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Suddenly, 2556 of 4206 of my image files in Lightroom are now "missing"

New Here ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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My Lightroom library/catalogue were totally fine yesterday. 99% of my images are located on a portable hard drive and have been for a couple of years now. I have never had an issue with accessing these files in LR. I have not re-named any files or folders or moved them, so that shouldn't be an issue.

 

But, out of the blue this morning, more than half of my image files are now missing, showing "This file could not be found" for 2556 image files out of 4206 total files in my LR library. Most of my file folders are shown as missing in my C:Drive in the Folders section of LR. Meanwhile, all of those folders are actually located on my D:Drive (My Passport – external hard drive).

 

The only thing I can think of that has changed is that my computer did a Windows system update overnight last night. I have included a screenshot of what those updates were. I don’t know how or what happened, but if anyone has any insight on how to fix this, it would be greatly appreciated. I am also not tech savvy in any sense, so please keep that in mind when responding haha.

 

P.S. I am using 12.0.1 Lightroom Classic

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LEGEND ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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My web browser does not allow me to view your attachments. Is there an exclamation point icon on the photos when viewed in the Library Module grid? Is there a question mark icon on the folders in the Folder Panel? If so, here is the solution: https://www.computer-darkroom.com/lr2_find_folder/find-folder.htm

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New Here ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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Hey sorry, I accidentally posted this discussion post with the wrong Adobe account. I am the original poster of this question.

Anywho, the answer is yes to both questions. In the link you provided, that sure seems like a lot of work to "Find missing folder" for what must be 250+ folders. I was hoping there would be something I could do to address whatever the root cause is that caused these image files to now be "missing."

What I don't understand is that I did not do anything with any of these folders. I did not move/relocate any folders. I did not rename any folders. Also, that 1650 of my 4206 image files are still functioning totally fine and accesible in LR. The fact that these other 2556 image files are now "missing" seems arbitrary, I don't understand the rhyme or reason as to why those particular files are now "missing". 

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LEGEND ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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In the link you provided, that sure seems like a lot of work to "Find missing folder" for what must be 250+ folders.

 

Please read the document, especially Figure 4 and associated text, where if you fix the ? on the parent folder, all sub-folders are also fixed.

 

What I don't understand is that I did not do anything with any of these folders.

 

Obviously, you did, perhaps without realizing it. Sometimes, on Windows, this happens when you unplug an external drive and plug-in a different drive. Since I can't see your screen captures, I will not attempt to explain it further.

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New Here ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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I will read the document more thoroughly for sure. I appreciate your responses.

 

Obviously, you did, perhaps without realizing it. Sometimes, on Windows, this happens when you unplug an external drive and plug-in a different drive. Since I can't see your screen captures, I will not attempt to explain it further.

 

It's funny you mention that, because I have been working from home this past week and have been working from a separate portable hard drive that contains all of my work files. So I have switched between my work hard drive and personal hard drive a handful of times in the past few days. I never did anything unusual or moved anything on my personal portable hard drive though during that time, but maybe Windows took it upon itself to perform some trickery when switching between the two drives. idk lol, ugh

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New Here ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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It seems that the parent folders aren't displayed in the list of folders in my LR library, just all subfolders. For example, I have all of my different specific folders of shots I took last year (with subfolders named with date and brief description of its contents) nested in one primary folder titled "2021." All I can see is each subfolder listed with the question mark. I do not see the parent 2021 folder that they're all contained in. Hence my previous reply of having to Find Missing Folder for every single subfolder 😞

folder screenshot 2.jpgfolder screenshot.jpg

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LEGEND ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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It seems that the parent folders aren't displayed in the list of folders

 

So right click on one of the folders and select "Show Parent Folder"

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New Here ,
Nov 11, 2022 Nov 11, 2022

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When I clicked Show Parent Folder, the parent folder shows up as Pictures (and it doesn't have a question mark). What I thought would happen is that "2019" would show up with a question mark, and "2020", and so on, as those are the folders housing all of my subfolders on my external hard drive.

The parent folder for images on the hard drive of my laptop is "Pictures", but almost none of my images are on my laptop's hard drive. They're on an external hard drive. So I am confused. And confused at why Lightroom is even showing them on my C:Drive folders and not in the D:Drive My Passport.

Despite my exasperation with trying to get this resolved, please know that I really do appreciate you trying to help me out.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 12, 2022 Nov 12, 2022

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So I am confused. And confused at why Lightroom is even showing them on my C:Drive folders and not in the D:Drive My Passport.

 

Lightroom Classic is not a file browser like Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. It is a database, it only knows where the photos are because you tell it where they are when you import (or sometimes via other operations). So if there's a mismatch between what you see in Lightroom Classic and what you see in your operating system, you must TELL Lightroom Classic where the photos/folders are. In your case, if there are 250 folders with question marks in the Pictures folder, you could re-connect all 250 one by one. You can also try re-connecting the parent folder (which you say does not have a question mark) using the "Update Folder Location" command to point Lightroom Classic's C: drive Pictures folder to the D drive Pictures folder. Please make a backup of your catalog file before you do this, if you haven't already made a backup.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 12, 2022 Nov 12, 2022

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LATEST

As a confusing factor, with Windows there's a non obvious "gotcha" if you ever accept the suggestion of backing up your user account files and settings to OneDrive. Nothing appears to have changed for other applications, in that all the same stuff continues to appear in the user's Pictures, Documents and Desktop locations. But the real locations of these files get silently moved, to inside a OneDrive folder inside the user profile area. And the virtual shortcuts "Pictures" etc are updated to suit. 

 

This does matter though for Lightroom Classic, so far as any imported files within Pictures - which is the as installed default for where Copy imports go to. The Catalog's addressing for all such files becomes invalidated if ther actual location in the file system changes - e.g., as above.

 

Personally I find it better to use locations outside of any particular user's Pictures, Documents, Desktop - for files that LrC manages. So not a virtual library location that's user-specific, but one that's explicit and user neutral. Hence if that user account ever became unusable and a fresh one needed to be created - or you wanted to use multiple accounts - there is no access or user permissions difficulty toward these files. And they will always stay put. This will accordingly call for a data backup routine other than syncing that specific user's profile to OneDrive.

 

Personally I draw a clear functional separation between LrC managed files, and exports.

 

I do export into my user Pictures location, in a date based hierarchy completely distinct from my (imported) source files. LrC does not have these imported so doesn't itself care about their actual location. Thus my exports do go out to OneDrive, and I get all kinds of clever access to edited, selected, usable JPGs outside of LrC.

 

LrC managed files are only ever accessed via the Catalog front-end, and don't require access otherwise. So they all go in a dedicated location that can be specially backed up on its own schedule - in my case, this happens to be on a different drive volume. And I never interfere in that location by any other means: LrC has sole charge of it - does all needed operations there - that is what it is "paid" to do. 

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