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Corrupt files appearing when I open Lightroom

Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Hi everyone, I hope maybe someone can help me figure out this problem. I plugged in my hard drive to look for some specific photos, and as I was searching I had what looked to be newly corrupted files in some folders in Lightroom Classic. I flagged and red labeled these, and then closed the software and ejected the hard drive. I unplugged the hard drive and then plugged it back in, and then reopened Lightroom Classic. In the same file the corrupted images I had flagged before were still there, and newly corrupted images appared. I don't know what is causing this issue or if I can recover these images and I am heartbroken. From other posts I can only think it must be some hardware issue, and that there must be a problem with my hard drive, the cable from the hard drive to the external USB port, the external USB port, or the USB to USB-C (whatever Mac replaced USB ports with). Help?

Screen Shot 2022-11-27 at 10.03.17 AM.png

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Are the same files corrupted when you open them from finder by double clicking? They should open in preview which reads the actual raw files and renders them. Also, if you are connecting through some USB-hub like thing, try connecting directly to the drive. USB-c is an industry standard by the way. nothing to do with Apple but it is what all computers and portable devices are migraing to because it can maintain much higher speed connections. USB-c to USB-A converters can be bought for about $2.00 a piece at amazon that work great if you need old-style USB connectors to plug into a modern laptop.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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@Jao vdL If you look at the top left corner of the thumbnails you'll see the badge that indicates that  it is based on the embedded JPEG preview rather than a preview created by LrC.  Therefore, it's almost certain to be the case that the files are indeed corrupt.

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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You are right. I hadn't actually zoomed into the image! Still possible that the corruption is happening in the transfer to the Mac though due to hardware issues and that the stored images are still OK. Not that likely but if these are only copies, would be good to figure out if they are salvageable.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Hello Jao, I tried connecting directly to the drive using an adapter, and found upon opening Lightroom even more images were showing up corrupted unfortunately. The CR2 files when opened in Camera Raw appear the same as the image preview in Lightroom unfortunately. So I'm guessing this must be a hard drive issue as @Ian Lyons wrote.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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>The CR2 files when opened in Camera Raw appear the same as the image preview in Lightroom unfortunately.

 

Oof that is a bad sign! That indeed indicates the actual raw files are corrupted. This is functionally the same as the test I proposed in another reply to open the image in Develop. It does the exact same thing as opening the image in camera raw.  

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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As I indicated above, the thumbnails are based on the JPEG preview embedded in the original file by the camera when photos were captured. Unfortunately, this pretty much rules out a cable fault and instead points towards data degradation (bit rot) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_degradation

 

No doubt more of the files are suspect. Nevertheless, if I was in your position I'd be moving the files from the suspect drive to a new disk asap!

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Hi Ian, thank you for your response. That is so disappointing, these files aren't even two years old yet, and I think the drive itself is about two years old. If I understand you correctly, you think more than just the ones I can see now are corrupt, and that it's the drive itself, so you're recommending to transfer everything to a new drive correct? Thank you again for your input, your advice is appreciated.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Data degradation would normally take place over a much longer period of time than the life of either your particular disk or files. That's not to say that some other factor isn't at work (e.g environmental or storing disk close proximity to strong magnetic field). That being said, I'm by no means an expert disk drive life.

 

As a sanity check, you could copy the folder containing the files that are already showing signs of corruption to another disk AND cable, then import these into a 'new' catalog using the 'Embedded & Sidecar' preview option. If the files are indeed corrupt, then should immediately display same on the new disk drive. If they don't, then it's possible that the corruption is occurring during data transfer between the disk and you computer, which would suggest that the cable is the culprit.

 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Update: I transferred my files to a new drive (this one came with a cord that is USB-c compatible). I then opened up the folder that had the corrupt images in question in a new Lightroom catalog, using the Embedded & Sidecar preview options, and if anything it looks like there may be more corrupted images than there were in the original Lightroom catalogue (98 in the new tester catalog, 96 in the original). I think I may need to go through and compare them file by file.

I don't know if this makes a difference, but it seems like when I imported the images originally I imported both CR2 files and DNG duplicates, and the vast majority of images that appear corrupted are CR2 files. Could there be any reason for that?

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Thinking about this a bit further, it is still possible the preview database is corrupt and that the originals might be OK. The description of the images coming up more and more corrupt every time Classic is open is suspect as the icon on all the corrupt previews is still that of embedded preview. These previews are based on jpegs that were initially on import copied from the raw files. If you don't actually take these into develop and back, the previews never get updated and the actual raw files are not read again from the external hard disk. So something for the OP to try out is the following. On one of those corrupt looking images, take it into develop. Does the corruption stay or disappear? When you go back in Library (move a few sliders back and forth in Develop), do you see the preview fix itself after a few seconds? This would indicate the previews Lightroom maintains are somehow being corrupted which does happen.

 

Again, I would also mainly suspect the external hard drive but there is a (small) chance that it is the previews on the internal disk that are problematic. 

 

Also, I would run Disk Utility First Aid asap on both your internal and external disk (just type disk utility in the looking glass right hand top of meny bar). Perhaps do this before anything else.

 

P.S. Thinking about this further: how is your external disk formatted? Hopefully hfs+(Mac OS extended) or APFS? If it is NTFS or a form of FAT that is not the best choice and I would move all the data to another disk that is formatted with an Apple format. Many exernal hard disks come formatted using windows compatible formats which are not well supported on Mac OS X (to be able to write to NTFS you even have to install a third-party utility that breaks almost every system update) and before use on a Mac you should reformat them. Don't do that now but only after you moved the data and know the data is safe and complete on another disk that was correctly formatted first. This is a secondary problem to check out after you have done some recovery. Also, I might be telling you nothing new and your external might be correctly formatted. It is just really common for people to never do this and just plug in a new external disk and start using it without first reformatting it. 

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Jao, maybe external disk formatting had something to do with it, as I can't recall reformatting the questionable drive before beginning to use it (d'oh! Now I know). Fortunately, I had a spare unused drive on hand so I just reformatted it for Mac OS X, and am going to transfer all the files from the questionable drive over to the new one. Thank you for your advice, it is much appreciated.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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I just verified and the questionable drive is still in ExFAT format.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Hmm, ExFAT shouldn't be an issue as it's a format supported by macOS, and I'm not aware of any Adobe apps that don't support it.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2022 Nov 27, 2022

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Interesting. At the very least, I now have my files transferring to the new formatted drive. This, in theory, should stop any more corruption from happening if it is indeed cause by the old drive degrading, correct?

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LEGEND ,
Nov 28, 2022 Nov 28, 2022

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Interesting. At the very least, I now have my files transferring to the new formatted drive. This, in theory, should stop any more corruption from happening if it is indeed cause by the old drive degrading, correct?


By @Timmie0D45

 

Yes, but the files that are already corrupted will remain corrupted; copying or moving a corrupted file does not remove corruption. Better, you should use your backups of these photos, most likely they are not corrupted; copy those to the new formatted drive.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2022 Nov 28, 2022

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You really do not want to use a drive formatted as exFAT for essential stuff. The problem with exFAT is that it is not journaled and prone to damage if the drive is unmounted or removed incorrectly (you've probably seen the message that the drive was unmounted in safely sometime). ExFAT for that reason normally is only used with solid state drives that are faster at writing changes. Other file systems such as hfs+, NTFS, FAT32, APFS and such are journaled and therefore safer to use for drives that can be removed. For macs you only want to use hfs+(called macos extended(journaled) when you reformat) or  APFS (best for. ssd drives). NTFS can be used with a driver from external companies but usually best to stick with native formats.

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