Lightroom is showing my photos but not recognizing them after a transfer to external drive

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re7777

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Hi! I hope someone here can help me. I am not a tech person at all so I'm kind of at a loss what to do here.

I used to have all of my photos on my desktop (1 TB), but then had to move them to an external hard drive as I was running out of room and the computer was very slow. I transferred the photos through finder (I have a Mac) from the hard drive to the external drive. I confirmed that they were transferred and located the pictures in Lightroom and thought all was fine. My folder hierarchy is by year under Pictures and I transferred all of my photos thru 2019 to the external drive. Once I confirmed all of this, I then deleted the folders from my desktop hard drive.

Now that I think of it, I have a new hard drive in the computer (an SSD) and transferred everything over. I wonder if I messed things up when I recovered my Lightroom catalogs from Time Machine? Crap!!!!! I have several Lightroom catalogs, which was suggested by a photographer friend as a way to speed things up. I have a catalog for 2017, 2018, 2019, etc. and then a basic catalog for all pictures from 2016 and earlier in one original catalog.

So when I open the respective catalogs for the folders I moved to the external drive, I can see the pictures, the Lightroom edits made, and the correct file structure. However, when I go into Develop, it says "the file cannot be found" and no further edits can be made. In addition, I cannot export the photos or edit it in another program (i.e, Photoshop).

Has this happened to anyone before? Can this be fixed? I obviously still have all of my original photos, so it's not a total panic, but I'd rather not have to start over from scratch and reload everything and redo the edits (at least I have a record of those edits so it's not totally from scratch).

Once I figure this out, I want to transfer everything to a portable hard drive (5 TB) so I can go b/w my new laptop (travel) and desktop (home).

Attached are screenshots of what I am seeing when I open the file in the develop module. The first pic is when I try to export the photo. The second pic is when I try to edit the photo in Topaz AI.

I appreciate and all suggestions, including a place, if any, I can go and have someone fix it for me! (I am doing a photography workshop in 2 weeks and don't want to have to start from scratch and create a new catalog on a new machine and not be able to bring examples of my past work)

Thanks!
Robin
 

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It just sounds as though, having deleted the photos from the first drive, you haven't relinked all your catalogs to the images in their new location on the external drive. What you see in the library module are previews, not the original images....but you need originals in the develop module and when you want to export, etc.

If you kept the same folder structure when you moved the images to the external drive, you should be able to relink them using the instructions in this post: Lightroom thinks my photos are missing—how do I fix it? | The Lightroom Queen

Note, you would have to do this for each of your catalogs.
 

re7777

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It just sounds as though, having deleted the photos from the first drive, you haven't relinked all your catalogs to the images in their new location on the external drive. What you see in the library module are previews, not the original images....but you need originals in the develop module and when you want to export, etc.

If you kept the same folder structure when you moved the images to the external drive, you should be able to relink them using the instructions in this post: Lightroom thinks my photos are missing—how do I fix it? | The Lightroom Queen

Note, you would have to do this for each of your catalogs.
Thanks for your response. At the time, I did relink them. Now I don't have that option. It's really weird.
 
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Thanks for your response. At the time, I did relink them. Now I don't have that option. It's really weird.
Could you expand on that a little? I assume all the folders are shown as "missing" in the Folders Panel, so it should be a simple case of right-clicking on the top-level folder(s) and selecting "Find Missing Folder", then browsing to the relevant folder on the external drive.
 

re7777

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Could you expand on that a little? I assume all the folders are shown as "missing" in the Folders Panel, so it should be a simple case of right-clicking on the top-level folder(s) and selecting "Find Missing Folder", then browsing to the relevant folder on the external drive.
That's part of the problem. They aren't showing as missing. They had the missing icon on the photos when I moved them and then I "found the photos" like you're supposed to in Lightroom and the icon went away. Just now, I right-clicked on the top folder "2018" and selected update folder location, but nothing happened. The file still shows as not being found in develop mode.

Ok, forget all of that. I just clicked on some more things. This time I right-clicked and selected get info. It then asked for permission to access finder. I allowed it and then it showed me the info. Tried selecting update folder location again and this time the finder box opened up and let me select the proper folder and voila! it now works! The photo not only opens in develop mode again w/ all of the editing options, I was able to select edit in photoshop and photoshop opened up!

No idea what I did, but you somehow directed to me to what I didn't notice before. Thank you!!!!
 

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