Windows 10, normal PC.
I found a couple other discussions of similar problems, but nothing that was a solution – it was either “oh, well that SHOULD work to drag and drop”, OR “it didn’t work for the last week, but today it started working”…
I’ve got a situation where I’m attempting to help another person remotely through Zoom.
She’s using Lightroom V11 Classic. It works FINE.
Her system has EVERYTHING on one disk. So, everything we’re doing in Lightroom has ALL the images on the same disk.
We’re trying to clean up some junk and move folders.
ALL these are IN the catalog. Structure looks like
Each of those has a bunch of folders inside as yyyy-mm-dd.
There are ALSO a bunch of other folders. In the catalog, but NOT in the new structure.
Inside pianos might be a folder named 2020-03-07
Inside this one may just be a bunch of images with several different dates.
I’m having TWO problems.
I take the pianos folder that’s outside the images structure but IN the catalog and drag it up and drop it on images. I get an error – I don’t recall it exactly but it’s effectively “Lightroom cannot move the folder. Unknown error”
If I try to take the folder INSIDE pianos (2020-03-07) and try to move it to 2020, if there’s NO 2020-03-07 folder I’ll get the same error. If there IS a folder I’ll get a popup that “The folder already exists”. All I can do it hit "OK". And it STILL won’t let me drop it there and merge the existing folder and the new one.
This has been a MASSIVE PITA ‘cause we’re having to do everything outside Lightroom. As in, right-click the folder, show in explorer, move the folder from where it is to where we want it, go back into Lightroom where the folder now says the images are missing, do a Find missing images, get dumped back outside Lightroom, find where the folder has been physical moved, and select that.
I tried the same thing on MY local catalog, and DON’T have that problem. I can move things around at will. The user is an administrator and OWNS the folders and images as far as I can tell, so WHY can’t we move folders as needed?
Try right-clicking an image in that particular folder and select Show in Finder. Establish the existing location, then move it to the desired directory and then update the location in LrC. Typically moving within LrC is advised – this is a test to confirm the folder's existing location. Updating the location is a simple task achieved by right-clicking in the folder panel as you may already know.
We've been moving things outside Lightroom because we CAN'T move much of anything inside it. BUT, this problem has now faded into obscurity as the true enormity of the situation has come to light...
I’m can't possibly adequately describe what I'm seeing.
What I THOUGHT was some reorganizing of folders and a little cleanup is actually more "interesting"...
I was originally contacted because a friend had some “disorganization” in their images.
I went onto Zoom to take a look and found images in multiple places on two different hard drives. Some in folders by date with date trees like
09-27-2017 (yes, 2017)
2009-A4-13 (no, the A is not a misspelling)
<something from 2018>
And on and on for at LEAST three and sometimes MORE levels…
There were thousands of images replicated in different folders, some with 3, 4, or even 5 copies, some in different year folders, some in folders with names.
So, a folder called “piano pics” might have a bunch of piano pictures. AND
<5 or 6 more folders through 12? 2018>
2020 (not the SAME 2020 as the 3 above, this 2020 is in a NAMED folder).
<one, or NO folders for 2020, each containing from 0 to hundreds of images>
Any of the images in ANY folder MAY or MAY NOT be unique… Half could be duplicates, some could be completely missing, and some may be new.
SOME folders in various places have folders in them with a bunch of images that aren’t there. In Lightroom, you can SEE the folder, and there may be 300 images. When you go looking for the folder, it’s empty. No images. Lightroom THINKS there are images, but in reality there aren't.
OR Lightroom may be correct, and there ARE 29 images in a folder, all missing, but the folder and the images are NOT where Lightroom THINKS they are. You have to FIND it and point Lightroom at it. Except is MAY be buried in a named folder like “Death Valley” and it’s 3 layers down under a different year.
This is repeated dozens of times, mostly in the “Pictures” folder with a combination of folders with dates as the name and other folders with english names. NONE of the named folders appear in Lightroom.
I haven’t even LOOKED at the dozens of folders on the other hard drive.
When I asked how they’d been organizing they said “It was pretty good, until one day it was suddenly all like this. And it was SO BAD I stopped using Lightroom and have been using Bridge ever since.” That was a few YEARS ago…
There are combinations of RAW, .psd and jpg files in named folders in other folders with date-named folders inside containing anywhere from zero to hundreds or even thousands of images.
And TONIGHT was the best… Found a folder dated 2011 in A (one of MANY) 2020 folder. Inside it were several folders by day, including one that was 05-28-2011. EXCEPT when they looked at the images, they proclaimed “That’s not possible. I did NOT take those in 2011, it took them LAST SUMMER. The time on 300+ images were all close together, most within a couple seconds, starting at 01-01-2011 12:00:03 AM (yes, the date folder was in May, the images in January). And they went from there…
BUT, NOT JUST ANY from there… The first image name was _DSC01212, and then next six, all of a truck, went up through 01218 over the course of less than a minute. The FOLLOWING image, a duck, captured 3 SECONDS later was _DSC00904, followed by an image of a truck a second or 2 later numbered _DSC01219, then back to another duck 0905, back to 01220, and so on. Then for a few dozen, there were ducks in sequence. THEN a picture of a DOG numbered _DSC01000 and one _DSC01001. And on and on………..
I’m fairly comfortable with Lightroom, but in 15+ years, even with all the stupid things I’ve done, I’ve never seen chaos like this, nor can I figure out how it even happened. It “was just like this one day”…
As far as I can tell, there are a few random xmp files around, but there's never been a piece of metadata written to any image, unless it was done by Bridge. And there don’t appear to be any reliable backups, though she has two NEW drives to set up for doing backups in the future.
I’ve managed to unravel some of the Gordian knot, and implemented a simple structure for Lightroom – they've decided to use YEAR buckets since so many images are now in date-based folders, and put the images in those, then logically organize by keywords. As I said, this should be "interesting"...
This likely happened because as images were imported there was no attention paid to where the images were actually going and the checkbox for Do not import suspected duplicates was unchecked. Now that you've established a folder based architecture you may want to create an import preset to prevent this from happening again.
It's not an import preset problem... At least SOME of the problem is coming because images HAVE to be imported with "don't import" turned off. There are LOTS of occurrences of images with the same names in different year folders. So there'll be a DSC12345.ARW in the 2008 folder and another in the 2020 folder. YEARS apart, different images, ONLY thing that's the same is the filename.
I've got three big new PITA problems in this system, but I'll put them in a new question 'cause I need answers quick and it's gotta get this mess to work...