13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 2, 2018 9:33 AM by JohanEl54

    Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?

    markkup24815594

      I've tried finding an answer to this question on this forum as well as with a Google search - so far, many related answers but none that matches exactly my problem. I'd expect this to be a rather common problem and that's why it seems interesting that I couldn't easily find an answer. Sorry if the answer is here but I just couldn't search it in the right way.

       

      I import all my photos into Lightroom Classic CC in a subfolder structure, under one folder on the hard disk of my Windows laptop - let's call that folder Photos for now. Then, a while later, outside Lightroom, I do a backup copy of any new folders in the Photos folder to an external USB drive, also under a folder called Photos. When my hard disk gets full, I just check (again, outside Lightroom, in Windows Explorer), which folders under Photos are the ones I don't actively need anymore on my laptop drive, and then just remove those folders, resulting in missing folders in Lightroom (or well, missing contents of the folders).

       

      So now I might have dozens of missing folders under the Photos folder on the SSD. What I want to do is to relink those Lightroom folders from the now missing ones on my hard disk to the backup folders on the USB drive instead, that is: tell Lightroom to access the former backup folders now as the actual image folders.

       

      If I do a "Find missing folder" for the Photos main folder, that should probably do the trick to the missing subfolders. But there are of course also dozens of NOT missing subfolders that still exist under Photos on the hard disk (and also as a backup on the USB drive). What does LR do to those subfolders? I don't want them to be relinked to the USB drive but want to continue accessing them from the hard drive.

       

      I assume that LR does this intelligently: if I "find missing folders" for the Photos folder, it would relink only those subfolders under Photos that are actually missing, leaving the existing ones intact. However, I have done far too many stupid things with software, assuming that "it surely must work this way" - only to find out that it didn't. And I don't want to do that now, too - that would cause way too much extra work to tell Lightroom that the existing folders still are on the hard disk.

       

      Can anyone confirm that I can safely just do "find missing folders" for the mother folder, resulting in only the missing subfolders being relocated?

       

       

      Of course, the ideal solution for me would be being able to define my USB drive as a "secondary" drive for my hard drive. Then, whenever Lightroom detects a missing folder on the hard drive, it would automatically relocate that folder from the secondary drive, under an otherwise identical path. That would save me so much work. But I'm very skeptical about getting any feature suggestions actually implemented in software as popular as this one.

        • 1. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
          dj_paige Level 10
          Can anyone confirm that I can safely just do "find missing folders" for the mother folder, resulting in only the missing subfolders being relocated?

           

          I can't confirm this, and in fact expect the opposite to happen, it will try to re-link all subfolders under Photos that appear in the Lightroom folder panel. It's not clear to me why you think it will work the way you said you think it would work, as far as I know, re-linking Photos re-links all subfolders. But I have never actually tried it in your situation.

           

          In the long run, don't put the photos on a hard disk that is likely to get full regularly, causing you to have to move the photos/folders. Straight out of the camera, have Lightroom import them to the external drive, and then none of these difficulties will ever happen again.

          • 2. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
            Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

            markkup24815594  wrote

             

             

             

            Can anyone confirm that I can safely just do "find missing folders" for the mother folder, resulting in only the missing subfolders being relocated?

             

             

             

             

            I just did a test with test images in a Test Catalog that I have.

            I copied a folder that contained about 20 images to an external drive. Placing that folder in a Top Level folder of the same name as on the internal drive they are originally in.

            I then Deleted the original folder and images.

            I then opened my Test Catalog in LR V8 and saw that the original folder was marked with a Question mark ( ? ). I then Right Clicked on the folder with the question mark and selected "Find Missing Folder...". LR added the external drive drive letter, T:, the top level folder and subfolder on the T: drive and associated the previews with those images.

             

            I then did the same in reverse. The T: drive letter was removed and the original folder shows back up on the original drive.

             

            So Yes I CAN Confirm you can do this.

            • 3. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
              JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

              I'm not sure that answers the question of the OP, and I'm pretty sure you can not do as he asks. If you use 'Find missing Folder' on a parent folder and relink it to a folder (with that same name) on another disk, then all subfolders will be relinked to that other disk. If only some subfolders actually exist inside the parent folder of that other disk, then this will result in 'missing' folders for all the subfolders that do not exist.

               

              By the way: As I understand it, the parent folder is not missing in the first place. Only some subfolders are missing (because they were moved, the parent folder was not moved). That means you will not even get the 'Find Missing Folder' menu when you right-click the parent folder. You could only use 'Update Folder Location', but you don't want to do that...

              • 4. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                markkup24815594 Level 1

                dj_paige  wrote

                 

                In the long run, don't put the photos on a hard disk that is likely to get full regularly, causing you to have to move the photos/folders. Straight out of the camera, have Lightroom import them to the external drive, and then none of these difficulties will ever happen again.


                That's not really much help - it's a bit like saying "don't use Lightroom if you have problems using Lightroom", instead of trying to find a solution to the problem, isn't it? The whole idea of using a laptop is to make the workflow easily mobile. Forcing me to always carry the external USB drive with me would weaken mobility, and the need to find a power socket to operate the the drive (and have access to any of my photos in Lightroom!) would completely ruin the idea. Not to mention that any work in Lightroom would be considerably slower if the image files were located on a USB drive instead of an SSD hard drive.

                • 5. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                  markkup24815594 Level 1

                  JohanEl54  kirjoitti

                   

                  I'm not sure that answers the question of the OP, and I'm pretty sure you can not do as he asks. If you use 'Find missing Folder' on a parent folder and relink it to a folder (with that same name) on another disk, then all subfolders will be relinked to that other disk. If only some subfolders actually exist inside the parent folder of that other disk, then this will result in 'missing' folders for all the subfolders that do not exist.

                   

                  By the way: As I understand it, the parent folder is not missing in the first place. Only some subfolders are missing (because they were moved, the parent folder was not moved). That means you will not even get the 'Find Missing Folder' menu when you right-click the parent folder. You could only use 'Update Folder Location', but you don't want to do that...

                  JohanEl54 was partly right - except that in my case all the subfolders of the parent folder on my source hard disk do exist in the parent folder on the target USB disk. Remember: I backup ( = copy in Explorer) all folders from the hard drive on the USB disk. But that's the issue here: I don't want the subfolders that exist on the hard disk (and as backups on the USB disk, too) to be relinked to the backup subfolders but remain to be linked to the original hard disk subfolders. I only want the missing subfolders to be found on the backup drive. If I got Just Shoot Me's test right, it tested pretty much the thing that I am and always have been doing: when I delete a number of subfolders on my hard drive, I now need to "Find Missing Folder" on each deleted subfolder (the ones with the question mark) individually.

                  • 6. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                    markkup24815594 Level 1

                    It seems we need some more clarification here.

                    Let's say my hard disk photo parent folder is C:\PICS, and I have four subfolders: C:\PICS\Engagement, C:\PICS\Wedding, C:\PICS\Birth and C:\PICS\KidsBirthday. Each of these subfolders I have copied on the USB drive T:, resulting in T:\PICS\Engagement, T:\PICS\Wedding, T:\PICS\Birth and T:\PICS\KidsBirthday. But Lightroom doesn't know about the copies on T: yet.

                     

                    Now my hard disk is getting full and I know I won't need the engagement or wedding pics on the road - that is: it's enough for me that I can access them at the office when I've connected the USB drive to my laptop. But I still do some editing on the road with the Birth and KidsBirthday folders. So I delete C:\PICS\Engagement and C:\PICS\Wedding using Windows Explorer, resulting in Lightroom to add the question mark on these LR folders.

                     

                    What I want to do is to say, in one command: relink any missing subfolders under C:\PICS to corresponding subfolders under T:\PICS with the same names, BUT keep those subfolders that still exist on C:\PICS intact.

                     

                    Of course, in this example it would be easy to just individually do "Find Missing Folder" to C:\PICS\Engagement and C:\PICS\Wedding  - but in reality, we might be talking about 30 folders I deleted from C:\PICS, so I'm looking for the single action that would do this trick. Actually, since I delete those "inactive" folders from C: usually when in hurry to make some room for new photos, I typically won't do the relinking immediately after that. So Lightroom considers those folders missing until some (much) later day when I finally need exactly the photos on one of those folders and do the "Find Missing Folders" on that folder. So in reality, there might be 100 missing folders waiting to be relinked to the T: drive, and 30 to remain active on the C: drive.

                    • 7. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                      JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

                      markkup24815594  wrote

                       

                      JohanEl54   kirjoitti

                       

                      I'm not sure that answers the question of the OP, and I'm pretty sure you can not do as he asks. If you use 'Find missing Folder' on a parent folder and relink it to a folder (with that same name) on another disk, then all subfolders will be relinked to that other disk. If only some subfolders actually exist inside the parent folder of that other disk, then this will result in 'missing' folders for all the subfolders that do not exist.

                       

                      By the way: As I understand it, the parent folder is not missing in the first place. Only some subfolders are missing (because they were moved, the parent folder was not moved). That means you will not even get the 'Find Missing Folder' menu when you right-click the parent folder. You could only use 'Update Folder Location', but you don't want to do that...

                      JohanEl54 was partly right - except that in my case all the subfolders of the parent folder on my source hard disk do exist in the parent folder on the target USB disk. Remember: I backup ( = copy in Explorer) all folders from the hard drive on the USB disk. But that's the issue here: I don't want the subfolders that exist on the hard disk (and as backups on the USB disk, too) to be relinked to the backup subfolders but remain to be linked to the original hard disk subfolders. I only want the missing subfolders to be found on the backup drive. If I got Just Shoot Me's test right, it tested pretty much the thing that I am and always have been doing: when I delete a number of subfolders on my hard drive, I now need to "Find Missing Folder" on each deleted subfolder (the ones with the question mark) individually.

                      Lightroom does not have some 'intelligent find missing folder' option. In fact, it does not find missing folders for you at all. You have to tell Lightroom where they are. So first of all you cannot use 'Find Missing Folder' on a folder that is not missing in the first place. That menu will not exist if the folder isn't missing. And secondly, relinking a parent folder will relink all its subfolders, not just the missing ones. There is no intelligence there. So if you want to relink only some subfolders, then you will have to relink these one by one.

                      • 8. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                        markkup24815594 Level 1

                        JohanEl54  kirjoitti

                         

                        By the way: As I understand it, the parent folder is not missing in the first place. Only some subfolders are missing (because they were moved, the parent folder was not moved). That means you will not even get the 'Find Missing Folder' menu when you right-click the parent folder. You could only use 'Update Folder Location', but you don't want to do that...

                        You do have a point there: "Find Missing Folder" isn't available for the parent folder since the parent folder is not missing. And I definitely don't want to "Update Folder Location" either.

                         

                        I guess what I would need is to be able to select multiple missing folders in the folder tree, then select "Find Missing Folder" once for the whole bunch, and then enter the parent folder on the T: drive, a bit like I'd locate several missing pics in one folder by entering their folder ("parent") location. It seems that selecting the multiple missing folders is possible. And if I include only missing folders in the selection, I get just the three actions in the context menu that I get for a single missing folder. But whether or not the "Find Missing Folder" action works the way I'd like it to: I'll need to test that tomorrow - it's past bedtime now .

                        • 9. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                          markkup24815594 Level 1

                          Now I made a sandbox test catalog to safely try different solutions.

                          markkup24815594  wrote

                          I guess what I would need is to be able to select multiple missing folders in the folder tree, then select "Find Missing Folder" once for the whole bunch, and then enter the parent folder on the T: drive, a bit like I'd locate several missing pics in one folder by entering their folder ("parent") location. It seems that selecting the multiple missing folders is possible. And if I include only missing folders in the selection, I get just the three actions in the context menu that I get for a single missing folder. But whether or not the "Find Missing Folder" action works the way I'd like it to: I'll need to test that tomorrow - it's past bedtime now .

                           

                          Now that didn't work . Selecting multiple missing folders and then clicking "Find Missing Folder" only does this action to the folder that happened to be where I right-clicked for the context menu. The rest of the missing folders were left intact.

                           

                          BTW, I even tried the (intentionally stupid) method of selecting the parent folder as the missing folder, in case Lightroom would be intelligent or stupid enough to determine that "hey, there is a folder with the same name under this folder as the missing folder, let's now see if these other missing folders are there, too". But of course it didn't work but resulted in a) LR asking if I want to merge these folders. And that resulted in a weird situation where one of the previously missing folders really got missing: the photos could be seen when selecting the parent folder (and allowing viewing the contents of subfolders), but the folder itself wasn't found anywhere in the Folders panel. The photo files still were in the original folder on the disk.

                           

                          Anyway, I am still stuck with this problem - and the problem even just got much bigger. I've actually used two different USB hard disks for the backups / archives. The first one got full two years ago, and any photos from the last two years are on the second one. Usually, Windows assigns them drive letters E: and F: consistently, even though only one of them is connected, so I haven't paid much attention to that so far. The older photos are on E:, the new ones on F:. But I just realised that Windows hasn't been consistent about this, after all, and there are 100-200 newer folders that LR thinks are on E:.

                           

                          So essentially this means that my need for this "Relocate multiple hidden folders at once" just doubled.

                           

                          Also, I am planning to buy a new USB drive large enough to contain the whole archive. And then I'll be facing the same problem again, but this time potentially with ALL my 600000+ photos in 1600+ folders, when telling LR that the photos are on the new drive. There must be a sensible solution to this.

                          • 10. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                            JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

                            markkup24815594  wrote

                             

                            There must be a sensible solution to this.

                            People always say that in desperation, but sometimes the answer is that there is none. Sorry.

                            • 11. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                              markkup24815594 Level 1

                              I didn't really say that in desperation but because we are talking about one of the best pieces of software for this purpose, by one of the major software houses in the business. And a feature that would really be of good use for quite a few users.

                               

                              But I guess I'll just have to place a feature request to Adobe.

                              • 12. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                                Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                                markkup24815594  wrote

                                 

                                I didn't really say that in desperation but because we are talking about one of the best pieces of software for this purpose, by one of the major software houses in the business. And a feature that would really be of good use for quite a few users.

                                 

                                But I guess I'll just have to place a feature request to Adobe.

                                Well in my opinion that feature isn't needed. Most people place files on either an internal or external drive, Back Up that drive to some other drive and never move, delete, any of those files.

                                 

                                If you had an exact copy, A Backup, of your folder structure and files on some other drive, and hadn't somehow Formatted your external drive (which needs several step to preform. It's not a One Click process) you wouldn't need that feature or a recovery service.

                                • 13. Re: Locate multiple missing (sub)folders at once - but only the missing (sub)folders?
                                  JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

                                  I have to agree with that comment. You can’t expect Adobe to predict every possible mistake that people can ever make, and then add a cure for that in Lightroom, regardless of how unlikely it is that more than one or two people will ever use it. Lightroom would become bloatware and a 50 GB install, and Adobe would waste all its time and resources on it.