I made a new catalog so that I could get all the folders populated on a volume that I'm setting up to be the source for my newest images. The folder structure looks proper and all the NEF's imported, but the 'soft proofs' from images I worked on before I made the new catalog are not in the folders. Can they be recovered?
A soft proof is not an actual file that is created on your computer, but rather simply a copy of the metadata. It is stored in the catalog. The only way you would be able to recover those would be to import from another catalog. But I think that would defeat the purpose of what you are trying to accomplish.