Lost Previews

JoelM

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#1
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Lightroom version: CC 2015.14 [ 1149743 ]
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Hi, I'm Joel Meyerowitz, a longtime Adobe and LR user. Last week while editing and keywording I stopped put the Mac pro to sleep and a day later when I opened it none of the previews loaded. I can see the blank previews and that all the metadata is there, but I cannot find my way to more than 70,000 images I have in this Library. Can you direct me to the steps necessary to retrieve and show the missing previews?
Thank you,
Joel
 

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#2
All the images are missing (see the exclamation mark on all the thumbnails) and all your hard drives apart from the MacHD system drive are offline, which probably explains the issue. Suggest you close down Lightroom and reboot the Mac, then check in Finder that your hard drives are online, then restart Lightroom.
 

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#3
Jim, Thanks.
The MacHD holds all the previews, or it always Held all the previews until now. And when I look into those folders on the left and open the MacHd all folders within are there, but still the exclamation point shows up. This was never the case until the other day. I have done the reboot both with and without the drives online. Before this event failure I didn't have to have any of the external drives running to see all previews.
My actions always are to add a new body of work to the existing year catalogue (I work in monthly folders) then once that's done I move the folder and all DMGs to an external drive (2 actually for backup) and then continue to work on the basic LR library and contact sheets. This is why I'm puzzled about the loss of previews.
Joel
 

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#4
OK, that means that something has happened to your previews cache, and as a result Lightroom has created a new one, which it needs to populate but cannot do that as the originals are offline. So you need to investigate what's happened to the original previews cache.

You haven't by any chance opened a backup catalog (which wouldn't have an associated previews cache)? Or renamed your current catalog with renaming the associated previews cache?

A screenshot of the Finder view of the current catalog folder, complete with file/folder creation dates would be useful.

BTW, when images are offline, even if you have the library previews to view, the grid will still show the exclamation mark (the only time it wouldn't is when you also have smart previews of the images, in which case you'd see a white rectangle in place of the exclamation mark).
 

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#5
OK, that means that something has happened to your previews cache, and as a result Lightroom has created a new one, which it needs to populate but cannot do that as the originals are offline. So you need to investigate what's happened to the original previews cache.

You haven't by any chance opened a backup catalog (which wouldn't have an associated previews cache)? Or renamed your current catalog with renaming the associated previews cache?

A screenshot of the Finder view of the current catalog folder, complete with file/folder creation dates would be useful.

BTW, when images are offline, even if you have the library previews to view, the grid will still show the exclamation mark (the only time it wouldn't is when you also have smart previews of the images, in which case you'd see a white rectangle in place of the exclamation mark).

JIM,
Thanks for your thoughtful and sage advice. I will have to sit with the question of 'did I open another catalog'? And really try and see what I might have done while I was shooting on location. I'll make that screenshot now, but I'm remembering that I did open another catalog - something from Creative Cloud may have alerted me and I think I opened a new version of LR and then backed off of it, but it opened a catalog and - who knows...?

What do you think?

Joel
 

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#6
Difficult to say. Personally, I'd know if I opened a different catalog because the way I have things setup I can't accidentally open a different version of the catalog.

But let's see the screenshot, and while you're at it can you also do a screenshot of the Preferences>General Tab and another of the Catalog Settings>General Tab. They'll help us figure out what catalog is being used.
 
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#7
My fallback when I’m stymied by something like this has nothing to do with the sage advice being given here by Jim Wilde, but involves various disk utilities, such as the internal Mac one, Disk Warrior, Clean My Mac, or one of those things. If you have a bootable backup, you might try hooking into that, in case your primary drive has become corrupted in some way. Another thing is to uninstall LR and re-install. Very interested to hear what finally solves your problem!
 

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To be honest, Barry, I'm not seeing too much of a problem yet.....more a mystery as to what happened to the previews cache. The catalog looks intact, so once the originals are reconnected, Lightroom should start building previews automatically. That'll take a lot of time, so if we can figure out what happened and if we can workaround it, it'll save that rebuilding time.

Of course, there may still be an underlying system problem, but getting the screenshots will be a good place to start figuring things out. I certainly don't think uninstalling and re-installing is necessary at this stage.
 

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#10
Difficult to say. Personally, I'd know if I opened a different catalog because the way I have things setup I can't accidentally open a different version of the catalog.

But let's see the screenshot, and while you're at it can you also do a screenshot of the Preferences>General Tab and another of the Catalog Settings>General Tab. They'll help us figure out what catalog is being used.
Jim,
I admit to an uncertainty about exactly what I did -re;opening a new catalog - as I was in the midst of a shoot and was distracted and perhaps erred, but then went back to editing on the open LR which continued as it was. Only after closing down and leaving London to return to Italy - where I am writing from - did the loss become apparent.

In any case, here are the 2 screen shots you so kindly ask for and I am grateful for your consideration of this problem, which is all the more pressing as I was searching for additional materials for a book for my French publisher and was in the midst of that search.

My gratitude,
Joel
 

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#11
To be honest, Barry, I'm not seeing too much of a problem yet.....more a mystery as to what happened to the previews cache. The catalog looks intact, so once the originals are reconnected, Lightroom should start building previews automatically. That'll take a lot of time, so if we can figure out what happened and if we can workaround it, it'll save that rebuilding time.

Of course, there may still be an underlying system problem, but getting the screenshots will be a good place to start figuring things out. I certainly don't think uninstalling and re-installing is necessary at this stage.
My fallback when I’m stymied by something like this has nothing to do with the sage advice being given here by Jim Wilde, but involves various disk utilities, such as the internal Mac one, Disk Warrior, Clean My Mac, or one of those things. If you have a bootable backup, you might try hooking into that, in case your primary drive has become corrupted in some way. Another thing is to uninstall LR and re-install. Very interested to hear what finally solves your problem!
Dear Barry,
Thanks for joining in. I do have a backup I made just before going on location, but when I went to it to try and extract the LRcat or open from there it refused to act independently and open LR for me, so I'm at a loss there. Why a backup fails todo what its asked is always a pain, no?

Before I reach for disk utilities I want to try finding my way back to the functioning Previews that were working.

My thanks again,
Joel
 

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#13
In any case, here are the 2 screen shots you so kindly ask for and I am grateful for your consideration of this problem, which is all the more pressing as I was searching for additional materials for a book for my French publisher and was in the midst of that search.
Joel, we also need the screenshot from Finder of the contents of the Pictures/Lightroom folder. There should be a "Lightroom Catalog-2 Previews.lrdata" package file alongside the "Lightroom Catalog-2.lrcat" file, I'd like to know the size, creation date, and last modification date (so a screenshot of the "Get Info" display would be perfect).

One other question....going back to one of your earlier posts, what actually happens when you start Lightroom with all those drives online? I would expect all those exclamation marks to disappear, and I'd also expect the previews to start appearing in the grid. Does any of that happen, or does the display look the same as in your first screenshot?
 

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#14
Joel, we also need the screenshot from Finder of the contents of the Pictures/Lightroom folder. There should be a "Lightroom Catalog-2 Previews.lrdata" package file alongside the "Lightroom Catalog-2.lrcat" file, I'd like to know the size, creation date, and last modification date (so a screenshot of the "Get Info" display would be perfect).

One other question....going back to one of your earlier posts, what actually happens when you start Lightroom with all those drives online? I would expect all those exclamation marks to disappear, and I'd also expect the previews to start appearing in the grid. Does any of that happen, or does the display look the same as in your first screenshot?
Jim, Before this problem I could open LR on my laptop without any external drive attached and the previews were all visible. Of course to open the DNG file I'd have to enter the file number in my storage drive to retrieve the full image. Now, when I do attach the external drive a strange thing happens - it sees only about 1000 images for some reason (they must have been linked that way from an earlier entry) but ALL the rest remain with the exclamation mark.

I'm attaching two screenshots of the LR Previews, one of which showed up in Pictures, in this one the Preview with the red dot, on 25 November, was probably the last time it was available and fully visible on screen, it also shows the largest Gb number.

I'm sorry for the time delay as I'm writing from Italy
Thank you
Joel
 

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#15
I see 6 catalogs! There should be only one. But before cleaning the Lightroom folder, we need to determine which catalog is the real one.

In chronological order based on time of modification:
Lightroom Catalog-2-2 (Nov 25)
Lightroom Catalog-3 (Nov 26)
Lightroom Catalog-4 (Nov 27)
Lightroom Catalog (Nov 27)
Lightroom Catalog-3-2 (Nov 30)
Lightroom Catalog-2 (Dec 02)

Of them, only "Lightroom Catalog", "Lightroom Catalog-2" and "Lightroom Catalog-2-2" have previews.
Based on the size of the preview folders, "Lightroom Catlog-2" has only few previews. The most accurate seems to be "Lightroom Catalog-2-2".

What happens if you open the catalog "Lightroom Catalog-2-2" by double clicking on the file "Lightroom Catalog-2-2.lrcat" ?
 
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Jim Wilde

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#16
Joel, several questions arise:

1. I count 8 different catalogs that have been used in the past month, so are these all different catalogs (i.e. referencing 8 different sets of images), or are they variations of the same single catalog?

2. When using the "-2" catalog with the drives connected, you say only about 1000 images are showing the previews. That tends to tie in with the relatively small size of the Previews cache, but my expectation is that as you bring blank thumbnails into the Grid or Filmstrip, Lightroom will automatically generate previews for those images, thus you should see the thumbnails start appearing. Does this happen? If not, can I have another screenshot of Lightroom (with the drives connected), showing a Grid of blank thumbnails.

I'm trying to figure out if the problem is with the previews cache, or is it a major "missing images" problem. Understand that Lightroom cannot generate previews if the underlying images are missing.

Phillipe, I'd prefer that we aren't each requesting different things from Joel, that will lead to confusion. I'd like to understand why there are so many catalogs before we take any action regarding switching catalogs.
 
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#17
Ok Jim, no problem. I'll let you manage this.
I agree we need to determine what happened that led to so much catalogs before doing any modification. But opening the catalog does not hurt, the purpose was to determine if it was correct which would mean it's the "original" catalog (which I supect). This would help to understand what happened after.
What is strange is that the suffix -x, like if these catalogs had been created by a LR upgrade, which I don't think it's the case.
 

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#18
Joel, we also need the screenshot from Finder of the contents of the Pictures/Lightroom folder. There should be a "Lightroom Catalog-2 Previews.lrdata" package file alongside the "Lightroom Catalog-2.lrcat" file, I'd like to know the size, creation date, and last modification date (so a screenshot of the "Get Info" display would be perfect).

One other question....going back to one of your earlier posts, what actually happens when you start Lightroom with all those drives online? I would expect all those exclamation marks to disappear, and I'd also expect the previews to start appearing in the grid. Does any of that happen, or does the display look the same as in your first screenshot?
JIM, Here's the info screenshot with the preview.
Joel
 

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#19
JIM, Here's the info screenshot with the preview.
Joel
That's the wrong previews cache, Joel. But no worries at this stage, please work on responding to my last post (#16) and we can move forward from there.
 

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#20
Joel, several questions arise:

1. I count 8 different catalogs that have been used in the past month, so are these all different catalogs (i.e. referencing 8 different sets of images), or are they variations of the same single catalog?

2. When using the "-2" catalog with the drives connected, you say only about 1000 images are showing the previews. That tends to tie in with the relatively small size of the Previews cache, but my expectation is that as you bring blank thumbnails into the Grid or Filmstrip, Lightroom will automatically generate previews for those images, thus you should see the thumbnails start appearing. Does this happen? If not, can I have another screenshot of Lightroom (with the drives connected), showing a Grid of blank thumbnails.

I'm trying to figure out if the problem is with the previews cache, or is it a major "missing images" problem. Understand that Lightroom cannot generate previews if the underlying images are missing.

Phillipe, I'd prefer that we aren't each requesting different things from Joel, that will lead to confusion. I'd like to understand why there are so many catalogs before we take any action regarding switching catalogs.
JIM,
I will line up the drives in a few minutes and send shots as you asked. But before I do that I want to share this screen shot from November 13th when all files were still able to be seen when I opened LR (though notice that the exclamation is visible). I made the screenshot because I wanted to remember WHICH LRcat I was working with, and could count on. It must have been that something made me doubt which one was my active one and I'm guessing I probably saw an upgrade or something like that and maybe made the misstep then.
I really am grateful for your attention and sleuthing.
Joel
 

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#21
Unfortunately, that latest screenshot doesn't really help. For a start, it's from a different catalog (previous screenshots were from the "-2" catalog, not the "-2-2" catalog). Secondly, I can't see the folders panel, so there is no way of knowing whether those images are simply offline or are genuinely missing.

I'm concerned that I'm somewhat shooting in the dark.....I really need to understand why all those catalogs exist, and specifically if they are all variations of the master catalog, or are they referencing completely different sets of images. Are you able to explain how/why you created them all? Without understanding that, I'm concerned that I might end up giving you the wrong advice.
 

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#22
Unfortunately, that latest screenshot doesn't really help. For a start, it's from a different catalog (previous screenshots were from the "-2" catalog, not the "-2-2" catalog). Secondly, I can't see the folders panel, so there is no way of knowing whether those images are simply offline or are genuinely missing.

I'm concerned that I'm somewhat shooting in the dark.....I really need to understand why all those catalogs exist, and specifically if they are all variations of the master catalog, or are they referencing completely different sets of images. Are you able to explain how/why you created them all? Without understanding that, I'm concerned that I might end up giving you the wrong advice.
JIM,
I attached that one because it was almost the last time that I had a properly working LR catalog and Previews. As I mentioned I took that to remind me which catalog was the functioning one at the time. Thus the "-2-2' catalog would be the one I would have wished to go back to, since it was the running master catalog then. I sent that along hoping to clarify record, and I was glad I had made that memo at the time. I may have opened all these other Cat/ Previews when I tried to find out which one was my master and saw that a number of them had fewer files overall.

Here is the shot of the catalog now open with 2 external drives online (one of which has partitions so it seems like 3). You'll see that there are previews that link to full size files, and then the blanks have the exclamation point. The files that are working are from some early folders on the external drive that LR sees, but why it is not seeing what was available before is the puzzle. And it's closer to 7000 images, but far from the 72 k in the catalog. Is there a way to work back to that -2-2 preview?

My gratitude,
Joel
 

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#23
Forget about the previews for now, they are largely irrelevant to the issue, which is determining which is the correct catalog (and also why you have so many!), and then working out why you have all those missing images. You are opening the "-2" catalog, but you appear to think that the "-2-2" catalog should be the one that you need to be using, so why don't you open that one instead (which will then use the "-2-2" Previews file)?

Go ahead and do that, but you must bring all the drives online first....without that you cannot determine how many missing images you have. So bring the drives online, open the "-2-2" catalog, then do Library menu>Find all missing photos, and report back with the number of missing images.
 

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#24
Forget about the previews for now, they are largely irrelevant to the issue, which is determining which is the correct catalog (and also why you have so many!), and then working out why you have all those missing images. You are opening the "-2" catalog, but you appear to think that the "-2-2" catalog should be the one that you need to be using, so why don't you open that one instead (which will then use the "-2-2" Previews file)?

Go ahead and do that, but you must bring all the drives online first....without that you cannot determine how many missing images you have. So bring the drives online, open the "-2-2" catalog, then do Library menu>Find all missing photos, and report back with the number of missing images.
Jim,
Got to sign off for the night. Have a medical thing in the morning. I will try it all the way you propose, and post the next step as it plays out.
I see that I backed up the Macintosh HD before the trip to London, yet when I searched there to try and open it from the backup a pop up said it wouldn't open.
Any thoughts about how I could extract what I need from a backup drive?
Joel
 

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#25
Joel, why are you trying to retrieve a backup catalog? The "-2-2" catalog is right there in the same Lightroom folder as all the other catalogs. Simply try File>Open Recent and see if the Lightroom Catalog-2-2.lrcat appears in the list. If it does, click on it to open it. It it does not appear in the list, do File>Open Catalog and navigate to the Pictures/Lightroom folder and select the catalog file.
 
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