Folders and album structure is gone after syncing with classic.

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I have spent months of organizing about 20.000+ images into a well thought through folder and album system in the cloud. Brilliantly enough the mobile folder and album system used to sync with classic up to a few days ago.
One morning last week,  I checked my computer after an overnight sync process and my org-system was gone in mobile. The images are still in place. However, almost all folders and albums are missing.
I now have to go through 20.000 images to rebuild my sorting system? I'm hesitated to do so and did ask support for help. They couldn't find an issue, even though working remotely on my PC. But what makes me really angry, ADOBE does not offer a backup restore. Allegedly their servers are not backed up? That is ridiculous and is certainly not true. NO SERVER runs without a backup!
I have reached out in a different Adobe forum, chatted with several agents, responded to two emails but I'm still waiting for somebody trying to help me getting a viable solution (a backup-restore). Is this forum monitored by any Adobe tech? It feels to me that nobody wants to deal with me....

Poor ADOBE support!
I'm very disappointed and I can only warn fellow Lightroom mobile users not to rely on the folder and album system in the cloud. You might regret it, like I do.

The "Creative Cloud Photography plan with 1TB" is bundling these two programs. It is only the logical next step for users, in my opinion, to use both programs together as it is also suggested in this video. If Adobe doesn't want users to sync between the cloud and Lightroom classic, they should disable syncing with the cloud in my opinion. 

Hagen Pflueger
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Hagen Pflueger

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Posted 5 months ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Can you tell us a bit more about "I checked my computer after an overnight sync process". What was this overnight sync process? I haven't heard any other reports of albums magically disappearing, so while I wouldn't rule out of the possibility, I would like to understand exactly what steps were involved.
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Hagen Pflueger

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Sure Victoria
Thanks for your response.
If I remember correctly, that day I did refine my folder and album structure in the mobile version and moved pictures around. Then I did start Lightroom classic and since it was set to sync automatically, I went to bed and let the software do its job. The next morning, almost all my folders and albums were gone or randomly emptied in both programs. 
I didn't think it would be a big deal, but I learned that Adobe does not offer a backup-restore to us users... Very sad!
I have shared albums with paying customers which are gone too. I also connected my website gallery via Adobe Portfolio. It's a disaster! It would be extremely time consuming to fix. A simple backup restore could fix my problem easily.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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That is certainly weird behavior. Any idea when Classic last synced, before this disappearance? 
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Hagen Pflueger

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Classic synced every night. Unfortunately I did not back up my classic catalogue daily. So I do not have a backup myself to restore the folder and albums.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Ok, when was your last Classic backup? Even if you're not backing the catalog up daily, you'd want to be doing it frequently in case of catalog corruption (almost always caused by a hardware problem)
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Hagen Pflueger

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As I said, I don't have a usable backup. NOW I do daily backups, but the latest classic backup before that, was too old to show the folder and album system. 
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tpnotes

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Do you have any backup of your computer (bootable clone, user directory...)? If yes, there might a copy of your catalog be included.
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Peter Obermeier

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1) I am very surprised that LR mobile synced in both ways wit LR Classic, that was never the case with me. And it was the reason I have given LR classic in favour of LR Mobile Cloud 1TB.
2) I am shocked to hear that Adobe has no backup for their LR Mobile Cloud 1TB users. Because there is no local backup of the folder and Album structure. Here Adobe should give a clear statement
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Hagen Pflueger

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Thanks Peter
Syncing between the two programs worked like a charm for months. I really loved the ability to access, edit and share my images on any device. But not offering a backup for a paid cloud system is unacceptable to me as well.
ADOBE is very unresponsive about this. That's why I reached out here...
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Peter Obermeier

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Hagen, I have experienced that LR Classic was syncing only my Collections and not any folders. I could create folders on my mobile devices, but these folders were never synced back to my desktop.

Where have you created the folders?
And when have you created these folders?
(Edited)
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Hagen Pflueger

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Peter
I created the folders and albums in mobile and they were synced to classic. Folders AND albums including the "nesting". But apparently that system is not stable and ended up in my current disaster. So I cannot recommend to you doing it. 

I'm currently testing a keyword list technique in classic. I hope that will be more stable and do the trick of organizing my huge archive. However, I don't get Adobe why they bundle mobile and classic in one product when it does not work together. 
Am I really expected to use two different programs? Keeping track of two systems? To me, that is not a user friendly approach. Mobile and clouds are the future. In my opinion, Adobe should implement the missing classic features into the mobile version and only champion one software instead of confusing users.
Just a suggestion.  
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philippe

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Yes *100000
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Peter Obermeier

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Hi Hagen, you surprise me again. I was never aware and has never read that LR Classic and LR CC mobile should sync in both directions without additional manual work. The keywords are not syncing correctly or only first time.
This situation is very sad, because you are absolutely right, there should be a 100% between both products or there should be only one product which is covering both the classic and the cloud functionality with all classic features.
I am very interested to see the reaction of Adobe or/and Victoria’s comments
Have a nice week and success in your trouble shooting
Peter
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Edmund Gall

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Hi Hagen,

I feel your pain: nobody likes to wake up to discover their massive photo database has been unexpectedly changed overnight. However, I'm a bit confused. As I understand it, Classic and Mobile (or LR CC, as Adobe now calls it, or LR Cloudy, as folks on this forum call it) sync mainly through Collections (for syncing originated through Classic that are replicated to Mobile) or a single folder that optionally creates subfolders by date (for syncing originated through Cloudy that get copied to Classic). So, I'm confused by your statement that you organised a folder structure on Mobile and it synced to Classic, because I know of no way to manually create a folder structure on Mobile and have it synced to Classic (or vice versa, for that matter: I've always had to manually move new albums after syncing from Classic to their final place in my Mobile-only album structure). Can anyone at Adobe confirm if/when this feature was introduced?

Also, where do you have Mobile installed? Is it on a tablet or are both LR CC and Classic apps installed on your computer? If the latter, then it could've been restored from your own computer backup (if you had one).

Regarding the backup/restore request, I can see why you'd ask for it, but I'm not sure that is a service included in any subscription plan involving LR CC (Mobile or Cloudy). While Adobe would have resilience built-in to cover any server farms failures originated by Adobe's staff (and its infrastructure partners, like Amazon AWS), such as server crashes, misconfiguration, fires, etc., having functionality to support user-requested restores is a different type of service proposition. I couldn't find that type of service included anywhere in the sales material for the CC subscription plans. What type of plan do you have, Hagen?

It's is an interesting point, though: while folks think their stuff is protected purely because their photos & processing metadata have been synced to their CreativeCloud storage, that does not mean you have the same types of services or protection that other cloud storage providers offer. Adobe CreativeCloud is not like, say, Crashplan or any of the other cloud-based backup service providers: the latter provide user-related backup and restore services. Adobe just offers a place to automatically/manually put your LR data online, but if that data gets modified by customers through their LR apps (i.e. Mobile or Classic), then they don't offer any bespoke restore services that users can request to take their CC storage back to some previous point in time. Users are responsible for their own backups (for catalogs, physical folder structure & raw image files). If Anyone knows ottherwise, I'd be glad to hear where to get more info on such services...

(Edited)
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Hagen Pflueger

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Edmund
I do have the "Creative Cloud Photography plan with 1TB".
Creating a folder/album structure and syncing it to classic worked without problems for several weeks. Not sure if Adobe tested (silently?) this feature in different countries only?
I'm using the mobile apps on my cellphone and tablet as well on my PC and I can access the web version from any computer. That was the main factor for me to buy into the system. Now, I'm hesitated to use the mobile version at all. So I might ending up creating a brand new organization structure in classic using keyword lists and collections (Probably weeks of work!) Turning sync off and not using Lightroom mobile but either Google photos or Microsoft OneDrive instead, just for storing albums and sharing with clients.

Certainly not what I was hoping for when I signed up with Adobe. And I still don't understand why they bundle these two products (LR mobile and LR classic) when they know, they won't work together...
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Floris van Eck

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If the desktop Lightroom offers a catalog backup functionality, it would make sense for the cloud version to offer it as well. It shouldn't be hard either, you create a snapshot of the library catalog file and make it restorable by the user in some online admin panel. Similar to how many web servers work.

This only proofs again that the cloud isn't a magic solution as these companies make it to be. 1 mistake, wether by yourself or the company and years and years of work are gone never to be recovered. 

So this restore option should be a priority for Adobe e.g. restore to 1 day ago, 1 week ago, 1 month ago mitigating the risk of failure.
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Make a separate feature request, I'd vote for it.
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Greetings Hagan, 

In reviewing your thread I see several issues here but let's try to resolve the missing folder/album structure first. 

You don't mention which client you were using (Lightroom Desktop/Mobile/Web) to accomplish the online organization you were attempting to sync back to Lightroom Classic. It would be helpful to know which client was used. 

Ignoring Lightroom Classic for the moment:

If you log into your account using your Adobe ID at https://lightroom.adobe.com you should see the cloud representation of your organization structure. Does this match what you expected to see from the work you'd done previously in organizing using the other Lightroom Ecosystem clients? If you look with additional clients (other phones/tablets/browsers) is it what you expect?

The answers to these questions will tell us how to proceed.
  • Which client was used to do the organization?
  • Does that client still look correct?
  • Does the Web View (From which all sync) look correct?
  • Do additional clients show the correct organization (Not talking about Classic here)?

Regarding the use of Lightroom Classic and the Lightroom Ecosystem's Desktop Client and adding onto what Johan echoed in your other thread: Adobe does not recommend this. Please see: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-cc//faq.html and expand: "Can I use Lightroom and Lightroom Classic together?"

Using both desktop clients on the same machine is a recipe for trouble. Using the Lightroom Ecosystem Desktop app on your laptop while using Classic on your desktop works nicely as long as you treat the laptop as just another mobile client. 
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Hagen Pflueger

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Thanks for "taking me on" Rikk
Let me answer your questions:
  • Which client was used to do the organization?
    The app on my PC! But I also edited folders, albums and images on my phone and tablet through the apps. I barely ever used the web version.
  • Does that client still look correct?
    No
  • Does the Web View (From which all sync) look correct?
    No
  • Do additional clients show the correct organization (Not talking about Classic here)?
    No
Maybe I should mention, that your tech support had remote access to my computer and did their "magic" for several hours in all versions of mobile and classic. You might review the history under this Adobe support ticket ID: ADB-9413046-R9Q5

Hagen


(Edited)
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Review of your case notes does not point to any obvious changes that were made by either you or the agent that would create the result you describe. 

I've spent several hours today editing organizational structure between the desktop, mobile (iOS) and web clients for the Lightroom Ecosystem. The edits are syncing correctly between ecosystem.  They are also syncing in a limited but expected fashion with the Lightroom Classic catalog.  They show up in a flat collection list under the Collection Set "From Lrmobile" as designed. 

I will leave them to sync overnight to ensure that no other process interrupts or alters the organization. 
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Hagen Pflueger

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Rikk
Syncing with TODAY'S folders and albums won't solve my problem. I do see that syncing between the systems does work (again). But that doesn't bring back the lost system I had in place on October 13th. Folders and albums are still missing. In my opinion, only a backup-restore could bring back my former existing structure...
 
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Unfortunately there is no mechanism to backup organization structure. You can backup files, you can backup edits but there is no backup of folders and collections. Once they change on any client and the changes sync, there is only a manual restore. 

As others have suggested, you can request this feature but it won't solve your problem today. 

Right now, I am most concerned with making certain this doesn't happen again due to an unknown software defect. If you catch it in the act again, please take screenshots and post back to this thread at once so we can look at your account before to much time passes. I will continue to monitor for a similar occurrence on my end. 
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Peter Obermeier

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Hi Rikk, what do you think about Hagens claim, that LR CC Mobile is syncing manual folders back to LR Classic? Or is he meaning LR CC on his PC and not LR Classic? Because LR Classic just behave with a limited sync like you have mentioned.
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Peter Obermeier

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PS: Hi Rikk, I am very concerned that Adobe cannot backup and restore the folder/album structure, because exactly this structure cannot be stored locally. All originals are automatically saved locally and the originals with xmp files can be saved manually every now and then. Please double check if there is still an option to save this folder/album structure.
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Hagen Pflueger

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Rikk
I understand that you are concerned that this doesn't happen again. I am concerned most about the economic damage and redemption? Who is paying for my time manually rebuilding the organization structure? I'm estimating at least 4 weeks going through 20.000 images and sorting. Plus rebuilding the shared albums to my paying clients. I expect to get a reasonable offer from Adobe. I give you a hint: $ CAD 10.000 Dollars (160 hours times $65 Dollars/hour)

Going forward, as a professional photographer, I also need to know the officially recommended way to have all my pictures, all folders, all albums, all collections and all keywords safely synchronized and backed up between the large (and terribly confusing!) number of similar, but in essence different applications as there are:

Lightroom (Internet application - no app needed)
Lightroom classic (PC based library - app installation)
Lightroom (App for PC's or Laptops)
Lightroom (mobile web version - no app needed)
Lightroom (mobile version - app installation needed) 

Did I forget any? Would you not agree that it is time to clean that mess up and offer a solution to your paying clients?

Your naming convention is a recipe for disaster. Blaming me as a user won't help Adobe in the long run!
(Edited)
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Antoine Hlmn

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Hagen,

I didn't want to reply in the first place because I've complained enough on this forum. But your situation is unacceptable and reflects totally my overall impression about Adobe and LR right now.

Regarding the helpdesk:
I've also encountered sync issues with Classic and mobile. It got stuck syncing for over a week and neither the helpdesk nor this forum could help me out. The helpdesk is really horrible: relocated I assume in India, the only thing the do is connect to web (wich is often not the issue...) and mess around remotely on you're computer, often f*cking up you're work and unsynging images here and there.
Then you get emails because "your ticket is still open". They're also unable to download large files, as Asset does not support files over 1 Go and they can't open WeTransfer files... Really ?
I find it unbelievable they're unable to troubleshoot sync issues when they occur, as sync is the central piece of this ecosystem, and also the most bugged part of the equation.

But besides the horrific technical support, it's Adobe's vision and way it's treating it's customers that horrifies me the most. At this stage, there is NO viable workflow.

Classic is still the only correct software for a decent pro workflow. But sync functions are deliberately crippled. And they've (un)officially said there won't be new featres. Meaning we're paying for ... nothing? There are few or no innovations anymore, and the futre doesn't look bright AT ALL. What will we have in the next releases? Nothing I'm affraid. Feature requests -and there are dozens of good requests / ideas out here!- are almost never fulfilled. Sync has been "killed" to push the crippled "cloudy". That's not serious!

"Cloudy" seems to be still in a beta stage or at least does not meet the pro or enthusiast requirements. There are just too many missing features and not enough control to deserve a "pro" or enthusiast label. Truth is, it looks more like a wanna be "Photo" app for the smartphone users... where the money lies!

Adobe, we know you're making a shitload of money with the subscription, but you're treating youre customers like shit, and that's unacceptable. People are staying because they love(d) LR and how good it used to be. And I'm sure we'd be pleased to be proven wrong, that our pricy subsription is worth the investment and trust. FYI, it's like buying a new version each year !
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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> Who is paying for my time manually rebuilding the organization structure? I'm estimating at least 4 weeks going through 20.000 images and sorting.

I'm afraid you'll be out of luck on that one Hagen. Lightroom Classic has a catalog backup functionality but you chose not to use it. If you had a catalog backup, we could have had you back up and running in no time. 

In terms of the apps, Lightroom Classic is designed to be a single-desktop based application, where you manage and back up your photos and catalog yourself. The Lightroom Cloud ecosystem is designed to manage your photos for you and sync between the Lightroom Cloud apps.

Lightroom Classic does have some limited communication with the Lightroom Cloud ecosystem. You can sync smart previews up to the cloud to share on the web and view/edit on your mobile devices, and photos added to the cloudy app sync back down to your primary Lightroom Classic archive for safe-keeping.

There is limited sync of collection membership > albums (no hierarchy of collection sets/folders) to help with organization, stars/flags for rating, and an edit facility so you can edit photos on mobile devices, but Classic is not a full cloud sync family member. It's more like a distant cousin. The concepts are too different - for Classic, the desktop catalog wants to be in charge of the photos, but cloud sync requires the cloud database to be in charge, and that creates conflicts.

If you're going to sync Classic with the Cloud, Classic needs to be your primary archive that you can always fall back on if conflicts occur. The recommendations found in the video you linked to are dangerous if someone doesn't understand all the ins and outs of sync.

I do agree that Adobe should make it clearer about what Classic sync facilities they do and don't support, and how they can safely be used together. 
(Edited)
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Hagen Pflueger

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"...there is no backup of folders and collections"

Victoria
according to Rikk's statement, a classic backup would have been also be useless...

Adobe does not offer a backup solution for this crucial feature. Very sad!
In terms of getting compensation for my time, we'll see...

Thanks for your help.
Hagen
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Hagen Pflueger

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"...there is no backup of folders and collections"

Victoria
according to Rikk's statement, a classic backup would have been also be useless...

Adobe does not offer a backup solution for this crucial feature. Very sad!
In terms of getting compensation for my time, we'll see...

Thanks for your help.
Hagen
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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The albums would have become Classic collections, which would have been included in the backup. While the album folders wouldn't have been included, it would have been comparatively little work to sort the collection/albums back into folders.
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Peter Obermeier

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Hallo Victoria and Hagen, 
have watched the linked video and I think it is a useful video, because I have worked with this method several years (except the import of my originals into LR mobile). This video is not telling to create a manual folder structure in LR mobile, it just mention albums. With this method these albums are included in the LR Classic backup, nothing can be lost.
Now my question to Hagen: I am working on a Mac and I have several automated backups running, including Apples Time Machine. What PC backup are you doing? Even when you are not doing the LR classic catalog backup (which is unbelievable) you perhaps have done a normal PC backup every day. Then there is a chance that at least part of you work could be recovered. But there is still a big mystery, your claim Hagen, that your manually created folders in LR mobile were synced back to LR Classic, which is impossible (based on my experience).