I worked in Lightroom Classic and Photoshop on my 13" M1 Macbook Pro (maxed out version) most of Friday. I uploaded some of the work to Smugmug.
When I sat down on Saturday and clicked on the Lightroom app (it was closed), it said my catalog file was missing and told me to open a different library.
I went into my Finder and found that, indeed, the .lrcat file was GONE. All of the other affiliated files seem to still be there, but the .lrcat file vanished. It also was not in the Trash.
So I went to Apple's Time Machine app to try to restore it. It was also missing in Time Machine from the entirety of Friday (multiple backups recorded during this time). I cannot fathom how I could have been *working in Lightroom* and yet there was no evidence of the .lrcat file existing during that entire day.
So then I found a copy of the .lrcat file from the library in question from Thursday in Time Machine. I copied it over, but upon trying to open it, Lightroom Classic says it is corrupt and cannot be repaired.
I can't imagine what in God's name could cause something like this to happen, and I don't know what to do now except try older Time Machine backups (which means losing days and days of painstaking work).
I have no 'drive cleanup' type software or any other maintenance software that would delete the file, and I sure as hell know better than to delete my LRC catalog file, nor do I ever even go into the folder where they reside. Whatever happened here, was caused by Adobe software. My (new) computer is dedicated to running only Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, Mac Mail, and very minimal web browsing when travelling (I have a separate computer I use for all other purposes at home).
If anyone knows what is going on or can help I would be very appreciative.
I've tried another backup of the same .lrcat file from Time Machine, and it still says that it needs to be repaired, and upon trying to do so, it also says that one cannot be repaired and suggests creating a new one. This is devestating.
Mysterious disappearance of the catalog file is so rare that it suggests a hardware failure or momentary computer 'glitch'. The suggestion that your previous backup is corrupt casts more doubt on the computer.
Lightroom Classic has it's own system of making backup catalog files. Are you using it? Or, are you depending only on Time Machine?
If it were me, I would do my best to find the most recent catalog file that works, whether from the Lightroom backup system or Time Machine. It will be painful to recreate your work, but there is little other choice. I would also make sure I was keeping a more agressive backup system until I regained confidence in my computer hardware.
Another thing to consider is to turn on the option of keeping automatic "sidecar" files with each image. That will save work if you have to re-import images with recent work done on them.
Read thru the following link, read it all the way to the bottom. Considerations as to the preview folder being overloaded (bit of a mystery what/where). Would also question if your .lrcat file is hidden, or perhaps the .lrcat file extension is hidden.
I can see the .lrcat file for a second library I have that I was transitioning from back in May, so the .lrcat file should be visible. It is also visible in Time Machine, but so far I have not encountered one that isn't corrupted.
I am now running BitDefender on my entire drive system connected to that machine. So far it has scanned 3.9MM files and "detected" 23 issues with 17 "Resolved" running a full scan. The "Quick Scan" (which presumably focuses on system files and the boot drive) detected nothing.
Once that completes I may try some other programs like DiskWarrior to check my hardware.
Unfortunately it seems my Lightroom Catalog backups stopped on 5/22/21 for this library for some unknown reason. When I open the other library I have, it asks me to back up the catalog on exiting, so I don't know why it hasn't been making backups on the 'Main Library' which is at issue.
Sadly, that only leaves me with the Time Machine backups. I cannot fathom why any of this would have happened. The M1 MBP was purchased new in May this year for the specific reason that Adobe's software was running so incredibly poorly(full of bugs) on my MP 5,1 (running extremely fast PCIE nvme drives, etc etc - should have been plenty powerful and indeed the LRC and PS read/write speeds were faster on that machine). And now THIS. Unbelievable.