7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2014 11:57 AM by trshaner

    Lightroom all mixed up need help!


      Hi have a Lightroom setup I've been using on a Mac with a back up drive and an off-site backup drive as well. I noticed that me main drive was off line and somehow I wad working off my backup drive in LR. I think I might have even been saving to the offsite backup drive at some pint in time.

      How do I merge these three LR catalogs/drives without los ing photos or edits that I've done? And eliminating duplicates

      any safe sure fired way to do this? Would something like Chronosync work? Thanks need help and guidance.

        • 1. Re: Lightroom all mixed up need help!
          NicHamilton Level 3

          Is it the Catalogs that are the different external drives, some of the photos or both? 


          Not sure how you could have a catalog on a different drive without realising (unless you regularly create new Catalogs) but photos I can see could happen.

          • 2. Re: Lightroom all mixed up need help!
            LewisO Level 1

            Both. Since there are two back up drives live, when the primary drive dropped out, I'm guessing LR mapped to the catalog on one of the backup drives? So now, I believe the catalogs are not the same, the edits are not the same and yes, some photos are not on each of the drives. Again I simply did not realize the primary drive went off line and I was working off a backup.

            i am concerned with overwriting, loosing edits, even originals. Any assistance is welcomed.

            • 3. Re: Lightroom all mixed up need help!
              NicHamilton Level 3

              OK, one step at a time.  So the catalog is on the backup drive?

              • 4. Re: Lightroom all mixed up need help!
                LewisO Level 1

                Hi Nic, yes there is a Lightroom catalog on each of the backup drives (two) and a LR catalog on the main drive which is now mounted. They all appear to have some variation of the content, looking light at some point I connected to them separately and they are not simply identical backups of the main drive, remember the Main drive went off line at some point that I was not aware of.

                • 5. Re: Lightroom all mixed up need help!
                  NicHamilton Level 3

                  Lightroom wouldn't switch the location of the Catalog if the main drive wasn't connected.  How could it?  If the main drive where the catalog was usually kept wasn't connected you'd get a message saying it couldn't find it.  You might then get a prompt to create a new catalog.


                  The only thing that might change without your knowledge is the location of the backup files but only if the different backup drives had the same drive letter designation.


                  Anyway, I'm not sure there's a simple solution but to start with make copies of your three catalogs, name the copies so that you know where each one came from.


                  Having done this I'd then open the catalog on the main drive and use "Import from another Catalog" from the file menu to bring in the data and file associations from the other catalogs.  But you're almost certainly going to run into some issues here if there's any confusion as to which is the newest version of the different alterations.  (This is why it's important to create some Catalog copies beforehand).


                  Maybe there'as someone out there who's been through a similar experience?

                  • 6. Re: Lightroom all mixed up need help!
                    LewisO Level 1

                    Anyone.... have a similar experience and know how to correct things?

                    • 7. Re: Lightroom all mixed up need help!
                      trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      See if this helps:




                      Make sure to backup all three catalogs before doing any merging. That way you can start all over with new catalog copies if things don't merge correctly. I suggest these options:


                      1) In the New Photos area, choose an option from the File Handling menu:

                      Copy New Photos To A New Location And Import
                      Imports photos to a new location. Click Choose and specify the folder.

                      2) In the Existing Photos area, do any of the following:

                      If photos in the current catalog are missing and can be found in the imported catalog, indicate whether you want to update the metadata and Develop settings for this file. Select the Preserve Old Settings As A Virtual Copy option to keep a backup. If the photos missing in the current catalog appear in the imported catalog, specify whether the missing files are copied and where they copied to.

                      Start by merging the first backup catalog to your primary system catalog. Once completed merge the 2nd backup catalog to your primary system catalog.


                      This should find missing photos and newer edits to existing photos that are not currently in your primary system catalog. I've never "merged" catalogs before so you're on your own unless someone else has done this before.