I'm in a panic, not going to lie. I accidentally clicked Synchronize instead of Update Folder Location in my LR Classic main folder. Now, I have a new main folder with the original title as a subfolder and all its subfolders, but there are no physical photos. It seems through this process, my physical photos on my external hard drive have disappeared. The hard drive space shows it's nearly empty. They weren't deleted (not in Trash) and I'm able to see a large number of previews in the LR screen (with !) but the actual photos seem to be gone. To make it even more baffling, a few folders in LR have numbers of photos but no preview and no photo. It's almost as if the Sync did an overwrite or something.
Photos were not deleted but are missing from the the physical drive. I didn't touch the physical drive. I've tried a data recovery software which results in all photos I've physically deleted in the past. I fear, in my panic to find them, I may have done too many steps to reverse course. Is there anyway to revert back to pre-Sync? I'm not sure where my physical photos are even located
OS is Mac, Catalina
LR Classic (I don't have CC installed) - Basic user
Can anyone help??
Use your operating system's search feature to search all hard disks for these photos.
Otherwise, restore the most recent backups of your photos.
I’ve done the searches...everywhere. This is LR Classic, not the cloud-based version so there isn’t a backup to restore.
When you say "I've done the searches" does that mean you have used your operating system's search feature to search all hard disks? Or does it mean you searched visually?
And, for anyone else reading along, you make backups yourself, or preferably, using third party software NOW. NO EXCUSES. Don't wait until something accidentally happens and you have no backups.
Searches - both and repeatedly (as if they'd suddenly appear the third time)
Yes, backups are essential. Backups cost money so it's been on hold. And now the loss will cost me money.
"I accidentally clicked Synchronize instead of Update Folder Location in my LR Classic main folder."
The only reason for updating a folder location is if the files have been moved to a new location from outside of LR. Did you move folders using Windows Explorer or Finder and if so WHERE did you move them to? Answer that question and you'll be closer to finding your picture fileas.
Lightroom does not touch any folders all by itself, but if you drag and drop a folder in Lightroom, you drag and drop the real folder on disk. Same for renaming folders in Lightroom. That renames the real folder on disk. Same for creating folders in Lightroom, that creates a real folder on disk. Nobody says otherwise, at least not nobody who knows Lightroom.
What you describe sounds like something that should not be too difficult to solve, but we need to know exactly what the structure and the names are. So post two screenshots: one screenshot of the Lightroom folder panel and one screenshot of the disk in the Finder showing the hierarchy. That means that your Finder screenshot should show the folders as a list, not as icons.
A couple captures
1) LR folders - Things continue to change, it seems. The "new" parent folder is no longer here but still in the hard drive list. If you also notice, some are gray, others not. As expected, I had a large number of previews the first day. They've since gone.
2) Hard drive 1 - The folder PHOTOS is the new parent folder that appeared in LR after the sync and displayed _Photos Main and all subfolders within that folder. It's empty here and now mysteriously gone from LR. ??
3) Hard drivee 2 - What's left of the heirarchy. The date is the date of the occurrence. A LOT of missing folders
The number also decreased from 162,000+ to 159,000+.
Try the free version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and see if it can find the files on your external drive. You can recover 2GB of files with the free version for test purposes. If it works you can recover ALL of your files by purchasing a license for $89.95. Just another suggestion....
Thanks Todd. I have a license for Disk Drill from when I had a Windows computer, until last fall. I assume it's similar but do they work for photo files with all the metadata, RAW + XMP, etc?
The first thing to do is check whether or not you really lost photos from the external drive. There are missing folders in Lightroom, but there are also folders with different names on the hard drive that do not show in Lightroom. That means that all the missing images and folders could still be on that hard drive, just not where Lightroom expects them to be or with the name Lightroom expects them to have.
If the problem (or, part of the problem) is that image folders are failing to show up as being nested within their parent folder (the expected folder hierarchy not displayed, or else not completely displayed in the right relationships) this is often as simple as using Show Parent Folder onto one of the image folders in question. Instantly, this "parent" folder is displayed, and this image folder and any other "sibling folders" it may have, move and nest inside that within the LR Folders panel.
As a general approach, it is IMO best to disregard any ideas of the Folders panel representing disk storage directly. This is not what it does. It is in effect a database report summarising all image paths currently remembered against all the individual imported images. Every such remembered image path will be reflected somehow (perhaps not inside the expected drive volume section or parent folder, perhaps not inside any location which still exists as stated, or not accessibly, but somewhere).
A given organising (parent or child) folder which contains no imported images directly, may or may not be displayed by LR in its Folders panel. If not displayed, then clearly nothing could be shown nested inside this so in that case those items must appear as if at the root level of whichever drive volume is remembered. You can show whatever isn't shown, through "Show Parent Folder" or "Add Folder". You cannot however hide the display of any folder which is remembered (when all the stored path info is examined) to hold one or more imported images directly.
What I meant was: the number of photos reported in LR is a different matter than the photos reported on disk, especially when you have got different (apparent) drive volumes showing. If LR's remembered file locations show some photos living under one drive volume heading and others (for whatever reason) under a different drive heading, each of those volumes will report less than the total number of images present.
Towards resolving that, what happens if you expand the internal drive heading shown at the top of Folders panel in the screenshot? (the one with triangular arrow pointing to the side rather than down).
If some of your photo folders are then found under that heading, you can see whether those are marked offline (with ? icon) or not. Also you can check whether it is possible to re-browse the contents of "Photos" which to all appearancves may be a bit of a figment perhaps generated during the Folder Sync - due to a symbolic link or some other technicality, though someone who is experienced with MacOS specifically, would be better placed to speculate there.
My photos are only on the external drive named PHOTOS. My computer is the only other drive showing in LR and always will but it's not used for my photos (aside from iCloud Photos app). So, yes, there is my computer's drive and my external PHOTOS drive. That said, both I and the Adobe tech performed searches of both drives. Why it would have moved files from an external to an internal would be even more baffling, but they're not on my computer. My computer doesn't have the capacity. My photos were upwards of 3-5TB (I don't remember exact number of space used prior).
"Towards resolving that, what happens if you expand the internal drive heading shown at the top of Folders panel in the screenshot? (the one with triangular arrow pointing to the side rather than down)."
Are you referring to the MacIntosh HD in LR showing above the PHOTOS drive? When expanded, there's one photo from 2-2-2020, a screen capture of a project I was working on.
Showing the LR folder list is only beneficial for showing what USED to be on my external hard drive, but the counts have changed and folders that look live still have no images.
Did I understand you correctly? It's very difficult to go through such detail in this format while what's more useful is to be able to actively click & show. Being very specific (LR vs external drive vs computer) makes it easier to follow along.
I'm not sure if this is helpful or muddles things more. Let's try a very specific example:
_TTAL folder - in both locations but missing folders (and photos) on the external
TTAL Marketing - white in LR vs gray with ? and present in external (see lower part of screen capture)
Rack Cards - white in LR, not visible in external
Photos grayed in LR
I clicked on ! so you can see where it was previously and see it's not now there.
I've searched for both the folder and specific photo file names in my external and computer drives with no results.
Is this helpful? It's just one example but What next?