17 Replies Latest reply on Aug 6, 2014 4:32 AM by LFAphoto

    How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?

    LFAphoto

      I am a fairly new user of Lightroom 5.5 on a Windows 7 PC.  I still keep my images in separate folders and sub-folders e.g. relating to different holidays.  I recently needed to move a sub-folder containing 210 images from one folder to another and appeared to do so successfully.  However, when viewed in the Library module, the black crop and develop adjustment indicators do not show in the bottom right corner and only the original image is displayed.  When one of these images is opened in the Develop module, no previous adjustments are shown, all sliders are at their neutral midpoint positions and the 'before' and 'after' versions are identical original images.  I note that all the affected file names gained a '_1' suffix.

       

      None of my other folders are affected by this problem so I am reasonably confident it's associated with the move.  I have tried restoring the sub-folder to its original position from a back-up copy on a separate hard drive but the same problem occurs, though without the '_1' suffix appearing.  Using Windows Explorer I have been able to demonstrate that the .xmp sidecar files are still present in the same sub-folder as the images (assuming I'm right in thinking this is where the Develop adjustments are stored).

       

      Does anyone have any suggestions of how I can recover the previous adjustments to avoid having to re-process all 210 images?

        • 1. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
          dj_paige Level 9

          Did you re-import the photos? You have the symptoms of re-importing the photos.

           

          Are the edited versions of the photos in the catalog somewhere? Have you asked Lightroom to search the entire catalog for the version of the photos without the _1 suffix?

           

          Until we get those answers, I can't really give you further guidance. Nevertheless, here is some general advice:

           

          1. never re-import photos ... that's never, as in 100% of the time, you don't do that, not even once, this never solves anything, it always makes things worse
          2. You would be wise to develop workflows and organizational schemes that do not rely upon moving photos from one folder to another folder (EXCEPTION: when its time to move the photos to a new hard disk or new computer then you should move the photos, but this isn't really moving photos to a different folder, its moving all folders and photos to a different disk, you KEEP THEM IN THE SAME FOLDER and FOLDER HIERARCHY)
          3. You would be wise to use Lightroom tools such as keywords and other metadata to organize, instead of folder name or folder location or file name to organize.
          4. If you absolutely have to move photos from one folder to another, do this ENTIRELY in Lightroom via drag and drop
          • 2. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
            LFAphoto Level 1

            Firstly, many thanks forgetting back to me so quickly.

             

            The edited versions without the _1 suffix are in the catalog but only because I copied them back into the original folder position from my back-up on an external hard drive.  I have tried both using the Copy facility within the Lightroom import command and using Windows Explorer to do the copying followed by Synchronize Folder in Lightroom.  However, neither helped as both versions were also afflicted by the same problem.  Prior to my copying them back, I'm pretty certain that the original sub-folder and its contents had disappeared from the catalog.

             

            I've tried so many things to sort out this mess of my own making that I'm not completely sure but it is very likely I did re-import the images at some point.  I now know not to do that ever again!  My mistake was probably trying to make the changes in the Organizer module of Photoshop Elements, which I have used for several years and so was much more comfortable with it, before Synchronizing the Folders in Lightroom.  I guess this is one of the teething problems when moving from one software package to another.

             

            I'm inclined to think the solution might lie in completely removing all versions of these images from both the catalog and hard disk and then restoring them from the external back-up but this sounds risky, especially as re-importing is so dangerous.

             

            I will be most grateful for any further suggestions.

            • 3. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
              dj_paige Level 9

              Synchronizing to add photos that have been previously imported is indeed re-importing.

               

              I do not see an answer to the question I asked: "Are the edited versions of the photos in the catalog somewhere? Have you asked Lightroom to search the entire catalog for the version of the photos without the _1 suffix?"

              I'm inclined to think the solution might lie in completely removing all versions of these images from both the catalog and hard disk and then restoring them from the external back-up

              None of this is what I would advise at this time, as your photos most likely do not contain the edit information, unless you specifically told Lightroom to write that information to the photo files. The edit information is in the Lightroom Catalog. Do you have backups of your catalog file made before this problem happened?

              • 4. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                LFAphoto Level 1

                Bingo!  I searched previously on only the folders I knew had contained the images.  However, this time I searched on the entire catalog for one of the filenames and although it found only the '_1 suffix' and 'copied from back-up' versions, the '_1 suffix' version now has the Develop adjustments present, which is very encouraging.  These were not showing up when I clicked on the same image using the relevant sub-folder under the Folders heading.  Trouble is I don't know what to do from here to get all the images with Develop adjustments back where I want them without doing any more damage.

                 

                I'm in the Library module.  On the left had side under the Catalog heading I have 'All Photographs' highlighted.  In the Library Filter heading to the main screen 'Text' is highlighted, below which my search is: Text 'Filename', 'Contains All' and one of the filenames.  The main screen itself shows the two versions of the image.  The '_1 suffix' version shows the 'Crop' and 'Develop adjustments' black squares in the bottom right corner.  When opened in the Develop module I can do a before and after comparison whilst under the Basic tab etc. all the adjustments are there.

                 

                Any suggestions on what I should do next?  Sorry if this is all a bit basic but I only recently started using Lightroom and until now thought getting to grips with RAW files and all the Develop possibilities was the hard bit!

                • 5. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                  dj_paige Level 9


                  Well that's good news

                  Any suggestions on what I should do next?

                   

                  I don't know, what do you want to do next?

                  • 6. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                    LFAphoto Level 1

                    I'd like to get all these '-1 suffix' files together with their associated Develop adjustments into one folder (if they aren't already) so I can see them in Grid view in the Library module, which I use as my basic starting point for everything else at this early stage of my Lightroom 'career'.

                     

                    I don't understand why the search on the entire catalog picked up apparently the same two file versions but also got the Develop adjustments when going to the relevant Folder didn't show the adjustment black squares against each image in Grid view nor were they there when the images were opened in the Develop module.  Perhaps if I understood this, I'd be a bit more confident of moving forward myself.

                     

                    Thanks again for your help.

                    • 7. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                      dj_paige Level 9

                      I'd like to get all these '-1 suffix' files together with their associated Develop adjustments into one folder (if they aren't already) so I can see them in Grid view in the Library module, which I use as my basic starting point for everything else at this early stage of my Lightroom 'career'.

                      To see what folder these are stored in, right-click on a photo and select "Go to Folder in Library".

                       

                      Advice: if you are going to use Lightroom effectively, you probably want to stop using folders as your method to create a grouping of photos that are already in Lightroom; there are plenty of built-in tools, such as keywords, collections, color labels, etc.

                       

                      I don't understand why the search on the entire catalog picked up apparently the same two file versions but also got the Develop adjustments when going to the relevant Folder didn't show the adjustment black squares against each image in Grid view nor were they there when the images were opened in the Develop module.  Perhaps if I understood this, I'd be a bit more confident of moving forward myself.

                      These are most likely different versions of the same photo, in different folders. Lightroom stores the edits in its own catalog, and so it knows that one folder's photos have edits, and the other folder's photos do not have edits. Please understand that Lightroom is a database, it knows where the photos are at the time you import them (or add them to the catalog by synchronize), and then if you move things around in your operating system, Lightroom does not know anything about that and problems begin. Thus the advice to organize using Lightroom tools and methods and not operating system tools and methods.

                      • 8. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                        LFAphoto Level 1

                        My good news has turned out to be rather short-lived.  The folder containing the '_1 suffix' image with Develop adjustments was in fact the one I had moved the images to, so they're already where I want them to end up.  Unfortunately, when I then used Grid View in the Library Module to look at all the other images, it was only the first one that I had searched for that has the adjustments with it.  All the others are still just the original image with no adjustments.  Presumably I did something different to that first image in my stumbling around searching for a solution before posting my question here.

                         

                        My understanding is that the Develop adjustments are stored in sidecar files with .xmp extensions.  Using Windows Explorer I have been able to locate these for the other images in the same sub-folder but Lightroom is still only displaying the original photo without adjustments for all but the first one.  Any ideas how I can get it to re-associate the two?  I've tried Catalog searches for the other file names, because that's what worked (or at least that's when I noticed the adjustments had been re-applied) with the first image, but nothing doing.

                         

                        Yes, I realise by now that I have to get my brain away from the old Windows folder/file mentality of the last 30 years and into a new database way of thinking when using Lightroom.  I guess it takes a difficult experience like this to force an old dog that he really has to learn new tricks.  Trouble is, I still need to fix the other 209 images first!.

                        • 9. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                          dj_paige Level 9

                          My understanding is that the Develop adjustments are stored in sidecar files with .xmp extensions.

                          By default, this is not true, it will not happen by itself. You would have to issue a command or turn on an option to make this happen.

                          Using Windows Explorer I have been able to locate these for the other images in the same sub-folder but Lightroom is still only displaying the original photo without adjustments for all but the first one.  Any ideas how I can get it to re-associate the two?

                          If the .xmp files are present and they contain the edits (because you either issued a command or turned on an option) then you can read these into Lightroom using the Metadata->Read Metadata from Files command.

                          • 10. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                            LFAphoto Level 1

                            I am not aware of changing away from the default option to direct the adjustments into the .xmp files so perhaps that isn't the answer I was hoping for.  However, the presence of it's .xmp file in the same sub-folder was the only obvious thing differentiating the image with adjustments from those without.  Having found the .xmp files for a sample of the other images, I'm afraid the Read Metadata command hasn't made any difference.

                             

                            Think I'm getting to the point where I'll have to give up, resign myself to re-editing all the other images and put this one down to experience.  In a way its more frustrating now its worked with one image, which proves the adjustments are in there somewhere and can be re-applied, if only I knew where and how.

                             

                            Again many thanks for all your advice and suggestions today.

                            • 11. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                              LFAphoto Level 1

                              Upon checking the Metadata details under the heading on the right of the Library module screen, it clearly shows the sidecar files as xmp both for the image with adjustments and the rest of the sample for which I have found the xmp files of the same name but have been unable to re-apply the adjustments.  The Metadata for my other files without the xmp files in the same sub-folder do not show the sidecar under the Metadata heading.

                               

                              The only difference between the image with adjustments and those with sidecar files but adjustments not applied was that the former gave a 'Resolve conflict' option against Metadata status.  Having done this, status changed to Up To Date, the same as all the other files, yet the adjustments are still being applied.

                               

                              Given that I know how to find the .xmp sidecar files, I'm now back to wondering how I can re-apply these adjustments to the original images.  All suggestions gratefully received.

                              • 12. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                                dj_paige Level 9

                                Given that I know how to find the .xmp sidecar files, I'm now back to wondering how I can re-apply these adjustments to the original images.  All suggestions gratefully received.

                                All the evidence so far suggests that the .xmp files do NOT contain your edits.

                                 

                                If you cannot find an edited version of your photos in the catalog itself, then most likely the edits are gone.

                                • 13. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                                  areohbee Level 5

                                  dj_paige wrote:

                                   

                                  If you cannot find an edited version of your photos in the catalog itself, then most likely the edits are gone.

                                  Probably true, but just to be clear: if you've exported copies with "All Metadata" checked, then the original source edits (develop settings) are contained in the exported files (as metadata) and can be recovered from there (requires exiftool and some know-how, or a plugin).

                                  • 14. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                                    LFAphoto Level 1

                                    Thanks again for all your help.

                                     

                                    First off, I've proved to myself that the one image where the Develop adjustments appeared to be present was a red herring.  What I had done was apply Photo>Develop Settings>Paste Settings From Previous.  My thinking was this might re-apply the previous develop adjustments specific to this image whereas it actually just applies the adjustments from the last edit of a totally unrelated image.

                                     

                                    Secondly, the evidence still points to the Develop adjustments being saved in the sidecar .xmp files.  However, since I can't re-apply them from there, I have to agree that they have been lost and only the original in-camera metadata remains.  Since I can't recover the adjustments from my back-up either, I now wonder if I had actually lost the adjustments prior to moving the folders and images without realising this.  No I had not exported copies, let alone with All Metadata checked.

                                     

                                    One final piece of advice would be most welcome to avoid any repeat of this situation.  I had naively assumed that taking my back-ups in Windows Explorer using copy (from my C: drive Pictures Library) and paste (to my E: external hard drive) would give me everything needed to fully restore my images should the need arise.  This problem suggests this is not true.  How would you advise me to take back-ups in future so the Develop adjustments are captured along with the original images and in-camera metadata?

                                     

                                    Painful lesson now well and truly learned, its back to re-editing all 210 of them!

                                    • 15. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                                      areohbee Level 5

                                      LFAphoto wrote:

                                       

                                      the evidence still points to the Develop adjustments being saved in the sidecar .xmp files.  However, since I can't re-apply them from there

                                      As dj_paige said: if edits are in xmp, simply reading metadata (from disk to catalog) will re-apply them. If doing so does not re-apply settings, then the settings weren't in the xmp.. (assuming no unexpected failure..).

                                       

                                      But in the future, I recommend:

                                      * backing up the catalog regularly

                                      * saving xmp frequently (I do it manually when reaching milestone edits, but some people turn on automatic saving).

                                      (back up the xmp too - why not..).

                                       

                                      So if disaster strikes, a recent catalog backup combined with xmp will bring you right back to where you were..

                                       

                                      PS - be glad it's 210 and not 21,000 (or 210,000)!

                                       

                                      Cheers,

                                      Rob

                                      • 16. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                                        dj_paige Level 9

                                        Secondly, the evidence still points to the Develop adjustments being saved in the sidecar .xmp files.

                                        I have to disagree. If you preformed the Read Metadata from Files command, and the edits don't show up in Lightroom, then the Develop adjustments are not in there.

                                         

                                        Since I can't recover the adjustments from my back-up either, I now wonder if I had actually lost the adjustments prior to moving the folders and images without realising this.

                                        I can't find any evidence of this in your statements above, although I also cannot state exactly what you did to cause the developments to be lost.

                                         

                                        I had naively assumed that taking my back-ups in Windows Explorer using copy (from my C: drive Pictures Library) and paste (to my E: external hard drive) would give me everything needed to fully restore my images should the need arise.  This problem suggests this is not true.

                                        I can't agree with this. The fault in your logic is that (as far as we can tell), you never instructed Lightroom to put the edits in the files. In Lightroom's default mode of operation, the edits are not placed in the files. If the edits aren't there, you can't restore the edits from the files. You can only restore the files, without edits. You need to backup both the catalog file and the photos, on a regular basis — and preferably automated.

                                        • 17. Re: How can I recover Develop adjustments that disappeared after moving images between folders?
                                          LFAphoto Level 1

                                          Many thanks again.  As you will have gathered, I really didn't understand what Lightroom does with the adjustments but obviously you are both right.  My back-ups do have sidecar .xmp files but these don't contain the adjustments only in-camera metadata.

                                           

                                          I have now been through all my subsequent edits not affected by this problem and manually saved the adjustments to disk in the .xmp sidecar files.  I have also now found the option to turn on automatically saving the adjustments to those.  Since my back-ups already pick up the .xmp files I should be covered in future, though I shall certainly be re-educating myself to get away from the old folder mentality asap.

                                           

                                          Rob is quite right, re-editing 210 images is a pain but it could have been so much worse.  Time to get on with that job.  Thank again both of you.