smart preview missing after Apple ID logout

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Active Member
Feb 24, 2013
Cape Town, South Africa
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  1. macOS 10.14 Mojave
Hello everybody.
I barely missed a heart attack! I wanted log out of my apple ID because of very limited wifi and even though, a message showed I could not be logged out at this time, my whole desktop was whipped. On the desktop was the LR folder. everything was gone,
However I was able to restore the desktop via timemachine .
Stranger even, when I opened the trash I found the LR catalog in the trash, or shall I say "A" LR catalog. I have now two catalogs, one that is seemingly just created, and a big one, that seems the original.
For now, I deleted the "new" one, and use the one I found in the trash
Now I have the problem, that in the restored catalog the folder "....2019 LR cat -2 Smart Previews.lrdata" is present, BUT none of the smart previews are available if I open the catalog.
I found the smart preview folder in the. "2020-07-23 2126" folder
How do I get my previews back without creating another 57GB folder?


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Just place them in the same folder as the catalog file, and make sure that they are called “catalogname smart previews.lrdata”. In your second screenshot that all seems fine, but in your first screenshot the catalog name has an extra space at the end. I’m not sure what these two screenshot are. If that does not work, then you can always let Lightroom rebuild them.

Finally, ask yoursef why you should have smart previews in the first place. What do you think you need them for? Smart previews are not the same as normal previews, so I wonder if you actually have a problem with not seeing normal previews (images in the grid)?
Hello Johan.
Txs for your speedy reply. I send another screenshot. As far as I can see the smart preview folder is at the right spot???
To answer your question, most of the pics are on separate drives and I try to keep those safe at home. However I was just now in hospital for 8 days and could work my "without keyword" from 6500 to 850. As it is at the moment, most of those pics I can't see as it says "photo is missing"
If I could ask you to be so kind and explain in detail where and how should I move the "smart preview" folder.
As I do not have the external drive with me to create the smart previews I am stuck with maybe 2% of the pics


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Check in the preferences which catalog Lightroom is using on startup. The catalog shown in the second column from the left does not have smart previews, the catalog with the ‘-2’ in its name in the third column does have them. That suggests that Lightroom is using the first catalog right now, while it should perhaps be using the ’-2’ catalog. Launch Lightroom by double clicking on this ‘-2‘ catalog, so you are sure it is using that one.

If the first catalog is the correct one however, then you should move the smart previews to that column and rename them (do note the space at the end of the catalog name).
One more question please. To avoid future mix-ups. How do I make sure that I will only have ONE catalog. I opened LR and closed it with "Back-up this catalog".
Can I delete all folders except the last Backup?
One more question please. To avoid future mix-ups. How do I make sure that I will only have ONE catalog. I opened LR and closed it with "Back-up this catalog".
Can I delete all folders except the last Backup?

In Preferences, you can specify by name the catalog file to be opened when Lightroom Classic starts. When preferences list a specific catalog file it will always be the catalog file that is opened. I think the default for that preferences is the “Last Opened” which is not necessarily the master catalog.

As for Backups, the last GOOD catalog is the one that needs to be saved. I have gone back as far as 6 months to recover keyword assignments that I accidentally deleted. Back up catalog files are compressed ZIP files. They take up very little room. I save my backups to an old otherwise unused EHD. When it gets full, I’ll do housekeeping to remove all but a strategic few backups.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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