Lightroom CC: Can't start the app anymore, get this message: Fatal database error at path

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Can't start Lightroom anymore: Fatal database error at path "Users/martinmees/Pictures/Lightroom Library/9f8c89608c5c4f489c78b3ef8e82c54/Managed Catalog.mcat": database disk image is malformed. sqlPRAGMA journal_mode = WAL (error code 11)
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Martin Mees

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Posted 10 months ago

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Greetings Martin,

Your catalog may have an issue. Was your account fully synced when you received this message? If you are completely synced you could close Lightroom CC, rename your Managed Catalog.mcat to Managed Catalog.old, and restart Lightroom CC. In theory, your catalog information should sync back down to the local machine from the cloud. 
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Cooper Smith

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you're a hero. I've spent over a week going back and forth with Adobe about this issue and they've been useless. Thank you so so much.
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Sebastian Wojciechowski

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Rikk Thank you so so much ! it helped me too. Thank You !!!!!
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Jake Santos

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Thank you so much!!! this help me a lots.
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Camila Amaral

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I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT YOU *** SAVED MY LIFE WITH THIS!!!

[moderator edited for language]
(Edited)
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Hal Masonberg

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I'm getting this error message, but don't have any files called "Managed Catalog.mcat" Where is this? The closest thing I have is "Lightroom Catalog.lrcat" In my situation, I had just added some new photos and was going through them when the power went out in the whole neighborhood. When it came back on and I restarted computer and Lightroom, this message comes up and I don't seem to have any photos or Albums listed anymore. Just the spinning "sync" ball. The Cloud icon at the top right says "Syncing Photos." Do I just wait for this to complete, or is something else happening? Thanks in advance. 
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Hal,

Are you a Mac user or a Windows User?
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Quentin Falco

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I have the same problem as hal but I'm windowss user!
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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The instructions for Hal will also work on Windows. 
  • Close Lightroom
  • The Mcat file is located in users/username/AppData/Local/Adobe/Lightroom CC/Data/(long string)/
  •  If you are completely synced, you should be able to rename your Managed Catalog.mcat to Managed Catalog.old 
  • Launch Lightroom and allow it to resync from the cloud. 
If you are not completely synced you may have to repeat recent edits and reimport recently imported files. 
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Hal Masonberg

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Mac. 
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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The mcat file is located inside a container in your Pictures Folder. 
The container is called Lightroom Library.lrlibrary.
Right-click on it and select Show Package Contents to see it. 

If you rename this file to Managed Catalog.Old, your catalog information will download from the cloud to your computer restoring your catalog to its last synced state. Any changes made since you were last successfully synced may be lost. 

Example, you might have to launch and perform your recent Add Photos again, depending upon their synced status at the time fo the power outage. Any not-synced develop/metadata settings might have to be done again. 

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Jer N Tracey Caruthers

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THANK YOU!!! 
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Oscar Abiud Sanchez

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Mis respetos, muchas gracias. Eres un pro 
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Naomi B Yeargin

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OMG, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!
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Hal Masonberg

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Thanks so much! That worked. Breathing easier now.  :) 
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Olivier Lacan

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Hey Rikk, any chance this issue can be resolved when the catalog wasn't fully synced to the cloud. I imported a 200,000+ shot catalog from Classic and it took the better part of three days so I'd really rather not start all over again because CC can't resolve this corruption issue. 

Clearly the .mcat is a binary file and there's no way to inspect it for glaring issues. My problem started with a sudden loss of power to my machine while the catalog was fully imported by not yet synced to the cloud. I'm not surprised corruption occurred but I'd like to know in what way the image is malformed.



If I rename the catalog I'm expecting Lightroom to sync down the roughly 40,000 shots that were already synced up but what happens to the files I've already migrated? Can Lightroom reindex them without a whole new migration? And since there are clear notes about the fact that Classic catalogs can only be imported once, do I need to completely wipe my catalog online if I decide to retry the entire migration?

I really wish Lightroom CC was more resilient to these kinds of issues. Let me know if there's any way I can help diagnose this issue and make the experience better for future users. 

FYI I'm running: 

Lightroom CC version: 2.2 [ 20190204-1600-e7ae188 ] (Feb  4 2019)
Operating system: Mac OS 10
OS Version: 10.14 [3]
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lucy

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Hi!, im having the same problem and i have tried absolutely everything, were you able to solve it?
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Olivier Lacan

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Hi Lucy,

I was able to dive down into SQLite to open the damaged .mcat Lightroom catalog which is simply a SQLite database with an Adobe-specific extension. This obviously isn't accessible to most people. While I wasn't able to directly access the records in the database, I managed to do an export of the raw database which I then imported into a new SQLite database after removing some of the obvious causes of corruption. A process, I'm surprised no one here or from Adobe ever suggested as a possibility.

Sadly some database indices must have been mangled either when the corruption first occurred or when I tried to restore the database. As far as I could tell most or all of the records from the catalog were present in the database but I doubt the Lightroom engineering team meant for Lightroom to self-repair sufficiently to deal with a database as severely damaged or corrupted as mine. 

It took me a ton of time to go back and forth with Adobe (on the phone, via Twitter, and here) to just talk to someone from the engineering team (I never got that far despite rounds of telephone conversations). In my mind these issues are not really acceptable for a professional product like Lightroom considering the high ticket price of a large storage subscription like mine. Rikk Florh does a commendable service here, but a single community representative is not really the level of service I expect for a product of this category. 

After the last vain attempt I described above and after folks from Adobe kept suggesting restoring a fully cloud synced catalog was the only way to recover from catalog corruption (as a software engineer myself, I find that a bit of a punt, however understandable) I finally gave up, deleted my corrupted catalog since it was extremely large and preventing me from restarting the Lightroom "Classic" to CC migration process from scratch. 

As it had in the past, the migration from a very old Lightroom 2015 catalog first failed with no obvious path to recovery. So I ponied up to pay extra for Adobe's Creative Cloud All Apps plan which does include Lightroom Classic just to be able to upgrade the old Lightroom catalog to the slightly different and space-efficient one. The final catalog size difference between the old CC 2015 version and CC Classic (get your product naming straight, Adobe) was obviously concerning but after some googling around it seemed like this was expected as the new format was slightly more space-efficient. 

The whole re-migration process took over a day since I have over 250,000 shots from nearly 20 years of photography. To conclude this jolly tale, we're not several days later and I only have 80,000 or so shots synced up to Adobe's cloud storage. This means I will live in constant fear of anything going wrong (as it previous did) until all my photos are finally "secure" on Adobe's servers.

Oh, and obviously I lost days of photo edits and people tagging work. Since those were done during my first migration initial sync period, before the corruption occurred (as a result of power loss). 

As a conclusion to anyone reading this and considering Lightroom CC for your precious large libraries of photos: tread lightly. Adobe has an amazing opportunity to do what Apple couldn't with iCloud Photo Library (sync issues, lack of UI performance, inability to handle large libraries) but this current version of Lightroom CC shows a lot of rough edges. As far as I can tell, CC doesn't make catalog backups like the old Lightroom versions did. While this is seemingly more convenient, a blind faith in eventual consistency from a remote cloud storage system is foolish in any situation where customers either don't have a fast upload speed (i.e. multi-day initial sync process) or have large libraries which will result in a long initial sync process regardless of their upload speed. 
(Edited)
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gardner32

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Rikk Flohr..you are the man!  Thank you thank you thank you
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Betty Wiley

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I’m having the same issue and found this thread. I renamed the Managed Catalog file as described above and restarted Lightroom CC and still have the same issue and the same message popped up again. I really don’t want to call Adobe...it’s always a bad experience when I do. Any ideas as to what I could do next?
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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I see you've started a new thread - we will respond there.