There must be some element of Lightroom that is still loaded making your computer think Lightroom is running. I would start the task manager (Ctrl+alt+delete) And I would stop anything related to Lightroom. Then you should be able to delete the lock files. As far as the folders with the "?" Are concerned, right-click on the folder in the library module and choose the option to update the folder location. Then you can browse and find the folder and select it. That will get things synchronized again.
As a guess, perhaps you have accidentally opened the wrong catalog file?
What happens if you use your operating system's search feature to search for all files whose names end with .LRCAT? Do you find more than one? What happens if you double-click on each to open it in Lightroom, do you find the catalog of interest?
If that doesn't work, you could try restoring a recent backup of your catalog file.
LR still open. Thanks for that suggestion. I had the same thought but the task manager does NOT show anything open once I close LR. Yet the .lrcat.lock files persist. I am still perplexed as to why Win7 can't find these files. ??
As for the second suggestion re: "?" icon, I have not tried that. I will, though to be honest, I'm becoming more and more ill at ease every time I try something. It just seems to get worse and worse. I've honestly lost track of everything I've tried. And the way this all began is just plain spooky. All I did was look at some photo's and sign off. A few minutes later, upon opening LR again, it was all buggered up. ??
Thanks for this suggestion. I still just have one catalogue. Some backups are still present, but I can't open the wrong catalogue. It's on my to-do list to find out how to create a separate catalogue for each year, but so far, still just one.
As for searching, Win 7 cannot find any .lrcat.lock files anywhere. And as I understand it, that's a major problem here. The forums say LR will never work right until all .lock files are deleted. But I can't even get to them now, much less delete them. When I could select the lock file I found yesterday, I could not delete it. That of course makes me think the system thinks LR is open, when in fact it was not. ??
Opening the 3/12/17 Catalogue backup gives me correct counts and photo's for 2015/2016, but for 2017 it can't find the folders or the files and I've already explained that trying to locate the folders/files using the recommendations for this do not work.
I assume restoring the 3/12/17 cat backup won't produce and different results than I got as explained above.
This is both frustrating and depressing.
It's on my to-do list to find out how to create a separate catalogue for each year, but so far, still just one.
Suggestion: take this off your to-do list, it's a terrible idea.
As for searching, Win 7 cannot find any .lrcat.lock files anywhere.
You need to search for .LRCAT files. No "lock" in the file name.
And as I understand it, that's a major problem here. The forums say LR will never work right until all .lock files are deleted.
This is irrelevant to your problem.
Having found a solution nowhere else I hired a guy from the local camera shop who does all their LR and PHotoshop training. It took him almost 3 hours but he was able to reconstruct a workable catalogue. It was expensive, but it worked.