I just tried to create a collection and inadvertently lost all my folders.
Can you describe exactly what steps you tried (and use the exact name of the command or function in Lightroom)?
When I look on hard drive they show as empty.
Do you mean ... when you look on the hard drive using your operating system?
Or, do you mean ... when you look on the hard drive using Lightroom?
They are not in deleted folder.
What do you mean by "deleted folder"? If you delete a folder, then nothing can be in it ... so this isn't making sense to me.
First, it looks like I fixed the problem. And Thanks very much for your response.
I went to: File -> Open Recent -> Lightroom .lrcat and this opened a popup box asking if I wanted to do something like reopen in this mode (Not the right words but as I recall). In a flash I had my folders back in view.
What was I doing that caused this - I tried to create a collection. I did this but somehow in the process all my folders were not accessible to me, and I could not find them.
When I said they were not visible on hard drive - I went to my pictures in my C drive and the folders were there but showing as empty.
I am a rookie - some day I want to be an amateur photographer. Though I have been working on this for 30+ yrs!!
Apparently, instead of creating a collection you created a new, empty catalog. When you selected Open Recent (Catalog), you returned to your old catalog. To create a collection, select from the grid the images you want to be in the collection and then click on the + sign next to the word "Collections" in the left side panel. Give the collection a name and tick the box "Include selected photos". Later other images can be added by dragging the thumbnail to the collection.
Thanks. I have a lot to learn. Is Lightroom the best software for handling photos?
No software will be good software if you don't know how to use it. Any software can be good once you learn how to use it. You should spend some time watching beginner Lightroom tutorials at tv.adobe.com, or download the free beginner's guide to Lightroom at Lightroom 5 - Free Quick Start Guide PDF eBook | The Lightroom Queen, or both. No excuses allowed for not doing one or the other or both.
When you talk about "handling photos", I always go on a rant (not because of you Paul, but because it happens so much). My advice is that the photos come out of the camera, and are placed into whatever folder you desire (this is under your control when you Import into Lightroom), and then you leave them there FOREVER (no "handling photos"). No moving them from here to there, no moving folders from here to there. This minimizes or eliminates "handling photos" problems. (Now, there is one exception to "leave them there FOREVER": if you have to switch computers or move the photos to a new hard drive, then of course you should move the photos, but keep the folder structure the same) To organize the photos, you do not move the photos around, you do not move the folders around, there is no "handling photos" ... you use keywords and captions and other metadata inside of Lightroom. This way, you can never accidentally move the photos or folders ... and you have a more powerful organizing system.