Lightroom Classic: Folder Favorite Setting Cannot Be Changed

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  • Idea
  • Updated 2 months ago
  • (Edited)

After installing the latest release of Lightroom Classic 7.4 I'm unable to unmark my favorite folders.  In other words, folders that were marked as favorites before the latest release can no longer be unmarked.  I can, however, select a folder that was not a favorite before release 7.4 and mark it and also unmark it as a favorite.  I use this feature a fair amount so I'm pretty sure this issue started after the latest release but I cannot be sure.  Thoughts?  Seems like one of those pesky software bugs to me. I'm an experienced user so I do not think this is some type of user error.  The catalog is my master catalog and has about 600,000 images.  I did not have any favorites marked in my sub catalogs before the release.  They work fine but, again, the problem seems limited to the folders that were marked as favorites before the release.

[Update: All of the reports here except one can be explained by the confusing design of LR's "favorite groups".  See Robert Somrak's post and John Ellis' post. Thus, this topic is marked as an Idea, rather than Not A Problem, to capture the concept that the UI design is very confusing.

Patrick Philippot identified a bug where right-clicking an unselected folder creates two folder groups. It has been forked into this bug report.

There's another topic expressing similar confusion. I'm not going to merge the two, since that will hide all the useful replies.

- John Ellis, 3/10/20]


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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Samoreen


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About 300 bugs have been allegedly fixed in version 9.2 but not this one. Nothing changed.

I'm wondering whether real developers are still working on LR or just offshore trainees ?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Thanks Robert for explaining highlighting this obscure behavior and providing a link (it's new to me!). I agree that what most people are experiencing here is "as-designed" behavior of a confusing user-interface design. However, Patrick has identified a bug in right-clicking selected folders.  I'll  summarize the design first, and then explain that particular bug.

A "favorite group" is a set of one or more folders that a user has marked as favorites. A folder may be in one or more favorite groups. You can see the current favorite groups by clicking on the source indicator in the filmstrip:

Note that I've created seven folder groups, using all possible combinations of three folders A, B, and C.

To create a favorite group, select one or more folders in the Folders panel, right-click one, and do Mark Favorite(s).To delete a favorite group, select all the folders in the group, right-click one, and do Unmark Favorite(s).

When you right-click a folder selection, if the selected folders do not comprise a current favorite group, then Mark Favorite(s) appears in the menu. If the selected folders do comprise a current favorite group, then Unmark Favorite(s) appears.

If a folder is in at least one favorite group, there will be a star on its icon in the Folders panel. Note that after doing Unmark Favorite(s) on a folder, the star on its icon will still be present if the folder is still a member of another favorite group.

This design is logically consistent. But its user interface is confusing, because favorite groups are usually hidden in the user interface (in the filmstrip pop-up), and because the star icon can remain after doing Unmark Favorite.


Here are the steps in Patrick's bug:

1. Start with no favorite groups defined.

2. Select folder A.

3. Right-click folder B and do Mark Favorite.

4. Observe in the filmstrip's source-indicator popup that there are now two folder groups, Folders: A, B and Folder: B.

Only the group Folder: B should have been created in step 4. 

Other parts of LR have strange behavior with right-click context menus.  In the Keyword List panel, if you select multiple keywords and right-click, some of the context-menu commands apply to the current keyword and some to all the selected keywords.  There are similar inconsistencies with right-clicking thumbnails in the filmstrip.
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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It could be considered a bug but I also think that is an example of an extremely poor design.  You should have to actually SELECT two folders to create a group.  Selecting a folder and then just right clicking another folder without selecting it should not create a group.  I know how it works now so just use the dropdown for removing from favorites and it works.  Im also careful of what is selected when I create favorites.  This system really needs an overhaul to make it more useable but I don't see that happening any time in the near future.  I decided to just deal with the foibles of the design as it is something I rarely change.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I filed a separate bug for the right-click behavior Patrick identified:

I honestly don't think any UI designer or programmer would consider that selection behavior "as-designed".

This misbehavior of right-clicking is a separate issue from the original subject of this topic, the perceived inability to unmark a folder as a favorite.  The two favorite groups created by Patrick's recipe can be unmarked as favorites just like any other favorite groups.

Long experience in these forums shows that it's important to separate concerns in different topics -- otherwise, Adobe will miss the buried issue.

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Now consider the following...

I'm working with a dual display configuration with the LR main window on the main screen and the secondary window in Grid mode on the secondary display. With this configuration, as I have explained in my "steps to reproduce" post, I can have contradictory information about the "favorite" status of a given folder. It can appear as a favorite on one display in the folder tree and as a "not favorite" on the other in grid mode when opening the the drop-up menu at the bottom of the grid.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Besides the right-click bug, the confusing information you've observed is consistent with the (confusing) as-designed behavior of favorite groups (which I detailed above).  Let's walk through your description step by step:

[1] "assuming you have selected folder A and now right-click another folder B and mark it as a favorite, both folders A and B get the favorite star."

That's the bug for which I filed a separate bug report.  Two favorite groups are created, as indicated in the filmstrip's source-indicator pop-up: Folder: A, B and Folder: B. 

[2] "If you right-click A in the Folders panel, the Mark Favorite command is available while the folder is already marked as favorite with the star."

Folder A's icon in the Folders panel is marked with a star because A is contained in an existing favorite group, Folder: A, B.

The Mark Favorite command is available because just one folder, A, is selected, and there is no favorite group consisting of just A.  If you select Mark Favorite at this point, it would create a new favorite group Folder: A.

[3] "If you open the drop up list under the Grid view, A appears in the Favorites section"

The source-indicator pop-up shows two favorite groups, Folders: A, B and Folder: B.

[4] "but at the bottom of the drop up list you get the Add Favorites command although that folder is currently selected and already marked as a favorite."

The Add Favorites command is available for the same reason that Mark Favorite is available in the right-click context menu: There is just one folder selected, A, and there is no existing favorite group consisting of just A. If you click Add Favorites at this point, it will create a new favorite group Folder: A.

Folder A's icon in the Folders panel is marked with a star because A is contained in an existing favorite group, Folder: A, B.

[5] "So, on this side of the UI, A is a favorite but you can't unmark it."

A's folder icon is marked with a star because it is in favorite group Folder: A, B. To remove that favorite group (and the star on A), select both A and B, right-click one of them, and do Unmark Favorites. 

Alternatively, in the source-indicator pop-up, select favorite group Folder: A, B. Then click the pop-up again and do Remove From Favorites.

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Terra Callista

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I've had several folders stuck as favorites for over a year and I had about given up until I saw the new activity on this post. I had no idea about the favorite "groups" previously and did find a few that I was able to clear using the filmstrip shortcut but it did not solve my issue. I've tried every suggestion and literally everything possible in the program to remove them. I know my way around SQL so I decided it was time for me to fix this once and for all. Hopefully, a developer notices and can implement a way to resolve this "undocumented feature" for good.

Since I had so few favorites it was no big deal for me to wipe them all out and re-create later so I didn't bother implementing any restrictions to my delete statements. I did back up my catalog before the next steps.

First I exported the main lrcat as insert statements and searched for "fav" and found several hits but the only ones that I could validate were meaningful were AgLibraryFolderFavorite and AgLibraryOzFavoriteIds. These tables did indeed contain the favorite folders that I could not remove within the program. Deleted from those tables, wrote my changes but on opening Lightroom, 2 bugged out folders were STILL there!

I did some more digging and found helper.db in the Helper directory and discovered that the AgFolderSearchFTS_content directory also contained references to the favorite folders. I confirmed that the records were simply duplicated with an entry in column c6. So I deleted where c6 is not null, wrote my changes and said a prayer.

Opened Lightroom and finally, they are gone. This has been an incredibly frustrating bug that I am so relieved to have solved. Lightroom developers - please take note and help out the community, it shouldn't be an arduous task. I'm not going to spell out the steps as I do not want someone who does not know what they are doing destroying their catalog.
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Duane Moore

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You have proven to be a better software engineer than anyone at Adobe.  Congratulations!
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I just submitted this feature request suggesting a simple way of eliminating the confusion over Unmark Favorites when a folder belongs to a favorites group containing multiple folders: