error message: unexpected error opening catalog

New Here ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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I am getting this message when trying to open Lightroom 4.  I have had no problems ever before.  Any solutions?

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Community Beginner , Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013
I have finnaly solved this, and maybe it will work for you too. Run Lightroom as Administrator, that did the trick!!! YES!!!Thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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If you hold down the Ctrl key (Windows) / Opt key (Mac), will it allow you to create a clean catalog?  We should just determine whether it's a general problem or a specific catalog issue.  Which OS?  And does the error message give any further details?

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New Here ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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Hi Victoria, No I can’t even open Lightroom. When I click on to open it I get this error message. The only other option in the error message is to try again, chose a different catalog, (where I can create a new catalog), or exit.

Thanks for your ideas....oh, OS is Windows 7 Home Premium. External hard drive working.

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New Here ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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Hi Victoria, I was trying to open LR from my desktop and was getting the error message. I went into programs and still had my old version of LR3 installed. That opened fine with all my photos. I then tried to open the LR 4.2 from program and got the same error message. Should I uninstall, or try repair 1st on the 4.2 and then reinstall it again? Sounds reasonable to me. Will let you know what happens.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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I will join to your topic as I think it is pointless to start new thread if I am experiencing same problem. I think I know what causes this, just don't know how to fix it. There was a time when I had spare SSD drive and I have set up Lightroom to use it as a cache partition ( I think it created a folder on it). But I was not using Lightroom for some time and in this time I have unplugged and sold that spare SSD drive. And I think from that time I am not able to open my main catalog any more. I have all my work on it, as I haven't exported it to jpeg. I really want to restore this catalog, but I can't, no matter what I do. I tried reinstalling both, lightroom and windows, 7 and 8. Maybe someone knows how to force Lightroom to open that catalog even if in its settings it is redirected to non valid cache folder. All the time I am getting "error message: unexpected error opening catalog". No problems with opening new catalogs.

Can anyone help please?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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Let me just check hedeon - when you say the cache folder, you mean the Camera Raw cache, set in Preferences > File Handling tab, or something else?

If you find the catalog on the hard drive, you should see a .lrcat catalog file, a .lrdata previews folder - any other files there?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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yes, I think it is this one, camera raw cache settings. I was reading some tutorial about optimizing lightroom for speed.

yes, there are other filles too, quite a lot of Temporary Import Data.db and Temporary Import Data.db-journal + catalog backups folder

no, i can not open any of backups too...

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New Here ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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As far as I know you will not be able to ever reconnect since all your photos are in an external HD that you no longer hold. Even if you could open the catalog in LR what you see are only thumbnails and you no longer have the connecting source. This is one of the drawbacks of LR if the people using it think that it actually stores the photos. I had this happen to me (my external HD burned out) but at least I still had the photos on DVD’s. Lost all the keywords etc. but still had the photos. Now I only load into LR what I want to work on and always burn a DVD and have them also stored on a new external HD. If it can die...it will!

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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My photos are not on external HDD, this is the thing. They are just where they were. Separate HDD was only used for cache previews, what supposed to speed up the process of preview rendering in LR. I still have all RAW files, and my LR catalog files. I thought my problem was with not having HDD used for those previews, but I am not so sure any more as I have tried to open one of my catalog backups from period before time when I have made changes to camera raw cache settings, and still I got this error message. So I don't really know what is wrong......

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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I have finnaly solved this, and maybe it will work for you too. Run Lightroom as Administrator, that did the trick!!! YES!!!

Thanks

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New Here ,
Jan 08, 2013 Jan 08, 2013

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I have the same problem, Win 7. LR 4.3. Tried reinstalling, copying catalog from external HDD to PC, running LR as Administrator, no use. Still can't open my catalog.

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New Here ,
Jan 09, 2013 Jan 09, 2013

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Hi, I still had my LR installed the 3.0 version and all of my photos show up in there. I tried repair on the 4.3 version and it didn’t work. Later today (as I don’t have time now) I am going to try to reinstall the 4.3 version without uninstalling it 1st. Will let you know what happens. Do you have an older version still in your programs?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 09, 2013 Jan 09, 2013

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laxwings, have you tried trashing preferences anywhere along the line?

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New Here ,
Jan 09, 2013 Jan 09, 2013

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Since I still had my old version of Lightroom 3.0 installed and my 1200 photos opened in it, I downloaded my LR 4.0. uninstalled my LR 4.2 and updated to LR 4.3 and it works! I have no idea what happened except there was a power surge when I had LR opened on my desktop from my provider. I also had Photoshop opened but it didn’t harm it. Something must have happened to erase my program so when I went to open it, I got the error message. So try reloading your program if this happens to you is my only advice.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 09, 2013 Jan 09, 2013

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Maksimilijan, are you getting the same "unexpected error" message, or something else?  If you close LR and find your catalog on the hard drive, is there a .lock or .lrcat-journal file next to it?

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New Here ,
Apr 04, 2016 Apr 04, 2016

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Victoria,

I'm having this same message as I try to install a preset. I deleted a .lock file next to my LR file as a suggested fix from another thread. It fixed that problem I was having. I do also see a .lrcat-journal file there. Should I delete that too?

Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 04, 2016 Apr 04, 2016

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No, never delete the journal file. That contains information that hasn't been fully written back to the catalog.

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New Here ,
Jun 16, 2019 Jun 16, 2019

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thnx its work for me

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 01, 2013 Dec 01, 2013

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I solved this problem by adjusting the permissions of the files in the Lightroom folder. (I'm running Lightroom 5.2 on a MacBook Air mid-2012.)

I had a hard drive crash on me and had to restore from a cloud-based backup to a new machine. The permissions of my files were all messed up -- they didn't recognize me as a user, so I was by default a read-only user. I had to unlock each main folder and file (not the "Backups" or "Lightroom Settings," but the main ones), add myself as a Read & Write user, and only then could I successfully open the catalog.

Hope this fix works for some of you if not all.

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New Here ,
Jan 03, 2014 Jan 03, 2014

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I was experiencing the same exact thing. Everybody was telling me the catalog, and/or my external photo hard drive was corrupt. I fixed the problem with ease after visiting the Adobe website and doing all the necessary upDATES!!! and upGRADES!!! Now the program opens right up! I hope this helps...

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 05, 2015 Aug 05, 2015

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Hi....had the same problem using Windows 10.... but may have solved this long running problem. Right click and Select 'Run as Administrator... Worked for me.Best Wishes.

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New Here ,
Aug 08, 2015 Aug 08, 2015

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Thanks Nick for that, was getting worried there for a minute but running as administrator did the trick. Also Windows 10.

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New Here ,
Mar 13, 2016 Mar 13, 2016

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Yeah so i am having this problem, having just come out of hospital and angry customers - working hard - power surge, my back up got wiped somehow and i have tried EVERYTHING on this page and more to get the catalogue in question to work.
its just not happening.
I stupidly turned off write xmp to file because i was working on a slower machine from home so basically unless i can some how get this working i am really messed up. not what i need having literally just come out of hospital for stress etc and a couple of understanding customers but some very very not giving a monkeys about being in hospital customers that some how think my receptionist should be able to edit thier photos.
bit stressed - please tell me there is some kinda solution for me
Repeat nothing on this page has worked - uninstalled reinstalled, trashed prefs, wont open as administrator, tried creating new cat and importing from it that doesnt work either.  - personal cat is fine, just the work one thats not - back up is apparently unrecoverable.
I may well just end up straight back in hospital i cant re edit 7 shoots 3 weddings and god knows how many viewings with customer selections 😞

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 14, 2016 Mar 14, 2016

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So sorry to hear you're having such a rough time Kirstie.  The power surge may well have corrupted your catalog, but it shouldn't have wiped out your backups. 

When you say the backups are unrecoverable, what happens?

If you can't find a backup catalog anywhere, zip up the catalog (just the lrcat bit) and use www.wetransfer.com to send it to me at uploads@lightroomqueen.com (google me to confirm I'm not just some weirdo LOL!) and I'll pass it on to an engineer at Adobe.  If anyone can fix it, it'll be him, but it depends on how badly it was corrupted.  Oh, and let me know which Lightroom version you're using.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 28, 2016 Mar 28, 2016

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Laxwings try my solution.  My C: drive (where the original catalog was located) must not have had sufficient space.  I copied that entire Lightroom Folder from my C:/thispc/pictures/lightroom location and pasted them to me additional hard drive (E:).  When I received that error message again I chose instead to open the catalog on my E drive.  Lightroom opened.

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