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Lightroom completely re-organised my hard-drive on import

Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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I'm not a big fan of LR, prefering instead to organize my photos manually on my drive and open RAW files directly into CR and PS. This works especially well since I mainly scan my only 35mm film, so the metatada from my camera does not necessarily correspond to when the original was shot.

 

I just bought a copy of Negative Lab Pro however, so I have been forced to use LR for the first time in years. For convenience sake, I imported my entire collection of negative scans (contact sheets, frames and edits) into LR. They were organised in folders on the drive corresponding to roll numbers and numbered over 300.

 

After completion, I clicked "show in enclosing folder" on one of my edits, and was taken to a  new folder containing hundreds of unorganized photos. I assumed LR had simply copied my photos to a new folder, but when I navigated to the section of the drive where my photos should be, the folders were completely empty!

 

I'm hoping this is reversible since I've been organizing my photos with this system for years. It's especially infuriating since, as I've mentioned, the metadata on my photos is completely meaningless - they're all DSLR scans made years after the negatives were exposed. Now my photos are in random folders with incorrect dates.

 

I'd have thought LR would give some kind of warning - the word "import" doesn't necessarily imply that one's hard drive will be completely rearranged...

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Community Expert ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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Is seems obvious that you did not choose the correct method to Import your files.

Had you used the [ADD] option- your photos would have remained in the original folders exactly where they were.

Rob_Cullen_0-1645845378315.png

 

It is likely you used the [MOVE] option- thus 'moving' all your files, and without checking the Destination panel, they all moved to the one new folder.

Unfortunately, it will be difficult (or impossible?) to restore the original folder structure, unless you have a Backup system that might have preserved your folder structure in the backup of the files. (Copy the folders & files from the backup to the same location as you had previously, and start again with a new catalog in Lightroom-Classic importing using [ADD] this time. )

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/import-photos-video-catalog.html

Where should you store your photos? | The Lightroom Queen

 

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 12.0.1 Photoshop 24.0.1, ACR 15.0, Lightroom 6.0, Lr-iOS 8.0.8, Bridge 13.0, Windows-11.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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I used "import", not move. "Move" means from point A to B, so I would have been more careful - "import" should just bring the files in LR for editing, which is why this is ridiculous.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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"Import" is the process, not the option on how. If you are using the normal import process, not the minimized, you can Copy as DNG, Copy, Move, or Add. As you know, never ever trust Move.

 

As you did not state that the files became DNG (unless you have one of the very few cameras that use DNG as the RAW format), then you probably did not select, or accidentally have in place, Copy as DNG. This leaves Copy, Move, or Add.

 

The option (Copy as DNG, Copy, Move, Add) defaults to whatever was selected during previous import (I suspect it is initially set to Copy, but that would have been, for me, years ago at v1.0). If you do not pay attention to what is selected, you can get surprised.

 

Copy will import to the destination selected, Move the same but will delete the source (and if something goes wrong, you are....) Add leaves the image in place while importing into the catalog (but not on flash media, SD, CF, etc)

 

In addition, for Copy or Move, the destination panel typically shows/uses the previous setting from previous import, so pay attention to it.

 

So, bring up the import screen, and look at what is selected for method, and for destination (assuming it is still wrong)

 

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New Here ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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I am having the EXACT same problem. The option across the top has Copy as DNG, Copy, Move, and ADD - it will NOT let me add. I can only choose the first three options. This has only been a problem since I updated.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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@Kim27267947htqm  So where are the files you want to Import?

Are they on a camera card, or an external drive?

LrC will not allow you to import using the [ADD] option if it thinks the files are on temporary storage such as a camera card or SD card.

 

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 12.0.1 Photoshop 24.0.1, ACR 15.0, Lightroom 6.0, Lr-iOS 8.0.8, Bridge 13.0, Windows-11.

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New Here ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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They are on a new external hard drive. I just started formatted a new external hard drive for mac use only. I was able to upload my first two galleries fine on this drive. When I have imported in the past, I have used the ADD option to keep my filing system in order. Last week somehow it got bumped to import as DNG. I fixed that, but now when I add - since the new drive and the new Adobe update - the option for ADD isn't there. I am having to copy them to an internal folder inside of the actual folder.  I don't know what the problem is. I have been using LrC for several years and have the exact same workflow for every gallery that I use. 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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+1 for what Rob just wrote. 

You can't “Add” anything that has to be copied. Which is the case with an external camera card. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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I guess what I am not understanding is why I need to copy it if it already exists on my hard drive - I edit/work from my hard drive folders via the lightroom catalog, so there is no need to copy it. In the past, it has never created a folder in a folder before like it is now. I had to have inadvertently clicked something for this to be happening. 

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New Here ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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Wait - I have already "copied" them from my sd card and have put them on my external hard drive. Once I have that done, then I import them into my lightroom catalog from my external hard drive. I don't import from an SD card into lightroom.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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What make/model is that external hard drive?

Now what I am thinking comes from a Windows OS problem where Windows treated the external and some internal SSD hard drive as removable media, this is a OS bug. I have no knowledge of a similar MACOS bug, but what if?

 

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New Here ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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It's a SP 2Tb Armor A66 USB 3.2 portable hard drive. I get the indestructible one - in case I drop it. lol. I have used this brand for several years. I am on my fourth drive - not because they don't work - rather because they work great. I generally get about 1-1.5 years of photography work on them. It is formatted for mac with no partition for windows. I only work on macs.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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@Kim27267947htqm  From your screen-clips I see the "KSP....." drive as a 2TB drive, and it is strange that LrC will only Copy files to a sub-folder of their current location. So thinking like @GoldingD "drive...treated as removable media..." caused by the OS update?

I only have three suggestions-

1) Try changing the Destination of the import (in the Destination panel) to an internal drive with the [COPY] option, (don't import yet!), then see if you can change it back to [ADD].

2) Reset the Preferences file. It often fixes strange glitchs.

PREFERENCES RESET

3) Check that the "KSP..." drive has full disk access-

https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-classic-discussions/quick-tips-how-to-give-full-disk-access...

 

 

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 12.0.1 Photoshop 24.0.1, ACR 15.0, Lightroom 6.0, Lr-iOS 8.0.8, Bridge 13.0, Windows-11.

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New Here ,
Nov 22, 2022 Nov 22, 2022

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LATEST

I really appreciate y'all offering insights and suggestions. I did check and make sure that LrC and PS both have full access and they do. I am having to change the destination folder to the original folder - if I forget to do that, it ends up in the previous folder that I used and it still won't let me just add the folder to the catalog. It's got to be a problem with the update between adobe and the most recent Ventura 13 update with Apple.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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@DanielJS97 wrote:

I used "import", not move.



As you can see from the screen shot in Rob's earlier reply, Import is not an import option. The options for import are, as shown, Copy, Copy as DNG, Move, and Add.

 

As already stated, for your situation the correct Import option is Add, which means "add in place without moving or copying or reorganizing."

 

Add was also the correct choice for me, because Add allowed me to preserve, without modification, the folder structure I had already been using for the 10 years or so of scans I had before Lightroom existed.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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Ahh, I see what you mean. That was silly... guess I know how I'm spending my weekend 😭

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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If you haven't done any editing yet, I think the simplest way to fix this is to start over with a new catalog.

Or, if the old catalog contains older work as well as the new import, you can remove all the "faulty" folders from Lightroom, and import again with the Add option.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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quote

If you haven't done any editing yet, I think the simplest way to fix this is to start over with a new catalog.

Or, if the old catalog contains older work as well as the new import, you can remove all the "faulty" folders from Lightroom, and import again with the Add option.


By @Per Berntsen

To this post only- The OP must NOT remove "faulty" folders- as these are now the only folders (ONE!) on the Drive.

The problem for the OP is that the folders & files on the Drive have been re-organised in ONE folder.

To "Import again" will not re-arrange files as they were in their original, pre-import, hierarchy of folders/sub-folders.

Only a backup of files- in their original hierarchy- will 'fix' the problem.

 

 

 

 

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 12.0.1 Photoshop 24.0.1, ACR 15.0, Lightroom 6.0, Lr-iOS 8.0.8, Bridge 13.0, Windows-11.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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I used "import", not move. "Move" means from point A to B, so I would have been more careful - "import" should just bring the files in LR for editing, which is why this is ridiculous.


By @DanielJS97

 

Except for those of us who want Lightroom Classic to create dated folders, then it is not ridiculous. That is why Adobe gives you a choice. Again, not ridiculous; in fact giving users a choice on these very important decisions is smart design.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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I'm aware of the import system now, so the question has been answered.

I never said choice was bad - I just think that, since "move" was selected by default, a warning message would have been warranted.

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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I'm aware of the import system now, so the question has been answered.

 

Again, Import is a general process of asking LR to catalog a set of photos. HOW you select the options for this general process plays a huge role in what you get. Move, Copy or Add (and/or Convert) all provide different processes and all work as designed if the user understands the differences and how and when to select what they wish.

You can "organize my photos manually on my drive" and completely maintain that structure using LR if you properly use LR!

KEY: Anything you can do in the Mac Finder (copy, move, rename, delete etc) should always be done within Lightroom Classic. It can do all this and more. When you do this inside Lightroom Classic, it 'knows' in the DAM what you did but if you do this in the Finder, it can't and doesn't. Including making new folders!

What is somewhat ridiculous is making hard and fast criticism of a product not fully understood.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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I just meant that the initial problem has been addressed and I have a better understanding of how to import photos into LR. Seems a little strange that you'd want to disagree with that.

 

I'm not criticising anything - I've been using Adobe products for a long time and have already stated that the mistake was on my end in this instance. I'm just saying a warning message would have been useful, since this is probably the first time I've opened LR on my current machine.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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quote

I'm not criticising anything -


By @DanielJS97

 

quote

I'm not a big fan of LR, prefering instead to organize my photos manually on my drive and open RAW files directly into CR and PS.

I have been forced to use LR for the first time in years.

"import" should just bring the files in LR for editing, which is why this is ridiculous.


By @DanielJS97

I am very cautious of people whose actions don't match their words.

 

Suggestion: study user created import presets; they are your friends.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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I said I'm not a fan of Lightroom since I prefer to organise my photos independently - just because you drive a Toyota doesn't mean you're criticising Ford.

 

I said "import" should just bring the files into LR because, as we've established, I didn't understand the import system.

 

Not sure why you're making this personal - forums are for helping people and I've been helped. Your expertise would be more valued elsewhere.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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I said I'm not a fan of Lightroom since I prefer to organise my photos independently.
By @DanielJS97

 

Nothing LR does prevents this!

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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