14 Replies Latest reply on Oct 27, 2015 8:08 AM by dj_paige

    Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.

    LarryJohnson Level 1

      I'm not even sure what question to ask, so I'll explain what I did, what I'm trying to accomplish, and how I've failed to this point. Several months ago I moved some Lightroom folders from my hard drive to an external drive using Lightroom's "Remove" command (right clicking on the file name). (Maybe I should have used the Exported the Folder as a Catalog command instead.) Now those folders are marked with a "?" beside them, but I can still view the final version of the image on the hard drive folder in Library mode. I want to bring one of the folders back into Lightroom so that I can re-process some photos and re-export. I'm assuming that all my previous edits will be intact. First tried to accomplish this using the "add folder" command by right clicking on the "+" icon adjacent to Folders list. Files were imported, but not into the original file folder of the same name. I have no idea where those files were imported. Tried to do this again, but Lightroom would not allow me to select the Import button, only Canceling was an option. Next I tried "Find Missing Folder" by right clicking on the folder's name in Lightroom Library. I selected the folder on the external drive and "Merged" into the existing file. This resulted in Duplicates being made, but Lightroom still "Can't find file" so that I can edit it. I've watched Adobe's tutorial on importing files from an external drive. I'm stumped. Using Lightroom 5. Should I have build Smart Previews originally? Would that have "saved" my edits? #1

        • 1. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
          Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

          You first say you MOVED some folders by using the Remove command. That is not how you MOVE folders. That Removes them from the catalog.

           

          Then in that same sentence you say you Right Clicked on the File Name, did you mean the Folder Name? Otherwise what you have done is Removed individual files. It is not know whether you also selected Remove from Catalog or Remove from disk option.

           

          With folder that have a Question Mark next to them right click on the Folder name and select Update Folder Location. A windows will come up where you browse to the new location of that folder.

          • 2. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
            LarryJohnson Level 1

            Thanks for the reply.  I right clicked on the folder name and selected "Remove" which "removes the photos from Lightroom catalog, but folder and files remain on disk." 

             

            I've right-clicked on the folder marked with a "?" and get three options; 1. Find missing folder.  2. remove, or 3. export folder as a catalog.  I selected Find missing folder.  Rather than finding it for me, it opened the Mac Finder window opens asking me to choose a file.  I've searched through my files and can't locate it.  I believe I need to know the file pathway that Lightroom uses to store these files. 

            • 3. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
              Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

              LR used the Path you chose when you imported the images from the camera or card. LR doesn't chose where to store files. You chose that. One way to tell is to open the Import window and look at the Destination selected. If you never changed that it should point to that location. More than likely in the Pictures folder in your Username folder.

               

              But did you move these images to an external drive?

              • 4. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                Mrinmay Majhi Adobe Employee

                Hi Larryjohnson,

                 

                When you get a "?" on any folder or "!" on any file, it indicates that Lightroom is not able to that specific folder or the file.

                You are required to navigate and locate the folder or file to its current location.

                 

                Please follow the below link for more information.

                Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Help | Locate missing photos

                 

                Hope this helps.

                 

                 

                ~Mrinmay

                • 5. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                  Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                  I think the first thing you should do is get a book or view some online tutorials on how LR works and how to use LR properly.

                   

                  Removing files or folders from the LR catalog does not free disk space. It might get you a few Mega Bytes but all you are doing by removing folder from the catalog is removing the entry for that folder from the LR database, IE the Catalog file.

                  • 6. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                    LarryJohnson Level 1

                    Shootist,  Are you kidding me!  Did I move these files to an external drive!  Did you read my first post or the question!  I've been using Lightroom for over a year and have processed over 6,000 images with no problem until moving some to an external drive.  That's what created this problem.  And I couldn't have processed all of those files without moving them to an external drive!  It does save space!  I've watched every Lightroom tutorial available by Julianne Kost.

                     

                    Mrinmay,  you're suggestion is getting close to the solution.  As mentioned in my explanation, I tried to "Find Missing Files" by right clicking.  After doing so, I get an option to Merge the files, which I opt to do, and then a message that duplicates were created.  It didn't solve my problem.  All previous edits were lost.

                    • 7. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                      Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                      Well I am sorry but I don't really understand your questions or problem. If you moved the actual images from your internal drive to an external drive there was no need to remove them from the catalog. The catalog is just a database of the images you have imported. You could of moved them to the external from inside, using, LR and keep them in the catalog. This would of freed up space on your internal drive. The ? mark is because LR can't find those folders and or files. If you originally removed those folders that you moved they should not be showing up with a question mark, you removed them from the catalog.

                      Do you have that external drive connected to your system?

                       

                      IMHO what created the problem you are now having is your lack of understanding how LR works and how to work with LR. Sorry but that is what it sounds and looks like to me.

                       

                      If I needed free space on my internal drive and chose to move image file to an external I would do it in one of 2 ways.

                      1) Used LR to move the folders and files to the external drive. This would of moved the folder and the file contained in the folder to the external and keep LR aware of where they are. Even if I didn't have that external drive connected LR would still know where they were.

                      2) Used the File Manager program in the OS to move the folders and files then used the Find Missing files system or the Update Folder Locations feature to point LR to where they now are.

                       

                      The edits you make are by default stored in the LR catalog database file. If you didn't have the option checked to Auto write changes to an XMP sidecar file then when you removed those files from the catalog all the edits you had done on them where deleted, removed alone with the image file entry. That is why it is important to never remove files from the LR catalog.

                       

                      Please post a screen shot of the Library module with the folder area visible.

                      • 8. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                        dj_paige Level 9
                        I'm assuming that all my previous edits will be intact.

                        Incorrect, removing the photos from Lightroom can cause you to lose your edits. All the other stuff that you tried will not bring your edits back.

                        I've watched Adobe's tutorial on importing files from an external drive. I'm stumped. Using Lightroom 5. Should I have build Smart Previews originally? Would that have "saved" my edits? #1

                        Importing from anywhere will not bring your edits back. Smart previews will not preserve your edits. Leaving the photos in Lightroom is the way to preserve your edits.


                        If you were running out of space, the method to move photos while preserving your edits, and free up space on a disk, is given here: Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders

                         

                        With regards to your current difficulties, do you have a recent backup of your catalog file, before all of these troubles happened?

                        • 9. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                          LarryJohnson Level 1

                          Shootist, you have a knack for stating the obvious.  Clearly, I don't understand how to properly move files to an external drive and recover them for further editting.  I've gained a better understanding through the replies here and reading the link provided by DJ_Paige.  I do have a back-up.  There was never any fear in losing them.  Thank you both.

                          • 10. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                            D Clemons

                            Larry, I have to agree with you. This design is really silly.  For numerous reasons with my work flow, I often need to move files, rename them, and store them differently/elsewhere.  I understand that Lightroom can not re-find my file if I haven't told it where I moved it, but for it to not even simply allow me to re-import it is just nuts.  I can see the file on my hard drive, It should simply allow me to select it and reopen it, if I'm willing to lose my Lightroom edits to open it. But no, it won't let me.  The only way I found to open it. was to rename it. 

                            • 11. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                              ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                              There is virtually never a good reason to reimport an image; it is unnecessary. Doing so will lose all your previous edits.

                               

                              If you move a file or directory outside of LR, just tell LR where you moved it to. Easy.

                              If you move a file or directory inside of LR, you are done.

                              If you rename a file or directory outside of LR, just tell LR what you renamed it to.

                              If you rename a file or directory inside of LR, you are done.

                              • 12. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                                D Clemons Level 1

                                Thanks ManiacJoe for responding.  Obviously "easy" for you, is much different for someone else.  As someone who makes 100% of my income from photography, but who shoots very few, but critical images, my workflow that works for me is:

                                 

                                1) import image and develop initial adjustments in Lightroom

                                2) Edit image in Photoshop

                                3) At this point, I hope to never see this image in Lightroom again, and rarely ever need to, as I'm well versed in getting exactly what I want in Photoshop.

                                3) For many reasons I don't need/want to get into discussion on (backing up files, multiple locations, working/naming/saving workflow), I will after the fact often need to move files of multiple types, not just Raw files, and to do so in Lightroom would be a nuisance.

                                 

                                So, when I open up Lightroom to re-import my file, I will goto  the folder I know it to be in, and attempt to Import it.  At this point, it tells me the file is unavailable.  I get it that it's moved, but it's not easy' or intuitive at all to "tell Lightroom where I moved it" or "tell Lightroom what you named it" either looking at the "catalogue interface" (greyed out - "already imported"), or the interface where it tells me it's "unavailable". I graduated Summa Cum Laude, so I've got at least half a brain, but it is not intuitive to find at all, as I've searched for some time.  Yeah, I'm sure I can spend an hour watching and practicing on some video, but I thought it would/should be so simple, that I posted here instead.

                                • 13. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                                  ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                                  Your mistake is trying to import the files a second time. LR does not like this and by design tries to make that second import difficult.

                                   

                                  Since you know you moved the file(s), just go to the Library module and update the locations of the folders and images as needed. LR will mark the "missing" folders with a "?" and the missing images with "!".

                                  If you moved a folder, do the "find missing" on the folders before trying to "find missing" on the images.

                                   

                                  If you find that you are moving files/folders on a regular basis, you might look into seeing if your disk organization might be optimized by getting the files and folders organized before importing the images into LR. Moving files/folders inside or outside of LR is a simple process as long as the folder structure does not change between the old and new locations. Backups and archives are common concepts in LR.

                                  • 14. Re: Issues with re-importing processed files back into Lightroom 5 from external drive.
                                    dj_paige Level 9

                                    So, when I open up Lightroom to re-import my file, I will goto  the folder I know it to be in, and attempt to Import it.  At this point, it tells me the file is unavailable.  I get it that it's moved, but it's not easy' or intuitive at all to "tell Lightroom where I moved it" or "tell Lightroom what you named it" either looking at the "catalogue interface" (greyed out - "already imported"), or the interface where it tells me it's "unavailable".

                                    The solution is to NOT import. Importing will not solve your problem. The solution is to reconnect Lightroom to the file, using the Lightroom tools described here: Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders

                                     

                                    I agree completely with ManiacJoe, this is an example where you would be much better off (i.e. less work, less confusion, less delay) if you simply stopped moving the photos from here to there. Put the photos into the desired folder where the photos will reside forever when they come out of the camera. Then no moving photos is required, resulting in no delay because Lightroom can't find the file, no confusion, no extra work, no re-importing. Seems to me like a win-win.