Lightroom Classic: 2018 Files inaccessible

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  • Updated 5 months ago
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  • (Edited)
I was working in Lightroom Classic as usual, and suddenly my computer (Dell XPS 8900 running Windows 10) lost all of my 2018 files: the screen literally flickered and the entire year disappeared from Lightroom. I am desperate to figure out how to restore them, as they are my core work files as well. I have tried to find and import them again, but the entire master file (2018) is not accessible. I have also rebooted my computer-no luck. All years prior remain fine. How do I find and restore 2018?
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Bill Beatty

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Posted 5 months ago

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Jens Bondarenko

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Hi Bill,
first of all: don't panic. Relax and make yourself a coffee or something. If you lost your mind you will probably lost your files even quicker.

Then remember what you did last before the files 'disappeared'. Was there an error message of any kind? What do you mean with 'the screen literally flickered'? Was this a hardware problem? If yes, it has nothing to do with Lightroom or your pictures. Lightroom will not delete files if your graphics card is broken or the graphic card's driver is faulty.

Then check your Lightroom version number and search for others with a similar problem.

What do you mean with 'master file'? Your catalog? If yes, how do know that all files prior 2018 are in the catalog? If no, what is it?

Then check your 2018's folder's space with Windows Explorer. Is it 0 MB? If no, what's in there? If yes, what's your anti virus software? Are these files within the anti virus' quarantine?

If you can't find the files after all this, search for them with Explorer's search tool all over your drive(s).

If you can't find them, check your recycle bin. Windows or any software will not delete files without hoover them in this bin before really deleting them.

If you can't find them furthermore, check your last backup. If you don't have a backup of this obviously important files... well... they are your core work files as you said... then you're out of luck but then there must be reason for this behavior of Windows or Lightroom. To figure it out you must know what's different with your 2018's files compared to 2017.

Best wishes,
Jens
(Edited)
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Bill Beatty

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Great advice, Jens.  Thank you. I have made a copy of your note and stuck it on the front of my computer :-)
 
I spent approx. 3 hours with several Adobe staff, checking everything I could find through Explorer, and later rebuilt the 2018 folder from my backup (minus processed images et al). The diagnosis from Adobe was that some sort of Lightroom glitch dumped the work. Later today, when processing other images, I noticed that Lightroom was saving to a 2018 file I had never heard of. I wrote down the file path, followed it in Lightroom, and there, buried right at the end of all of my Lightroom files, was the original 2018 master folder.  Thank you, God!

The Lightroom glitch arbitrarily suddenly moved the folder to the end of my workflow, buried at the end of a seldom used master folder. Since I was just engaged in routine image processing at the time of the loss, I was pretty flummoxed.  Lightroom gave no warning: there was a screen flicker, and it was gone, so be aware that it can happen.  The Adobe people didn't really seem too interested in tracing down the source of the problem.  

I am now also backing up all processed files to a separate drive.  Don't want to repeat that heart attack.

Cheers!
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Just Shot Me

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In all my years of working with LR I have never seen LR automatically and arbitrarily move images, or a folder or folders with images in it/them, to some other place on my computer hard drives.
IMHO it is something that you did and that you have the Warning dialog to OK a move of folders and or images turned off.
To correct that, IE the warning dialog boxes, open the preferences and go to the General Tab and at the bottom there is a button to "Reset all warning dialogs".
I do not believe this is a LR Glitch. I do think it was User Error of some type.
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Jens Bondarenko

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I don't think so. If you read the countless problems reported for Lightroom 7.3.x here it's easy to believe that Adobe misconcepted and misimplemented the new sorting functions a lot. 
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Jens Bondarenko

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And to alarm you a little bit more: I've crashed my whole macOS with Lightroom 7.2 two months ago. Believe me, I'm not a dummy in IT and after trying to find out what goes on with 2 Apple supporters for several hours we ended up that a Lightroom crash with the catalog destroys a part of the files of the operating system that Lightroom is allowed to read and write for normal operation. All I could do is restore the whole computer with a backup.I ended up with a unrepairable catalog then and only version 7.3.1 was able to detect the catalogs faultiness and repaired it.
May god be with us while using Lightroom ;)
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Jens Bondarenko

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Hi Bill,
I'm glad to hear that you found your pictures.
'The Adobe people didn't really seem too interested in tracing down the source of the problem.' alarms me more than a little bit. For me version 7.3.x seems so unfinished that I lost my trust in Adobes craftmanship in building great software. The bugs are so drastically obvious that no one could really mean that this is a releases candidate or even finished software. I'm a software testing engineer and the behavior of Adobe releasing extremely buggy tools is so horrible... I would risk to loose my job if I would work that way.


Yesterday, before I read your post, I found myself investigating alternatives to Lightroom just for fun and was impressed by the opportunities that opened up in the last 2 years or so with great new RAW converters. Adobe must get rid of this quality problems and ancient slow interface because people like us earning money with their software confronted with 'flickering screens' with 'arbitrarily moving files somewhere within the folder structure' is nothing that let me sleep well with hundreds of irretrievable wedding pictures... And that recent backup problem of Lightroom under macOS helps in no way.

Best wishes and a sunny weekend for you,
Jens
(Edited)