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How to retrieve catalog previews - a rather complicated question

Participant ,
Mar 29, 2022 Mar 29, 2022

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Please bear with me as this is quite complicated to explain.

Recently I was having trouble accessing images via Lightroom.  I thought my pc was failing and ended up buying a new pc.  Turns out it was my external hard drive that was failing and this is the place where I stored all my photo's - around 60,000 of them.  (yes I've learnt a lesson about backing up) 🙂

 

I was able to take a copy of the Lightroom catalogue which I put on another external drive (F).

I installed Lightroom on my new PC and added the catalogue from the external hard drive (F) onto an internal SSD drive.

 

I paid £520 for someone to try and recover my photographs from the failed hard drive and he did a good job.  However, still around 100gb of images that are too corrupt to be recovered.

 

I've added the recovered images to the internal SSD which is now being backed up to a new HDD.  However after adding the new folders of images to the SSD drive, I then did "search for missing folder/file"  in Lightroom the image previews disappeared.  I haven't yet syncronised the folders as it will remove the missing images.

 

The reason why I want to be able to view the missing images is that I believe there is a way to export the previews as low resolution images - which is better than nothing I guess.  For some reason there are whole folders missing which couldn't be retrieved and are of great sentimental value.

 

I still have the Lightroom catalog that I saved from my old PC on the external drive (F).  It is the same name as the one that I currently have on my new pc.

 

What I want to know is if it's possible to open up the catalogue on the external drive - will I be able to view the missing images?  I still don't quite understand catalogs and how they work.

 

Sorry for the long winded question.  Any help will be very much appreciated.

 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 29, 2022 Mar 29, 2022

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Hi Stephanie,

 

Thanks for reaching out. We are here to help.

 

The chances of recovering the preview are thin now that you have replaced the existing previews by attempting to re-link the images. You mentioned that you also have another catalog on an external drive. Was it opened before when everything was working, or is that just the catalog backup that Lightroom Classic creates at the exit?

 

The catalog backup does not contain previews as it only houses a copy of the catalog (.lrcat). If the catalog was previously open, you could try this article with a Script to extract Jpegs out of the previews: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/kb/extract-previews-for-lost-images-lightroom.html

 

Once you have set it up, you can browse all of your catalogs to find any missing images and you wish to extract a preview.

Please check this article to learn more about how the Catalog database functions: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/lightroom-catalog-basics.html

 

We hope this helps,

Thanks,

Sameer K

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Participant ,
Apr 04, 2022 Apr 04, 2022

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Hi Sameer

I do apologise for the delay.  I've been trying to get my head around how this all works - and I'm still struggling. 😞

 

I saved the catalog onto an external hard drive once I knew my hard drive was failing - yes this was a proper back up rather than the one when the program closes.

 

When I then got a new pc I reinstalled Lightroom and then opened it with the catalog that was saved onto the external hard drive.  It seemed that all of the previews for all approx 60k images were showing.

 

I then got whatever had been recovered from my failed hard drive and put them onto my pc (an internal ssd).  I also then copied the catalog from the external hard drive onto the internal ssd.

 

I didn't syncronise the folders but I did do a 'find missing' action which is probably where I went wrong.

 

When I then went into Lightroom and opened folders it was showing lots of missing images whereas before, even though the images weren't on the pc they were showing as a preview in Lightroom.

 

Anyway, I think I may have completely messed up and shut the barn door after the horse has bolted.

 

I was hoping that I could have retrieved some of the missing images from the previews but think it is too late now.

 

I'd like to say that I've learnt my lesson and where backing up properly is concerned - I certainly have!

 

Thank you again for your advise

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Community Expert ,
Apr 04, 2022 Apr 04, 2022

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Find Missing sounds correct as a first step. Ideally this would resolve all missing photos, but eventually in your case you may reach the point when the only remains of some pictures is the previews.

 

From what I understand, you still have the backed-up catalogue with its previews, and you can use this plugin http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/preview-extraction to export them as JPEGs from the backed-up catalogue (or your live catalogue if they are there). Then in Find Missing FIles, you can point to the JPEGs. This can prove tedious, and you might prefere to import them and get rid of the missing files from the catalogue.

 

In any case, go slowly, taking plenty of backups at each stage.

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