Lightroom: Delete from disk deleted EVERYTHING, not just the selection

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  • Updated 5 years ago
  • (Edited)
Yes I am shouting, because this is a frakking horrible problem.

So I flagged a bunch of photos out of a collection of 1500+. That was a lot of work, yes. So I wanted to delete all photos that are unflagged. I went into the grid view, clicked on "Attribute" above the grid, selected the middle flag to only show unflagged photos, pressed Ctrl+A to select everything (everything that's in view, I assumed) and hit the Del key.

The result: the ENTIRE folder was emptied. )@#*$&*(!@* SERIOUSLY?!

Why the bleeping bleepidy bleep bleep did this happen?

And how to undo? Ctrl+Z doesn't undo!
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Posted 6 years ago

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Photo of thany81


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So I restored the pictures from the recycle bin (nice of Lihgtroom not to perform a permanent delete, I guess Adobe knows something...) Then I did a synchronize on that folder, and of course, all flags are gone.

How to get them back?!
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Lee Jay

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I can't reproduce this problem. What version of LR were you using and on what platform?

You can't get your flags back because flags aren't written to the XMP data.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Sounds like you had both the Flagged and the unFlagged selected at the same time. Easy to do if you aren't being careful as the indicator is easy to miss if you don't do a visual check of your grid.
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Rob Cole

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I imagine Rikk hit the nail on the head here.

PS - be glad you only lost flags and not all your edits (I assume you saved xmp first, or hadn't edited yet).

For future: make sure you check what you're deleting before deleting it, and consider backing up catalog more often since that's the only place the flags are stored.

Note: another option is to dispense with the flags altogether and use ratings (or labels, or keywords, or...) instead, for culling. ratings and other metadata are stored in xmp and so won't be lost by inadvertent deletion / re-importing (assuming you've saved xmp).

Photo of thany81


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Still, Lightroom needs an undelete function. When deleting something even just from the catalog, it makes sense to be able to get it back, at least only until Lightroom exists.

For images that were deleted from disk (meaning hopefully the recycle bin) they can then be restored from the recycle bin, followed by an undelete in Lightroom.

A simple Ctrl+Z should suffice. It makes absolutely no sense that a delete would be permanent in this day and age.

Entries in the catalog that have been marked for deletion could then be permanently removed when Lightroom exists, or when the next backup is made, or when optimizing the catalog.

This NEEDS to be in LR6 at the very last. Rather in LR5.3.