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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Adobe Community Professional ,
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 11.3, Photoshop 23.3, ACR 14.3, Lightroom 5.3, Lr-iOS 7.0.2, Bridge 12.0.1, Windows-10.

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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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Adobe Community Professional ,
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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Adobe Community Professional ,
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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Adobe Community Professional ,
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 11.3, Photoshop 23.3, ACR 14.3, Lightroom 5.3, Lr-iOS 7.0.2, Bridge 12.0.1, Windows-10.

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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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Adobe Community Professional ,
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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Adobe Community Professional ,
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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Adobe Community Professional ,
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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Community Beginner ,
Feb 26, 2022 Feb 26, 2022

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Okay - thanks for clarifying. Have a great day.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 08, 2022 Mar 08, 2022

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So I just did this brilliant move, as well. I use Adobe apps (on a Mac OS Monterey) for fun and I am by no means a power user; so please: be nice.

Is there ANY way to undo this MOVE import? EVERY image on my hard drive has now been relocated to a Pictures folder. None of my app icons render, none of my graphic files are where they should be.... I'm pretty sure I haven't encountered all of the FUBARness this has caused. It's just a mess. (And yes, I know; it's of my own making!)

Short of Time Machining to a four-day old back-up (yes, it took me that long to figure out what I'd done), is there any way to walk this back?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 08, 2022 Mar 08, 2022

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LATEST

So @lcsklife posted this problem in a new thread. All answers for @lcsklife should go in the new thread.

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