Lightroom Classic - restore from corrupt catalog

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I was hacked (win 10) had to reload windows which required me to reload lightroom then I reload a backup catalog then show it where the file is but all my pictures in up in one big file. What am I doing wrong? The individual files are ignored.
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thomas mcguffy

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Posted 1 year ago

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Dan Hartford Photo

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I assume by "reload" you mean "re-install".  First make sure you have recovered your most recent catalog backup rather than an older one.  

What you did not indicate in your post is where the images themselves are.  The two most likely candidates for where they WERE is either on your internal "C" drive or on an external USB connected hard drive. 

 In the case where they are on an external hard drive, use Windows File Manager or My Computer to verify that they are still sitting there on that external drive in the folder structure they had been.  As you didn't say what sort of hack caused all of this it is possible that whatever it was cleared, encrypted, or infected that external drive as well as your "C:" drive.  

In the case where the images were on your "C:" drive, do the same thing.  As many times recovering from a hack entails reformatting the "C:" drive, that would clear everything on the "C:" drive, including image files.  If this is the case you will need to recover those image files from some backup location assuming you have one.  The automatic backup that LR offers to create when you exit LR DOES NOT BACK UP IMAGE FILES so don't expect your images files to be recoverable from the LR backup.

Once your have verified using Windows tools (not LR) that the image files are in place, proceed into the Folders Panel in LR.  It is entirely likely that you will need to relink one or more image folders if drive letters changed or you named your windows account differently when you re-installed Windows.   Rather than going through all the possible permutations and how to deal with them, send a screen shot of your folders panel with all drives expanded at least to the top level or two. 
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Richard Kain

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I'll add to Dan's excellent advice to note that Lightroom will seem to have the images when it shows you the Library, for example, but those versions are just the thumbnails that Lightroom made (for its catalog) when you imported the files. So the fact that you see thumbnails in Lightroom does not imply that the files are on the disk where you thought they would be. I do hope you have some other backup for your images, in case the reinstallation of Windows erased your files.

Good luck in recovery.
(Edited)
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thomas mcguffy

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All done. Thanks for your reply. Tom