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Saving the life of a corrupted catalog

captdennislee

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Hi, I have a large LR work catalog that became corrupted after I moved it to a LaCie mirroring program.

The 135,000 file catalog was originally about 150-200GB in size and living on my laptop, suddenly reduced itself to 14GB after attempting to 'rebuild' the catalog. Unfortunately the mirrored catalog on the LaCie backup also started reducing itself and I was able to stop it from 'mirroring' at around 90GB.

Every preview is missing except for what's currently connected via HD in either the original or mirrored catalog. Is there any way to save (any of) this catalog before starting to rebuild file by file?

I have one file called TemporaryRepairCatalog Preview.lrdata that is close to 60GB in size.

Is there any way that I can tie this repair catalog into what's remaining of the original LR catalog?

Or do I need to start from scratch and rebuild the entire thing?

My latest backup is about a year old.

Thanks

Dennis
 
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Previews being missing is no big deal as long as the catalog itself is ok. Try renaming the Preview.lrdata, make sure it opens ok. If it does, when you go to bed tonight, select all and go to Library menu > Previews > Build Standard Sized Previews.
 

captdennislee

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Thank you Victoria.

Rename the 'TemporaryRepairCatalog Preview.lrdata' to 'Preview.lrdata?'

Then restart the catalog and see if the missing previews open in a smaller size? Right now every file is a gray black with exclamation mark above it.

Before this happened I came to this site wanting to learn about these files and how they work in regard to LR. Can you tell me which of your ebooks describes all of this?

Thank you.

d
 
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Right now every file is a gray black with exclamation mark above it.
Oh hang on, an exclamation mark in a rectangle? Or in a black circle?

It's the Missing FAQ that covers all this stuff for Lightroom Classic.
 

captdennislee

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It's the exclamation mark in a dotted gray rectangle.
I renamed the Temporary catalog to match the current catalog and about a 3rd of the previews came back.
I have some backups from a while ago is it possible to merge the preview catalogs?
I'll be checking out your Missing FAQ's ebook, but I have a feeling I've lost about 12 years of work here. At least the catalog appears to be good order and still has all my 'collections.'
Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you.
 
Last edited:

captdennislee

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I have a more recent LR backup on my Time Machine. It's about a month old. Is there any way to update 'collections' from one catalog to another?
Or would this need to be a strictly manual process?
What a disaster and all because I was trying to keep an accurate, up to date, copy...
 
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...but I have a feeling I've lost about 12 years of work here. At least the catalog appears to be good order and still has all my 'collections.'
If the catalog is OK, and the images are still in place, you've lost nothing other than the time it will take to rebuild the previews. Understand that the previews cache can be deleted and rebuilt at any time, they are just previews of the images (and are constantly being updated as images are edited), the crucial data about the edits is stored in the catalog which can then be used to rebuild previews as needed.

However, the exclamation mark indicates that some at least of the images are "missing", and that's what you need to concentrate on first. So, open the catalog and post a screenshot of the left-hand panel in the Library module with the Catalog and Folders Panels open, hopefully we'll see an obvious and easy-to-fix issue.
 

captdennislee

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Thanks Jim. I feel like my biggest problem is not understanding the hierarchy and labelling of the preview caches. I have backups of entire catalogs at different periods of time that have Previews from all the older work, I just do not know how to re-combine them into one coherent catalog... or if that's even possible.

The files live in my LR catalog primarily as Smart previews as the originals are spread out over 20+ hard drives spanning at least 12 years. This is a perfect time for me to re-organize all of these file and accumulate ALL the folders and images in one place... or as much as 4TB can hold.

What I would really like right now is to be able to just get the catalog back up and running with all the preview images (and not blank gray boxes) in case the client needs something. Know what I mean? I can always connect to the original folder and rebuild Smart or 1:1 previews, but with pages and pages of gray it's hard (not impossible) to know where stuff is. Fortunately I have a pretty extensive 'collections' section where I can locate stuff in general terms.

I really wish I understood how I might use these older preview folders I have at hand.

I hope that helps explain my situation.
 

Roelof Moorlag

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I feel like my biggest problem is not understanding the hierarchy and labelling of the preview caches.
I can understand that but for now these previes caches are not important at all. As Jim pointed out, these can be rebuild.
Those exlamation marks are to worry about however. Focus on that first and the rest later.

Two things are important; the catalog (the .lrcat file) and the images. If you have backups of both, you don't have to worry to much.
As Jim asked; post some screenshots
 

captdennislee

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I can understand that but for now these previes caches are not important at all.

Two things are important; the catalog (the .lrcat file) and the images. If you have backups of both, you don't have to worry to much.
As Jim asked; post some screenshots
Ok, I'll post the screen shot below.

I think you guys are failing to understand my dilemma. I am not worried about the files, they are backed up and fine. The recent .lrcat appears fine and I have a couple backups of it. What I'm missing is all my previews. I know that previews can be rebuilt, but look at all those hard drives on the left.

Is there any way to combine Preview caches from previous copies of this LR catalog to rejuvenate the missing Previews without rebuilding them from the original files?

For example. I have a complete copy of the catalog from October 2019 that has all my previews for missing older stuff intact. Is there any way to take those preview caches and add them to the current LRCAT that I am rebuilding to regain the missing previews?

Thanks,

d

Lightroom page.jpeg
 

captdennislee

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So for example. Here are files from a copy I made of my working LR catalog back in October 2019. I had to upgrade the catalog (yellow dot) to the current LR version (green dot).

Could I take this large file: Smart Previews 2.lrdata (5/6/14) 110.82GB and add these Smart files to the catalog I am rebuilding?

Would I need to take Helper.lrdata or other files along as well?

Could this possibly work? If so, what would I need to do regarding changing names etc?

Thank you.

Files from 10:19 lrcat.jpeg
 

Roelof Moorlag

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think you guys are failing to understand my dilemma.
I think its the other way arround, you are missing rhe point. Those preview files do not offer you a quick sollution. So don’t bother and let them simply rebuild again. It only does take some time.
 

captdennislee

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I think its the other way arround, you are missing rhe point. Those preview files do not offer you a quick sollution. So don’t bother and let them simply rebuild again. It only does take some time.
No offense Roelof but I don't think you looked at my catalog. There are over 139,000 files on 14 different hard drives... No, being able to re-install existing Previews would be MUCH easier.

I just spent over two hours reinstalling one hard drive. The previews haven't even been built yet. Dragging and relabelling a Smart Preview file with 110GB worth of previews in it would definitely be the way to go. I just don't know how to do it.

d
 

PhilBurton

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No offense Roelof but I don't think you looked at my catalog. There are over 139,000 files on 14 different hard drives... No, being able to re-install existing Previews would be MUCH easier.

I just spent over two hours reinstalling one hard drive. The previews haven't even been built yet. Dragging and relabelling a Smart Preview file with 110GB worth of previews in it would definitely be the way to go. I just don't know how to do it.

d
As someone with no "dog in this fight," I think you would better served taking a conservative approach. I concur with Roelof here.

If you search my postings, I did a writeup about a year ago explaining how the OP for this thread could consolidate six drives' worth of photos onto one much larger hard drive. In your case, you might need a RAID array for your storage needs. Western Digital now makes 12 and 14 TB desktop (3.5") drives, and you can save money by buying a RAID enclosure and populate it yourself.

Yes you would be left over with those other drives, but to me 14 drives is a logistical nightmare, especially for backup.

Phil Burton
 

captdennislee

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Phil, since nobody is giving me advice on 'HOW' to re-instate the Preview and Smart Preveiw files that I have, I am forced to take this approach.

I agree with you though that having it all together in one place is a far better solution and that is what I have begun to do. On a new 4TB HD I have the catalog and am copying all files onto that same drive. It's a laborious process. First transferring the data to the new drive then assigning the images to the new location. In the long run I think it will be worth it but it's very time consuming at the moment. I'm working newest to oldest. Since work is scattered throughout the 14 former drives the 4TB could come close to being enough space. Fingers crossed.

For the time issue and a general dislike for the way the new technique is associating the files in the 'Folders' portion of LR I am also rebuilding another copy of the original LR catalog in it's original form. This does go faster and as Victoria suggested I will just let it run through the night building previews at 2 stars and above.

The biggest puzzle to me is 'how did this happen?' I have to assume it was the LaCie mirror backup that corrupted the file and then somehow erased a huge portion of the data. The original catalog had to shut down for a corrupted file, which I hardly ever saw before. But it had been happening ever since I put it in the LaCie mirror folder for backup a week or so ago.

I set LR to work rebuilding/fixing the corrupt file on my computer and when I came back my 190GB LR catalog was 14GB! I immediately shut down 'mirroring' to the HD but it was too late. The duplicate had also been depleted by close to 100GB. I have no idea where all the data went. I noticed it because the computer had been running low on free space (about 15GB) and I had the Picture folder open and it said there was 175GB available on the computer! You might be able to imagine my panic. This is just another punch in the terrible streak of bad luck I've been having... I barely care anymore, it's the wasted time to rebuild that really sucks. There is other work to be done.

But the question remains, where or where did it go?

d
 
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Just for the record, you cannot "merge" existing preview caches, all you can do is replace the current cache with a different version of the same cache to see if that helps at all. So rebuilding makes the most sense to me, though I understand the difficulty that would cause if you have the original files spread over 14 different drives which are not always online. However, I assume you can connect several drives at the same time, in which case a methodical approach to rebuilding both caches would be the approach that I would take.
 

captdennislee

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Just for the record, you cannot "merge" existing preview caches
Thanks Jim, that's what I had been wondering. I see some cache's followed by the number two and I thought they may be consecutive sets of previews. But I guess not. Which is to be discarded? The one that ends in Smart Previews.Lrdata or the one that ends in Smart Previews 2.lrdata?

Also, what is the significance of the LR catalog saying 'readOnly'?

I'm rebuilding the cache now on the repaired catalog. I figure it will take a few good nights. I'm also creating another version of the catalog that will have all the files on board on the same drive. The latter will take more time but will get there eventually.

Thanks to all who commented here.

d
 
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The caches names reflect the catalog name.....so if you have a catalog named Lightroom Catalog-2.lrcat, the library preview cache will be named Lightroom Catalog-2 Previews.lrdata, and the smart previews cache will be Lightroom Catalog-2 Smart Previews.lrdata. The "-2" on the catralog name happens whenever the catalog is upgraded during a version upgrade......it's not untypical for catalogs to have names ending "-2-2-2-2".

I would think that the "readOnly" bit is user added, not added by Lightroom.
 
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No offense Roelof but I don't think you looked at my catalog. There are over 139,000 files on 14 different hard drives... No, being able to re-install existing Previews would be MUCH easier.
. Previews are not important in the long term. In Catalog Settings, there are settings to determine the standard size, quality and the retention period of 1:1 previews. Lightroom can automatically discard 1:1 previews in as little as 1 week.
You have a catalog of ~140,000 images. There is no need to have a preview available (and taking up disc space for all 140.000 images. You just need previews for just the ones that you might look at on a short term basis (during processing). Once you are finished with the day to day use of the image and have exported or printed these, you really don't need a preview for something that you might never look at again. If you do need to pull up an old image (for a new print or new export. Lightroom will build the needed preview on the fly. So, in short, you don't need ~140,000 preview images in three sizes. Your panic to recreate Previews is unwarranted. As long as your master catalog file is intact and there are backup copies of that master catalog file ("*.lrcat") you will not lose anything that Lightroom can't recreate from your master image files as needed BY LIGHTROOM.
 

captdennislee

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Cletus, I appreciate everyones feeling that Previews can be easily rebuilt, I understand that, but why doesn't anyone agree that being able to drag a backup preview file in place would be quite simple if possible.

This is an entirely client based catalog that gets referred to constantly, secondary files are re-evaluated all the time as tastes and needs change.

I'm rebuilding this catalog by making Smart previews for everything 2 stars and above. But really I'll eventually want to get back to one star selects as well.

It's a lot of computer time that could be spent doing other work. It just fascinates me how quickly you all say to 'rebuild' rather than 'Yeah, you can use that 100GB Preview file you saved a month ago by doing this and this... and save hours of work' I mean it's the first recommendation that Victoria made but I don't have the background to understand her short explanation. So I'm spending hours here rebuilding instead. Ridiculous if you ask me. No offense, but why don't you guys get this?
 
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Cletus, I appreciate everyones feeling that Previews can be easily rebuilt, I understand that, but why doesn't anyone agree that being able to drag a backup preview file in place would be quite simple if possible. .
Previews can easily be rebuilt is why

This is an entirely client based catalog that gets referred to constantly, secondary files are re-evaluated all the time as tastes and needs change.

I'm rebuilding this catalog by making Smart previews for everything 2 stars and above. But really I'll eventually want to get back to one star selects as well.
Previews Are NOT a part of the Catalog. You are rebuilding the Previews and as many have pointed out the previews are not needed for every file
It's a lot of computer time that could be spent doing other work. It just fascinates me how quickly you all say to 'rebuild' rather than 'Yeah, you can use that 100GB Preview file you saved a month ago by doing this and this... and save hours of work' I mean it's the first recommendation that Victoria made but I don't have the background to understand her short explanation. So I'm spending hours here rebuilding instead. Ridiculous if you ask me. No offense, but why don't you guys get this?
You said it your self, “It's a lot of computer time that could be spent doing other work”. Ignore the Previews issue. It was never an issue. Lightroom will rebuild the previews that IT needs when you request an image in Loupe or grid view. It takes very little time to do this while you are using Lightroom Classic. Or You can Select images in your master catalog and rebuild previews overnight from the menu bar. The Only preview folder that you need is the one that is named for your Master Catalog file. The others in your list only take up unnecessary disk space.
In the time that you have spent already you could have rebuild the Previews folder for your master catalog




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

captdennislee

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Cletus, if the catalog is not tied to a hard drive supporting the files, which mine almost never is, Smart Previews are a very big deal and yes, they are needed for every file that I may want or need to look at.

The process of rebuilding is happening now and will be complete soon enough. My point, again, is that had someone helped me understand how to rename and load a 'saved' Smart Preview file I would have moved it over and just updated the most recent work. I could have been done an hour after the purge.

But, nobody other than Victoria suggested that I do that. I thank Victoria because apparently we were on the same page, unfortunately I did not fully understand her procedure so it did not work.

Not everyone works like you do. I will end up with Smart previews for half the files I had before, which will be great space wise. We will have to wait and see how well it works out for me in the long run. It will be like a slim-line catalog which hopefully will be fine.

It just would have been nice to have had some support for doing what I wanted to do and what was recommended by Victoria in the first response, rather than being told by everyone to rebuild, rebuild, rebuild.

I would still LOVE to fully and clearly understand the procedure Victoria outlined in her response. I suspect it could be very helpful in the future. So if any of you guys would share that procedure with me, that would be great.

Thanks,

Dennis
 

Gnits

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I agree with Cleetus and all who say you should rebuild your previews. Doing anything else is a massive waste of time, but what is worse, there is no guarantee after all that time that you will have a valid set of previews.

Further, it is entirely possible that the various preview folders you have could contain orphan previews or other rubbish, which will confuse Lightroom when it tries to use it.

As a matter of routine, I delete all my previews every year or so and let Lr rebuild what it needs. I have an extremely tidy set up, with my catalog (and previews) on a dedicated ssd drive and all my images on a fast single external drive with lots and lots of spare capacity for future use. If I had my images spread over 11 drives I would definitely not try to manually rebuild my previews.

However, if that is what you want to do then that is your choice.
 

captdennislee

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The rebuild is well under way and will probably be complete later today or tomorrow. I am creating a new database at the same time with all the pertinent files in one place and eventually linked to one catalog. I am taking Cletus' advice as mentioned and only rebuilding my top two or three levels of edits depending on content.

I will need assistance when this is all complete on which of the old files to discard.

Thanks. d
 
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