16 Replies Latest reply on Aug 21, 2016 1:33 PM by Per Berntsen

    Lost in All Directions

    barbkavs

      Well I'm in the soup big time.

       

      I'm in LR 5.7, on an iMac OS X 10.9.5.  Jiggers I have lost my catalog.  I used to save all camera downloads to folders by date (on an external drive), those were subfolders under my external Drive Nikon I think.  With catalog saved to C drive, as well as catalog back up To make things more complicated, I have multiple back up catalogs, instead of each catalog save writing over the previous version. NONE appear to be a locked file version.

       

      Now think I better start saving each date/ shoot folder as a different catalog.  I have imported one set of test shots as a separate catalog, that is visible and seems fine.

       

      any suggestions where to start now to find several years worth of past work?  I'm really concerned I am going to import some catalog that makes no sense and then I am doomed.

        • 1. Re: Lost in All Directions
          dj_paige Level 9

          I'm in LR 5.7, on an iMac OS X 10.9.5.  Jiggers I have lost my catalog.

          Why do you say this? What exactly do you see that makes you think you have lost your catalog? Go into Lightroom and select File->Open Recent and open each catalog listed there. Also, if that doesn't work, search for it by going to your operating system's search feature and searching all hard drives for files whose name ends with .LRCAT

          Now think I better start saving each date/ shoot folder as a different catalog.  I have imported one set of test shots as a separate catalog, that is visible and seems fine.

          I think this is an awful idea, to be perfectly honest. And that only means you have more files that you could possibly lose, it doesn't help the original problem in any way. Use one catalog. Make regular and automated backups. Make your life simple.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Lost in All Directions
            JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I'm not sure creating separate catalogs for each download is going to solve anything. Your images are not in the catalog. The catalog simply points to the images wherever they are located on your computer. Without using Lightroom, are you able to locate the images? Are they where they are supposed to be?

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Lost in All Directions
              barbkavs Level 1

              Yes, all the images themselves, originals and edited forms, are still stored on external drive.  Does this mean I need to re-import each batch and re-tag?

               

              I'm afraid to open any of the backup catalogs in case they are incomplete.

              • 4. Re: Lost in All Directions
                dj_paige Level 9

                No, re-importing would be a major mistake.

                 

                You have to fix the problem, whatever it is. We don't know what the problem is, as you haven't really explained, as I asked you to do earlier.

                 

                I'm in LR 5.7, on an iMac OS X 10.9.5.  Jiggers I have lost my catalog.

                Why do you say this? What exactly do you see that makes you think you have lost your catalog?

                • 5. Re: Lost in All Directions
                  28axmelissarios Adobe Employee

                  Hi barbkavs,

                   

                  You mentioned that all your images are still stored on an external drive. Are you keeping this external drive connected when you have Lightroom open?

                   

                  Describe the details that make you think that your catalog is missing - whether by attaching images or just a description of what you see; this should help us narrow down the issue for you.

                   

                  Thanks,

                  Melissa

                  • 6. Re: Lost in All Directions
                    barbkavs Level 1

                    Hi Melissa

                    all Raw files are on an external drive that is indeed connected. I always empty camera to external drive, then import into Lightroom Catalog.

                    Below is the screenshot of my lightroom catalog. all question marks. The function to search and re-attached missing files is not yielding any results. So, do I have to reimport, folder by folder? In the interim, I have created a new catalog to work with, each date of photography download a separate catalog so I don't lose the whole thing again (hopefully).

                    Thanks for your help!

                     

                     

                     

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                    by Melissa Rios in Re: Lost in All Directions in Adobe Community - View Melissa Rios's reference to you  Hi barbkavs, You mentioned that all your images are still stored on an external drive. Are you keeping this external drive connected when you have Lightroom open? Describe the details that make you think that your catalog is missing - whether by attaching images or just a description of what you see; this should help us narrow down the issue for you. Thanks,Melissa

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                    • 7. Re: Lost in All Directions
                      dj_paige Level 9

                      Below is the screenshot of my lightroom catalog. all question marks. The function to search and re-attached missing files is not yielding any results.

                      Re-importing is a major mistake. it will not solve the problem. It will make the problem worse.

                       

                      Please explain exactly what happened when you used the "function to search and re-attached missing files". What happened? What does "not yielding any results" actually mean?

                       

                      Are you thinking that this function will reconnect your photos? It will not. You have to find the photos in your operating system, and then point to the location by using the Find Missing Folder option in Lightroom. The entire procedure is explained in great detail in these instructions: Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Lost in All Directions
                        barbkavs Level 1

                        This article is helpful DJ, thank you. I think I see what has happened, by tracing folder locations via clicking on individual file image exclamation points throughout the subfolders you see in the snapshot.  I'm afraid I actually have several catalogs to choose from in LR now, in part from trying to consolidate external drives, in part from opening a new catalog to try to continue to work while untangling "past" and much larger catalog.  Important things for me to  be clear on in order to figure out how to untangle this:

                         

                        1.  Is there not a default in LR to tell it how often to back up to a folder other than the primary catalog where these are housed?

                         

                        2. As I understand it, the disadvantage of housing catalog on external drive is that it will take longer to load, correct?

                         

                        3. The external drive I use is called a Seagate. Suppose, on the left panel of LR, it shows a "Seagate" folder  with green light on, which is where original RAW files are stored.  Yet the catalog (this small new one) appears to be stored on C drive.  Does that make sense?  How, then, do I open a C: drive folder in the "new catalog" left panel and reveal that "older", much larger catalog on the C drive? 

                         

                        This last step would hopefully reveal ALL catalogs- I think....

                        • 9. Re: Lost in All Directions
                          Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                          1.  Is there not a default in LR to tell it how often to back up to a folder other than the primary catalog where these are housed?

                          In the Back up dialog you can set the location for backups as well as how often backups should me made. This is only applies to the current catalog, there is no global default for this. You only need one catalog, so once you have sorted out your problems, I strongly suggest that you merge all your catalogs into one. This is done by first opening the catalog you want to be your "master", and then going to File > Import from another catalog, and import all your other catalogs, one by one, into the master catalog.

                           

                          2. As I understand it, the disadvantage of housing catalog on external drive is that it will take longer to load, correct?

                          Lightroom will be faster if the folder containing the catalog and the previews is on an internal drive - especially if this is an SSD drive.

                           

                          3. The external drive I use is called a Seagate. Suppose, on the left panel of LR, it shows a "Seagate" folder  with green light on, which is where original RAW files are stored.  Yet the catalog (this small new one) appears to be stored on C drive.  Does that make sense?  How, then, do I open a C: drive folder in the "new catalog" left panel and reveal that "older", much larger catalog on the C drive?

                           

                          This last step would hopefully reveal ALL catalogs- I think....

                          A catalog can reside anywhere on your computer, and your photos can reside anywhere on your computer.

                          Your photos are only referenced by the catalog, they are not "in" the catalog, and they are not "in" Lightroom.

                          And you cannot use the catalog panel to browse your various catalogs - Lightoom can only have one catalog open at a time, and the open catalog doesn't know about the other catalogs.

                          To open another catalog, use File > Open Catalog or File > Open Recent. Lightroom will then close, and relaunch with the other catalog.

                           

                          To get a better understanding of how Lightroom works, I suggest that you read this article: Lightroom basics

                          And BTW, if you want to insert screenshots, you have to use a web browser (not email), and click the image icon in the toolbar.

                           

                          insert-image.png

                          2 people found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: Lost in All Directions
                            barbkavs Level 1

                            Per I hope this is the last follow up question.  I have several catalogs, for some reason in backing up catalogs it has done so by weekly dates.  I noticed 1 catalog (the most recent) is strictly the  Lrcat file. But if I go back further, the folder contains 3 files- one .lrcat extension and 2 .lrdata preview files (one smart previews, the other "regular" previews).

                             

                            In creating one master catalog, assume I import the most recent catalog where .lrdata file does not exist. Is the only disadvantage that LR will have to build new previews?

                             

                            Ugh, I wonder if some of this stems from a lightening strike that exploded the home's network. Dreadful.

                            • 11. Re: Lost in All Directions
                              Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                              You don't want to merge the backup catalogs into your master catalog, leave them alone (except if your original catalog is missing, and you have to use the backup). The fact that the folder only contains the .lrcat file is a strong indication that this is a backup catalog - if it had been opened in LR there would have been a previews folder present. So you should probably use the latest regular catalog as your master. Double-click it to open it and to confirm that this is the one you want.

                              Before you start merging catalogs it might be a good idea to move the Backups folder to the external drive, and then do a search for .lrcat files on the internal drive, and write down their locations. That will make it easier to find the catalogs in the merging process.

                              Once you have successfully merged all the catalogs, you should do a backup immediately - to the external drive (see below).

                               

                              Backups are by default stored in a folder called Backups next to your regular catalog folder.

                              If your internal hard drive fails, all the catalogs are gone, including the backups, so you should keep your backups on the external drive. You set the location for backups in the Backup dialog, where you also set how often backups should be done.

                              I have it set to Every time Lightroom exits, and if I haven't done any important work I just click Skip this time.

                              2 people found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Lost in All Directions
                                barbkavs Level 1

                                Thanks Per, great information, great idea to send backup duplicates to the external folder before I start all this.

                                • 13. Re: Lost in All Directions
                                  barbkavs Level 1

                                  Per, I am sorting thru many catalog copies. Found what i think is most recent I am going to, May 31, and simply going to have to re-work a number of images since then. a few final questions, so this doesn't happy again:

                                   

                                  1. Can you confirm where your original catalog is stored? C Drive, under pictures, and Lightroom?  same question on where "back ups" folder is please.

                                   

                                  2. I don't think Lightroom is set to default to saving sequentially so many copies of the catalog and its data. I have many copies saved sequentially, weekly, by date.  Is that the default state?

                                   

                                  as usual thanks for your patience.

                                  • 14. Re: Lost in All Directions
                                    Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional
                                    1. Can you confirm where your original catalog is stored? C Drive, under pictures, and Lightroom?  same question on where "back ups" folder is please.

                                    The default location for the Ligtroom folder is in the Pictures/My Pictures folder under your username, on the system drive.

                                    (I believe it's called Macintosh HD on a Mac - drive letters are used on Windows)

                                    I think the default location for backups is also in the Pictures folder.

                                     

                                    2. I don't think Lightroom is set to default to saving sequentially so many copies of the catalog and its data. I have many copies saved sequentially, weekly, by date.  Is that the default state?

                                    This sounds like backups. Lightroom has probably been making backups on a weekly basis. I don't use LR5 anymore, but LR6/CC backups are put in folders named with the date and and time - like 2016-08-08 1157.

                                    There is no way to set up Lightroom to make copies of your catalog, apart from the backups.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: Lost in All Directions
                                      barbkavs Level 1

                                      Thank You Per, done as much recovery as possible and of course learned the hard way- unforgettable. Ouch. For you and me.

                                       

                                      If past images were valuable, I'll find them- or have to re-import them.

                                      • 16. Re: Lost in All Directions
                                        Per Berntsen Adobe Community Professional

                                        No problem - glad you got it sorted.

                                        If you now have some photos with excalamation marks on them, it's much better to point Lightroom to the correct location than to re-import. The same goes for folders with question marks.

                                        Re-importing should be considered a last resort, since you will lose any edits you have done to the photos.

                                        1 person found this helpful