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Repeated catalog corruption rendering hard drive unreadable

New Here ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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Help! I have been successfully running my lightroom catalog and images on external hard drives (a new drive/catalog for each year) for many years with no issues. In the past 2 weeks my I have received a LR catalog corrupt and needs to be fixed error. I attempt to fix and am told it is unreadable. In the finder my external SSD still has the correct name but it appears empty. I tried running disk first aid but that fails telling me the drive is unreadable. I then tried moving the drive to other machines to open and all computers now say the drive is unreadable.

The first time this happened I thought it was a bad drive and replaced it. Now it has happened twice on the new drive. I have backups of the catalog and images but now I'm afraid to do any work or attach any of my old drives for fear of corrupting those as well. I have a lot of editing to do and am getting desperate.

Computer: iMac 27" 2017 running Monterey 12.2.1
Lightroom Classic 12.1
external drive is SanDisk Extreme 4TB portable SSD

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LEGEND ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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Lightroom Classic (or any software program) cannot make a drive unreadable. Drives become unreadable because of hardware malfunctions. It could be the drive, it could be the USB port or USB cable that it is connected to (and although you don't mention this, it could be that if you are using a cloud-storage folder, like DropBox or OneDrive, this can cause catalogs to be corrupted).

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New Here ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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I do automated cloud backups using Backblaze.  They run constantly.  Could this be the problem?  I honestly suspect it is a port issue but it seems to be happening intermittently with all of the ports.

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New Here ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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I should say that I have been running these automated backups of the computer and external drives since 2019 with no prior issues but I have recently updated the OS and Lightroom version.  The backed up catalog I retrieved from Backblaze was in good order and usable.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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quote

I do automated cloud backups using Backblaze.  They run constantly.  Could this be the problem?  I honestly suspect it is a port issue but it seems to be happening intermittently with all of the ports.


By @jenifermac

Doubt it. I, too use Blackblaze and zero issues. The problem is your hardware. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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New Here ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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Thank you so much for your response. Yes, I

suspect that the ports are the issue. It seems to be all of them, not just one, so maybe a communication issue in an aging computer. The first two times this happened the catalog was open. This final time the catalog was closed but Backblaze was communicating with the catalog during a port "short" or "failure".  Glad to know you don't think it is a Backblaze issue.  I have used them for many years now and the service has been excellent.
Fortunately, I have backups of the catalog and the images. I'm just terrified to plug any drives into the computer at this point fearing corruption of another drive.
I think a new computer is my solution. I hope that eliminates any future occurrences.

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