I don't really understand everything you did, but I'm guessing that you have accidentally opened the wrong catalog.
In Lightroom, go to File->Open Recent and select each of the catalogs shown there to see if it contains the photos you want.
1)What have I done by relaunching? In two
Lightroom books I find no mention of the word.
When Ligtroom is running, it always has a catalog open.
If want to open a different catalog, relaunching is necessary.
2)How do I return things to normal and find my photos in an (external drive?) catalog?
As suggested by dj_paige, use File > Open.
When you're looking for photo files, do you open a catalog?
The only files Lightroom can open are catalogs. If the photos were imported in the catalog, you can see them.
If not, you have to import them.
To better understand how Lightroom works, take a look at this article: Lightroom basics
Thanks to you, Per Berntsen, and DJ Paige
for your responses.
Please stay with me in my time of need!
I'm trying to find in lightroom5 a listing of
all my files, such as Joe's Wedding, a day
at the beach, etc.
I went to Files, hit open recent. I had the choice
of opening up a lightroom ircat in my external drive,
or in my computers C drive. I hit on the LRcat
for my external drive. Lightroom then told me
I had to relaunch. I did relaunch, but got no
listing of files, just the same old Lightroom screen
with pictures on it. Where are my files listed?
As I said, to find them I have to go to my computer--
the computer segment of This PC in windows 8---
and find them in my external drive.
Am I making any sense? Is there some simpler way
to locate files I'm overlooking?
Seems like you might be overlooking the Folders panel on the left side of the grid view.
Search your external drive and PC for files ending in .lrcat - they are catalogs. You will need to open each one by double clicking them which will then need the relaunch as on;y one catalog can be open at one time.
Tell us how many catalogs you find.
Also catalogs maybe in Backups folders.....
but got no listing of files, just the same old Lightroom screen with pictures on it. Where are my files listed?
Lightroom will not give you a list of files like in Windows Explorer.
It is not a file browser that you can point to a folder and see a list of the folder contents.
It can only see images that you have imported.
To see the contents of a particular folder, click on that folder in the Folders panel on the left.
To see all images in the catalog, click on All Photographs in the Catalog panel above the Folders panel.
Again, I suggest that you read the article I linked to - Lightroom basics
I would like to thank everyone who helped me.
I think I've solved the problem. You need to
hit a small triangle at the left of the screen to
get folders to show! As simple as that!
Thanks for clueing me into the folders thing.
This problem was one of those things the Adobe book
on lightroom was of no help. You go to the index
and look for "finding the folders thing"
and nothing is there, so I just had to check out
every button on the screen and I lucked out.
Seems to me they could make this thing a bit more
obvious than a small triangle which looks
as if it has nothing to do with anything.
Thanks everyone again.
The side panels can be hidden to make more room for your photos.
You can show/hide both by pressing Tab, or show/hide them individually by clicking the little arrows.