Smart Previews never get removed themselves and they are always stored at the exact same location as your Lightroom Catalog.
Are you working in the same catalog for which you created smart previews?
Go to file > Open Recent> check for any other catalog that is the most recent one.
What was the purpose of moving the originals off of your computer?
Even if you have smart previews and you have moved off your originals, you would not be able to export the images from Lightroom as the originals are disconnected.
Thank you. Opening LR in another catalog solved the "problem". I don't understand why there are more than one catalog or how they get created. Thisis something I need to learn and understand.
Most photogs have far more images than what can be stored on a computer. The purpose of Smart Previews is to allow editting of photos while originals are stored "offline" on an external drive. Low resolution images can be creagted and exported from smart previews. They are brilliant!
Right! Got your point.
Good to know you got it sorted!
I think I have the same, or similar, problem. On my local HDD, I had a directory of about 500 original images. I created Smart Previews, then within Lr moved the original files to a NAS. Now the local directory is empty.
I have been using this workflow for months, what happened, and how can I repair that local directory?