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Grey squares instead of images for whole catalog

Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
67
Lightroom Version
10.4
Operating System
  1. Windows 10
After a day trying unsuccessfully to resolve this problem using “Missing FAQs” and other useful information on here and elsewhere, I hope somebody can assist. Thanks in advance.

I’ve just switched back to a “standby” laptop (which has been used before for LRC without problem). I’m using an external SSD, which has my images and my backup catalogs.

The catalog seems intact, the images are all intact, but when LRC opens it doesn’t display images; instead it displays grey squares in Library view mode. There are no question marks in my folder list. The folder list is not greyed out, but looks fine and the text is in clear white. The image count in brackets for each folder is fine, and the sub-folders un-nest as expected when I click. My Collections are intact – but still show only grey squares. If I open one of my images (from Explorer) in another programme, it displays fine. This (presumably?) means it isn’t a monitor problem.

Some of the greyed out squares in Library view show a small rectangle which, when I hover over it says “smart preview”, some others have an exclamation mark and say “photo is missing”.

If I select one of the grey “images” and go into Develop view I get the message “the file could not be found”. I’m stumped !

(PS: I can browse perfectly fine in Bridge !)
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
67
Thanks Paul. But when I right-click on "My Pictures" in the folder structure in Library mode (as suggested in the above blog post and Chapter 20) I am not given the option to "find missing folder", because the folder is there, not greyed out, with the full image count correctly shown. I am however given the option to "update folder location ", which I have done and still have no images, only the grey squares. Also, the grey squares themselves, when I hover over them, show me the image name, and all the file info I would see when using Lightroom normally. My ratings and colour labels all show perfectly - just no image !
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
11,470
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
You can have missing images without having missing folders. That could happen if you renamed all the images, for example. Or if you moved them to another folder, leaving the original folder hierarchy intact. If you have smart previews, then Lightroom does not show the exclamation mark for missing images, but the originals could still be missing. Rating and labels are stored in the catalog, so they will still show if the image is missing. Having smart previews would not explain why you do not see the normal previews however. Lightroom should (re)build them from the smart preview data.

Because of that last mentioned fact, I think you have another problem; your previews cache may be corrupt. Open your catalog folder, locate the ‘catalogname previews.lrdata’ folder and move it out of the catalog folder. Then start Lightroom again. Initially you will still see only grey containers, but then Lightroom will start rebuilding the previews and so they should start to show one by one.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
67
Thanks Johan. I think your suspicion about renaming is relevant, because I have just discovered that when I select a greyed image and take it into Develop I see “photo is missing”. If I click this I get a dialog asking me if I wish to locate it. When I click and locate the image in my Folder structure and then select it I get the following message:

The file you selected “Crete 051005 (1 of 51) (2021_09_04 13_58_48 UTC).DNG” has a different name than the one you were trying to locate. Are you sure this is the correct file ?
Original file name: “Crete 051005 (1 of 51).DNG”


So it looks as though, somehow, the files have been renamed to include a time signature. Short of going through each image individually and deleting the time signature info from the file name, is there a way to rename my entire catalog back to the original names ?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Messages
67
I think you're right. I'm using, as I mentioned, an external SSD, which is actually my backup drive when using my usual laptop (not the one I'm using now), and it seems that the backups have all been renaming themselves each night, unobserved by me, as, obviously, until now, I've never had need to use my backup. I've been using the Windows backup routine, so maybe once I've sorted out the current problem, I'll not use that utility to make my nightly backup, but just discipline myself to do a copy and paste, or find another tool that won't rename my files without my permission !

Interestingly, my cloud backups remain correctly named, so I suppose I could always download those to my laptop or external drive and use them as my catalog.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
1,660
Location
Queensland
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
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