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Lightroom classic catalog missing

Explorer ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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This morning when I started Lightroom Classic it came up with the message that the catalog could not be found. I shut vthe program down and restarted it hoping that it might fix it and it came up with the message using default catalog. The default catalog shows that no photos have been inported into Lightroom and all my collections are also gone.

I have around 5-6000 photos in multiple directories so I do not want to have to import them all over again, nor do I want to then have to recreate all the collections again.

Is there anyway I can find the proper catalog? Is the a copy of the original catalog kept anyway. The only catalog I can find on my computer is the default catalog.

Thanks.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

You could open LrC (with the new empty catalog) and go MENU: File > Open Recent,  If LrC recognises other catalogs they will show up in a list.

Or you could search your system for catalog files that have the file-type suffix of  .LRCAT

Or restore a Catalog from a Backup ZIP file. And if you have never made a backup of the Catalog then you will need to "import them all over again,", and a valuable lesson learned.

RESTORE A CATALOG FROM BACKUP

You must then set Catalog Settings to-

2023-06-08 11_33_17-Catalog Settings.jpg

 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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You could open LrC (with the new empty catalog) and go MENU: File > Open Recent,  If LrC recognises other catalogs they will show up in a list.

Or you could search your system for catalog files that have the file-type suffix of  .LRCAT

Or restore a Catalog from a Backup ZIP file. And if you have never made a backup of the Catalog then you will need to "import them all over again,", and a valuable lesson learned.

RESTORE A CATALOG FROM BACKUP

You must then set Catalog Settings to-

2023-06-08 11_33_17-Catalog Settings.jpg

 

Regards. My System: Lightroom-Classic 13.2 Photoshop 25.5, ACR 16.2, Lightroom 7.2, Lr-iOS 9.0.1, Bridge 14.0.2, Windows-11.

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Explorer ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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Hi Rob,

LrC does not find any other catalogs and searching does not find any files with .lrcat suffix.

The only time I have been able to backup a catalog was in 2018.All other attempts to backup a catalog have failed. Even copying the directory that contains the LrC catalog to a portable drive, have failed and the copied file is corrupted and cannot be read

 Yes a valuable lesson has been learnt. I will import the photos all over again but I will be dispensing with collections and key wording. I do not trust LrC to not lose the catalog file again and as LrC has become quite slow  I will have to consider other software where I will not have to worry about a catalog file dissappearing again.

I had the catalog settings to backup once a week so I do not know why there is no catalog backup file present.

 

Thanks for your help

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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By default Lightroom Classic stores the Lightroom Catalog in a sub-folder called "Lightroom" located on your hdd in your Users (your user name) > My Pictures > Lightroom. Within that Lightroom sub-folder you could find the Catalog file and related support previews and data files. The Lightroom Catalog ends with an extension .lrcat (LRCAT). Its worth a try looking there.

The Lightroom Catalog is a data base file that contains all the info about the image files imported to Lightroom Classic, including the info about your Collections. Info about your Collections created in Lightroom Classic is not stored elsewhere.

Its best to have a clear understanding about the Catalog file if you are going to continue using Lightroom Classic.

See the article at the link below.

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/what-is-a-lightroom-catalog/

 

 

Regards, Denis: iMac 27” mid-2015, macOS 11.7.10 Big Sur; 2TB SSD, 24 GB Ram, GPU 2 GB; LrC 12.5, Lr 6.5, PS 24.7,; ACR 15.5,; Camera OM-D E-M1

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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I have never had to restore a catalog from a backup in all the years of using Lightroom-Classic.

If your catalog backups are not 'working' you must investigate why.

Do you have the Catalog settings as in my screen-clip of my first answer?

When the 'Backup' dialog appears at a shutdown- what location have you chosen for the backup?

2023-06-08 15_52_25-Back Up Catalog.jpg

Is that set backup location available with full Read/write permissions?

Is the backup location set to an external drive that is not attached?

And does a catalog backup actually appear in that set location folder after you shut LrC down?

It is most unfortunate you cannot find a catalog that has your data.

 

Regards. My System: Lightroom-Classic 13.2 Photoshop 25.5, ACR 16.2, Lightroom 7.2, Lr-iOS 9.0.1, Bridge 14.0.2, Windows-11.

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Explorer ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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Hi rob, I had another look through my HDD and found a folder under a Light room directory called backups. I followed the steps in your link in 'Retore a Catalog From Backup' and upon starting Lightroom Classic everything was back the way it  was supposed to be, including my collections and keywording. I have also changed my Catalog setting to save every time Lightroom exits. 

I do not know what happened  to the original catalog file or why it dissapeared. 

So alls good now.  

Your help was greatly appreciated.

Rgards, john

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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Thanks for letting us know all is restored, enjoy the future use of the application.

 

Regards, Denis: iMac 27” mid-2015, macOS 11.7.10 Big Sur; 2TB SSD, 24 GB Ram, GPU 2 GB; LrC 12.5, Lr 6.5, PS 24.7,; ACR 15.5,; Camera OM-D E-M1

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Community Expert ,
Jun 08, 2023 Jun 08, 2023

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As well as "Catalog setting to save every time Lightroom exits"- you must also CHANGE the Backup destination to a folder location that is on a different physical drive to the {Lightroom} folder containing the Catalog.

If you keep the default {Backups} folder in the {Lightroom} folder, a disk drive failure will cause you to lose everything- both the working catalog an all its backups!!

 

Regards. My System: Lightroom-Classic 13.2 Photoshop 25.5, ACR 16.2, Lightroom 7.2, Lr-iOS 9.0.1, Bridge 14.0.2, Windows-11.

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Explorer ,
Jun 08, 2023 Jun 08, 2023

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Good point on changing the catalog backup destination. I do have a portable SSD so I will use that to save the backups to. I have already copied the backups to the SSD.

The catalog is supposed to be saved to Users (my username)/Pictures/Lightroom. What I have found is the catalog was set to load from Users (my username)/Pictures/Lightroom, but It seems a new Parent directory called Pictures has become created. This new parent direction contains two sub folders, 'Lightroom' and the original 'Pictures' directory. In the 'Lightroom' directory is only the new default catalog that Lightroom created.

So now the catalog has to load from Users (my Username)/Pictures/Pictures/Lightroom.

I have no idea how this new Pictures parent directory was created, but as everything is working ok now I will not worry about at this stage.

Thanks, John

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Explorer ,
Nov 19, 2023 Nov 19, 2023

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I saw Rob Cullen's answer of June 07, 2023 about recreating the catalog.  

 

I lost the catalog and need to recreate it. I can't find a backup that Lightroom can use, I tried some old ones from backups. I have about 6,700 photos in about 100 folders and 100 collections. I have the photos in the directories that I created using Lightroom. The directories and photos are intact, there appears to be no losses or corruption of them.

 

I imported one directory.  When the import finished, the directory name was not displayed in Lightroom, instead, 6 directories named by the original import date containing a total of about 100 photos was displayed in Lightroom.  I was unable to create a folder with the name I want to use.  When I renamed one of directories, Lightroom created a subdirectory using its name in the within the folder in the photo repository.

 

How do I recreate the directory and file structure in Lightroom's new catalog that Lightroom originally created in the original catalog and the photo repository?

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Community Expert ,
Nov 19, 2023 Nov 19, 2023

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@bruceo62291541  I am assuming that by "directories" you are referring to Folders on the hard-drive.

And by "folders and.... collections" you are referring to what you see in a LrC Catalog- Folders Panel & Collections Panel.

Any Importing is the wrong thing to do, and by doing so ** for those 6 folders you may have messed up the Folder structure on disk making any old catalog now show 'Missing' folders and photos.

 

How "old" are the Catalog backups that you did find? The right thing to do would have been to restore a backup catalog, but if there is no recent backup that also becomes problematic, although it might be better (than a new catalog) as it will contain some of your previous 'work'.

 

If you insist on creating a new Catalog- you lose all editing, Collections, etc, etc.

And if you must start a new Catalog you should import the photos using the [ADD] option in the import dialog which does not change any folder structure on the hard-drive but instead leaves all files exactly where they reside now and simply makes a reference to the files in the new catalog.

** By importing you most likely used the [Copy] or [Move] options in the Import dialog thus creating that new folder dated structure for the 6 folders.

"How do I recreate the directory and file structure in Lightroom's new catalog that Lightroom originally created in the original catalog"- With difficulty by manually moving and renaming the folders in the Folder Panel of the new catalog. That is IF you can remember what structure you had before you imported those 6 dated folders (changing their location and name).

 

 

 

 

Regards. My System: Lightroom-Classic 13.2 Photoshop 25.5, ACR 16.2, Lightroom 7.2, Lr-iOS 9.0.1, Bridge 14.0.2, Windows-11.

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