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I've got a problem here: Lightroom encountered an error when reading a catalog file

Contributor ,
Jun 25, 2020

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I JUST updated to Lightroom Classic 9.3.

Dell Precision 7740, Windows 10 Pro, 32GB, Quadro RTX 3000.  EVERYTHING is on SSDs.

 

Yesterday Lightroom corrupted my short term catalog that's used for culling images.  I got the "Lightroom encountered an error reading a catalog file and needs to quit."

Restarted Lightroom.  This time it said "The last time Lightroom ran it shut down prematurely due to a problem reading the catalog.  Lightroom must now check the catalog before proceeding.

It then churned and eventually finished with "UNFORTUNATELY the catalog "short term" cannot be repaired."  Yada yada, standard garbage about using a backup.  That was YESTERDAY.

 

Today, it hit my MAIN image catalog.  Same thing.  Can't read from a catalog file.  Restart.  Needs to check the catalog.  Churns, then it REPEATS - Can't read from a catalog file.

Restarted AGAIN. This time with a reset of the preferences.  Did the same exact thing.  Cant read from a catalog file.  Restart.  Needs to check the catalog.  Churns.  Throws the same error......

 

I can find OLD topics from 2017, but nothing current about fixing this.  Once may be happenstance or dumb luck.  Twice in two days is a big problem for me...

As I said, I restarted and cleared all the preferences.  At the moment I"m dead in the water 'cause I have NO way of knowing it's not going to screw up whatever I pull from a backup.  What do I need to do to get this thing to work?

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Bug, Crash or freeze, Performance, Problem or error, Windows

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I've got a problem here: Lightroom encountered an error when reading a catalog file

Contributor ,
Jun 25, 2020

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I JUST updated to Lightroom Classic 9.3.

Dell Precision 7740, Windows 10 Pro, 32GB, Quadro RTX 3000.  EVERYTHING is on SSDs.

 

Yesterday Lightroom corrupted my short term catalog that's used for culling images.  I got the "Lightroom encountered an error reading a catalog file and needs to quit."

Restarted Lightroom.  This time it said "The last time Lightroom ran it shut down prematurely due to a problem reading the catalog.  Lightroom must now check the catalog before proceeding.

It then churned and eventually finished with "UNFORTUNATELY the catalog "short term" cannot be repaired."  Yada yada, standard garbage about using a backup.  That was YESTERDAY.

 

Today, it hit my MAIN image catalog.  Same thing.  Can't read from a catalog file.  Restart.  Needs to check the catalog.  Churns, then it REPEATS - Can't read from a catalog file.

Restarted AGAIN. This time with a reset of the preferences.  Did the same exact thing.  Cant read from a catalog file.  Restart.  Needs to check the catalog.  Churns.  Throws the same error......

 

I can find OLD topics from 2017, but nothing current about fixing this.  Once may be happenstance or dumb luck.  Twice in two days is a big problem for me...

As I said, I restarted and cleared all the preferences.  At the moment I"m dead in the water 'cause I have NO way of knowing it's not going to screw up whatever I pull from a backup.  What do I need to do to get this thing to work?

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Bug, Crash or freeze, Performance, Problem or error, Windows

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Jun 25, 2020 0
Contributor ,
Jun 29, 2020

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Anybody?  TWO corrupted catalogs...

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Jun 29, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2020

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usually this happens because your hard disk is malfunctioning, and you need to use backups (and probably you ought to open the backup from a different hard disk)

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Jun 29, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 29, 2020

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"At the moment I"m dead in the water 'cause I have NO way of knowing it's not going to screw up whatever I pull from a backup."

UnZip the LR backup catalog file and copy and paste it to your current LR Catalog folder. Then from insie LR go to File> Open and select the unzipped backup catalog file.This is a COPY and if LR corrupts it up you still have the originally Zipped catalog backup file. If that happens then take dj_paige's advice and run a dsik check.

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Jun 29, 2020 1
Contributor ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Things here have pretty much totally composted.

Not only have I had 2 catalogs corrupted in 9.3, but I now have thousands of images scattered through hard drive folders that Lightroom can't read.  And indeed, they appear to be FUBARd...  Bridge can't read them, Photoshop can't read them.  It's hit both .dng and .psd files - and most likely .NEF files too.

And this morning, while trying to see how bad the damage is, Lightroom complained it couldn't read from cache and had to quit, and corrupted the catalog again.  Back to the same garbage as before - opens, complains, says it has to fix, fails to fix.

It LOOKS like the backups from a week ago are OK, but current stuff appears to be totally screwed.

I'll run dskchk on the 4TB SSD where the images are, but any guidance for how to actually FIX this would be handy.  I'm just glad I HAVEN'T let ANY of the Lightroom stuff make a backup that would destroy the (HOPEFULLY) good backup data since the first time 9.3 puked.

Ideas?

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Jul 01, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Jul 01, 2020

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First, it isn't clear from your description if the image files are on the same disk as the catalog, or on a different disk. Nevertheless, if it is one disk or two disks, the disk(s) involved are suspect.

 

What I would do

  1. Make sure your backups of catalog file and photos are on different disks than the disk(s) that are causing trouble.
  2. Buy replacement hard disk(s) or SSD(s) as needed
  3. Restore (copy, not move) the backups to the new disk(s)

 

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Jul 01, 2020 1
Contributor ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Yes, the catalogs are on a different SSD than the images.  Yes, the backups are on different spinning platters and anything else.  Yes, normally the backups run nightly, and I'm very lucky that DIDN'T happen or all the garbage I now have on the image disk would be in the backups.

 

I just ran chkdsk with /f/r/x.  IT FOUND NOTHING.  NO problems at all on the SSD.  Opened Lightroom again, and all the junk it couldn't open 6 hours ago, it still can't open.

 

Lightroom still randomly, periodically, tells me it "Can't read from cache".  Which is ALSO on a different SSD from the images and the catalogs.  And set to 50GB.  Once Lightroom throws this error, the catalog is gone and doesn't come back.  After that it's "Can't read from a cacahe file.  Lightroom has to close." Restart. "Needs to check the catalog." Churns, then it REPEATS - "Can't read from a catalog file."  Or, as it did this morning, churned and eventually finished with "UNFORTUNATELY the catalog "..." cannot be repaired."

 

 

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Jul 01, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Even more evidence that sounds like a hard disk malfunction/problem to me.

 

There are plenty of hard disk issues that chkdsk won't find, and plenty of diagnostic utilities out there to check the health of your hard disk (some of them free).

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Jul 01, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Try the free HDDScan utility.

 

https://hddscan.com/

 

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Jul 01, 2020 0
Contributor ,
Jul 01, 2020

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Talked to Samsung...  They're willing to "start a warranty process", but when asked, the tech stated that the frequency of our SSDs failing is minuscule.  Can it happen?  Yes.  Does it?  VERY rarely.

He asserted that if chkdsk didn't throw a fit the chances of it being a drive failure are extremely small.

 

Purely anecdotal, but one thing I have noticed...  In my workflow, images go from the memory card to an "incoming" folder tree.  I cull them in the "short term" catalog and import the good ones into the Image catalog.  It keeps the image catalog clean of junk...

Looking at images in the incoming tree, with Bridge, I haven't found a single image that's corrupt that hasn't been in Lightroom.  That doesn't mean everything that HAS been in Lightrrom is corrupt, only that from looking at about 14,000 images quickly in Bridge, I have not found ANY images that have not been in Lightroom that ARE corrupt.  Every corrupt image I have found currently is, or has recently been in, a Lightroom catalog (most in the short term catalog, which was the first one to be corrupted).

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Jul 01, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2020

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Please not that LrC does not touch your images. Does not write to them in any way unless you request it to do so or you have the option to Auto Write Changes to XMP selected and even then the only image files it write to are JPGs, PSDs, Tiff, DNG and PNG files in a special section and Not to the actual image Data. For RAW files it create a XMP sidecar file.

 

LrC creates it own Previews and that is what is used to display the images on screen to you.

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Jul 03, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 02, 2020

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"Talked to Samsung... They're willing to "start a warranty process" He asserted that if chkdsk didn't throw a fit the chances of it being a drive failure are extremely small."

So you have two choices,

1) Run HDDScan on ALL drives including the system drive

2) Copy the drives to backup drives so you can transfer the data to the new drives and retrun them to Samsung under warranty. This includes making an image of the system drive!

Option #1 sounds a lot simpler to me!

 

"In my workflow, images go from the memory card to an "incoming" folder tree. I cull them in the "short term" catalog and import the good ones into the Image catalog."

This may very well be a part of the problem. IMO using a "temporary" catalog adds another step that is prone to data corruption. Exactly how are you importing the culled files into your primary catalog and are you moving them from the original drive used to import then from the memory card to another drive? In other words how many drives do you have on your system and HOW are you using them? Either way this is an uncessary step.

 

Why not simply import files from the memroy card to your primary catalog, use LR Pick/Reject, Stars, Color Labels, and Compare view to "cull" the image files, then delete or move the rejects, and leave the culled the files on the same drive and in the same single catalog. There have been numerous reports of missing or corrupted image files when large number of files are moved from inside LR. Granted it should not be happening, but the reality is that some people have experienced it.

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Jul 02, 2020 0
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Jul 02, 2020

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Todd, thanks for the reply.

Perhaps I'm not explaining this well...  I have an internal, M.2 SSD on which the O/S and programs reside.  It works fine. It's never had a problem.

I have a second M.2 SSD on which a variety of other things reside, including the LR catalogs, cache, temp and a lot of other things.  It works fine.  It's never had a problem.

I have a Samsung 860, 4TB SSD, presently connected to the system via USB-powered carrier via USB-C cable.  It contains image files.  This is the same device that normally lives in my desktop computer, plugged into a removable carrier to provide images.  It has been in use for months, worked fine.  It never had a problem.

The “Image” catalog image files contents exist in one folder tree.  The incoming images exist in a completely separate folder tree, totally unconnected to anything in the Image catalog. 

For the last couple week, and most likely for the next month, my desktop is inaccessible and I'm working from the Dell 7740 laptop.  To provide images for the laptop when traveling or situations where I have to use the it, I shut down the desktop, extract the 4TB SSD, and put it in the external carrier.  I've done this for over a year with absolutely no issues with either system.

On the laptop there are NO spinning platters, 2 internal SSDs and 1 external.

 

My Lightroom workflow has been in use for years, and it's unlikely to change now.  You may believe it to be unnecessary, but it works for me.  As the import into the Image catalog is exactly the same as any import that copies the files from folder A to folder B and adds them to the catalog, I can see no reason why it should be any more prone to corruption, other than caused by Lightroom, than any other flow. Other than the separate catalogs existing on the same drive, there is NO connection between the short term catalog and the Image catalog.

I CAN state with certainty that NO images (ZERO) images have been imported into the Image catalog (the primary, permanent catalog) since March, 2020.  All NEW images that have been worked on have been in the short term catalog and exist in a separate folder tree.  The ONLY processing done in the Image catalog has been on images already present, processed for output of various kinds.

All I can do here is report what I've seen (hopefully, mostly accurately):

  • Date/time 1: Everything fine, no problem.  Both catalogs functional.
  • Date/time 2: LR short term catalog displays an error that it can't read from the catalog, has to shut down.  Restart and it says it has to repair.  Fails.  Catalog is corrupt.  New catalog created.  Short term is not backed up since it is used only for culling images - all results are stored in the images with the metadata.  Images culled are deleted from disk, leaving ONLY those images that will be imported into the Image catalog.
  • Date/time 3:  Next day, LR displays an error in the Image catalog that it can't read from the catalog, has to shut down.  Restart and it says it has to repair.  Fails.  Catalog is corrupt.  New catalog created from backup.
  • Same day:  Opened Image catalog.  Random images in the Image catalog indicate they cannot be opened.  No obvious pattern.  Blocks of 1 or more bad images interspersed with blocks of images that are fine. 
  • During examination of catalog contents, Image catalog displays error that it can’t read from cache (if I recall correctly) and starts a loop where at restart it has to fix, fails, has to restart to fix, repeat. 
  • So far, my examination of a few of the corrupted images in the week-old backup indicates they are fine, and that only images on the SSD, currently accessed from Lightroom are corrupt.
  • Date/time 4:  Verified that for incoming images, only folders images that were in the short term catalog when it displayed the error have any corrupted images.  Folders containing thousands of images that have not been imported at any point have no affected image files.

 

I've run chkdsk on the 4TB SSD with no problems found.  I’ve run HDDSCAN on the 4TB, SSD.  I had it do the Butterfly Read and I had it do the VR-Verify tests.  After churning all night, the results of both tests appear to be ZERO "Bads", which I presume means there were no bad areas found?  I have little knowledge about HDDScan, so if there is a different test I should be running in HDDScan let me know.  I don't see a way to attach the reports, but if someone can tell me how to do so simiply, I can do that, though there doesn’t appear to be much of interest in them.

Beyond that, if there is a piece of software that can “FIX” the corrupted image files, great, I’ll give it a try. 

At this point, there appears to be no horde of screaming owners finding corrupted images, so I’ll presume your assertion that it can’t be Lightroom and must be either my workflow or hardware, is correct.  I’m planning to format the 4TB SSD, reload the contents from a backup and hope the problem doesn’t occur again.  I’ll also contact Samsung and likely have them replace the SSD, which will cause some inconvenience as they do NOT do cross-ship, resulting in a much longer period without the device.

 

At this point, I’m tossing this whole thing on the “screw it” pile, which is where most of the bizarre things I’ve seen with Lightroom have ended up over the years.

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Jul 02, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 03, 2020

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"I have a second M.2 SSD on which a variety of other things reside, including the LR catalogs, cache, temp and a lot of other things. It works fine. It's never had a problem."

 

You should run HDDScan on this drive as well since you are experieincing catalog corruption. In fact I suggest running HDDScan on ALL of your drives except the one(s) you will be replacing under warranty.

 

Another good free troubleshooting tool is CPUID HWMonitor. It checks power supply voltages, various system temperatures including core tempertures, fan speeds, etc. and records the max and min values. Let it run while your working in LR and then check the max and min values to see if something is out of spec.

 

https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html

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Jul 03, 2020 0