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Problems using external drive with photos & LR catalog on 2 PCs.

Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
3
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic version 10
Operating System
Windows 10
I have just updated to LR Classic 10 and have had some catalog problems.

I have been editing a lot of photos from a 3 month trip last year and have all of the photos as well as the LR catalogs on a 2.5" external USB drive. I imported them each day while on the trip and started editing on my notebook PC and when at home I plug the external drive into my desktop PC and edit using the same catalog. The external drive is drive E: on both computers. I keep the notebook PC at work and bring the external drive to work and edit photos in quiet times (I run my own small business). Several times I have had problems with disk errors and have copied all files to a new portable HDD each time rather than doing a disk clone and all seems good for a while. I always shut down the computers before removing the drive.

I upgraded LIghtroom to v10 a few days ago while on the notebook computer and it upgraded the catalog. When I returned home I upgraded LR to v10 before connecting the external drive and then when I plugged it in I had to select the upgraded catalog with "v10" added to the name by LR and was able to continue editing. The next day when I connected the drive to the notebook PC an error message came up that it couldn't read the catalog file. I restarted the computer and it then opened the LR catalog properly and I was able to edit more photos. The same thing happened when I returned home last night and I was able to open LR after rebooting the PC. Today while on the notebook PC LR opened and I was able to edit more photos. I find that LR often slows down on both computers after a few hours so I closed LR and restarted the computer. Since then I have had an "Unexpected Error opening catalog" message and despite restarting several times I cannot open the catalog. I am now getting an error message: "The Lightroom catalog "2019 Europe - v10" is corrupt and cannot be used or backed up until it is repaired". When I click on "Repair Catalog" I get "Lightroom encountered problems reading or writing from disk when attempting to repair "2019 Europe - v10"" and when I try again the same thing happens.

I have run CHKDSK on the external drive several times today and CHKDSK shows "Corruption was found while examining files in directory ...Lightroom Export/ and then after each entry "cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the drive." Each time I run CHKDSK I get the same messages so the files mustn't have been cleaned up by CHKDSK. When I export from LR I have a "Lightroom Export" folder inside the folder I am editing (I have a separate folder for each place we visited). All of these CHKDSK corruption messages are about the same folder. Last week when copying files from this Lightroom Export folder I had a few photos that would not copy and were corrupted so I went back to LR and exported those same photos again and that worked and I was able to copy all of the re-edited photos to another drive.

I have LR set up to back up the catalog every day so I have a backup from last night. I have never used a Lightroom backup but have done a search on using a backup catalog file. Before I do I would appreciate suggestions on whether it would be better to use a 3.5" powered external USB drive or an external SSD in place of the 2.5" external USB drives I have been using.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
941
Location
UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Hi Ken and welcome to the Forums!

In terms of using a backup catalog, it's pretty straightforward, check the instructions on page 64 of your Classic book (new edition page number)

It does sound like the external disk is a problem, though. Personally, for mobility, I use an external 2.5" SSD for similar situations to yours. However, Windows experts will doubtless be able to offer better opinions on the powered / USB powered options.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
2,152
Location
Puget Sound
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
I have LR set up to back up the catalog every day so I have a backup from last night. I have never used a Lightroom backup but have done a search on using a backup catalog file. Before I do I would appreciate suggestions on whether it would be better to use a 3.5" powered external USB drive or an external SSD in place of the 2.5" external USB drives I have been using.
Each has their strengths and you should choose based on your needs. If you need portability and/or speed, then the SSD is going to be a better choice. For size, it is hard to beat a 3.5" spinner. In either event, the key will be good backup management and no buying a cheap drive. For SSD's, my preference is Samsung. I have several T5 drives, and I believe there is a newer generation based on NVMe technology which is even faster. You could also place a 2.5" SSD in a case and use it externally. I have a couple of Samsung 850 EVO Pros that I use in my machines and they would also make a good drive if you don't mind casing them. Yes, there are other good brands, but as I do not have personal experience with them, I do not want to recommend anything specific.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
3
Thanks to you both for your replies. I have purchased a Samsung T5 2TB drive and copied the photos and used the most recent Lightroom backup and all seems good now.

When I travel I have been using three 2.5" portable drives and making 3 backup copies of all photos each night and have used one of the drives to do Lightroom edits while the other two just have the photo backups. Since returning home I continued using the drive I use for editing between the two computers and a few months ago I was making backup copies onto other new 2.5" drives and then started using a backup copy to continue editing while putting away the original editing drive. A month later I made another copy and started editing on that. As I mentioned in my original post I was getting corruption errors when doing a CHKDSK on the drive and when I checked the other backup editing drive I was using the month before it also had the same corruption errors, all on edited saved JPG photos in the "Lightroom Export" folder but none showed up in original photos. Yesterday I ran CHKDSK on the original editing drive I was using before I started using backup copied drives and it has no errors so that's reassuring.

I've always kept multiple copies of all original photos, including on 3.5" external drives at home and realise that I also need to keep copies of the LR catalog on multiple drives as well to ensure I don't lose all edits in the event of a total drive failure.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
3
I've been using the external Samsung T5 2TB drive for a few weeks now and have again been having a few problems with the LR Catalog and also with corrupt exported jpg files over the last few days. When I export saved edited files I save in a "Lightroom Export" folder in the same folder as the original photos. For files saved on my desktop PC I append files names with "_01" and for files saved on my notebook PC that I use at work I append file names with "_1" so I know which PC the photos were edited and saved on.

A couple of days ago I had a large number of corrupt edited files and it was only photos edited and saved on the desktop PC with the "_01" suffix that are affected. I also had to use a backup catalog yesterday when starting LR on the notebook PC when it had trouble reading the file saved the evening before on the desktop PC. This had happened previously on other external HDDs as well as the new external SSD but I hadn't previously noticed that it was linked to the desktop PC.

I am now thinking that I must have a problem on this PC either with USB connected drives or with the Lightroom installation on this PC. I have tried using different USB cables and also different USB sockets on the PC. I update LR Classic every time there is an update. I do find that each time I start LrC on this PC I get "Updating develop presets to XMP" and then "All custom develop presets were successfully converted to XMP" whereas on the notebook PC this does not happen.

I would appreciate thoughts on trying to re-install LrC and if that does not help I guess I have to investigate what to do to have USB connections on the PC checked out. If I reinstall LrC will it remember where presets etc are located or will I have to do that again?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Ken
 
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