17 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2016 6:24 AM by trshaner

    Help! Lightroom lost all photos

    Geoffrey Luck

      Using Lightroom 3 on OSX 10.6.8. Had 12000+ photos in Lightroom. This is what happened:

       

      I tried to export a photo using Export with Preset>Burn full size JPEG.

      The program froze, with the spinning beach ball.

      I did a Force Quit, then tried to re-open LR. Got the following message:

      Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 12.18.58 PM.png

      I had to option but to choose a different catalogue. This rebuilt, but opened with one old photo in it.

       

      When I try to open a catalogue I get the following screen, but none of the catalogs connects to the full database:

       

      Screen shot 2016-02-23 at 12.22.52 PM.png

      A search shows that all the photos are still in folders in users>Pictures>Lightroom then in various folders and collections.

       

      How do I get or create a catalogue to link to the photos on my HD?  So far there seems no harm done, but the photos are inacessible.

        • 1. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
          Mohit Goyal Adobe Employee (Admin)

          Hi GeoffreyLuck,

           

          Do you back your catalog using the Lightroom software when it exist, if yes then go to Picture/Lightroom/Backup and open the most recent catalog.

           

          Now as you asked to rebuild the catalog, you can do that however the changes you did on the images in old Lightroom catalog, you won't get that in new catalog.

           

           

          Regards,

          Mohit

          • 2. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
            Geoffrey Luck Level 1

            There doesn't seem to be a Lightroom backup later than 2012. I never get a prompt to backup when I close LR. I am backing up constantly with Time Machine, and weekly with Carbon Copy Cloner, both to separate external drives. What do you recommend to do?

            • 3. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
              Mohit Goyal Adobe Employee (Admin)

              If you can access the time machine manually and pull out the most recent catalog and save it with the other catalog and use it.

               

              Also, you can enable the backup within Lightroom refer: How to back up catalogs in Lightroom

               

              Regards,

              Mohit

              • 4. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                Mohit

                 

                Thanks for your help. I didn't use the backup faciity in LR when I read that it should not be used with Time Machine.

                I'm not sure how to recover from Time Machine and save it with the other catalog.

                My photos are spread untidily in a number of folders within Pictures. They are all there and can be opened in Preview. Isn't there any way of getting LR to create a new catalog and link to the photos?

                • 5. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                  Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                  Time Machine is not going to be of any use. Somehow it turned itself off a fortnight ago, so all the work since then will not be saved.

                  What about uninstalling LR and re-installing it? Can this be done without destroying the photos in Pictures>Lightroom>various folders? If it can be done safely, can the photos then be imported to set up a new catalog?

                  • 6. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                    Mohit Goyal Adobe Employee (Admin)

                    Well, if you launch the Lightroom while holding down the Alt Or Option key on the keyboard, it will give you the option to create new catalog.

                     

                    You can try that and if Lightroom opens fine with that new catalog, then you can re-import the images to new catalog.

                     

                    Regards,

                    Mohit

                    • 7. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                      Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                      OK I'll try that, but first I need to check what will happen. If I import all the photos in the Pictures>Lightroom folder and sub-folders, will the new catalog create a duplicate of everything in Pictures?

                      • 8. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                        Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                        After some research, I find there are several pages of information about LR on Adobe websites. These appear to be well hidden in that they did not immediately spring to life when I started asking questions about catalogs, e.g.  How to create and manage catalogs in Photoshop Lightroom  They are very useful in helping understand how catalogs work and store.

                         

                        The new problem it gives me is that all the photos stored in Pictures>Lightroom are the photos imported to LR from cameras or scans. Most are just as imported, but others are in their edited form, including some treated for blemishes in Photoshop Elements.

                         

                        If LR edits non-destructively, and the photos in my LR file are the edited versions, where are the originals?

                        • 9. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                          trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          You may be able to use your original LR 3 Catalog.

                           

                          (CORRECTED FOLDER LOCATION)

                          Close LR and in Finder go to the below folder location and post  a screenshot showing its contents:

                          Do you see either of the below lock or journal files?

                          • 10. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                            Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                            Thanks for your suggestions. No I can't use the original LR3 Catalog (as explaind in my first post) but your second suggestion may have the clue to the problem. This is what is shown:

                             

                            LR FILES.png

                            Immediately I notice there is no LOCK file. I checked with the LR files on my Carbon Copy Cloner backup, and the Lock file is missing there too (because the last backup was after the LR crash).

                            So I went back to the history recorded on Time Machine, where the last recording (before the crash on Feb 23) was on February 13. This is what I found:

                             

                            Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat

                            Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat-journal

                            Lighroom 3 Catalog.lrcat.lock

                            Lighroom 3 Database,lrdb

                             

                            If the lock file is essential to the running of LR, its absence might be the cause of the problem. How to get it back with the other LR files?  Because it's missing from the CCC backup, that means I can't re-launch LR from the CCC backup. I am not too sure about the Restore command in Time Machine. So what I think I will do is copy the entire Pictures folder to a new large external HD as a secure backup. Then try the Time Machine Restore from Feb 13 to see if it recovers the missing Lock file. If this doesn't work, uninstall and re-install LR and import all the photos saved on the external drive. I would appreciate your comments on this plan.

                             

                            [I note that the photos in the Pictures folder are not originals, but the edited versions when changes have been made in Develop. Where are the originals stored?]

                            • 11. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                              trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Geoffrey Luck wrote:

                              LR FILES.png

                              Immediately I notice there is no LOCK file.

                              The lock file prevents other applications or users from accessing the LR catalog database file when you have LR open. When you close LR the lock file should be deleted, which it is on your system (good!). The journal file is created when LR crashes or closes improperly (notice they have same date/time). It contains information that ni used to update the catalog when LR is reopened. It is possible that the journal file is corrupted and preventing you from accessing the Lightroom 3 Catalog.

                               

                              Close LR and rename the file by adding a .OLD extension: Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat-journal.OLD and then try opening LR.

                               

                              If you still get the same message "Lightroom cannot use the catalog..." check that you have full read/write permissions on the containing Lightroom 3 Catalog folder (up one level). Close LR and follow the instructions at the below link:

                               

                              OS X Mavericks: Set permissions

                               

                              Reopen LR and see if you can now use your original Lightroom 3 Catalog.

                               

                              Geoffrey Luck wrote:

                               

                              If the lock file is essential to the running of LR, its absence might be the cause of the problem. How to get it back with the other LR files?  Because it's missing from the CCC backup, that means I can't re-launch LR from the CCC backup. I am not too sure about the Restore command in Time Machine. So what I think I will do is copy the entire Pictures folder to a new large external HD as a secure backup. Then try the Time Machine Restore from Feb 13 to see if it recovers the missing Lock file. If this doesn't work, uninstall and re-install LR and import all the photos saved on the external drive. I would appreciate your comments on this plan.

                              Please try the above suggestions first. The lock file is not the issue as explained.

                               

                              Geoffrey Luck wrote:


                              [I note that the photos in the Pictures folder are not originals, but the edited versions when changes have been made in Develop. Where are the originals stored?]

                              Lightroom is a non-destructive editor, which means it does not change the image data in the original files. The files also are not "inside" LR–They remain at their original location on the hard drive. How are you looking at these files and determining they are "edited copies" and not the original files?

                              • 12. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                                Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                                Getting more complicated! Adding .OLD as suggested did not get LR to open the catalog with all the photos. Instead, it opened with only one photo, exactly what happened when I first had the crash and responded to a prompt to open another catalog. It seems LR keeps pointing to this "new" catalog, but why it has one photo in it I can't explain. Then, I checked the LR folder as suggested. It has 94.77GB and I do have read and write permissions.

                                 

                                As to the "edited copies" I checked some of the photos in the LR sub-folders that were the last imported and worked on and found they were the changed versions. I had been digitising some 60 year old b&w negatives, and going from LR to PSE 9 to repair them, so I am certain I am looking at the edited photos. I knew LR editing is non-destructive, but I don't know where the originals have been stored.

                                • 13. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                                  trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Geoffrey Luck wrote:

                                   

                                  Getting more complicated! Adding .OLD as suggested did not get LR to open the catalog with all the photos. Instead, it opened with only one photo, exactly what happened when I first had the crash and responded to a prompt to open another catalog. It seems LR keeps pointing to this "new" catalog, but why it has one photo in it I can't explain.

                                  You need to manually select the original Lightroom 3 Catalog file:

                                   

                                  Menu item: File> Open Catalog

                                   

                                  Navigate to that folder and select the Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat file.

                                   

                                  Geoffrey Luck wrote:

                                  As to the "edited copies" I checked some of the photos in the LR sub-folders that were the last imported and worked on and found they were the changed versions. I had been digitising some 60 year old b&w negatives, and going from LR to PSE 9 to repair them, so I am certain I am looking at the edited photos. I knew LR editing is non-destructive, but I don't know where the originals have been stored.

                                  When you use 'Edit In PS' with "Apply Lightroom Edits" a new file is created with the LR & PS edits. That is what you are seeing. The original files are still at the same location...not moved...not deleted...not written to.

                                  • 14. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                                    Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                                    GENIUS! And many thanks. Navigating to the LR 3 Catalog.lrcat file in Finder>File>Open just restored the entire photo collection. Was it the previous addition of .old to the Journal file that made it possible?  I am immensely grateful for your patience in walking me through this process. It's not in any book!

                                    • 15. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                                      Geoffrey Luck Level 1

                                      PS One last question. Are there now some of these files that can be safely trashed?

                                       

                                      Screen shot 2016-02-28 at 5.12.29 PM.png

                                      • 16. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                                        trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        Geoffrey Luck wrote:

                                        Was it the previous addition of .old to the Journal file that made it possible?

                                        Glad you had success! The Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat-journal file apparently was corrupted when you had to force-quit LR during the Export process. Fortunately your LR 3 catalog was NOT corrupted and is still usable.

                                         

                                        I suggest making regular backups of your LR catalog and all new image files after every major editing session. They should be stored on separate external hard drive.  You can setup Time Machine to backup the image files on the external drive, but I would exclude the LR catalog file. REASON: If Time Machine tries to backup the LR catalog file when LR is open the backup file may become corrupted. Instead after every major editing session "manually" backup the LR catalog file using menu item Edit> Catalog Settings> General with the below setting. You'll get a backup pop-up every time LR is closed, which gives you the option to do so when necessary.

                                         

                                        • 17. Re: Help! Lightroom lost all photos
                                          trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                          Geoffrey Luck wrote:

                                           

                                          PS One last question. Are there now some of these files that can be safely trashed?

                                          The -2 catalog is the new catalog created with one image file. The Lightroom Database.lrdb and Lightroom Previews.lrdata are an old LR 1.0 catalog. You can delete all of the files and folders except the following:

                                           

                                          Lightroom 3 Catalog Previews.lrdata

                                          Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat

                                          Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat-journal

                                          Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat.lock

                                           

                                          Close LR and move the no longer needed files and folders to trash. Then reopen LR and make sure all is working properly with the original Lightroom 3 Catalog.

                                           

                                          TIP: When working with scanner image files you can touch-up on the "original" file for spot removal, content aware file, cropping, etc. without creating a "new file." Use Edit in Photoshop, select 'Edit Original,' make your edits and then 'Save' the file inside PS without renaming or using 'Save As.' You won't see LR's edits applied to the image inside PS, but you can still perform the mentioned tasks.