The file is associated with another photo in the catalog

New Here ,
May 30, 2019 May 30, 2019

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Hi everyone - need a helping hand here.

While processing a bunch of digitized negatives (with a D850 so am working with NEF files) using Negative Lab Pro in LR, I discovered a few that weren't behaving well when converting to positives so I went back and re-imported a few images from the camera.  I put them into a separate folder in LR and just finished up the first.  The conversion worked well, so I exported to the separate folder. 

Wanting to get those corrected files moved into my original file structure, I renamed (using Windows Explorer) the "bad" NEF in the file structure, then, inside LR, moved the "good" image in LR from the separate folder to my original folder.  Checking (again, in Windows Explorer) that the "good" NEF file was there (it is), I clicked on the Folder in LR and noticed that I have the ! in the upper right of the image.  Having learned the hard way, clicked on the ! and got the usual "....could not be used because the original file could not be found.  Would you like to locate it?" message.  Clicking Locate and navigating to the original folder, highlighting the flle and clicking Select results in a "The file XXX is associated with another photo in the catalog" message.

I've spent way too much time trying to find a resolution so am putting this SOS out.

Thanks in advance for all responses.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

LEGEND , May 31, 2019 May 31, 2019

You have two copies of this photo in your catalog. That's why when you try to reconnect one of the two cpies, you get the message that it is already associated with another photo in your catalog. So, you have to find both copies (in Lightroom, you can click on "All Photographs" and then search by file name), and then delete from the catalog (but not from the hard disk) the one you no longer want. Then you should be able to reconnect.

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LEGEND ,
May 31, 2019 May 31, 2019

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It’s not a good idea to rename or move files outside of Lightroom. That will break the catalog links. Is there any way you can restore the original names in Windows Explorer? That could save a lot of time searching for missing photos.

I’m not sure about the association. Do you have any virtual copies? Have you re-imported or used synchronize folders?

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Community Expert ,
May 31, 2019 May 31, 2019

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Lightroom uses more than the file name to recognize an image, that is why it noticed what you did. It knows that the ‘good’ files are already in the catalog. The solution should be simple in this case. First remove the new (good) files from the catalog. Then you should be able to reconnect the old files without getting this error.

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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LEGEND ,
May 31, 2019 May 31, 2019

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You have two copies of this photo in your catalog. That's why when you try to reconnect one of the two cpies, you get the message that it is already associated with another photo in your catalog. So, you have to find both copies (in Lightroom, you can click on "All Photographs" and then search by file name), and then delete from the catalog (but not from the hard disk) the one you no longer want. Then you should be able to reconnect.

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New Here ,
Jun 04, 2019 Jun 04, 2019

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OK, thank you - I managed to delete the offending file and was able to export the image but now have another issue that is highly frustrating.  I have exported a dozen images and when I open LR and select the folder, I see two images in LR - the NEF and the JPEG.  However, with these re-imported files, I don't see the JPEGs in LR.   I can see them in Windows Explorer but not in LR.

I also have searched for videos on how to move files in LR but everyone I see deals with moving files (in LR) from one drive to another.  All I want to do is move from one folder to another.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 05, 2019 Jun 05, 2019

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If you have raw+jpeg pairs and want to see the jpegs next to the raw files, then you have to check that option in the preferences.

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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New Here ,
Jun 06, 2019 Jun 06, 2019

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Thanks for the response.  When I finished up my first image in LR, I Exported it and chose the JPEG option in File Settings and adjusted the Image Sizing to create an approximately 6Mb JPEG so I can share the photo wiith others.

I'm shooting pure RAW so the only JPEGs I am referring to are those created in LR.

When open LR and navigate to the folder that contains the RAW files that I previously manipulated in LR, I see the JPEG image next to it in the Grid View.  However, after all the issues I had regarding my "re-dos" as described earlier in this string, I no longer am able to see the JPEG image in LR after the Export of another image.  The original batch of LR-generated JPEGs are there, I just don't get to see the newly created ones.  I've made no changes in preferences so I am lost.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 06, 2019 Jun 06, 2019

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To see the exported JPGs in the Lightroom catalog you have some options-

1) When exporting- in the Export dialog- tick the box for [Add to this Catalog] in the 'Export Location' panel.

2) 'Add' the JPGs to the catalog by Importing the folder of JPG photos.

3) If the folder already exists in the Lr folder panel- Right-Click the folder and 'Synchronize Folder...'

Note, if you export photos to the same folder more than once- it is possible to 'Over-write' the first Export and be only left with one version of the Export- but you would normally get a warning message when doing this.

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 11.5 Photoshop 23.5.1, ACR 14.5, Lightroom 5.5, Lr-iOS 7.0.2, Bridge 12.0.3, Windows-10.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2019 Jun 07, 2019

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kevinh3063037  wrote

Thanks for the response.  When I finished up my first image in LR, I Exported it and chose the JPEG option in File Settings and adjusted the Image Sizing to create an approximately 6Mb JPEG so I can share the photo wiith others.

I'm shooting pure RAW so the only JPEGs I am referring to are those created in LR.

When open LR and navigate to the folder that contains the RAW files that I previously manipulated in LR, I see the JPEG image next to it in the Grid View.  However, after all the issues I had regarding my "re-dos" as described earlier in this string, I no longer am able to see the JPEG image in LR after the Export of another image.  The original batch of LR-generated JPEGs are there, I just don't get to see the newly created ones.  I've made no changes in preferences so I am lost.

Check the preference setting anyway. If that option isn't checked, check it. Then use 'Synchronize Folder' like Wobert said.

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Advocate ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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I have a Collection with 250 photos and this error ("file is associated with another in the catalog") comes up for every one.  Does this mean I will have to go through the steps you outlined for each and every photo individually in All Photographs for the photos in this collection?   Surely there must be an easier (more automated) way?  Thanks.    

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LEGEND ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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Does this mean I will have to go through the steps you outlined for each and every photo individually in All Photographs

 

If you do the research to find these photos, most likely (but no guarantee) there is just one folder that contains the photos you want to delete, so you could just delete that one folder. But definitely do the research first.

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Advocate ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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Thank you.  In All Photographs, each image shows up twice.  When I right lick on one and select Show in File Explorer, it takes me to the file's location on my external hard drive.  When I do the same for the other, it says the file can't be found and do I want to locate it.  I keep my files on external hard drives and occasionally have to update them.  I suspect these "dupes" are for when I had the same file on another (now obselete) drive.  So I don't know how I would *delete* that folder since it doesn't exist anymore.  Is there a soltuion?  Thanks so much.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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The folder you delete is in Lightroom Classic, not in File Explorer. You do not delete anything using File Explorer. This is so important, I am going to say it three more times, in bold.

 

You do not delete anything using File Explorer.

You do not delete anything using File Explorer.

You do not delete anything using File Explorer.

 

 

If you find each image twice, you right click and select Go to Folder in Library. The folder the photo is in will be highlighted in the Folder panel on the left. (You may have to scroll up or down to see which folder is highlighted) Assuming that all the photos in that folder need to be deleted, you can delete that folder from the Folder Panel on the left.

 

If you find each image twice, you have to select which one to delete. Usually, one will have edits and user-provided metadata while the other one will not. Generally, you will want to delete the photo without the edits. (This most likely will be the one that Lightroom Classic thinks is not missing).

 

Once you do this in Lightroom Classic, then you can reconnect.

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Advocate ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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In the 1st screenshot, the version with the "?" is assocated with a folder that also has a "?".  In the 2nd, it's showing in the folder on my external hard dives whee the images are currently stored.  I deleted the folder with the "?", but then all the photos (both versions) disappeared from the Collection.  When I went to the folder in LR on the hard drive, the files were all grayed out (having been previously imported).  So it looks like I will have to manually select them from All Photographs and add them to the Collection again.  I got the impression that I wouldn't have to do this - that the *good* verion of each photo would stay in the Collection, but I guess not.  Not the end of the world - at least I can work with them now.  Thank you.

 

bartonlew_0-1654958451027.png

 

bartonlew_1-1654958490196.png

 

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LEGEND ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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Most likely, you did not want to delete the folder with the ?

 

If you have a recent backup of your catalog file (if not, why not?) then you can use that and this time delete the other folder which shows the same photos, but does not have the ? or the missing photo indicator.

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Advocate ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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I'm obviously missing something.  The folder with the "?" is associated with a drive I'm no longe using.  The one without the "?" is associated with the drive that now has the photos on it and that I am using.  Why would I want to not delete the one with "?" and instead be using it?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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The folder with the ? (on a drive that no longer exists) can be pointed to a drive/folder where the photos actually exist. But that folder with the ? probably has your edits and user-supplied metadata (like collection membership). But you need to confirm — by looking at the photos in that folder in Lightroom Classic — that your edits and user-supplied metadata are there.

 

If that is the case, get rid of the folder (in Lightroom Classic only) that doesn't have the ?, then link the folder that does have the ? to the folder/drive that does exist and has the photos. See Figure 3 here: https://www.computer-darkroom.com/lr2_find_folder/find-folder.htm and right click on the folder with the ? and select Find Missing Folder.

 

Plus, @bartonlew your homework assignment is to read that entire link after this problem is fixed, and also https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/lightroom-catalog-basics.html. While there will not be a test, there should also not be excuses for you not reading these links, as you will be doing this for your own benefit.

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Advocate ,
Jun 11, 2022 Jun 11, 2022

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Thanks.  I started reading that first link you provided.  It doesn't explain what happens if you get the message shown below when you've navigated to a folder that you want to associate with a folder that's gone missing.  I assume it's safe to say "yes" and combine the folders?

 

bartonlew_0-1654976494359.png

 

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Advocate ,
Jun 12, 2022 Jun 12, 2022

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Thanks for taking the time to explain these somewhat complicated concepts and for the links.  They are very helpful as are your thoughtful replies.  Hopefully, I am on my way to not duplicating similar problems in the future.  

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New Here ,
Jun 01, 2021 Jun 01, 2021

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I have a slightly different issue: my Explorer view of a folder AND my LR view shows my images properly (no duplications), but my smart collection of the same folder shows a duplicate of EVERY file with the ! mark, which LR says  "... could not be used because the original file could not be found". When I try to use LR's Locate button, LR says it is associated with another file. I tried to correct the problem by deleting the smart collection and re-creating it, but I still get the images with the ! mark. All 62 images have these "duplicates".

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LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2021 Jun 01, 2021

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You have (accidentally?) imported the photo twice. Do a search in Lightroom Classic, by file name, and you will see that the photo appears twice in your Lightroom Classic.

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New Here ,
Jun 01, 2021 Jun 01, 2021

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Yes, it DOES appear twice, BUT my regular LR folders only show ONE copy of each image in that folder. It is ONLY the Smart Collection that has dupllicates.  The other Smart Collections in the Set are OK as are all my other Smart Collection sets. I have never re-imported the files (besides, LR would warn me that the files being imported are duplicates, which I know would cause me to lose my captions, etc). These "duplicates" HAVE all my metadata changes. I notice from the metadata didplay, that ONE image comes form a folder called "Galapagos", while the other comes form "2013-06-07-Guayaquil". The ACTUAL folder named "Galapagos" has NO images at all, but is a superset of all folders from that trip.

 

WHOA!! While gathering this info for you, I clicked on the Collection SET label (Galapagos) and it showed all images from all the subfolders WITH the duplicates, but when I went back to the subfolder that "says" there are duplicates, THEY DISAPPEARED! Only the true images are present!! So I am REALLY Mystified as to WHY this happened and HOW it fixed itself!! I closed LRC, backed up the catalog, reloaded LRC and all  is well!!!

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LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2021 Jun 01, 2021

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Let's ignore folders, collections and smart collections for now. What happens if you click on All Photographs? If you search in All Photographs, with all filters turned off, do you find two photos with the same file name?

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New Here ,
Jun 01, 2021 Jun 01, 2021

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Yes. And both have the same metadata changes I made.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2021 Jun 01, 2021

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Now that you have found 2 versions of what appears to be the same file in the "All Photographs" view, what folder does Lightroom Classic think each of these photos is in?

 

Do you have a preference on which one to keep?

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