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RAW files deleted after export

rbatey

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Hi all, I just spent four hours today editing a group of RAW (Sony arw) photos in a folder from my last import. I selected and exported 32 of the photos as full sized jpegs to a new folder, as I have done countless times over the years, and walked away while LR went to work. When I returned, the selected files were no longer visible in my LR catalog. Starting to panic, I looked for the original files and discovered they had been moved to the trash after the export! I shot RAW + JPEG that day, and all the JPEG files are still in the catalog, only the exported files were deleted. I have been using LR for years and did not know this was even possible!

Fortunately, I can recover the original files from the trash to their original folder, and re import them to LR, but all that editing work is just gone, right? At least I exported full size JPEGs and the export finished successfully, giving me copies with the edits applied..

So now how do I understand what happened and prevent it from happening again? Could I have setup LR to have prevented this? I am an advanced user where the Develop module is concerned, but not so much with the file handling aspects. Is it possible there are new default preferences after an update? I don't see anything in the Export settings, or in the Preferences, that show "delete after export" as an option. I do have Time Machine backing up my system files hourly (including LR catalogs) to an external drive, so I can restore the catalog and will "only" lose the last hour of work. Which is better than losing four hours but still hurts!
 
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Trying to make sense of what you experienced and it's not adding up to anything that should be possible. But, something obviously did happen, we just need to figure out what.

Before re-importing anything, can you tell us what is showing in LR. Does LR still know about the images at all? In other words can you see them in the Library module (search by file name in case they wound up in a different folder). If they are still known to the LR catalog, what does the catalog show as the file type? just JPG, just ARW or both? If there are still catalog entries for those images, is the folder or the images marked as missing? Does the catalog still consider them to be where you last saw them?

I'm not sure what we can do with this added information, but maybe we'll be able to detect something or come up with a way to explain what might have happened. You might also want to give us tech info: Computer type (Mac/Windows), OS version, LR version.
 

rbatey

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Hello Califdan thank you for the reply! I'll try to supply the additional info.

Only the RAW photos selected for export were affected (32 from a folder of 66 raw, jpeg and video files). Those original RAW files are no longer in their original location on external HD, but have been moved by LR to Trash automatically following the export. The thumbnails are no longer showing in the LR catalog anywhere. They do not show up in a text search for the individual file names. LR does not acknowledge their existence. Since I shot RAW + JPEG that day, the JPEG mates are still in the catalog. The folder is not marked as missing, and all other photos from that day are still in the folder. Thinking I may have made an error, I tried the Undo command in LR, but there were no Undo steps available even though I had been working for hours.

Tech Info:
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017) Catalina 10.15.5
Processor: 4.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
Memory: 40 GB 2400 MHz DDR4
Lightroom Classic version: 9.3 [ 202005281810-476e492c ]
Sony ARW files from a7iii
I did not have "auto write to XMP" on in the preferences

LR Export settings: Export location: Choose folder later (exported to a new folder on the internal drive, not the folder holding the originals on external drive). Rename to: unchecked. File settings: JPEG quality 90. Image sizing, Output Sharpening: unchecked. Metadata: Include all metadata. Post processing: Show in finder

I also thought of an additional piece of information that may or may not be relevant.
Earlier today I was working in LR and PS, when both suddenly quit, at the same time, for no apparent reason. Immediately a login window popped up from Adobe saying I needed to log in to my account. It seemed legit, so I clicked OK, they sent two factor authentication code to my phone, I logged into my account, then opened LR and PS again and resumed working. I was annoyed but didn’t give it any further thought. Again, maybe related maybe not.

So far I haven't added anything back to the catalog, added or changed any metadata, or edited any files. I did export another ARW file from the same folder but was unable to reproduce the problem.
 

Dan Marchant

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Were the JPGs you exported from the RAW files in the destination location you selected?
 
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rbatey

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Were the JPGs you exported from the RAW files in the destination location you selected?
Yes, thankfully! So at least all the edits I did were applied to the exported copies.
One more piece of info, when you originally imported the ARW and JPG's did you teart them as one image (LR Default) or treat them as separate images?
"Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos" is always checked
 
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Well, I can't see anything odd about what you did. The sudden quite issue is oddly coincidental, but that too should not affect the physical files on disk. It would be more prone to affecting the catalog. The only thing that I can think of, which I admit is pretty far fetched, is that you accidentally hit the delete key while those RAW images were selected and then somehow selected the "Delete from Disk" option.

Maybe (and again highly unlikely) when LR ":suddenly quit" it didn't really quit it just went black on the screen - like the monitor got disconnected or unlugged -but the keyboard and LR application was still active. This happens a lot to me but usually only lasts for a few to several seconds but on one occasion lasted close to a minute. I don't know what is causing it but I suspect some background process is grabbing all the resources and the display driver goes black waiting for a response from the CPU. But back to you perhaps the monitor cable jiggled loose and you thought everything quit and, while it was blacked out you tried to see what was going on and hit the delete key and left arrow and enter keys, which were accepted by LR even though you couldn't see anything on the screen. Like I said, far fetched, but possible.

Sorry I couldn't come up with anything more likely and wish your luck that it doesn't happen again.
 

rbatey

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Thank you guys for helping me brainstorm what happened! It's sounding like a fluke incident that defies any logical explanation.

And this weird incident gets weirder, yesterday I went to recover the files from the trash...and they were not there! In fact, all photos were missing from the trash, going back several months, leaving behind 57 other files of assorted types. I had to spend the day shooting, so I didn't mess with it further. Today I got back to it again and...447 files in the trash! Explain that! Feels like I am being gaslighted by Adobe! Hopefully it is all just a fluke. Thanks again for your help.
 

rbatey

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Also, I do manual backups of my photos at the end of every day on two external drives (and a third drive off site monthly) and have Time Machine backup my LR catalogs hourly. Unfortunately, I went today to restore from my backup, and learned that those hourly TM backups are only good for 24 hours, then they are consolidated into a daily backup. And sadly, that daily backup was a snapshot "before" the LR data loss. If I had grabbed that backup the same day it would have contained some of my editing work. So one lesson is, make sure you understand exactly what your backups are doing!

But I'm still wondering, any other way I could have prevent this kind of sudden data loss in LR? Would it have preserved all my edits with the deleted files if I were converting raw files to dng upon import, or treating raw + jpegs as one file, or writing to xmp?
 
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Also, I do manual backups of my photos at the end of every day on two external drives (and a third drive off site monthly) and have Time Machine backup my LR catalogs hourly. Unfortunately, I went today to restore from my backup, and learned that those hourly TM backups are only good for 24 hours, then they are consolidated into a daily backup. And sadly, that daily backup was a snapshot "before" the LR data loss.
That doesn't make sense, because that is exactly the purpose of a backup: to go to "before the incident". The consolidated daily backup should also contain the lost images, unless these were added to the computer on the same day that the data loss happened.

You do have to remember how Time Machine works however. Say you move some images from 'Folder A' to 'Folder B'. A few hours later you do something wrong and you lose the images. If you want to retrieve them from yesterdays backup, you have to look in the backup of Folder A, not Folder B, because yesterday there were in Folder A. If you do not realise this, you may be looking in "yesterdays Folder B" and find nothing.
 

LRList001

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Thank you guys for helping me brainstorm what happened! It's sounding like a fluke incident that defies any logical explanation.

And this weird incident gets weirder, yesterday I went to recover the files from the trash...and they were not there! In fact, all photos were missing from the trash, going back several months, leaving behind 57 other files of assorted types. I had to spend the day shooting, so I didn't mess with it further. Today I got back to it again and...447 files in the trash! Explain that! Feels like I am being gaslighted by Adobe! Hopefully it is all just a fluke. Thanks again for your help.
This suggests to me that the disk drive is starting to suffer a failure.
 

rbatey

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That doesn't make sense, because that is exactly the purpose of a backup: to go to "before the incident". The consolidated daily backup should also contain the lost images, unless these were added to the computer on the same day that the data loss happened.

You do have to remember how Time Machine works however. Say you move some images from 'Folder A' to 'Folder B'. A few hours later you do something wrong and you lose the images. If you want to retrieve them from yesterdays backup, you have to look in the backup of Folder A, not Folder B, because yesterday there were in Folder A. If you do not realise this, you may be looking in "yesterdays Folder B" and find nothing.
Thanks! I think I see what you're saying. But LR had moved the original raw files from their original imported location (folders on external drive, organized by date) to the Trash on internal drive. So I was able to find the photos easily enough, what I was hoping to recover was the four hours of editing work done in LR. All that is saved in metadata, within the LR catalog, right? which was thrown out when LR trashed the photos. So I was hoping to find my backup copy of that catalog. But it seems Time Machine consolidates the hourly backups from that day after 24 hours. I found the backup of the LR catalog, done an hour before the incident, but was afraid to recover it right away, so I waited. And that was a mistake. A couple days later I gave it a try, but Time Machine had since consolidated that day's backups, including a snapshot of my LR catalog from "after" the incident.
 
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. But LR had moved the original raw files from their original imported location (folders on external drive, organized by date) to the Trash on internal drive..
. Lightroom did not do that on its own. There is no process to move image files in Lightroom except to another place in the Folder panel.


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I have to agree with Clee. Not that it helps, but Lightroom does not trash photos all by itself. This must have been user error. Edits you made on the same day just before the incident, can indeed disappear from the consolidated backup, so I see no way to retrieve that now.
 
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