I'm helping a friend who has a Collections problem. He had an iMac that died last January, on which he was using LR with heavy reliance on Collections. He got a new iMac and he had external backup disks of all his picture folders and apparently also his Documents and other important files. There may have been a clone of the Mac HD, too. He took those disks to an Apple store and the Geniuses did some sort of operation to get the files and folders on the new computer. (He's new to computers and isn't sure what exactly they did.)
LR5 was on the computer and started up seemingly as it had been on the old one. But at some point he found that some of his Collections were missing. (He was only backing up the Catalog every 2-3 weeks.)
He’s beside himself with the loss of the Collections and has spent countless hours on the phone with various tech support people who have been unable to help him find them (which, of course, would be in an old backup Catalog). One of them even took over his computer remotely and couldn't find anything. He asked if I would try, and a simple system-wide search for ".lrcat" turned up several old Catalog backups on one of his backup drives. I copied the latest one (from a few months before the computer died) to his desktop and was able to open LR using it, and the missing collections were there!
So here is my quandary: If I simply merge this old catalog with his current one, I assume the missing Collections will become available, but what about the fact that this Catalog is a lot older than the current one? I'd assume older things won't overwrite newer ones. Or should I merge in the other direction, from the newer to the older catalog? Or does the merge operation decide that for me? (Of course, I would copy his current Catalog to a safe location in case I need to restore it.)
I have only merged Catalogs once (from my laptop to my desktop machine, after a photo trip), so I’m treading carefully here. (And just now reaching for Martin Evening's book for review.) Are there any pitfalls in merging these two Catalogs in this situation?
Thanks for any help!
Sorry for not being able to reply sooner and I hope this is still relevant. If, as I understand from your post, your friend has a catalog which contains all his photos (in the Folders section) but some or all the collections are missing, I would do the following, taking advantage of the fact that in LR5 collections can be exported as a catalog: Open that backup .lrcat which does have the collections, select all the missing collections and go to File/Export as Catalog and when asked give the new catalog an easily recognized name, like Coll Exp. Then launch his current catalog, go to File/Import From Another Catalog and select Coll Exp.lrcat. This should add to the current catalog only the collections without any problem of overwriting or other conflicts. Good luck.
Thanks Elie! That's the perfect solution I needed!