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What fields does LRC compare to see if metadata is in conflict?


Active Member
Mar 14, 2009
Lightroom Version
Operating System
  1. Windows 10
At some point, I wound up with almost 1,400 metadata (MD) conflicts in my 22k+ images. I did just upgrade to V10....but I don't know if that was a cause
As far as I recall, I've always made metadata changes in LR - not in the original file.
So, I have no idea how the conflicts arose.
And, because I don't know which SPECIFIC MD fields are in conflict, I don't know if I should select the LR MD or the file MD.

There are dozens of metadata fields in LR and in the original file. Does LR report a "conflict" if only one of those fields changes?
I'm not sure if "caption" is in both, but I'd like to use it as an example.
If my caption is "Bill in front of a fountain in Rome" and in the original file I change that to "Billy in front of a fountain in Rome" (I've added a single character and changed nothing else), will that generate a "conflict" status for that image?

Hoping for advice from someone who is familiar with metadata conflicts.
Jun 20, 2009
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
It is not so easy to figure out. The files contain a tag to indicate if the data has been modified and the date the modification took place. I SUSPECT but cannot prove that Lightroom compares this date with the date stored in the catalog when Lightroom last modified the metadata. If the date on the file is newer, then LrC flags this as a metadata conflict. Your backup program will often update this Modified Data Tag (MDT) to track the need to back up this image file if the MDT was changed since the last system backup occurred. Other apps can “touch” the file, make no changes and update the MDT.

On export, LrC will take all of the metadata from the catalog so the metadata state in the original file is redundant and can be obsolete. For this reason, I do not bother with trying to keep my original files in sync with the metadata in the catalog.

Just to show you how unimportant the original metadata is after importing, the cloudy version of Lightroom does not even offer a choice to sync metadata in the library with metadata originally stored in the source file.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Apr 3, 2012
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
LR often reports spurious metadata conflicts. If you haven't used an external program to modify the photo files, you can safely ignore the conflicts. Or you can get rid of them by doing Metadata > Save Metadata to File and choosing Overwrite Settings (which will write the catalog metadata back to the file).

If you're not sure whether you used an external program, it can be very painful to determine if the conflict is spurious or real. You'll have to make a copy of the photo file or its .xmp sidecar (if it's raw), then do Metadata > Save Metadata To File, and then use a utility like Exiftool to compare the dozens of metadata fields and develop settings in the two versions of the file.