I didn't backup my catalog...I cleaned up my pc, my hard drive (external) malfunctioned...now the 1100 photos is lightroom all have the dreaded ! on them!!!! I can't locate them because I cant find the original folder for them! I tried exporting as a catalog, it says source files are offline or missing.... now its telling me this
what else can i do, ive searched and searched for over 6 hours trying to find the file and to no avail!
If they were originally on the external hard drive that crashed and you had no backups of those images I am sorry to say they are gone.
The LR catalog file is just a Database file. It does Not hold any images. It just stores a reference to the image from where it is located on one of your hard drives when it was imported.