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moving photos in LR does not move them on hard drive

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EliseL

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Hi,

I import my photos from my phone into a folder on my PC Windows 10 hard drive called Recent Import. I then sync that folder with a folder in LR with the same name. I then keyword the photos and then move (drag and drop) them into their ultimate destination folders. However, when I open Windows Explorer it appears that the photos are still in the Recent Import folder on the hard drive, though the Recent Import folder in LR is empty.

I thought moving photos inside LR also moved them on the hard drive? What am I missing?

Thanks for any and all suggestions!
 
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It does. You must make sure that any renaming of files or folders and any movement of files is done in the LR Library module on the left side. If you start moving stuff around in windows you get in trouble fast. (Believe me, I forget and do it all the time and I've been using LR for many years!)
 
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I then sync that folder with a folder in LR with the same name.
Sounds like your photos are copied during this process. As a result, the photos you still see in the Windows 'Recent Import' folder are not the copies that Lightroom is currently using.
 

EliseL

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Sounds like your photos are copied during this process. As a result, the photos you still see in the Windows 'Recent Import' folder are not the copies that Lightroom is currently using.

Hmmm, that makes sense, but Victoria says here "Import new photos searches the folder and subfolders for any new photos not currently in this catalog and imports them."

I appreciate the suggestion!
 

EliseL

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It does. You must make sure that any renaming of files or folders and any movement of files is done in the LR Library module on the left side. If you start moving stuff around in windows you get in trouble fast. (Believe me, I forget and do it all the time and I've been using LR for many years!)
Thanks, Greg, that's exactly why I'm confused! I am moving them in LR but they don't appear to be moved on the hard drive. Mysterious!
 
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Hmmm, that makes sense, but Victoria says here "Import new photos searches the folder and subfolders for any new photos not currently in this catalog and imports them."

I appreciate the suggestion!
I think you are doing something different then what that page says. Like Victoria says, ‘Synchronize Folder’ checks the contents of a folder that is already cataloged in Lightroom, and updates the catalog if there are differences. So if there are images that were added to this folder without Lightroom knowing this, then these images will be added to the catalog. But you said:
I then sync that folder with a folder in LR with the same name.
Synchronizing two folders is something else. You do not say how you synchronize these folders, but this is probably where you are creating copies, because after synchronization both folders will contain the same images. Only one of these folders is cataloged in Lightroom, so if you move images from the cataloged folder into other folders, then the folder that is not cataloged will not change. That is what you see. The folder you are looking at on your hard drive is not the folder with the same name in Lightroom.
 

EliseL

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I think you are doing something different then what that page says. Like Victoria says, ‘Synchronize Folder’ checks the contents of a folder that is already cataloged in Lightroom, and updates the catalog if there are differences. So if there are images that were added to this folder without Lightroom knowing this, then these images will be added to the catalog. But you said:

Synchronizing two folders is something else. You do not say how you synchronize these folders, but this is probably where you are creating copies, because after synchronization both folders will contain the same images. Only one of these folders is cataloged in Lightroom, so if you move images from the cataloged folder into other folders, then the folder that is not cataloged will not change. That is what you see. The folder you are looking at on your hard drive is not the folder with the same name in Lightroom.
Okay, I think I'm following you here. I think I am doing what you say in the first paragraph. Or rather I should say, I MEAN to do what you say in the first paragraph. I synchronize the folder by right clicking on it in the LR panel on the left of my screen. Which I believe is what Victoria is referring to in the page I linked.

Thank you so much for engaging with me on trouble shooting this.
 
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Could you post some screenshots showing the issue? If Lightroom would move a photo from one folder to another in its catalog, but would not move that photo in real life on your disk too, then the result would have to be that the photo becomes ‘missing’ in the catalog. After all, the photo is shown in its new location, but in reality it’s not there. Only massive catalog corruption could show anything else…
 

EliseL

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Could you post some screenshots showing the issue? If Lightroom would move a photo from one folder to another in its catalog, but would not move that photo in real life on your disk too, then the result would have to be that the photo becomes ‘missing’ in the catalog. After all, the photo is shown in its new location, but in reality it’s not there. Only massive catalog corruption could show anything else…
sure! This is the hard drive in WIndows Explorer showing some photos from May.
may hard drive.PNG


This is LR showing the same photos in May. These are all photos that went through the process I outlined and I moved to MAY after they were keyworded
may LR.PNG


This is the Recent Imports folder in LR. It is empty because I used LR to move the photos to other folders (like MAY, above)
recent import LR.PNG


And this is the Recent Imports folder on my hard drive, showing the same photos that have now been moved by LR to other folders.

recent import hard drive.PNG


And, to further complicate things, when I right clicked on the Recnt Import folder in LR just now and told it to sync, it opened the import dialogue like it should but since I have "do not import suspected duplicates" checked, this is what it gave me. None of the photos that I imported and moved show up, so LR recognizes that they are already in its catalogue.

import dialogue.PNG



I'm stumped! Maybe this helps you see something? Thanks so much, and if you are stumped too, no worries. It seems that all the photos are safe, LR is just not behaving as we'd expect. Thank you!
 
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I don’t have a definite answer, but I do notice that the title of the thread is wrong. The title of the thread says the photos aren’t moved on disk, but that is not correct. They were in the ‘Recent Imports’ folder and are now in their dated destination folders. So it seems that the problem is not that the photos weren’t moved at all, the problem is as I suggested: they were not moved but copied. Lightroom does indeed think that they were moved and so it thinks that the ‘Recent Imports’ folder must be empty. That is not so strange, because Lightroom does not have a copy function at all.

It seems to me that this may not be a Lightroom problem but a Windows problem. When Lightroom tries to move photos, it uses Windows routines to do so. So it seems that Lightroom says to Windows “move these photos“, but Windows copies them instead of moving them. I have never seen this, and because I am not a Windows user but a Mac user, I certainly have no explanation.
 
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A couple of things.
--Lightroom isn't copying images from one folder to another on the same drive, it (or Windows, actually) is doing a Rename. Copying can't happen.

--The files that were moved were jpegs, and the files that were mysteriously left all seem to be HEIC. I don't know how HEIC files are handled by Lightroom, but it sounds like only the JPEGs of a HEIC-JPEG pair were actually imported to the catalogue. So moving moved the jpegs and left the HEICs where they were, because LRC didn't know they were there.
 

EliseL

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I don’t have a definite answer, but I do notice that the title of the thread is wrong. The title of the thread says the photos aren’t moved on disk, but that is not correct. They were in the ‘Recent Imports’ folder and are now in their dated destination folders. So it seems that the problem is not that the photos weren’t moved at all, the problem is as I suggested: they were not moved but copied. Lightroom does indeed think that they were moved and so it thinks that the ‘Recent Imports’ folder must be empty. That is not so strange, because Lightroom does not have a copy function at all.

It seems to me that this may not be a Lightroom problem but a Windows problem. When Lightroom tries to move photos, it uses Windows routines to do so. So it seems that Lightroom says to Windows “move these photos“, but Windows copies them instead of moving them. I have never seen this, and because I am not a Windows user but a Mac user, I certainly have no explanation.
Thanks, I really appreciate all the help. Luckily nothing has gone missing, so though I'd like to get to the bottom of it it's not urgent. Thank you!
 
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No Hal, the images that Explorer shows in the dated May folder are HEIC (screenshot 1), and the images left in the Recent Imports folder are also HEIC (Screenshot 4), so Lightroom did not move JPEGs but HEIC. The catalog screenshot (2) doesn’t show the file type however. And of course Windows can copy images between folders!

It did make me think if something else, however, which I think is a more likely explanation. These HEIC images probably come from an iPhone, so wondered how these are synced to the computer and if the following scenario could be true: Lightroom did everything it should, and so the Recent Imports folder was indeed empty shortly after the images were moved. But then they were synced down again from the iPhone to the Recent Imports folder…. Because Lightroom doesn’t know about that, it will still show an empty folder. And if you choose ‘Synchronize Folder’, then Lightroom sees these new images, but it also sees these are duplicates of the images that have already been imported. This would explain everything.
 

EliseL

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No Hal, the images that Explorer shows in the dated May folder are HEIC (screenshot 1), and the images left in the Recent Imports folder are also HEIC (Screenshot 4), so Lightroom did not move JPEGs but HEIC. The catalog screenshot (2) doesn’t show the file type however. And of course Windows can copy images between folders!

It did make me think if something else, however, which I think is a more likely explanation. These HEIC images probably come from an iPhone, so wondered how these are synced to the computer and if the following scenario could be true: Lightroom did everything it should, and so the Recent Imports folder was indeed empty shortly after the images were moved. But then they were synced down again from the iPhone to the Recent Imports folder…. Because Lightroom doesn’t know about that, it will still show an empty folder. And if you choose ‘Synchronize Folder’, then Lightroom sees these new images, but it also sees these are duplicates of the images that have already been imported. This would explain everything.
Good thinking! but not the answer, sadly. I download the photos from ICloud manually into the Recent Imports folder. It is not set up to download automatically or the Recent Imports folder would have thousands and thousands of photos in it.
 
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OK, what you should do is look at this methodically, and not assume anything. Your first assumption (and so the title of this thread) was wrong. The problem is definitely not that Lightroom does not move the images on disk. The problem is that they were copied somehow. Your screenshots 1 and 4 show this clearly. They show two different folders containing the same images, i.e. copies.

I have a new theory. I wonder if you caused this yourself by mistake. If you choose ’Synchronize Folder’, and Lightroom finds new images, then it will show the import dialog (if you select that option). The import dialog will be set to ‘ADD’ at the top, as shown in your last screenshot. I never tried this, but I suppose you can change this to ‘COPY’ (deliberately or inadvertently), just like with any other import. If the destination is then set to the same Recent Import folder, you’ll get copies in that same folder. And if Organize is set to create dated folders, then you’ll get copies in dated subfolders, next to the copies in the root of the folder. At the end of the process, Lightroom will only show the dated folder copies however, not the root copies. And if you then move these copies to a new location, then Lightroom will show an empty Recent Import folder…

Your screenshots suggest that this could well be the problem. Your last screenshot shows that there are dated subfolders in the Recent Import folder. But screenshot 4 shows that the images that are still in the Recent Imports folder are in the root…

So here’s what I would do. Shoot some photos on your iPhone, and import them in the same way. Make sure that you do not change the import dialog from ‘ADD’ to ‘COPY’ when you synchronize the folder. Then move the newly imported images the same way and check if this time everything went as expected. If it did, then you can do a new import again and this time deliberately change the import dialog to ‘COPY’. Just for the fun of it and to check if that does indeed replicate the problem.
 
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Hmmm, that makes sense, but Victoria says here "Import new photos searches the folder and subfolders for any new photos not currently in this catalog and imports them."

I appreciate the suggestion!
The Import dialog has three (4 really) options at the top. "Copy" (And Copy As DNG) will copy the images to the Destination folder in the destination panel creating a copy in the Destination location. "Move" will move the image files from the Source folder to the destination folder. This sounds like the option that you should be using in the Import dialog. The Other choice "Add". will add the images and the folder in the Source panel to the Lightroom catalog.
 
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I agree. Instead of first using Synchronize Folder and then moving the images to another location manually, you can do this in one step by using Import, select the Recent Import as source folder, and then ‘Move’ to the destination where you want them.
 

EliseL

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That's it! My import preset uses "copy as DNG" so it was making copies, just as Johan said. The danger of assumptions.

Thank you all for the help. I am very grateful to have the problem solved. Thank you!!
 
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