All I wanted to do was sync my edited photos to the cloud, so I could open them on my desktop. (I initially edited my photos on a laptop)
I edited them in lightroom Classic, and there was a cloud icon in the top right so I thought I synced using that. However over on my desktop I couldnt find the files I thought I'd synced.
I went back and right clicked on the folder and cilcked sync folder, and it deleted all my edits and replaced them with the RAWs. I really wish this didn't happen to users without warning.
I admit I don't understand about catalogs, folders, collections etc its all needlessly convoluted to me who only needs to edit pictures in folders, could someone explain because the website goes wayy off on a tangenty about syncing with lightroom CC and all that which I don't even use.
"Synchronize Folder" has nothing to do with syncing to the cloud. What it does it compare the actual contents of the folder with what Lightroom Classic has in the catalog for that folder. If you click OK it will then import those files that are in this folder but not yet in the catalog and remove those files from the catalog that are no longer in the folder.
First understand that to 'Sync' photos from Lightroom-Classic 'up to' mobile versions of Lightroomn (including Lightroom-Desktop)- You need to add photos to Collections in the LrC Catalog, and specifically mark the Collections to 'Sync'.
To restore your edits to your photos (that were wiped by the Folder Synchronization) you would need to restore from a Backup copy of the Catalog. It is possible to do a selective restore, by "exporting as a catalog" from the backup only the photos with the lost edits, then merge this selective restore with your working catalog.