Skip to main content
Adobe Photoshop Family

4 Messages

 • 

120 Points

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 3:49 PM

Solved

Lightroom: LR 2 catalog corrupted after power failure. Need help with recovery.

My computer crashed during a sudden storm last night and Lighroom 2 was running. The catalog is now corrupt, and I really need it fixed. I followed the prompts to correct the corruption, and it didn't work. Can you please help me?

Responses

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

9 years ago

All I know to do is fetch a backup, then reimport new photos (if you've saved xmp, then edits will be intact, although you'll lose virtual copies...) If you haven't saved xmp, then hopefully you will from now on...

Others know more and can do more...

Employee

 • 

166 Messages

 • 

3K Points

9 years ago

I can try to help. While my e-mail addresses are fairly broadly proliferated at this point (lots of people find me via Google searches and forum threads on this topic), I'll send you a private message with instructions.

DT

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

9 years ago

Lightroom catalog is highly vulnerable to this kind of corruption. Its a critical file that's constantly being written. I'm not sure how other apps handle this, or what can be done to alleviate in say Lr4, but some ideas for now:

1. Battery backup if you live in a place with intermittent power (or if you have extra money ;-}
2. Backup catalog each time Lightroom starts, or shuts down, (and/or after a large round of edits...).
3. Remember to also back up smart collections, presets, preferences, etc...
4. Periodically (or automatically) save xmp as you work (CustomMetadata will save custom metadata, xEmP will save virtual copies, for restoral in the future should the need arise).

Note: DNGs are also vulnerable when xmp is being written - if power lost while xmp is being updated, you may end up with a forever corrupt / unreadable / uneditable photo. This is one of the many reasons I prefer a sidecar for metadata that's constantly being written and re-written - worst case you have to re-save metadata or lose most recent edits, but you'll never lose the photo itself.

Keep us posted Kimberly - how're you getting on with this problem?

Rob

4 Messages

 • 

120 Points

9 years ago

Hey, thanks guys. Sorry for the delay in reply, I came down with a cold. Dan, my plan is to email you my file and see if you can repair it. In the meantime, I'm using a backup from the prior week and moving ahead with work. Thanks for the information, Rob, on DNGs being vulnerable. I'll keep an eye on them, just in case. Right now it appears it's only the catalog that's broken.

I really appreciate the help you guys. Thanks.

Kim

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Hi Kim,

Glad to hear it wasn't a total disaster for you.

I don't mean to spark a scare that the sky is falling - in practice the DNGs rarely get corrupted, but there is more risk when re-writing xmp constantly, which also necessitates re-writing the entire file including raw photo data occasionally - if power lost when that's happening, the DNG may very well be corrupted. Unfortunately, if this happens, you might not find out about it until further on down the road... - one of the reasons I push for photo integrity checking along with catalog integrity checking and repair.

Good luck,
Rob

4 Messages

 • 

120 Points

9 years ago

Thanks for the heads up, Rob. Would it be advised to re-download the raws from my memory cards?

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

|> Would it be advised to re-download the raws from my memory cards?

No.

I assume you are using DNG format for your working copies?

And that you have a backup of your original raws on a disk somewhere?

In any case, Lightroom was probably writing the catalog (not updating the xmp in a DNG/RGB or sidecar file) at the critical moment when the power was lost. Most often one or the other will be corrupted, but not both.

You can tell when re-importing newer files if there are any problems with the raw files - Lightroom may catch it, or you will see a funky band or block.

If you want peace of mind, consider running an independent photo integrity checker, like 'ImageVerifier' (if it turns up a corrupt file, then fetch a replacement from backup).

If you aren't using DNG, then re-saving metadata of whole catalog will overwrite any corrupted xmp sidecars, if there were any (again, its unlikely given that your catalog *was* corrupted).

Rob

4 Messages

 • 

120 Points

9 years ago

I use DNG for working, no backup on the RAWs at present (the memory cards act as a backup until I'm done processing, at which point I backup the DNGs to another drive).

Thanks for the tips. I'm pretty sure I just lost the catalog file. We are considering going to a battery backup at this point in time.

K

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

9 years ago

I generally recommend archiving the original raws, since one can always create a DNG from it, but not the other way around, and not all software supports DNG, and even software that *does* support DNG can't always read *converted* DNGs. But, its a personal thing I guess. In any case, I would definitely recommend keeping at least one backup of original raws or converted DNGs that are never touched, because of the previously mentioned possibilities - working DNGs being constantly re-written. If you backup a corrupt DNG (or any other type of file), then you have a corrupt backup too. Its one of the problems with catalog backups at present - many problems go undetected, so people end up with problem catalogs being backed up for weeks or months... - one of the reasons people want xmp and such to be as inclusive as possible - sometimes its a better option to rebuild a catalog from xmp, than to try to reconstitute a backed up catalog.

Cheers,
Rob

3 Messages

 • 

82 Points

9 years ago

OMG my catalogue just got corrupted.. I use DNG files also. What do I do? I am screwed.. Can anyone help me. And, no.... I don't have a back up!

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

If you're serious, you may want to provide some details...

3 Messages

 • 

82 Points

Very Serious...
I was importing images to my catalog named "LA" which is located on an external hard drive when I got an error msg saying that
" The Lightroom catalog "LA" is corrupt and cannot be used or backed up until it is repaired - a message with further instructions will be displayed when the repair process is complete." I then started the repair process when I received this message
"The catalog "LA" is corrupt and cannot be repaired at this time."

Is there anything I can do? The external hard drive still works perfectly. Something happened to the Lr catalog.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, but I probably won't be able to help much.

Uncorrupting catalogs is beyond my area of expertise.

As far as I know, one either has to uncorrupt their present catalog, resort to a backup and re-import new photos, or re-build from scratch getting develop/metadata edits from xmp.

Really - no backups? Do you have xmp saved?

Sorry I can't be more help.

Rob

3 Messages

 • 

82 Points

I'm so Screwed! No xmp.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Hopefully in the future you will backup your catalog and related files, and save xmp.

Dan Tull sometimes helps people with fouled up catalogs - be very nice to him...

PS - I recommend using xEmP to save "xmp" for virtual copies, since otherwise virtual copies are lost when you have to resort to a backup or rebuild from xmp.

Champion

 • 

221 Messages

 • 

4.1K Points

xmp data is written into DNG files IF Autowrite is turned on in Catalog Settings.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Right. Begging the question: "How did Eric Scot have that setting"?

Employee

 • 

166 Messages

 • 

3K Points

IIRC, it was disabled in the catalog he sent me (which I repaired).

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

What would we do without you Dan? :-)

To Eric - I suppose this is like reminding a person to watch their step right after tripping, but:

- Make sure you backup your catalog, and save (+backup) xmp too.

12 Messages

 • 

182 Points

9 years ago

This same problem just happened to me. I use LR 2... and have a backup from the last time I started LR. Would you send me the step by step of how to fix? Thank you so much!

I guess I just lost the 7 hours of editing I did today? On a wedding edit that was due yesterday...

Thanks again!
Page

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

9 years ago

Do you have xmp saved (embedded in DNG/rgb files, or as sidecar)?

Note: if you have auto-write xmp enabled in Lightroom preferences, then xmp is saved, or if you saved it manually using Ctrl/Cmd-s, metadata menu, context menu...

If you *don't* have xmp saved, then you have indeed lost those 7 hours of editing, unless Dan Tull can revive your catalog or something.

If you *do* have xmp saved, then you've only lost edit-history and maybe a few other incidentals (like virtual copies, stacking, picks, new collections...), but all "real" edits at the time xmp was saved will be intact after re-importing into restored backup catalog.

Note: Many of us have been pleading with Adobe to include xmp for virtual copies, so that (among other things) they are not lost when this kind of thing happens, since often virtual copy settings are just as important as "real" copy settings. In the mean time, I recommend Lr3+xEmP for saving virtual copy settings and metadata in the future.

12 Messages

 • 

182 Points

9 years ago

Thanks! Honestly I don't know if I am xmp saved, but guessing I do. Can you walk me through what to do? Restoring from my backup?

I'm not worried about virtual copies. I don't use DNG. I import raw files.

Thanks so much!
Page

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

1. Do you have .xmp (sidecar) files in same directory as your raws? (these contain the saved xmp info). If so, are their dates recent, for the most recently edited photos?

[[ Before the catalog went under, was the little down-arrow icon being displayed (indicating photo has changed since xmp last saved).
- Do you recall if the 'Automatically write changes into XMP' Lightroom preference was checked? (Catalog Settings -> Metadata tab).]]

Assuming #1 is true, then simply rename your existing catalog "old-name.lrcat.corrupt" or something of that nature, then copy your most recent backup catalog to the same directory, open it, and re-import the new photos (choose add-to-catalog, not copy...). If you know what folder the new photos are in, they can be "re-imported" by synchronizing the parent folder instead (right/ctrl-click parent folder, then choose 'Synchronize Folder').

12 Messages

 • 

182 Points

9 years ago

Oh shoot! No, there are no .xmp files in my RAW folders. If only I had known!
I don't recall if the auto write changes into xmp was saved and can't access that now.

So I guess I have lost today's work.
Going forward now, what is the step by step?
Select "choose a different catalog" from the dialog box and choose my last backup? Anything else?

Also, I do have LR 3.0 purchased and downloaded but am not using it just because I wanted to wait til the end of wedding season to update so as not to loose anything. Probably silly. Should I start that up now using my lastest backup as the first catalog?

THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Page

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

I believe the "auto-write xmp" setting is disabled by default (which is how I prefer it, but you have to know to save xmp manually so all your marbles are not in your catalog basket, so to speak). I could argue for having it enabled by default, but that would be a change that might cause its own set of problems...

I can't speak for Dan Tull, but he has been able to revive corrupt catalogs for some folks, dunno if it would be in time for your wedding client, but consider shooting him an email (dunno his address, but it's supposedly findable on the net...).

One thing: Do NOT just open your backup catalog where it stands. Instead, copy it to the same location as previous catalog (so all the photos and previews are found), and open it there (see my post above).

Note: I would definitely install Lr3 and begin using it with the restored backup. It won't interfere with your Lr2 work - if any troubles with Lr3 you can continue to use Lr2 - but make sure you save XMP, then you can import those photos with settings intact into Lr3 later once the Lr3 troubles are settled, or export them as Lr2 catalog and import that into Lr3.

12 Messages

 • 

182 Points

9 years ago

Thanks!

So, just to be sure, as I do NOT want to screw up this work, I will:
1. Rename my current catalog by adding name corrupt.
2. Copy the backup to this same location where the corrupt catalog is.
3. Open LR using this new catalog.
4. Nothing more to do now, correct? It will be like it is 6 AM again.

4. Then, when ready, export the catalog and open the new LR 3 by importing this catalog.

Yes?

Thanks again! I swear, this is my last reply :)
Page

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

You've got it, but note:

If you install Lr3, then double-clicking the restored backup or the exported version of it, will open it in Lr3, instead of Lr2.

You can import it into the default Lr3 catalog (or any other Lr3 catalog), but you can also just open it directly with Lr3 (which will convert its format). I'm not sure what the pros and cons would be, but the latter will preserve its name.

PS - You're welcome, and please feel free to post again if need be...

Rob

12 Messages

 • 

182 Points

9 years ago

Hi again :)

I've started up LR with the backup catalog in the new location.
It shows the files in the current wedding folder that I am working on to be offline or missing and only some thumbnails appear.
I tried clicking on the ? and locating the file, leaving checked the option to locate nearby files, hoping it will "find" the whole wedding folder. Unfortunately, during my edit today, I renamed the files I had in my final 2 star edit. Therefore, since this was done since my backup of this morning, the original filenames are different than the filenames in LR. Is there a way to solve other than going through and locating all 900 photos?

Thanks again,
Page

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Given that you don't have the edits for them anyway, you might as well just delete them (remove from catalog) and re-import, or re-sync the folders they are in (or parent folder(s)) to "import in place".

If there is anything you are able to preserve from previous edits, then don't do this, otherwise why not?

12 Messages

 • 

182 Points

9 years ago

Two thirds of the photos I have edited (yesterday before the backup). About 600 photos. The whole folder, including those, have the question mark. Usually locating one folder works for the whole lot, but not this time since I have renamed in LR after the backup. Worst case I go one by one, searching for the corresponding image by looking at the thumbnail in Finder. But, wow, more time wasted. Any thoughts?

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

I bet there is somebody else on this forum with better ideas than me for matching up those photos with their new filenames. But if the critical catalog tables are still readable by a general purpose sqlite client - in your corrupt catalog I mean, I may be able to pull out the most recent develop settings to be automatically re-applied. - post a link to the corrupt catalog (just the lrcat file, preferrably zipped) and I'll take a whack.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

One obvious solution: use explorer/finder to rename the photos back to the way they were before, so they're found again. Then you can rename them again in Lightroom.