Thank you McLion, but I have already followed those links and others and when I select the photo that is missing, I can painstakingly relink one photo at a time, but even with the Find Nearby Photos box checked, it is not linking anything but the one photo. With close to 20,000 photos that need to be relinked, I need to figure out what else is wrong. I have tried enough things as I tried to follow directions from blogs and videos that I have done some layers of damage to the links in LR and nothing short of a personal LR consultant is going to be able to help me. Does anyone know of someone in the Seattle area who is a LR consultant or it there someone I can work with online? (I sent in a request to Laura Shoe, but she said she is swamped on her website and hasn't replied to me yet.)
If you did everything from within Lightroom, how did the images end up showing as missing? If you go to the library module, are there ?'s on folders? If there are, you can right-click and choose to find missing folders or update folder location. That will take care things on the folder basis rather than on an individual image basis.
I did move the photos from my computer and from a G drive into one folder on an external hard drive (named Ronan). My computer was getting full and I also wanted to consolidate everything so I could easily backup my photos. (When I first started LR I created a LR folder and thought everything was going into it, but somehow along the way I did not do that right and photos were importing to all sorts of folders on my hard drive.) The photos I moved from my hard drive in my computer to Ronan work just fine and the link was not broken. But I must have done something wrong when I moved the photos from the G drive to Ronan. The photos are on Ronan, but unless the G drive is also connected, the photos in Develop have the !!!!!!!!'s of death on each one. The links work if the G Drive is connected. The Folders do not have question marks, but the photos are "missing" even though they are on Ronan and not on the G drive. Since it didn't work the first time, I eventually tried importing them again and probably made it much worse, but I cannot seem to figure out the trick to relinking the photos and each time I read a blog or watch a video and try to fix it I seem to dig the hole a little bit bigger. Do you have any ideas? I don't know if this can be fixed and I'm feeling a little bit desperate at this point.
Do you still have the photo in its original location where everything worked? If not, move them back so LR can find them and does not show '?' or '!'.
If you have it back as it was, move the topmost folder of your structure to the new location - since you probably will not yet see this location in LR you can do this with Explore/Finder - do not change the folder structure below this topmost folder.
Now open LR library. You see a '?' on the folders missing. Right-click the same topmost folder of your structure and select to update the folder location.
Basic rule: if you have missing photos/folders, do NOT just re-import since this will not solve the issue.
After reading your last post I carefully checked and the photos are on both drives in the same photo structure. I was planning to move them back to the original G drive as you suggested but when I looked the photos are on both drives. To clarify, when you say, "move them back" I was thinking of exporting them from Ronan to the G drive, except they are already there. By the way, did you mean export as in "move" or as in "copy" or something else entirely? My colossal misunderstandings of LR have made me realize I need to really make sure I understand before moving forward again. Also my folders do not have ????, but the photos in Develop have !!!!!!!! everywhere. So I can't just click on the topmost folder in Finder, I've only been able to painstakingly relink individual photos by copying the file number and following the file structure out on the branch where that photo is and clicking on it. But it doesn't add nearby photos so I have to go through the same tedious process for each photo.
For an entirely different approach I think it would be faster to copy down my catalog categories and delete the catalog from my first digital photos from 2005 through 2011, since I only imported them and put them in categories by year and title, but did little or nothing in LR to them. That would only leave me 2012-15 which I would need to relink and most of those are already linked correctly. It would give me a fresh start and a fresh chance to put everything into one folder before importing them into the LR Catalog. Also, because I already screwed up by importing photos twice, when I look at all of my photos--every other one is blank with a ! I was planning on trying to delete those later but it looks like it will be a nightmare and I think a fresh start is going to be easier. I only hope I don't find a new way to mess this up! Thank you for all of your help--I really appreciate it.
Since your photos are on both the new and old drives, in the LR Library module, folders panel,
right-click on the top-most folder on the old drive, select "update folder location",
navigate to that same folder on the new drive. LR should do all the magic of relinking the files and folders.
If you have multiple top-level folders, repeat as necessary.
I am not completely sure what you did.
For the ones you have twice, the one imported by mistake probably does not have any work done on it. You can filter out these (with a Smart-Collection for instance) and delete these.
If no folders have a '?' click on a '!' of a photo in question. What does it say where the photo should be?