Lightroom Classic v8.3 opened old catalog after update

  • 2
  • Problem
  • Updated 2 months ago
  • Not a Problem
  • (Edited)
Three days ago, I installed the latest version of Lightroom Classic (v8.3).  Before that, I had been running Lightrooom Classic CC (v8.2.1).  When I launched v8.3, Lightroom did a catalog migration.  Afterward, I noticed that the most recent two year's worth of data was missing.  

I re-installed v8.2.1 and opened the "good" catalog.  Everything was perfect.

There is a bug in v8.3 catalog migration.


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John Isner

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  • confused

Posted 2 months ago

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Roelof Moorlag

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I think you opened an old catalog after the upgrade. From 8.2.1 to 8.3 there is no catalog migration.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Roelof is correct. It would take a Lightroom 6.x or CC 2015.x or older catalog to prompt a "migration". My guess is that after the update you opened your old catalog from before Lightroom Classic 7.x  
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John Isner

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I didn't open the wrong catalog, Lightroom did!  My lightroom preference was "When starting up:  open the most recent catalog."  It opened one that was not the most recent (either in terms of timestamp or contents).  So how does Lightroom decide which is the most recent catalog?

The following may be relevant:

Lightroom was just one of many programs that I re-installed after upgrading my PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10.  The upgrade was done in the cleanest way possible, by doing a fresh install of the OS.  This wiped out all programs but preserved my user data.  For example, the lrcat files in Pictures\Lightroom are identical to those on my external backup drive (I backed up all user data immediately before the upgrade).

So if Lightroom is using something in the program registry, that would have been wiped out.  The "bug" is that, in the given circumstances, Lightroom  should have prompted me to specify a catalog to open, but it did not.  It simply opened the wrong one.

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Lightroom's default behavior (in the OS Update/Reinstall scenario provided) is to first check the default location.
  • If a catalog is found it will launch.
  • If a catalog is found but not current database schema, attempt to update it after prompting you that it is going to update and will update and open. 
  • If a catalog is not found, it will bring you a list of Most-Recently-Used catalogs and ask you to choose or to navigate to your correct catalog. 
What you seem to describing is that an older Lightroom catalog resided in the default location and Lightroom opened it as per the second bullet above. 

If for any reason your most recently used catalog is renamed, moved, missing, or otherwise not where it was before, it will fall off the MRU list, and the three bullets above will then be followed again. 
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John Isner

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Your second case is clearly what happened.  There were four catalogs in the default location.  One was the most recent.  But Lightroom chose a different one.  What was the logic behind that choice?  Whatever the logic, it violates the principle of "least astonishment:" Based on the specified preference "When starting up: open the most recent catalog" the user expects that the most recent catalog will be opened, and is astonished when some other catalog is silently opened.  The user assumes that the most recent catalog is the file with the most recent timestamp.
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John Isner

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Continuing with your three cases of default behavior: In cases 1 and 2, you say "a catalog is found" in the default location.  What if multiple catalogs are found?  Your rules say nothing about that.

Until now, Adobe has allowed users to have old versions of creative cloud apps installed.  I am one of those people who clung to my old versions of PS and LR.  For each of those versions, there was a Lightroom catalog in the default location.   As part of the cleanup prior to upgrading my OS, I removed the old versions using the Creative Cloud desktop app.  But removing the old versions does not automatically remove the old catalogs.  It never dawned on me that having an old catalog lying around in the default location would be a problem.  Who could imagine that the current version of Lightroom would open a catalog that was not the recent, when the most recent catalog was also present in the same location?  This is clearly a bug in Lightroom. 
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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I don’t think this is a bug but an issue with a fresh install of your OS and Lr and not copying all the appropriate preferences so Lr didn’t know which was the last file opened. You should have just double clicked the correct catalog to start Lr the first time. I do fresh installs of every major Mac OS (it prevents and cleans up any issues) and I start Lr this way the first time.
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John Isner

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Are you saying that "the most recent catalog" actually means "the most recent catalog that was opened?"  Hmm, I think you're probably right.  I never though of it that way.   Adobe should change the way the preference reads to prevent confusion.  "Recent" is ambiguous.

But under this interpretation of "recent," after a fresh install there is no "most recent catalog" so Lightroom should prompt you for one.  The fact that it does not is a bug.
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Tom Mickow

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Yeah, depending on all the circumstances, it probably would have been nice if it prompted you which catalog you wanted to open if it saw more than one.

That said, there was no need to go back to 8.2.1.  You can just reinstall 8.3 and open the "good" catalog.

While you're at it, you may want to do some housekeeping so you don't have those 2 year old catalogs from prior versions sitting around taking up space and confusing the issue.
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John Isner

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I agree that I should have deleted those old catalogs after a reasonable time had gone by.  But say the next time a catalog migration is required, how long should I keep the original catalog?  And what guarantee do I have that Lightroom won't wake up one day and decide to use it?
(Edited)
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Marsha Levine

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You can keep the catalog forever, but put it someplace where Lr won't find it.
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georg m

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I have a similar problem without any reinstallation - there is some sort of bug involved:

I have two catalogs in my catalog folder (master and master-2), because years ago LR updated it and I never moved master, because there never were problems. After the update to 8.3 LR suddenly opened the old one and not the recent one anymore. I noticed, something was wrong, and tried resolving the issue by moving files around and so on - of course I did not notice the different catalog name. Then I closed and reopened and suddenly everything was in order again. Today the same thing happened. I close and reopen and the recent catalogue is opened.

I checked my catalog-backups and one from yesterday is called master, all others master-2. So LR is messing things up.
The weird thing is, that if I try to open master instead of master-2 intentionally LR asks me to update the catalgue. That dialog was never there, when LR opened master unintentionally.

What this company does, since it moved to the cloud is horrible. Before cloud every update worked, now every other update involves grave problems. Adobe doesn't pay me to find and report their bugs, so it's a waste of my time again, to take care of this rubbish. Can't wait till some serious competitor comes along and Adobe is forced to allocate some resources to QC.