What I suspect has happened is that you had inadvertently been using one of the backup catalogs as the main catalog. This problem crops up from time to time when a user opens a backup catalog for some reason or another, then closes Lightroom. The problem is that if the startup preference (Preferences>General Tab>Default Catalog) is set to "Load most recent catalog", the next time Lightroom is started the most recent catalog which gets loaded is that backup catalog. Problems like that can persist for months, then when the user does the cleanup of old backups they end up in the situation that you're in now, i.e.they've deleted the latest catalog that they were using.
So first, check the preferences and if it is set to "Most recent catalog" change it for now to "Prompt me when starting Lightroom", then do File>Open Recent and see if there are other catalogs listed there (the currently open catalog will be checked). If there are, start opening them one by one (work top down) and check for the recent images. If you find the correct catalog, do Lightroom>Catalog Settings>General Tab and note the name and location of the catalog. Then close Lightroom and move that catalog and associated previews into the main Lightroom folder (first move the current old master catalog and previews into an archive location for now). Double-click on that catalog to launch Lightroom, then optionally change the preferences again to load that specific catalog.
Come back if I'm way off the mark in my assumptions.
Hey Jim, Sadly that isn't it.... I have "Prompt me" selected in the preferences.
I "Found" everything- I opened LR, and selected "Choose a different catalogue" right at the beginning.... and was able to select one of the most recent files that I had discarded and pulled from the trash.... So, I have the photos- none of the edits I had applied are initally there, and I have to let each folder "load" for a looooong time in order for things to be updated... but it's there.
The trouble is, now I DO think I am using a back-up... the catalogue name is weird... (I would attach a screen shot, but can't seem to figure out how to do that on this forum.. )
eg: Catalogue name used to be " Vanarts 1 " now it's " Vanarts 1 10.59.14pm 10.59.14pm 10.50.14pm..." repeating for a long time
I work off an external hard drive...so I SHOULD have all the edited photos .... i am just SO terrified to try and fix anything now... since things are behaving like I thought they should.. any insight you have would be great.
Sorry for the delay, I missed your response.
I'm a little confused by what's happening, but could you clarify if the catalog you're now using (ignoring its funky name) looks correct, i.e. all the pictures that you expected to see in the Library are indeed there, and all the edits that you expected to see are also still there. I'm just trying to establish if we still need to be looking for a later catalog?
Hey Jim, So good to hear from you.
The folder that I am working from DOES have all the images (I think) with all the edits I have made. It is up to date... not a previous back up. There are some "missing" (~6000) but I think that is due to incorrect deleting on my part, as they are from over a year ago.
All of the images are having to load and re-edit when I open a new folder... I think because it is reading all the files off the hard drive, and LR doesn't remember them.. So it's taking EXTRA long to open images and video... but, it's there.
What I think I did... I think I inadvertently threw the main catalogue in the trash, along with the backups. And for some reason, pulling it out and "putting it back" resulted in some weird "stuff" happening to the catalogue... I just want to make sure working off this isnt' going to cause any issues in the future. The ARCHIVES catalogue, I didn't touch, and looks how it should....
The VANARTS catalogue is the one affected and looks very strange in the LR folder... There is a bunch of extra folders in there that don't look familiar and all the extra writing is creeping me out... Normally it would just read Vanarts1.lrcat
So... I wonder if I have messed stuff up and if it will bite me on the *** later... and what I should do. I back up like crazy, and have all the photos on multiple hard drives.. Should I delete the catalogue and start a fresh one and import from the hard drive? Is that a ridiculous amount of dangerous work? Easy to mess up?
Apologies... I swear I am one of THE WORST person when it comes to anything technological...
Thank you for all your help!
I just discovered that all my saved WATERMARK PRESETS are gone. From LR completely... in both catalogues. If I check off watermark while in the export field... I can see them all there.... but they don't attach to the photo, and when I select EDIT WATERMARKS all the details are missing... (can't see the regular watermark menu with opacity, location etc... it's just blank) There is definitely something VERY wrong....
Let's try to deal with one problem at a time....
The reason why you are finding it slower to load images when using the recovered catalog is because you probably didn't recover the associated previews cache. In that situation Lightroom creates a new previews cache which is initially empty, which means every time you open an image in Library, a new standard-size preview has to be rendered first, which obviously slows the processing workflow down. You could fix this quite easily by having Lightroom build new standard previews for either the entire library or a selected group of images (using the Library>Previews>Build....) option. It will take a while if you have a large library, so you could set it going when you're not going to be using Lightroom for a while, e.g. overnight. If it's still going when you want to use Lightroom again, you can cancel it and start it up again later.
In terms of the catalog name, I don't have an explanation for the strange name, but if it bothers you why not rename it? The two files ending with ".journal" and ".lock" are temporary files which Lightroom creates at the start of a session and deletes them again when you close Lightroom....so no action required for those. With Lightroom closed, rename the ".lrcat" file to whatever you like, providing of course you retain the ".lrcat" extension. Then rename the previews file to have the same name at the catalog, but retain the "Previews.lrdata" ending.
Because you already have a "Vanarts 1 Previews.lrdata' file in the Lightroom folder, suggest you remove it first before doing the renames if you want to go back to "Vanarts 1.lrcat" as the catalog name.
Regarding the Watermarks, can you tell me if the option to "Store Presets with this catalog" (Preferences>Presets tab) is checked or unchecked?