The File Could Not Be Opened issue

Adam Gibson

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This has been happening more often, especially since version 12, but it happened with 11 too. I can't predict when it will happen. Some advice was to delete the "lrcat.lock" file while LR is open, then close and reopen the program. It sometimes works for a while, but "The File Could Not Be Opened" error message ultimately repeats. I'm on Windows 10. Any tricks I should know about?
 
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One other thought. Some backup programs put a lock on files as they are being backed up. As the Catlog file and get a bit beefy, it may take several minutes or more to back it up - especailly to the cloud - and if you attempt to open LrC during that time it may not be able to open the catalog in read/write mode as the backup tool has it locked.
 

Adam Gibson

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I close the program correctly. And it happens in the middle of working. Sometimes it's been open for 30 minutes before it happens. I hoped it was a common issue.
 
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Is there any indication as to what file it is having trouble opening? I'll assume for now that it is the catalog.

What drive is your catalog on? Internal drive? external drive?

Is the folder containing the catalog mirrored or synched with another drive (other than through Time Machine) or some cloud service?
 

Adam Gibson

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Thank you for continuing to follow up with me. There's no indication of the issue. The drive is the internal C drive, which on Windows is the main drive. The entire folder is synced with Dropbox, as are all my files, so I can work in multiple locations with access to everything. I've been doing that for many years, but this issue cropped up only in the last few months.
 
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The entire folder is synced with Dropbox
While many people use Dropbox to sync LR catalogs among machines, there's been a steady trickle of forum posts like yours over the years about problems with it. Neither LR nor the underlying database used for the catalog (SQLite) was designed with such background syncing in mind.
 
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I think there have been infrequent posts about all the cloud-based syncing services (not surprising since technically, they're very similar). The same boilerplate advice has been provided over the years: Exit LR and then verify that Dropbox/etc. has completely synced before starting LR on the other computer. That avoids some problems but probably not all.
 
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the issue occurs WHILE I've been using LR for a bit. On one computer.
As Califdan mentioned, there are issues with multiple programs trying to read and write the file at the same time. I recall that on Windows, if one program is reading a file when another tries to write it, by default the second will get an error from Windows. So if the Dropbox background service happens to be trying to read a file when LR tries to write it, LR could choke.

When such unexpected errors occur, like many programs, LR isn't very good at communicating the actual low-level error message or even which file is affected, and sometimes it gives very misleading high-level errors. You could enable some of LR's internal logging with the -traceback option and when the error occurs, post the complete log here. It's a little involved setting up -traceback on Windows:
https://community.adobe.com/t5/ligh...publish-quot-regression/idc-p/13384527#M39307
 
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I might suggest an experiment.

  1. Close LrC
  2. copy the catalog and associated files/folders to another location on your "C:" drive that is not synced with Drop Box.
  3. Use LrC from this Non-Dropbox folder for a few days and see if the issue re-occurs. If it runs normally, then you have your answer. If you still get the problem then DropBox is probably innocent unless DropBox is also managing folders where LrC stores temp files and cache's.
  4. If you want to use LrC on a different computer, with LrC closed, copy those same files/folders back to the DropBox managed folder and wait for it to sync to the DropBox server.
 
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Perhaps another way to test whether there's a conflict with Dropbox is to temporarily stop Dropbox whenever you run LR. I'm not sure on Windows, but in the Mac Dropbox's settings General tab, there is a setting Start Dropbox On System Startup. Unchecking that and restarting the computer will prevent Dropbox from running in the background.
 

Adam Gibson

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Excellent suggestions. Thank you! I'll start with simply disabling Dropbox while editing, and see it the error occurs. Seems like the simplest method.
 
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