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Problem moving folders and images within LR folders from Mac to external drive

Community Beginner ,
Nov 04, 2023 Nov 04, 2023

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Hi - just come across an issue and would love to sort this! Sorry it's so complicated to explain, but it's doing my head in ....

 

I was moving folders within Lightroom from Mac to external drive as I regularly do.  Initially, drag and drop was not working within the 'Folders' space.  Not sure what cased that issue, but I thought I would try and use 'Update Folder Location' to achieve the same result. Big mistake. In doing so, I have transfered all the images from a dated subfolder into a parent folder called '2023' without the subolder . LR tells me the files are saved in '2023' on the external drive, and I can happily edit these images as normal in LR, so I know these images are definitely inside my catalogue.  But, when I create a new named subfolder in that 2023 external drive folder, and try to move the images into that new subfolder, I get a message saying:

All the files you selected are missing. No files can be moved.

Even more puzzling - when I examine Mac Finder, I see all the 'missing' images still on my Mac inside Pictures/2023, where they previously resided safely in their original subolders. But when I look inside LR, they are not visible in the Pictures/2023 folder, nor are the subfolders.

So - where are my images, and how can I put them into my archive in a subfolder inside parent folder 2023?

Thanks so much for any help.

See screenshots:

Screenshot 2023-11-04 at 20.59.53.pngScreenshot 2023-11-04 at 20.58.38.png

 

 

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Community Expert , Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

I already told you how you would normally rectify the situation. You use 'Update Folder Location' again and then choose the correct folder. Your screenshot show very few images in Lightroom at all however, so I think something else has gone wrong too. Is there another disk in the folder panel, not shown in your screenshot, that shows these images?

 

Do you have a catalog backup from before you did this? 

 

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Community Expert , Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

You can only use smart previews if they are assigned to files. These files should still show in Lightroom, even if they are missing. The problem I see in your screenshot is that (as far as the screenshot tells me) there are only 278 images in Lightroom, located on your internal hard disk. The screenshot shows zero images in most year folders. That is why I asked if Lightroom shows you more images on another disk.

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 04, 2023 Nov 04, 2023

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'Update folder location' is not at all the same as moving folders! It is a way to tell Lightroom that it should start to use a different existing folder. You can undo this mistake by doing it again. Use 'Update folder location' once again, and this time select the original folder. That shoud rectify the situation.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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Thanks Johan.  That makes sense.  But because I was thinking i was moving the subfolder, those images are now part of the much larger 2023 parent folder. Mac Finder shows me they exist there.  Lightroom tells me they are in the catalogue.  I can see them and I can select them within LR, but it then tells me they are missing. Can you see a way to select the images and rectify the situation?

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Community Expert ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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I already told you how you would normally rectify the situation. You use 'Update Folder Location' again and then choose the correct folder. Your screenshot show very few images in Lightroom at all however, so I think something else has gone wrong too. Is there another disk in the folder panel, not shown in your screenshot, that shows these images?

 

Do you have a catalog backup from before you did this? 

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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Actually, Johan, I now realise something else.  I have been creating Smart Previews for all files.  So the reason I see the files and can edit in LR is because they have Smart Previws, and in fact the original files are not now properly visible in my LR catalogue directly. But there is no 'Missing image' message, nor are they in the Missing Photographs folder.  This is feeling like a Catch 22 situation ... I can see the files in my Mac Finder.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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You can only use smart previews if they are assigned to files. These files should still show in Lightroom, even if they are missing. The problem I see in your screenshot is that (as far as the screenshot tells me) there are only 278 images in Lightroom, located on your internal hard disk. The screenshot shows zero images in most year folders. That is why I asked if Lightroom shows you more images on another disk.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 06, 2023 Nov 06, 2023

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Thanks @JohanElzenga I will share screenshots with details later when back at home.  I very much appreciate your help.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 06, 2023 Nov 06, 2023

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Hello again @JohanElzenga 

I'd like to thank you for ehlping me solve this.  I now understand what happened and I have learnt a lot.  I was able to locate the images and then move them to the correct location.  IN future I will be taking a lot of care over this process, but I definitely understand it better now!

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Community Expert ,
Nov 06, 2023 Nov 06, 2023

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Good to hear you got it resolved!

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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