Yesterday my Western Digital external hard drive crashed. I have tried retrieving data via several different methods, and come up empty. Following yesterday crash, I'm now working on rebuilding my Lightroom galleries from galleries still on memory cards. Most of these galleries are filled with already-edited photos.
The external drive that crashed was JKP Passport 1. So images in Lightroom that were associated with images on that drive now understandably show up as missing.
I am reimporting images from my memory cards and want to associate them with the newly created folders on my new drive, JKP Passport 2. But when I try to associate these images, I am told they are already associated with another photo in the catalog and can only be associated with one photo. They are associated with images on a drive I cannot access, however.
Can anyone help me? I don't want to lose the edits I have already done. Thank you!
Importing is 100% the wrong thing, to do. Put the photos from the memory cards on your new hard disk. If possible, put them in the exact same named folder as they were in before the crash. The proper method(s) to reconnect the photos to your Lightroom Classic catalog is given in this document.
Also don't you have backups of the photos in the original folder hierarchy? Then your task would be much much easier.
"Appreciate your feedback, but the problem is, my hard disk is dead."
The advice was that you should create folders of the same name on whatever hard disk you are using.
DJ has you pointed in the correct direction. Importing into the master catalog was the wrong action.
Depending on how you have your folder structures setup, you can import the old files into a new temporary catalog so that the "copy" import puts the old image files into the same folder structure as before. Then, using the old master catalog, do a "find missing folders" on the top-most folder(s) and point the catalog to the new drive location. (Then delete the temporary catalog.)
To rephrase the advise already given: What you want to do is to basically recreate the file structure on your dead hard drive. You want to manually copy the files from your memory cards onto the new hard drive (so DON't use Lightroom to do this but just go through finder/explorer!) and put them in the same structure as you can see in Lightroom. Then you do a find missing folder on the top level directory/folder and everything will fall in place.
I did recreate the folder structure from my dead hard drive onto my new hard drive. My mistake, it seems, was to import those images via Lightroom, rather than just copying the images directly from the memory cards - is that correct?
Importing the photos is a mistake. You need to tell Lightroom Classic to look for the photos in the folders on the new hard drive. I gave a link to the instructions to do this earlier in this thread.
The LR Catalog has a record of each image that has ever been imported, with edits, history, organisation, virtual copies etc attached. Included in each image's record, is some folder and drive path info declaring where its source file is to be found.
If external circumstances later mean this folder and drive path info doesn't work as before, each image remains otherwise perfectly good - LR still holds all of its editing etc. The image's source file is simply considered by LR to be temporarily unavailable. But LR can still display the path info that it has got, within the Folders panel.
Once either that remembered path info gets corrected, or else the image again becomes available at that same remembered path as before: either way, everything can resume working exactly as before.
To update the path info of the images, it is easiest to do so for the top-level folder of a matching folder arrangement (so far as its internal organisation), even if the whole thing happens to now sit in a different location or drive. Your display of the prior folder arrangement and naming as seen in LR's Folders panel, can act as a helpful guide for the hierarchy you are seeking to re-construct. As well as relative folder locations, file names will also need to match if LR is to reconnect things automatically. So if the image files were renamed before, and you are retrieving images from camera card, those would need to undergo the same renaming again in order to match up once more.
Updating path is NOT importing again. Affected images are already imported - they don't need to be imported afresh (and shouldn't be). They are already edited; this is the version of the image you want, not some brand new unedited version. There's only one instance of each one at present - so, no possibility of clash as you would get if you tried to import the same entity twice.
Did you have a back up drive of both the Lightroom catalog and the photo files themselves?
If you did, all you need to do is copy the catalog and photo files from the backup drive to the new drive.
What do you mean by galleries still on memory cards with already edited photos?