11 Replies Latest reply on Mar 20, 2016 5:06 PM by lawcoleman

    Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"


      I have 27,000 photos total, and 5500 of them are listed under "Missing photographs." If their folders are listed at all, there is no ? to indicate that LR cannot find the folders.

         I know how to reconnect missing photos by clicking on the ! and asking LR to also find nearby photos.  But this does not work except for the single photo selected, no other photos are found even though they are in the same folder on the HD.  I can do this for each of the 5500 photos separately but it will take about 24 hours.  I am looking for another way.  To be clear, the corresponding folders are not listed in LR, or are listed without a ? and contain only a fraction of the photos in the source folder on the HD.

         I suspect the reason that "Find nearby photos" does not work is that the Catalog thinks they are in a different folder from the target photo.  For example, the figure shows a sequence of three adjacent "Missing photos" in LR.  The photo DSC08178 is actually in the folder "Viking cruise" on the HD whereas it is shown as being in "Baltic cruise".  The photos on either side of it are correctly shown as being in the "Viking cruise" folder because I have already located them by clicking on the !, then locating them on the hard drive WITH "FIND NEARBY PHOTOS" SELECTED.  Even curiouser, these "found photos" still show up as "missing photos" even though they now appear in the LR Library under the "Viking cruise" folder. 

        In searching past discussions I find that a common suggestion when the Catalog gets confused is to remove the Preferences file.  I haven't tried this because I doubt it will work.  I keep my photos and catalog on an external HD which I move from desktop to laptop, depending on whether I am at home or traveling.  Of course, the Preference file resides on these two machines (both are Macs), yet the same problem occurs on either machine. It is hard to imagine that both files would have become corrupted at the same time and in the same way.  I think it is a corruption of the Catalog file itself.

         If this is true, I have a possible fix.  If someone has a better idea or thinks my fix won't work, please tell me.  But this is my idea:

         The folders with problems are several years old whereas the problem is AFAIK a recent one.  I have catalog backup files going back some months.  These have all of the edits of these older photos.  So if I can find one of these uncorrupted catalog files, I will removed all folders from it EXCEPT the problem folders.  Then I will remove ONLY the problem folders from the current catalog.  Finally, I will combine the two catalogs.

         Will this work?  Are there unforeseen (by me) problems?  Is there another, perhaps better, fix?


      Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 10.22.09 AM.png


      Message was edited by: Lawrence Coleman

        • 2. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
          lawcoleman Level 1

          Yes, I tried this on the "Missing photos," as described in the OP.  However, while it works fine for the photo selected, other photos in the same folder are not found.  Since I am faced with doing this 5500 times to recover all photos, I am looking for a workaround to find all photos within a folder at once.

          • 3. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
            dj_paige Level 10

            This is not a catalog corruption. If you have a corrupt catalog, then the catalog won't open at all.


            Before you start the suggestion below, make sure you have made a backup (or have a very recent backup) of your catalog file AND a backup of all photos. If you don't make a backup of catalog file and photos before you start (or you don't have a very recent backup), then you are taking a HUGE risk that you don't have to take, and I have no sympathy for you.


            The suggestion is to determine the location in your operating system of these photos that are missing in Lightroom. You have to find these photos in your operating system. Let's call this location in your operating system Folder A.


            Then determine the folder location that Lightroom thinks the photos are stored in (this can be seen in the metadata panel and other places). Let's call this folder that Lightroom thinks the photos are in Folder B.


            Using your operating system, COPY and paste (not MOVE, not cut and paste) the Lightroom MISSING photos from folder A to Folder B. This should allow you to bulk reconnect all photos in Folder B in Lightroom, as long as they are not somewhat randomly scattered in your operating system, and as long as they have not been renamed outside of Lightroom.

            • 4. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
              lawcoleman Level 1

              This makes a lot of sense.  I will certainly try it. 

              Rest assured that I will have backups of catalog and photos. I routinely have three backups of each, one off site. 

              As I understand it, I want to copy from Folder A to Folder B, then reconnect since LR expects to see the photos in B. 

                 An issue is that Folder B has 2000 photos in it and I'd rather not mix them up with a similar number of photos from Folder A.  So I propose to duplicate Folder B with its photos and rename it, say Folder B-2, then delete all photos from Folder B itself.  All of that done using the OS.  Finally, I copy the photos from A to B again using the OS. Reconnect the photos in Folder B, then rename it to Folder A (within LR).  Finally, rename B-2 to B: reconnect the photos if necessary. Will this work or is it more complicated than necessary...or just wrong?

                Thanks so much.

              • 5. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
                dj_paige Level 10

                I don't know if that will work or not.


                if Lightroom is accessing some photos in the current Folder B, this will not work. This will cause other disconnected photos in Lightroom.


                This is very difficult to advise across the Internet because I can't see what your folders contain. In addition, it sounds like you assign photos to folders for different reasons than I do (which is not saying you have done things wrong, just different), and so my assumptions may not be valid.


                When you do the copy from A to B using your operating system, there is no re-connect step.

                • 6. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
                  lawcoleman Level 1

                  OK, thanks.  I'll try your suggestion and report back.

                  • 7. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
                    lawcoleman Level 1

                    Before taking dj_paige’s suggestion, I tried one more time to reconnect to “Missing photos” and to my great surprise, it worked!  Not only did the selected photo reconnect (as before) but also all other photos in the same folder (the “nearby” photos).  So dj_paige’s very helpful and hopeful suggestion became moot. 

                       Why the change?  Presumably it’s because I was using a different computer (photos and catalog are on an external, portable drive) and inadvertently connected to a folder on the computer’s HD that the catalog recognized.  I say this because when I asked LR to go to the folder containing the photos, that’s where it went.

                      But now the problem is that the “found” photos still show up under “Missing Photos” (as well as in the usual place - call it “Folder A” - under “Folders” in the LR Library page).  I would really like for “Missing Photos” to list only those that are actually missing, but if I “delete from catalog” (not from disk) one of these found photos from the “Missing Photos” folder, the photo is also deleted from Folder A.  These photos in “Missing Photos” seem to contain all the metadata and edits of the photos in Folder A.  I don't want to lose those edits and all. 

                       So my question becomes (a new thread?): How to delete the photos in “Missing Photos” from the catalog without deleting those in Folder A, the  ones I want to keep (along with all their edits, ratings, keywords, etc.)?

                    • 8. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
                      dj_paige Level 10

                      Can't you just right-click on the "Missing Photos" line under "Catalog", and select Remove this Temporary Collection?


                      Another easy solution is to simply ignore it.

                      • 9. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
                        lawcoleman Level 1

                        I don't want to also remove them from the corresponding "Folders."  I hadn't realized that these photos would be treated that same as Collections.  If so, no problem.  So are we sure the Missing Photos will be removed but NOT the ones I want to keep (along with their edits....)?

                        (Yes, I could ignore it, but I like to check that stat to confirm that all is well in Lightroom-land.)

                        • 10. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
                          dj_paige Level 10

                          No, I'm not sure because I have never done it. But if you are looking ata the words "Missing Photos" under the word "Catalog", and you right-click there on "missing Photos" and you gt the message to remove the collection ... what removing collections do is remove the collection and not the photos.


                          But if you really want to be 1443% safe, make a catalog backup before you do it. If something unexpected happens, then restore the backup.

                          • 11. Re: Folders missing in Lightroom 5, files show up in "Missing photos"
                            lawcoleman Level 1


                            The Missing Photos were removed without clearing the Folders with the edits.

                            FWIW, "Remove this temporary collection" can be reversed with the Undo command.