Recover Deleted Lightroom Catalog on Mac - ugh - Help!

Enthusiast ,
Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

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Cleaning out hard drive space I somehow must have deleted my LR catalog. My last backup is from last week and I've done a full weeks worth of work which, as you can imagine is a sinking feeling thinking about having possibly lost it. I have no idea why I would have deleted it unless my catalog was located on dropbox or in a different folder than pictures/lightroom/ folder which is the default because all I was deleting really were dropbox files stored locally and a few other folders stored on my desktop. The "pictures/lightroom/" folder is where the backups are from last week so I'm guessing that means the lrcat file should have been there too right? I didn't touch that folder! Seems strange. I went back to open LR and suddenly it gave me the "missing catalog" message and my heart sank followed by confusion.

There's a "Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrdata" file there that I see is 16gb and was last saved earlier today (the last time I used LR). How the lrcat file was deleted somehow is beyond me. Can this lrdata file be used somehow to help recover what I've done the last week?

I emptied the recycle bin so I'm now scanning my computer using a download of EaseUS Data Recovery software to see if that helps.

Anyone have any other ideas?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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No, the .lrdata file cannot be used the recreate the catalog. Your only chance is that the catalog file was indeed in Dropbox. Dropbox keeps copies of recently deleted files. Login to your Dropbox account with a browser and check their instructions on how to retrieve a deleted file (I never used that option, so I can't help you with that part).

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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By default are the backups placed in the same folder as the lrcat.?

I searched Dropbox as well as my entire hard drive and external hard drives with no luck. The thing is I never changed the default location of the catalog file and honestly I never deleted anything in that Pictures/Lightroom folder so I'm still baffled where it went. I didn't actually delete anything from Dropbox, only the local dropbox folder (preserving everything that is saved online).

Thoughts? Anyone have success recovering deleted files? How?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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I'm sorry, but I give you little chance. Even when a Lightroom catalog is recovered by a professional recovery service, it is usually corrupt and beyond repair.

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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LEGEND ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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DMH79  wrote

By default are the backups placed in the same folder as the lrcat.?

I searched Dropbox as well as my entire hard drive and external hard drives with no luck. The thing is I never changed the default location of the catalog file and honestly I never deleted anything in that Pictures/Lightroom folder so I'm still baffled where it went. I didn't actually delete anything from Dropbox, only the local dropbox folder (preserving everything that is saved online).

Thoughts? Anyone have success recovering deleted files? How?

IIRC anything that is in the DropBox folder on your copmputer and you Delete it from that folder it gets deleted from the DB online system.

It's not like you can put stuff in the DB folder then Delete it and it stays in the web/net/online/cloud DB system.

So if you placed your LR catalog file in the DB folder on your computer and then deleted it, it got deleted from the cloud DB system.

Have you done a search for .lrcat on your Mac using Spotlight, the Mac search feature?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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"IIRC anything that is in the DropBox folder on your copmputer and you Delete it from that folder it gets deleted from the DB online system."

Recovering and restoring deleted files or folders on Dropbox – Dropbox

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Just+Shoot+Me  wrote

IIRC anything that is in the DropBox folder on your copmputer and you Delete it from that folder it gets deleted from the DB online system.

It's not like you can put stuff in the DB folder then Delete it and it stays in the web/net/online/cloud DB system.

So if you placed your LR catalog file in the DB folder on your computer and then deleted it, it got deleted from the cloud DB system.

Have you done a search for .lrcat on your Mac using Spotlight, the Mac search feature?

Yeah, I know. I actually didn't delete anything from Dropbox, I simply removed the SYNC of several folders which deletes the local copy but preserves it online. I should have clarified that. Either way, I doubt dropbox has anything to do with it. My computer was slowing down (2017 iMac) and so I looked and saw that only 50gb of my 1tb fusion drive was remaining so I removed the sync from tons of dropbox folders that I didn't need on my computer, and then found a big 750gb folder that I had on my desktop from a while back. Either way, I've never gone into my catalog settings and changed the default location of where the catalog is located. And when I first started up LR, it said it couldn't find that file and listed the file path as in the Pictures/Lightroom/ folder. But looking there, it wasn't there.

So strange. And annoying. And frustrating. And sad.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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DMH79  wrote

Thoughts? Anyone have success recovering deleted files? How?

Please try the suggestions I made.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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First, open Lightroom and check under File->Open Recent, it should list the catalog files you have used recently. Perhaps one of them is the catalog of interest. If it's not listed there, then use your operating system's search feature to search all hard disks for files whose name ends with .LRCAT

Your backups need to be on a different disk than your working catalog. In my opinion this is not optional, it is mandatory. Why? Because if your hard disk crashes, suddenly you have no original and no backups.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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dj_paige  wrote

First, open Lightroom and check under File->Open Recent, it should list the catalog files you have used recently. Perhaps one of them is the catalog of interest. If it's not listed there, then use your operating system's search feature to search all hard disks for files whose name ends with .LRCAT

Your backups need to be on a different disk than your working catalog. In my opinion this is not optional, it is mandatory. Why? Because if your hard disk crashes, suddenly you have no original and no backups.

I did this. Now, my backups are on a different drive, but I'm beginning to think I'll need to do one full week of editing all over again. The EaseUS recovery software did nothing. Scanned all drives and didn't find that file. Sucks.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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I suggest you change your LR Catalog Backup setting to Every time LR closes. That way whenever you open then close LR a new backup is created. Yes this will take up time and drive space but will save you if something like this ever happen again.

Also you can go into the backup folder location and delete all the older backups manually to regain some drive space. I do that every so often.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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Yeah i did that last night after realizing that it was supposed to backup today. One day short.

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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Thanks for taking a moment to try to help. Much appreciated.

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New Here ,
May 22, 2021 May 22, 2021

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Hey! Photo deletion is not at all a big issue and you can easily recover missing photos from Lightroom classic by trying some of the easy solutions. If the manuals won’t help you to restore Lightroom classic images then you need to go for the automatic way that is – Lightroom Photo Recovery Software. All the very best!!!

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