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Lightroom corrupting external hard drive

New Here ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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I've now had two G Tech external drives rendered unmountable and data lost in the last couple of weeks ... I put the first one down to an error with the drive, but now I'm wondering if the issue is with LR or Windows.

 

Context: LR Classic 10.2, Windows 10, LR catalogue files on the computer, master dng image files on an external drive.

 

Importing the images from a shoot, all fine, then start editing, again all fine. At some point (possibly after a pause, so the external drive has gone to sleep) I attempt to work on a particular shot, and LR says it can't load the image (the symbol on the thumbnail that indicates the file is missing doesn't appear). Attempts to edit other images have the same result. I can navigate the file structure of the external drive in explorer but not view any files. I then close LR. PC doesn't want me to unplug the external drive. Restart PC and now drive refuses to mount - says it needs reformatting before it can be used. Panic ensues etc etc

 

I've used this set up for years without issue, but can't cope with it happening a third time. Has this happened to anyone else?? Help!!

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Crash or freeze, Problem or error, Windows

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LEGEND ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Software cannot corrupt a hard drive. Hardware malfunctions can corrupt a hard drive. This is not a Lightroom Classic statement, it is how computers operate, and thus applies to ALL software.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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@jonspencer wrote:

I've now had two G Tech external drives rendered unmountable and data lost in the last couple of weeks ... I put the first one down to an error with the drive, but now I'm wondering if the issue is with LR or Windows.

 


Can't comment on Windows, but it's very unlikely it is Lightroom doing this. 

I was a big fan of G Tech in the past but no longer; I've had some issues on the Mac and wonder if that points to their lack of QC. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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I would suspect this is some other hardware issue ratheer than a problem with Lightroom. I have had two external hard drives connected to my computer for years and have never encountered an issue with either one of them. I'm using Windows 10 and LrC 10.2.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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I have also been editing for years with images on external volumes, with no problems even now. But I have also seen images corrupted by hardware; as the others are guessing it was a hardware problem, specifically a card reader. Switching card readers let the images transfer with no errors.

 

So in this case I would try trial and error with the components in the data chain, starting with switching cables if you haven’t done that already. If  the interface at the PC is a removable card (e.g. USB 3 card), test with a different port not on that card, if available.

 

Another thing to look at is power. Hardware problems and data corruption are less likely if the equipment is plugged into something that protects it from damaging voltage fluctuations and other power problems, like a good UPS with voltage regulation.

 

Lightroom Classic probably reads/writes to storage by calling standard OS commands for data transfer, like any other program. The transfer is then handled by the storage device driver software. That’s why it’s not common for an application to corrupt data on its own. When this type of application has a legitimate data corruption bug with external storage, it would probably be noticed by a large number of users and reported widely, but that hasn’t happened.

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New Here ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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Did you resolve this? I've worked as a photographer for 12 years and never had a hard drive corrupt, but have had SIX corrupted over the past year. It always seems to be when photoshop or Lightroom are open. I've tried troubleshooting (wiped computer, replaced computer, tried different hard drives, different cables) and have not been able to fix this. 

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LEGEND ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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Check all of your hardware ... hard disk(s), memory chips, card reader or USB cable, SD or other camera card.

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New Here ,
Sep 01, 2021 Sep 01, 2021

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I have, I'm really at a loss. It's a new computer (two days old), new hard drive, new cable, it's an external hard drive and the whole drive was corrupted, so an SD card wouldn't make a difference. 

 

I have noticed that all of the photo files are gone. The jpegs, and the cr2 files. The last two times my hard drive was corrupted, I was using photoshop and lightroom, the program began running slow until it froze. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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@jennah14778402 wrote:

Did you resolve this? I've worked as a photographer for 12 years and never had a hard drive corrupt, but have had SIX corrupted over the past year. It always seems to be when photoshop or Lightroom are open. I've tried troubleshooting (wiped computer, replaced computer, tried different hard drives, different cables) and have not been able to fix this. 


 

As mentioned above it is probably not caused directly by Photoshop or Lightroom, although it may be more likely to appear when using those applications simply because they may exercise the drives more than other software and so they might expose any problems sooner. The way Photoshop, Lightroom, and all standard Mac/Windows software work is that they go through standard operating system routines to interact with devices, they don’t interact directly with hardware.

 

One angle not mentioned but which I listed earlier is: What kind of power are these six failing hard drives plugged into? Directly into the wall? Into a power strip? Into a surge protector? Into a line filter or UPS? I am just wondering if inconsistent power might be contributing to the problem. For example, if the voltage of the electrical supply varies by too much too often, which is more common than many realize, that can degrade electronics and cause premature failure. All of my most critical devices are plugged into a UPS that not only provides battery backup in case of a power outage, but also provides clean power (voltage regulation, line noise filtering, etc.). Any crazy power fluctuations caused by appliance motors on the same circuit, neighborhood power line issues, etc. are smoothed out and the devices get clean, steady power.

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Engaged ,
Sep 02, 2021 Sep 02, 2021

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To add to the previous comment : are the EDs connected to a USB hub? If so, is the USB hub powered?

If the USB hub is not powered, you might have power outage on the disk that could result to data corruption.

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New Here ,
Sep 07, 2021 Sep 07, 2021

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I still haven't pinpointed the cause in my case.  I appreciate the info from others on the way the software works and why the issue is likely to be hardware related.  I belive this has always happened while editing the images not while transfering them from compact flash card to external hard drive.  This means the only drive being accessed (aside from the main laptop drive runnung the software & catalogue) is the external hardrive with it's own power, so I presume it's irelenat which connection I use for my usb CF reader earlier on in the process. 

 

Unless a dodgy card reader / cable / usb hub can somehow cause an error during tranfer which lays dormant until the file is access later on??  

 

I don't have a UPS - my PC and drive are both plugged into wall sockets, though the electrical installation is brand new. So I guess this is a likely cause, from what poeple have said. Perhaps for you too?  Maybe the new drives we're both having issues with are somehow more sensative than earlier models (or the supply have become less stable).

 

What's frustrating is that I've never had any issue like this before, doing this stuff for nearly 20 years.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 07, 2021 Sep 07, 2021

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@jonspencer wrote:

I don't have a UPS - my PC and drive are both plugged into wall sockets, though the electrical installation is brand new.


 

The age of the electrical system can be a factor, but even with new wiring, there can be problems with something plugged into the same system. A motor drawing a lot of current at startup, like in a refrigerator, dishwasher, or air conditioner, can pull down the voltage too far momentarily which is not good for electronics. Some low quality motors or transformers may introduce line noise or other problems. A few years ago I had one old flourescent desk lamp that, if I flipped its switch, would cause my old Mac Pro to start up, which was kind of alarming…what was that lamp doing to the circuit? I got rid of that lamp.

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