You can locate LR Catalog under your User profile's Picture folder .
Yes , there is chance of backing up catalog. Try repairing OS via Windows Runtime environment.
If the Operating System is corrupted completely or not booting and unable to recover using recovery disk , still you can access C:drive from different Recovery OS.
Once you are in recovery OS. Open C: Drive , Sometimes C: Drive will be listed as D:drive in recovery OS,as the C:drive label will be taken over by Recovery OS.
Open C: drive or D: drive.
Then locate Users folder, open it and then open your UserName folder , inside it you can locate Pictures folder.
You can also use Linux Live CD / USB image.
Let me know if you need further help.
Will try this in a bit and see how it goes. My OS had to be reinstalled after the crash, I could only save the work that I had exported from LR, but the catalogues that we still in LR were lost with the programme.
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Did you re-formatted PC after crash ?
If yes, only option is to try with Recovery software.
Important : Do not try to recover using any apps, more you try the more are the chances of loosing data.
I suggest you to try with strong recommended brand recovery apps .
When Lightroom closes, it always asks if you would like to "back up". Where does it back up?
It backs up to a location of your choice. I don't know what the default location is, but my guess is that it's the Pictures/My Pictures folder under your username. So if you just accepted the default location, the backups will probably be lost as well.
It is good practice to set Lightroom to back up to a different drive, or an external drive, or a Dropbox folder if you only have one drive.
Yes , always keep a backup on cloud storage for safety. If the catalog is very important and lost , you can try recovery software as mentioned earlier .
There are many tools like Easeus revovery , Stellar Phoenix , Data rescue....etc . its not like 100% guarantee that files will recover , but if you are up give it a shot , you may try.
Per & Brucgovn, thanks very much. You were right, catalogues were backed up in my Pictures and I managed to get them. Lessons learned indeed.
I will put some of your advice into practice henceforth.
If your computer has multiple drives, you really need to put the LR backup files on a drive separate from the master catalog so that a single drive failure does not take everything with it.