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Moved '.lrlibrary' file and deleted original. Lost edits and have no way of opening the copied '.lrl

New Here ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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Hello, My wife is a professional wedding photographer and uses Lightroom (Cloud version). Although excellent at her craft, she has a poor way of file management and storage, so I'm always having to help her and remind her to clean up her disk space.

 

Recently, her Mac gave an error message that disk space was full and so I went about relocating many of her desktop files to an external drive. I stumbled upon what I NOW know as the Lightroom cache file located in MacHD/Users/Pictures. I originally assumed that when I chose where to store the originals in Lightroom Preferences, that it would mean EVERYTHING (Including cache) were to be stored at my specified location. Here is where i messed up; I backed up a copy of the 'Lightroom Library.lrlibrary' file onto an external drive, and then proceeded to DELETE the original located in 'MacHD/Users/Pictures'. This resulted in Lightroom immediately creating a new '.lrlibrary' file. When my wife went to finish her 4 wedding galleries that were due tonight, ALL of the edits were gone... a weeks worth of editing just vanished.

 

Now I know all of these edits are contained on that original .lrlibrary file that I copied to another location, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to open it in Lightroom. I have searched for HOURS and no topic even comes close to what i am asking. Please help me figure this out before I am banished to the couch for the next 5 years. Sincerely, a very regretful husband.

 

TLDR; Moved '.lrlibrary' file and deleted original. Lost edits and have no way of opening the copied '.lrlibrary' file in Lightroom (Cloud Version) to retrieve edits

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 25, 2021 Oct 25, 2021

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I'm pretty sure that you can't revert to the copy of the original Lightroom Library that you made. I'm not clear though why your wife would have lost all those edits, unless for some reason she had been using Lightroom in offline mode (either network disconnected, or syncing paused). In "normal" mode, all edits are continuously synced to the cloud so that when you delete the Lightroom Library and then start Lightroom, a new Lightroom Library is created in the default location and is completely rebuilt from the cloud catalog.

 

Have you tried to copy that original version of the Lightroom Library back to the default location (replacing the newly-created Library)? Though I think that when you then start Lightroom the local catalog (inside that Library package) will be out of sync with the master cloud catalog, so will be updated in line with what's in the cloud, i.e. edits lost again. However, if you do copy that Library package back to the original location, then start Lightroom in offline mode (i.e. network offline on her computer), she might be able to "save" those Wedding galleries by exporting them "as original". Once that's done, go back online to see if when the sync-up has completed all those edits are lost again. If they are, you could delete the images from the cloud and then re-import from the exported originals again (which will contain the edits).

 

Before doing any of that though, can you answer the question why all that work that your wife did wasn't synced to the cloud as she was working on them?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 25, 2021 Oct 25, 2021

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As you have found out the hard way, the Lightroom Library is hardwired to be stored in the user/Pictures folder. You cannot move it to another location. If you delete this file, Lightroom should simply rebuild it however. It is just a cache, to speed up working in Lightroom by not having to communicate with the cloud for everything you do. And to make sure you can still work in Lightroom if you do not have an internet connection for a moment.

 

This is where things get a bit tricky: The edits should all be in the cloud and so everything should automatically be restored if you just give it some time. Unless (part of) her work had not yet been synced up to the cloud, because the computer did not have an internet connection prior to what you did. In that case I am afraid that the work is indeed lost. Because the local library is just a cache, the cloud always takes priority over the local cache. That means you cannot restore the cloud from a local cache backup. Having said that, I think that it is unlikely that your wife did not have an internet connection for a week, so for now I think that all you need is a little patience.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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