This is difficult to respond to because I have never experienced such a phenomenon. I have been using Lightroom since early in version 2, and have always been able to upgrade or update successfully. If you opened the folder containing your catalog, do you see more than one catalog file? Can you post a screenshot of the folder contents of the folder containing your catalog?
Hi Jim, I appreciate your reply and attempt to help. Perhaps it's some kind of bug that came with the original software I don't know, I understand that it's unusual to the point of not being heard of, but this issue has always happened to me with update notices, which is why I never accepted the updates. For what it's worth - here are a couple screen shots. All that's left in the catalog are some images that I had deleted a long time ago but for some reason their delete was not completed. And I've been backing up the catalog as I've always been, so can't understand why the back up is now not being accepted...
Is the catalog located on the hard drive of another computer on a home network? If it is, it shouldn't work at all. But I'm just asking. If you are backing up regularly, you should be able to restore one of those backup catalogs to the working catalog folder after you do an update and have all of your work intact. In fact, you might try simply copying your working catalog to another folder. Then do the Lightroom update and restore the catalog that you copied and see if that solves the problem.
Jim - the catalog is on one computer only. When you had suggest copying my "working catalog" to another folder (prior to doing the update), are you referring to my most recent backup catalog? (Because I don't currently have a working catalog..)
The catalog must reside on the computer that is running Lightroom. If you are using two computers, then you need a catalog on both computers. The catalog is not a network-aware or network-usable file. Will Lightroom start now, and do you have all of your images in that catalog? Or, have you done an update and have experienced the problem you have described. How often do you back up your catalog? It's still unclear what is happening. However, it seems to me that if you update Lightroom on a computer where there isn't a local catalog, then Lightroom is going to create a new catalog. You cannot share a catalog across any network, even a home network.
Jim, I'm not sure where I gave the impression that I am using two computers? I have only one computer, and that is where my Lightroom catalog is (or was anyway before it was wiped out). There is no sharing between computers going on.
I back up once a week on average, in this case it was 9 days ago. That back up (plus I also tried the one previous to that) is getting the error message when I attempt to launch it (as shown in photo).
I haven't done the update yet, I've frankly been leary of doing so because of the ongoing issues with the update notice wiping out the catalog (and the catalog is *not* found under "open recent". But perhaps I have nothing to lose at this point.
Thanks again for attempting to help!
I must've got you confused with another discussion. Sorry. Just a suggestion. You really should be storing your backup catalogs on a different hard drive. If your hard drive crashes in your situation, you lose your working catalog as well as all of your backup catalogs. I would suggest getting an external hard drive and store your backups on that drive.
Your "working" catalog should be in the Lightroom folder, and not in any other subfolder. What you are looking at in your screenshot is a backup that was done earlier in March. Can you provide a screenshot of the contents of just the Lightroom folder, without the properties dialog?
I do store backup catalogs on an external hard drive. All I was saying earlier is that I do not use LR on two computers.
As for finding the working catalog - the only one that was in the Lightroom folder was the one that had only some files I'd deleted but for some reason LR could not delete them (as shown in the 2nd screenshot). BUT the good news is that I then went on a search through the labyrinth of LR folders that have been auto-generated over time, and ended up locating the previous working catalog prior to this incident occurring - for some reason LR had randomly placed it in one of its older back up folders. I opened it up and it is now back in Lightroom as my working catalog. So problem solved!! For now anyway. Still don't know why this happens, but I thank you for your help!
It appears you are saving your LR Backups into subfolders nested below earlier backup folders. This has caused the 'file path' to become very long:
C:\Users\Mary\Pictures\Lightroom\2013-09-03 0637\Backups\2014-07-08 0805\Backups\2014-09-01 2214\Backups\2014-11-26 2300\Backups\2015-03-14 1516\Lightroom 4 Catalog.lrcat
This is well within Windows file and folder limits, but LR may have more restrictions concerning the LR catalog path. When installing a LR update it appears the current LR catalog file can't be found because of the long path. Ditto when you try to use a Catalog Backup file!
I suspect you may have a similar issue with your current working LR catalog. The LR catalog file and Previews should be stored directly under the Lightroom subfolder and not in subfolders below it.
Here's the location:
Here's what should be in the above Lightroom folder with LR is closed:
Lightroom 4 Catalog.lrcat File
Lightroom 4 Catalog Previews.lrdata Folder
Please close LR and move your most current Lightroom 4 Catalog.lrcat file and Lightroom 4 Catalog Previews.lrdata folder to the above location and never move or rename them in the future. Next open LR and go to menu File> Catalog and select the Lightroom 4 Catalog.lrcat file at the above location.
As Jim has suggested LR Catalog Backups should be stored on a separate drive the same as your picture file backup copies. A backup software application should be used to keep the backup current with new files, changed files, and deleted files. When saving a new LR catalog backup don't create a new subfolder. Use the same destination folder (Lighroom Backups) on the external drive and LR will create its own subfolder with the Lightroom 4 Catalog.lrcat file.
I just read your comment after I'd already sent my reply to Jim. Those auto-generated sub-folders are indeed a mess that I've been too overwhelmed to try to organize. I very much appreciate your insights and suggestions.
It looks like every so often you create a new subfolder named 'Backups,' which is creating a subfolder tree. The Catalog Backup folder destination selected below should never be changed. Use the 'Choose' button below, create a folder name like below on your external drive, select it, and move all of your archived LR Catalog backup subfolders (YYY-MM-DD xxxx) directly under this folder.
This should stop the LR Catalog subfolder nesting.
Oh my, so simple - I had somehow overlooked that "choose" button! Much appreciated, as the nesting had been driving me nuts. Thanks again!