Lightroom Classic: Updating to version 9 but my catalog from version 8.4 is incompatible

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Lightroom Classic - Updating to Lightroom Version 9 but my catalog from version 8.4 is incompatible and for some reason, it can't be updated. I can revert back to 8.4 temporarily so as not to lose my collection of work but it's not going to be a solution long term. Can you help give me some steps that might offer a solution to this issue I am encountering?

Any advice, solution or steps that I might be able to try would be most appreciated.

Thank you.

Joe
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Joe Kelly

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Posted 2 months ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Do you get an error message and if so, what does it say?
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Joe Kelly

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So, after updating to Lightroom Classic v9 and launching the programme, I get the message telling me that my catalog needs to be upgraded and a new catalog file will be created in a stipulated destination. I’m asked to either ‘Upgrade’ or ‘Choose a Different Catalog’.

If I choose Upgrade, the catalog will go through about 5 minutes of upgrading before I get the message

‘Lightroom encountered problems when trying to update the format of the catalog file and cannot use this catalog in this version of Lightroom’, to which I am given the options, ‘See Adoe TechNote’, ‘Show in Finder’‘Quit’ and Choose a Different Catalog’.

Now, I can start a new Catalog and Lightroom v9 seems to work fine, but I have none of the pictures from the last two years available, nor any of my presets for that matter but I haven’t considered that as an issue of concern yet.

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Joe Kelly

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I actually got it working, thank you. It wouldn't work from the start trying to upgrade my Catalog, but after creating a brand new one, I relaunched my old catalog from within the updated program and for whatever reason, that worked and has remained working after several restarts.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I love problems that fix themselves! Much easier to deal with.
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Phyllis Peterson

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I have the same problem with my new catalog. None of the recently added pictures are available and I get a message that I cannot access files.  How do I get out of Catalina upgrade or do what Joe Kelly did.  I do not know what he means by 'create a brand new catalog. Where and how would I do that?
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Christopher Barlow

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Following the upgrade to Lightroom Classic v9 (Windows 10) several catalogs upgraded successfully. But the next had the same error message as above
‘Lightroom encountered problems when trying to update the format of the catalog file and cannot use this catalog in this version of Lightroom
I tried to upgrade the most recent backup but encountered the same error message. I am stuck - is there a solution?
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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@Phyllis: When you click 'Choose a different catalog' in the error dialog, you can click to create a new one in the next dialog.

@Christopher: Apparently Lightroom needs to read info from the images (depth info), so one thing to check when you get this error is if the originals are online. If they are not, this may cause the problem.
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Christopher Barlow

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Checked and all the files are online and in the original locations.
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Matthias Heidrich

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Having the same problem here as Christopher. Trying to role back Lightroom Classic to Version 8...
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Cyndi hathaway

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Im having the same issue updated to Catalina 10.15 then upon opening Lightroom got message about catalog being incompatible and have to choose a different catalog.  All my files I work with are on an external drive, I noticed that the drive is now handling file paths different than before.  "volumes" is missing before the drive location.  It is also showing the drive as a duplicate (same drive listed twice).   Getting message file not found in develop module.   How can I relaunch my old catalog? would that fix this?
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Cyndi hathaway

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Im having the same issue updated to Catalina 10.15 then upon opening Lightroom got message about catalog being incompatible and have to choose a different catalog.  All my files I work with are on an external drive, I noticed that the drive is now handling file paths different than before.  "volumes" is missing before the drive location.  It is also showing the drive as a duplicate (same drive listed twice).   Getting message file not found in develop module.   How can I relaunch my old catalog? would that fix this?
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Jonathan Heilberg

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I’m having the same issue. Abode is of no help.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Cyndi, at what stage are you seeing the missing volume? After you've opened the right catalog or the "other" catalog you need to open in that incompatible dialog?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Cyndi, at what stage are you seeing the missing volume? After you've opened the right catalog or the "other" catalog you need to open in that incompatible dialog?
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Steve Gandy

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We have the same problem. Here's the error message. We are using Mac 10.14.5. Classic 9 refuses to open the catalog but reverting to 8.4.1 works. Help. Thanks in advance for your time and effort.
T
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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It's now a confirmed issue, should be fixed in the next release.
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Steve Gandy

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Excellent! We tried everything.

For anyone else out there with the issue. There is a file created each time with a -sync -2 at the end of the file name. We were throwing those out when we retested. And sometimes a lock file would be created. But we threw those out each time as well. 

The error message takes you to a page about deleting the lock files but that is _not_ the issue.

We also optimized the catalog each time we had it open in v8.4.1 so I believe the catalog is not corrupted.
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David Golding

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Try a cold reboot, worked for a couple  in the Adobe Support Community. No reason.

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Steve Gandy

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Didn't work for us.
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schford

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I too have this issue - has it been fixed yet - I just tried to use lightroom for the first time in a few months and cannot access  my pics with has decades worth of family photos!
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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You can roll back to 8.4.1 for the minute, or if you want to send me the catalog, I can get it upgraded for you.
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Brenda Jacobs

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I too have been moving and have not accessed but have the upgrade and it is asking me to upgrade. I haven't done it yet in fear that something may happen. I have decades worth of images and cannot lose them. How do you roll back to 8.4.1?
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Brenda Jacobs

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I meant it is asking me to upgrade my catalog and is saying it will be be compatible with previous versions. Afraid to do this.
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Cyndi hathaway

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So I will tell you sometimes it is recognizing my folders in the upgrade when I launch Lightroom and sometimes it is not. I swear it has a mind of its own. For me Mac has changed the way it is handling external drives so the file path is different and lightroom thinks it has moved/missing...you can Locate the files and move them over but that isn't a long term solution when dealing with tons of files.  So I'm just waiting it out.   When this issue first started I was working around off my desktop with new images.  I also just filled up my old drive and bought a new one, I have not had any issues with new work only old.  Also as far as being lost you should have backups of catalogs stored in a folder.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Brenda, most people upgrade just fine. Here's information about the process: Why is Lightroom asking to upgrade my catalog and what does it do?

If you need to roll back, here's how: How do I roll back to an earlier Lightroom Classic release?

Cyndi, that might be a different issue. Post a separate thread with a screenshot and we'll help you figure it out.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Official Response
This should be resolved by the 9.1 update released earlier today. Please give it a try and let us know if you still see the issue after updating.  Thank you for your patience!
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Joel Gilliland

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So i upgraded to 9.1  but still can't upgrade from 8.4 catalog.  What am i missing??  I wasn't able to upgrade to 9.0 either.  Still using 8.4.1  error points me to the lock file issue.  
(Edited)
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nick

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Same here, I also couldn't upgrade coming from 8.4 going to 9.0, then going to 9.1 I get the exact same error pointing me to the lock file issue.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Joel and Nick, I've contacted you via email for more information. 
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nick

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Thanks Rikk, just replied.
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Subharnab Majumdar

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It is not working for me too
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Bruce Kentish

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Same issue for me, I did manage to roll back to earlier version and open my catalogue, but still can't open it in 9.1
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John Woodman

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Sorry to hear this is still happening with 9.1. Wasted many hours on it with 9, haven't felt ready to repeat the experience in a hurry. Seeing your comment is not encouraging. 
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Nick and Joel's issues were not related to the earlier bug. This bug has been fixed. If you are still experiencing the issue complete the following. 

Clean Classic Install Procedur


  1. Close Lightroom
  2. Restart the computer
  3. Use the Adobe Creative Cloud App to uninstall Lightroom Classic
  4. Restart the computer
  5. Install Lightroom Classic via the Creative Cloud App without launching any other programs.
  6. Restart the computer
  7. Launch Lightroom
  8. Wait 5 minutes
 

Then:

 

Preference Reset Procedure:

  1. Close Lightroom.
  2. Hold down [Alt/Opt]+[Shift] while restarting Lightroom
  3. Overwrite the Preferences when prompted by the dialog
  4. Close Lightroom
  5. Restart Lightroom.
 

Then:

 

Go to Help>System Info... and verify the installed version is 9.1
Go to File>Open Catalog... and attempt to update your 8.4.1. catalog
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Joel Gilliland

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Thanks Rikk
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Bruce Kentish

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Still not working. Ive also bought new MacBook Pro installed everything and then followed the procedure above and it still won't open one catalog
Ive got 4 other catalogs and they all work fine and have been updated. 
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John Woodman

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Finally - finally - working. Adobe, please do not do this again. I'm 75 years old, and I resent wasting days of what life is left to me on your botched upgrade. 
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Kirsty Wilson

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I still cannot update to the newest LR. and I've tried the solution above in this thread, twice.
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David Golding

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What is your OS what version what build?
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Kirsty Wilson

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Windows 10 hone
version 1903
os build 18362.535

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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@Bruce Kentish

There is likely something wrong with the catalog. If you would be willing to share it to a file sharing service, I can have the team take a look at it. 
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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@Kirsty Wilson,

I am not clear on what you are saying. Does Lightroom not update or does your Lightroom catalog not upgrade from 7/8.x to 9.1?
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Kirsty Wilson

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Hi Rikk, the catalag does not update from 8 to 9.1

LR updates fine, but I cannot access the catalogue as the error mentioned above does not allow it to be updated.
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Bruce Kentish

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Thanks Rikk Flohr, happy to share and hope you can repair it. can you send me your email address please?
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Bruce and Kirsty,

One more thing you can try before we look at your catalogs:
  1. Close Lightroom 
  2. Locate the sync.lrdata file 
  3. Rename this file to sync.backup
  4. Launch Lightroom and attempt the catalog upgrade again. 
Let me know how it goes. 
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Bruce Kentish

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Thats great! it worked!! Thanks you!!
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Kirsty Wilson

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Hi Rikk,

File name changed.

Updated LR

Then tried to upgrade the catalogue

error message - Lightroom encountered problems when trying to update the format of the catalog file and cannot use this catalog in this version of Lightroom.

See Adobe Technote
Show in Explorer
Choose a different catalog
Exit
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Steve Gandy

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Ahhh, nice! That's the way this forum is supposed to work, huh?