11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 7, 2016 9:41 AM by Abambo

    My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!

    Shakka Level 1

      I have a PC desktop, Windows 7, 64 bit.  I have had several external hard drives.

       

      About 6 months ago, a 1 TB hard drive failed which contained many photos.  I have been able to recover some of the photos through the Lightroom preview recover ( Or whatever the actual term is).  Recovering the remaining images from the LR preview has been on the back burner.

       

      This past weekend was not good due to thunderstorms.  I have all of my hardware connected to batter backup power supply or surge protector power supply.  I have a feeling one of the battery backups may be dead and only working as a power source as there were numerous power surges that affected my computers and hard drives.

       

      I found that one external 3TB hard drive renamed after a surge from E;/ to F:/.  I have read about having Lightroom search and find those files, and had planned to do so.

       

      However.... now the real bad news.  

      I just discovered today that I need to replace the main hard drive on my PC, re-install windows and all the updates, drivers and all the programs and plugins.  I have backed up all of my personal data and files on this hard drive.  This computer is still running but I have no idea if it will permanently crash today, tomorrow, or next month but it is inevitable.

       

      At this point, I'm at a loss as to how to proceed with Lightroom., knowing that I will need to uninstall, and reinstall LR.  Can I back up the libraries (even without the external hard drives connected), replace the main computer hard drive, re install windows, re install Lightroom, and replace the libraries without losing the work that I have done? 

       

      SO to recap:
      1. Can I back up the existing libraries, catalogs, metadata, xif etc., including the one from the external hard drive that died 6 months ago?

      2.  Do I need to recover the preview images from the dead hard drive before reinstalling windows and lightroom, or will they still be available for recovery after the re-installation?

       

      Can someone please walk me through this operation, or point me in the direction to see the steps necessary. 

       

      Thank you very much.

        • 1. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
          Akash Sharma Adobe Employee

          Hi Shakka ,

           

          Thanks for your detailed thread.


          1. Can I back up the existing libraries, catalogs, metadata, xif etc., including the one from the external hard drive that died 6 months ago?

          Simply backup your Lightroom catalog following How to back up catalogs in Lightroom .If you have Presets stored on a different location.Back them up as well.Here an article How to back up Lightroom Presets on a Windows Computer

           

          Can I back up the libraries (even without the external hard drives connected), replace the main computer hard drive, re install windows, re install Lightroom, and replace the libraries without losing the work that I have done? 

          Only a ackup can ensure this.So if you have your external harddrives available,Connect them and start taking a backup of your Lightroom catalog preferably on a hard-drive/USB drive that works fine.Once it is done you can reinstall Windows.

          2.  Do I need to recover the preview images from the dead hard drive before reinstalling windows and lightroom, or will they still be available for recovery after the re-installation?

          Your preview images will be generated when you open your catalog for the first time on your reformatted computer with all the original images available.

          So make sure to backup all your original images from external drives and the catalog of course from primary harddrive.

           

          Hope this helps.

          Regards,

          Akash

          • 2. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
            dj_paige Level 9

            I don't see this explicitly stated, so you need to make backups of your photo files as well.

            • 3. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
              Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

              99% of the time it is not the physical hard drive in the external enclosure that fails. It is the external enclosures electronics that fail, 99% of the time.

               

              So the first thing I would to is take the physical hard drive out of the enclosure it is in and connect it to a computer with a SATA/IDE to USB adapter that also has its own AC power supply that you connect to the drive. Then connect it to one of the computers USB ports and see if you can read it and get data off it

               

              The renaming, or we should say the Re-Lettering, of an external drive is because Windows assigns the first drive letter available to the first external drive connected. If I have 2 external drives, A & B, and connect drive A it will get the first available letter, lets say it get letter E. If I then connect drive B it will get letter F. I disconnect both then connect drive B first that drive will then get the letter E and then I connect drive A and it will get the letter F. Backwards from what they were to start with. To get around that you have to manually Re-Letter the drives in Disk Management. Once you do that each drive will then get the exact same drive letter no matter what order they are connected in. And if you get a new external drive it will get the letter after F, G.

               

              For this reason when I re-letter my external drives, Re-assign drive letters, I start at the end of the alphabet or near the end. The 2 externals I have connected 99.9999% of the time are lettered T & S.

               

              First use Macrium Reflect Free, Macrium Reflect Free

              to image your current internal boot/program/data-personal files drive then restore that image to the new drive. That way you won't have to reinstall any programs or any of your data. That is if your drive is still functioning well enough to get a good image from it.

              You need to create an image of it As Soon As Possible (Like Tonight).

               

              Don't proceed with LR at all.

               

              First thing to do is get a known good external drive, a new one if you have to, and a USB thumb drive. Install the Macrium Reflect Free program to the thumb drive so you can boot the computer from it. Make an image of your current internal drive to the known good external drive.

               

              Then get a SATA/IDE to USB adapter and take the drive out of the enclosure that you think has failed. See if the actual physical drive that is inside that enclosure is still working and you can read from it. If it is still working you can copy your image files off it once you have you system back up an running with a new internal hard drive.

               

              Recap

              1) YES

              2) NO. Not unless the actual physical hard drive in that enclosure is really dead. I doubt it is.

              • 4. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                Shakka Level 1

                I sincerely appreciate the expedient feedback from all!  Let me digest all of this for a bit.

                 

                re: dj paige,

                 

                I don't see this explicitly stated, so you need to make backups of your photo files as well.

                 

                Thank you, and yes.  None of my original photos, raw files, xif data, side car files, .dngs., .psd files, .tiffs,  have ever been located on the the internal hard drive on my cpu which is about to be pushing up daisies.  All are stored on external hard drives backed up to other external hard drives and working on the cloud.   LR is only referencing images that reside on external hard drives since day 1. 

                 

                Is this what you are referring to?

                 

                Thanks much!

                 

                .

                • 5. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                  Shakka Level 1

                  Using the Macrium reflect, wouldn't it copy the bad sectors of my hard drive and copy them to the new hard drive?

                  • 6. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                    Abambo Level 4

                    Harddisks are more often failing then electronics. Especially external hard disks are failing often, due to mishandling (letting them fall, moving them during operation etc). That's why you should always have a current backup of all important data.

                     

                    Shakka wrote:

                     

                    About 6 months ago, a 1 TB hard drive failed which contained many photos. I have been able to recover some of the photos through the Lightroom preview recover ( Or whatever the actual term is). Recovering the remaining images from the LR preview has been on the back burner.

                    The Lightroom preview is not the actual image. If you are shooting raw (?) you should recover as much images as possible from your backups.

                    Shakka wrote:

                     

                    I found that one external 3TB hard drive renamed after a surge from E;/ to F:/. I have read about having Lightroom search and find those files, and had planned to do so.

                     

                    Just put it back to E:.

                    First read this: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/282530 - How to Prevent Drive Letters from Changing After You Add a Hard Disk or a CD-ROM

                    ...and now this: Assign, change, or remove a drive letter: Storage Services; Local File Systems - Assign, change, or remove a drive letter.

                     

                    However.... now the real bad news.  

                    I just discovered today that I need to replace the main hard drive on my PC, re-install windows and all the updates, drivers and all the programs and plugins.  I have backed up all of my personal data and files on this hard drive.  This computer is still running but I have no idea if it will permanently crash today, tomorrow, or next month but it is inevitable.


                    Clone the system disk of your computer. No need to reinstall the system, except if you want departing from a clean install.

                     

                    At this point, I'm at a loss as to how to proceed with Lightroom., knowing that I will need to uninstall, and reinstall LR.  Can I back up the libraries (even without the external hard drives connected), replace the main computer hard drive, re install windows, re install Lightroom, and replace the libraries without losing the work that I have done? 

                    Yes, you can. Back up the Lightroom database on any external media and write it back later after reinstalling the software. Be sure that your external harddrive does get the correct drive letter, and it should run "out of the box". This should anyhow be backed-up with your personal files back-up, as by default Lightroom puts the catalog in the pictures directory.

                    • 7. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                      Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                      Shakka wrote:

                       

                      Using the Macrium reflect, wouldn't it copy the bad sectors of my hard drive and copy them to the new hard drive?

                      Honestly I don't know, But I have used both Acronis True Image and the Macrium software to image then restore slightly failing hard drives.

                       

                      Worst thing that could happen is when you restore to a new drive the bad sectors won't be written properly. But is won't damage the new drive. Everything on a hard drive is Ones and Zeros. So if some of the Ones get written as Zeros, or the other way around, then that data is lost. But the new drive isn't turned into a failing drive.

                       

                      I disagree with the post above

                      Over the last 23+ years I have had numerous external drives fail. 99% of the time it is the Enclosures electronics that fail not the Physical hard drive inside the enclosure. I have several drives installed in a couple of computers that came out of supposedly failed external drives. The physical drive was fine. The IDE or SATA bus to USB bus electronics failed.

                      • 8. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                        Abambo Level 4

                        It will not copy the bad sectors if they are properly mapped out from the drive hardware. The firmware of disk  drives has sophisticated means to detect and "correct" bad sectors. It's only after a certain threshold is reached that the logic can't correct any more. Some time before, the disk gives alarms...

                        • 9. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                          Shakka Level 1

                          I am far from being an expert on recovering data, so I brought it to a local well reputed computer repair business (24 years in biz and a AAA BB rating).  I believe that they performed the steps you recommend but were unable to recover the data. 

                          • 10. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                            Shakka Level 1

                            OK the disc has been cloned and mirrored to a new hard drive, and running fine.  Thank you all.

                             

                            Now I will address the LR issues.   All of my original  images are backed up (not including the failed hard drive from several months ago.   It kills me, I usually have everything backup up but was hit with a few simultaneous obstacles.) 

                             

                            99.9% of my images are RAW format, so recovering those previews will suffice.  I understand that if I cannot recover the data from the hard drive that I will no longer have the RAW files, only the full size previews, but I'm OK with that.  Those particular lost images have more sentimental value than artistic or professional value.

                             

                            LR is up and running fine after the mirror, as there was no need to re install the program.   I have yet to connect the external drives and will be getting to those steps later today.

                             

                            Thank you.

                            • 11. Re: My computer is about to die, please help with my Lightroom libraries, catalogs, etc!
                              Abambo Level 4

                              If @just shoot me's statement is true, you should disassemble the housing and mount the disk in a replacement one, except if it is one of those disks, where the USB logic is hardwired to the disk (USB3 WD-disks for example).