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Old 2nd January 2017
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Lightroom: Folders, develop settings and metadata gone

Hi,

I know this is not a forum for discussing third party SW issues, however some people on this friendly forum may have gone through similar issue as I have recently experienced.

While in the process of reviewing and maintaining my photo library in Lightroom I noticed the other day that two folders (and all their subfolders) are no longer listed in Lightroom library. These photos are from early 2015. The folders and files still stored on the file system, though. I have not intentionally removed the folders from the Lightroom library but somehow they are no longer there.

So I took the plunge and imported the ORF files again. The annoying issue is that there are quite a few thousand of files in these folders and it took me quite a few hours editing/developing and tagging them and I would like to avoid having to do that again.

The metadata tags are still displayed in the list (listed as used by 0 files). Applying the tags again is not fun but doable with a reasonable amount of effort.

Developing the photos is much more time consuming though.

The strange thing is that somehow the Lightroom develop settings for each photo are still somehow memorized by Lightroom, but are not applied correctly. To try to describe what is happening after opening the folder/s.
  1. In the overview pane are displayed thumbnails of the full frames, with latest import develop settings applied
  2. Now, when selecting a thumbnail, for a brief moment the photo is displayed with the develop settings that were applied last time I worked with the photo. I am 100% of this as I have exported JPGs of all photos and it's quite obvious that Lightroom somehow remembers what cropping, exposure, toning etc. were applied - but only for a brief moment.
  3. After that brief moment the photo is displayed with the latest Import settings again. Back to square 1.

Is there a way to restore these develop settings without putting the entire library at risk? I still have backups of all .lrcat catalogs that were created over time, however I cannot remember when was the last time the photos were still in the library so it is hard to say what backup file to use for that purpose. Same question for the metadata/tags.

I should probably also mention I use Lightroom 5.

Thanks,
Tord
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Old 3rd January 2017
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Re: Lightroom: Folders, develop settings and metadata gone

Tord,
Restoring a backed-up .lrcat file shouldn't cause any risk to your library.
Assuming you shoot RAW files, do you also save your LR edits to a .XMP sidecar file or just keep the edits recorded in the LR catalogue?

If you have XMP files, it might be worth making a backup of these prior to using a older .lrcat file.

Also, if you have XMP files you could try selecting all the images in one of your smaller missing sub-folders and then applying the LR "Read metadata from files" command to see whether this re-applies your develop settings & tags etc.

Hope this helps
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Old 3rd January 2017
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Re: Lightroom: Folders, develop settings and metadata gone

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the reply, easy to follow your reasoning.

I have unfortunately not saved the metadata in sidecar files. If I had it would have been an easy task. (Lesson learned).

The Lightroom backup contains many .lrcat folders and I cannot remember when was the last time the missing folders were listed in Lightroom, and furthermore the files in the missing folders were worked on during the course of quite long time, several months. So it's a bit of guessing involved.

What will happen if I restore a backup that does not contain the latest and greatest metadata? And what will happen with the photos I have added to the library since then/that did not exist in the library when the backup was created?

Furthermore I know I have moved quite a few folders across hard disks and I cannot remember precesily which folders were moved and when. I suppose this would be a risk and cause even worse issues, ending up with a corrupt library?

/Tord

/Tord
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Re: Lightroom: Folders, develop settings and metadata gone

Tord,
  1. So long as you make a backup of the catalogue as it is now, and don't change the folder/file structure containing your images, you'll be able to get back to your current situation (even if this is currently not entirely satisfactory).
  2. I also suggest you secure the last .lrcat backup created prior to your recent re-import of the 'missing' folders.
You will almost certainly get a more definitive answer to resolving your problem by asking for assistance on the 'Lightroom Forums' website; see
https://www.lightroomforums.net/
...they are a helpful bunch of folk.

After securing an up-to-date lrcat backup, try experimenting by loading the catalogue from earlier backups to find the point at which your folders 'disappeared'.
You can do this repeatedly using different backups.

When you've found this point in time, I suggest you then Google "merge lightroom catalogs" and follow the results to combine your pre re-imported catalog (i.e. using above-mentioned item 2 as the master) with parts of the latest .lrcat backup that contains the missing folders.

I'm assuming from your original post that the folders you had lost did not appear at all in the LR Folder tree (as distinct from being flagged as 'Missing' ).

Once you've successfully recovered your catalogue, remember that you should only relocate image folders from within Lightroom.
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