Hey @Hmmokthen. I'll help you figure this out. I'll need more info to help you figure this out. Please share the system info of Lightroom Classic from Help > System info > Copy & paste into a text document > Upload and share with us here.
Where do you keep your Lightroom Catalog? On the internal or external drive?
If you're using ADD to import images, Lightroom creates a link to the files on the external drive.
Try these steps:
- Before unplugging & plugging the drive from the, ensure you've assigned a specific drive letter to the external drive so that Lightroom does not forget the location of an image if Windows rename the external drive. Check this for help from MS: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/storage/disk-management/change-a-drive-letter
- Try changing the connection cables & ports. If the drive is plugged in through a USB hub, use the computer's port directly as a test.
- Try a different external drive as a test.
Let me know how it goes.
For the second question, the discussion could be broad. So I'd recommend posting another question about that.