up to this point.  I have looked at a couple of yours, Rob, but just haven't ventured into using any of them yet.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 7, 2013 3:23 PM   in reply to JimHess

    Not to worry - I/we've got your back .

     

    Reminder, for emphasis - preview recovery should be reserved for last resort, when all other options for recovering original files from disk/card have failed.

     

    Speaking of cards, you (or OP) might be surprised at what you can recover from them sometimes. I recovered photos from many months prior, even after multiple shoots and reformats. Not all are recoverable in like fashion, but again: you may be surprised (I was anyway).

     

    Cheers,

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 8, 2013 5:53 PM   in reply to Nadster07

    You will probably be able to recover images from the previews, the only question is: "what size?" (and quality), and whether color profile and metadata have been correctly applied.

     

    I've had good success with PreviewExporter, size-wise, and other-wise (on both Lr4 and Lr3), but there is still some suspicion as to whether it is always getting the largest available (and on Mac platform you have to download and install exiftool, if you want corrected color & metadata (it can be used without exiftool too)).

     

    So, it may be worth trying more than one.

     

    Try Adobe's Lr4 "ExtractPreviews.lua" script if you're on Lr4 - it *should* be the "reference standard", size-wise, it just neglects metadata and the icc profile - which is the only reason it's not necessarily the best option.

     

    Likewise, there are jpeg strippers (FileJuicer on Mac, BitmapRip on Windows) that will get everything for sure, but then you gotta sort it out... - but may be worth using to spot check sizes, or you can use it/them for the whole job, if you don't care about color/metadata and/or know how to figure that stuff out.

     

    If you are using Lr4 or Lr2, consider trying Jeffrey Friedl's preview extraction plugin (it won't work in Lr3). It includes everything you need (both platforms), but there is still some suspicion as to whether the ICC profile is always correct or not. It was correct when I tried it, but Victoria Bampton said it wasn't when she tried it and that Jeffrey is looking into it.

     

    Also, LrViewer used to be a popular choice, but it is no longer supported (yet you still may be able to find and use it).

     

    All are findable on the net - good luck, and please don't forget to report any size discrepancies or other problems to plugin author(s).

    Rob

     
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  • Victoria Bampton
    5,302 posts
    Apr 1, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2013 12:27 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob Cole wrote:

    there is still some suspicion as to whether the ICC profile is always correct or not. It was correct when I tried it, but Victoria Bampton said it wasn't when she tried it and that Jeffrey is looking into it.

     

    I'm 99.9% sure he fixed it.

     
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