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Why does LR write to jpgs even when I haven't updated anything?

Explorer ,
Jun 14, 2020

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I have my LR catalog set to "Automatically write changes into XMP."

 

However, Lightroom sometimes writes changes to jpegs, completely at random, even when nothing related to those images has changed. Obviously if I make an actual change - i.e. adding keywords, developing, etc - I would expect (and desire) it to write those changes to the file; however, sometimes I'll do nothing other than launch & quit LR, and it'll randomly modify a handful of files that I haven't looked at or touched in years. Sometimes I'll copy my catalog to another PC (which shares access to the same network device housing the photos), and simply opening the catalog will cause it to start writing changes into thousands of my files. Sometimes I'll import a new directory, and it'll suddenly start writing changes into files in a different/unrelated directory. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to when or why it does this.

 

I'd like for it to only actually write changes when...something changes. Is that not possible? Why does it exhibit this extremely odd & unpredictable behavior?

 

Using LR Classic CC 8.0 on Windows.

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Why does LR write to jpgs even when I haven't updated anything?

Explorer ,
Jun 14, 2020

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I have my LR catalog set to "Automatically write changes into XMP."

 

However, Lightroom sometimes writes changes to jpegs, completely at random, even when nothing related to those images has changed. Obviously if I make an actual change - i.e. adding keywords, developing, etc - I would expect (and desire) it to write those changes to the file; however, sometimes I'll do nothing other than launch & quit LR, and it'll randomly modify a handful of files that I haven't looked at or touched in years. Sometimes I'll copy my catalog to another PC (which shares access to the same network device housing the photos), and simply opening the catalog will cause it to start writing changes into thousands of my files. Sometimes I'll import a new directory, and it'll suddenly start writing changes into files in a different/unrelated directory. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to when or why it does this.

 

I'd like for it to only actually write changes when...something changes. Is that not possible? Why does it exhibit this extremely odd & unpredictable behavior?

 

Using LR Classic CC 8.0 on Windows.

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Problem or error, Windows

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2020

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XMP sidecar files are only created for RAW files. For most other files the edits are written into the file itself in a special section and can only be read, and shown, by the same program and or in the case of LR and ACR by either of those 2 programs.

This happens for DNG, TIFF, PSD and JPG.

If you view the JPG in some other editor or viewing program you will not see your edits made in LR.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2020

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That does not answer the question. The OP knows that. The question is why Lightroom sometimes writes changes to XMP when there are no changes. This seems to be a long standing bug. Lightroom also sometimes reports that the metadata have been changed by another application, even if they haven't been changed. By the way; Lightroom Classic 8.0 is pretty old. Why don't you update regularly? The current version is 9.2.1.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2020

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>>This seems to be a long standing bug.

 

So it's a known bug? Do you have some reference of that - i.e. an issue on a bug tracker that I can subscribe to & be notified if/when it's finally properly addressed?

 

>>By the way; Lightroom Classic 8.0 is pretty old. Why don't you update regularly? The current version is 9.2.1.

 

I used to keep up to date, but gave up on doing so specifically because Adobe (for some reason) decided to start making it overly cumbersome to do so - as I documented here, two years ago: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-classic-cc-offline-updater.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 15, 2020

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What???

 

The Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop App, is hardly hard or cumbersome to use. You do not use it to keep your LRC up to date? Heck, it can be set to do that automatically. 

 

Manually, just bring it up and click on the LRC icon, boom, done.

 

Being as you apparently have not updated LRC since v8 something, is your Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop App up to date?  a problem existed way back about the v8 time.

 

Heck, v8 was buggy, and you wonder why a bug still exists?

 

 

Just another Adobe customer; My Sys; APP: LRC 9.4, PS 21.2.1; CMP: WIN WS 16GB OS 10 v1909 (18363), mid 2015 MBPr 15” 16GB MACOS 10.15.6; 4K EXT DSPY; CAM: Canon 5D Mk III, Fuji X-T3

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2020

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>> What??? The Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop App, is hardly hard or cumbersome to use. You do not use it to keep your LRC up to date? Heck, it can be set to do that automatically. Manually, just bring it up and click on the LRC icon, boom, done.

 

Apparently you didn't check the other thread, but in (very brief): it's because my LR PC is airgapped. It used to be simple to download an updater & install, which I did regularly.  But Adobe suddenly stopped posting proper update installers, instead forcing everyone to use Creative Cloud - thus, the only way to update is to have a (fast+unmetered) connection directly on the PC on which you want to run LR.  There are other specific reasons & scenarios described in that thread, but that's the crux of it.  I tried multiple times to contact them & understand why they suddenly started refusing to post proper standalone update installers, but when it became clear that was the case, I stopped updating as regularly.

 

>> Heck, v8 was buggy, and you wonder why a bug still exists?

 

Does that mean the bug is no longer there in v9? 🙂

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LEGEND ,
Jun 15, 2020

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Exactly what file gets updated? A JPEG you did not touch? A preview file? As for an xmp, well not associated with a JPEG. anything that would be written to an xmp file associated to a RAW file is instead written right into a raster file, as stated xmp sidecar files are not created for raster images.

 

Do you shoot exclusively JPEG, or perhaps RAW + JPEG. If you are looking at a xmp file, then it would be against a RAW file of similar name.

 

 

 

Just another Adobe customer; My Sys; APP: LRC 9.4, PS 21.2.1; CMP: WIN WS 16GB OS 10 v1909 (18363), mid 2015 MBPr 15” 16GB MACOS 10.15.6; 4K EXT DSPY; CAM: Canon 5D Mk III, Fuji X-T3

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2020

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>> Exactly what file gets updated? A JPEG you did not touch?

 

Many JPEGs I did not touch.  It applies to images shot exclusively as jpeg, so there is no raw and no sidecar xmp.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 15, 2020

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There are many reports of spurious metadata conflicts, where LR thinks the metadata has been changed both by LR itself and an external application, e.g.

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/still-no-answer-to-metadata-has-been-changed-... 

 

I looked just now in the feedback forum (where bugs get reported) and couldn't find any specifically about LR spuriously writing metadata or the metadata status indicator spuriously showing that the file needs to be updated.

 

In the past I had a few instances of sidecars and JPEGs getting updated though I was sure I hadn't changed anything, but when I put the files under the microscope, I discovered there were innocent explanations: I had accidentally changed the caption of a batch of photos instead of just one photo, I had renamed a parent keyword whose child keywords were assigned to the phots, that sort of thing.

 

But I agree with Johan in general: LR's handling of metadata status isn't the most reliable. Adobe hasn't paid much attention to these issues over the years, partly because, without a reproducible case or a clear pattern of behavior, the engineers throw up their hands and say "nothing we can do".  And making a reproducible test case in these situations appears very difficult.

 

If you're interested in pursuing this, the next time you notice a mysterious update, immediately go to your backups and see if you have a previous version.  If you do, upload both versions to Dropbox or similar and post the sharing link here, and I can see if there are any significant metadata changes or other evidence of something that might have confused LR.  And then maybe post an actionable bug report...

 

[Use the blue reply button under the first post to ensure replies sort properly.]

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2020

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> I discovered there were innocent explanations: I had accidentally changed the caption of a batch of photos instead of just one photo, I had renamed a parent keyword whose child keywords were assigned to the phots, that sort of thing.

 

I'm certain that's not the case here - I've had it happen literally by doing nothing other than launching & quitting Lightroom.  I opened it, gotten a phone call, quit (not having done anything at all), then some random files had changed.  Because I've observed it happening so unpredictably, I've made a habit of *always* running a backup task - which presents a summary of diffs before copying - every time immediately after using LR.  And even the case above I've ound it modifying some random photos.

 

>>upload both versions to Dropbox or similar and post the sharing link here

 

You mean just post the jpg file from before & after the LR unnecessary write?

 

>>immediately go to your backups and see if you have a previous version

 

I absolutely do. Every time LR does this, I go back & restore the correct backed-up versions, since I'm not especially interested in LR overwriting images with unknown/unrequested changes.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 15, 2020

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"You mean just post the jpg file from before & after the LR unnecessary write?"

 

Right. I can do a detailed comparison of the low-level metadata fields before and after.

 

[Use the blue reply button under the first post to ensure replies sort properly.]

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2020

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