LR 5.3 unexpectedly quits, empties catalogs

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PROBLEMS LR quits, dumps catalogs (April 2014)
I have been using 5.3 on an iMac (10.9.2) since January. I have files stored as follows:
HD→User→Pictures→Lightroom (images, .lrcat & .lrdata NOT the LR application) →Lumix Pix (+ sub-folders by date) ALSO →Nikon Pix (+ sub-folders by date)
Last week I added a new sub-folder, → Fuji Pix, & as I was looking at some of the 35 files I had imported (dng & jpg) the active image in the upper left-hand corner of the LR screen suddenly went blank, followed by the histogram (in the upper right) & the recent imports. I then got a message on screen saying something like “LR has encountered an error and must close.” It closed. When I restarted LR it came up OK, but my folders & catalogs had all reset to “0”. I have a message in the center of the LR screen saying “Click the ‘import’ button to begin”.

My images all appear to be where they should be on the HD when I look for them with Finder, but I am not sure about
1. How to best get them back into LR
2. If the dng files I edited will retain the edits
3. Is there something wrong with LR (the rest of my programs on the iMac are running OK)
4. If it is safe to upgrade to 5.4 (& if so, then before or after restoring my files)
5. Does this have anything to do with reported LR problem with files from the Fuji X-Trans sensor?
6. Have I done something wrong in my LR set-up? I notice, for instance, that my Fuji Pix sub-folder contains the following 4 LR files
Lightroom 5 Catalog Previews.lrdata
Lightroom 5 Catalog.lrcat
Lightroom 5 Catalog.lrcat-journal
Lightroom 5 Catalog.lrcat.lock

While the Lumix Pix sub-folder includes 3
Lumix Pix Previews.lrdata
Lumix Pix Smart Previews.lrdata
Lumix Pix .lrcat

And the Nikon Pix sub-folder includes 5
Nikon Pix Previews.lrdata
Nikon Pix Smart Previews.lrdata
Nikon Pix.lrcat
Nikon Pix.lrcat-journal
Nikon Pix.lrcat.lock

If I was considering this for someone else I would suggest that they did something wrong in set-up since (I guess) the LR data for each sub-folder should be the same. I could have screwed up, but I can’t tell where, nor can I tell what to do from looking at the LR “Help” sections.
Thanks for any advice,
David
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David Oettinger

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Posted 5 years ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Since you have .lrcat files in each of your camera subfolders, it sounds like you've created a separate catalog for each camera. Was that intentional? I would usually suggest you'd be better with a single catalog, even if you decide to divide the folders themselves up by camera.

What's happening is when Lightroom's crashing (for an as-yet unknown reason), it's corrupting the preferences file and therefore opening the default empty catalog because it's forgotten that you had other catalogs.
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David Oettinger

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Victoria, Thanks for responding. --I was following instructions from 2 different sources when I set up LR (that may have been a problem....) but, yes, a separate catalog for each camera was intentional.
Would it be better to just start over? If, as it appears, the folders of down loaded images are still there, is there a safe way to remove the current LR file structure & not lose the files? I could transfer the files to a flash drive, but I wonder if I moved the files to new folders with different names is there any LR data I might need that would be lost(?)
I have been away for a while so please excuse my late reply. This LR issue has been bothering me, because I'm still shooting, but not processing --also, I keep reading on the Fuji X Forum that LR just doesn't work well with RAW from the Fuji X-Trans sensor. I'm wondering if I should fire up the SilkyPix that came with the camera.... I used that once years ago & found it pretty opaque
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Hi David. My apologies, I missed your reply.

I wouldn't start over - I'd just merge them into a single catalog. To do so, create a new Lightroom catalog with a sensible name (Davids Catalog.lrcat, etc.) by going to File menu > New Catalog - or just using the empty one that was created by the crash.

Then go to File menu > Import from Another Catalog and point it to the first of the camera catalogs and press Import. Then repeat with the second camera catalog. The originals will be left where they were, just in case you're worried.

Then you can just use that new merged catalog to work on. The existing photos won't have been moved or copied in the process - you'll still be looking at the same files in the same location - and you can continue to import the different cameras into different folders if that's how you like to organize them.
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David Oettinger

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Victoria, thank you for responding again.
This sounds logical; I'll give it a try.
Do you think I should upgrade to 5.4 before making the new Lightroom catalogs?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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That shouldn't make a difference either way David
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David Oettinger

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Victoria, well, I am feeling none too flash here. I upgraded to 5.4 & added a catalog, "Davids Catalog.lrcat", no problems, but when I go to LR "File>Import from another catalog" I cannot point to the first of the camera catalogs and press Import because the camera catalogs are all on the same level as "Davids....lrcat" (see attached screen shot --I also can't go over & upload the individual dng & jpg files)
The path is "HD→User→Pictures→Lightroom-->Davids catalog.lrcat" it seems like the camera catalogs would have to be sub-directory under "Davids....lrcat" in the same way that "Davids....lrcat" is a sub-directory under "Lightroom" which is a sub-directory under "Pictures", etc. Am I over-thinking this or missing something about the LR catalog structure? Should I create a Folder for each camera under "Davids Catalog.lrcat"?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Just overthinking it a bit David. :) Lightroom doesn't care where the photos are in relation to the catalog, so putting them in the Lightroom folder parallel to the folders is fine. You can move the camera folders into a subfolder later if you want to, but do that within Lightroom's Folders panel if you decide to do that.
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David Oettinger

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I hesitate to continue to impose on you.... I don’t know if it’s a LR issue or a straight file structure issue, but I can’t copy a folder (LR “catalog” in this case) into another folder that is on the same level as the original folder (see screen shot) & LR won’t let me copy the catalog contents (note on the screen shot that they are greyed out).
Were you were suggesting copy contents outside of LR using Finder?
I’m not sure if I follow you re “Lightroom doesn't care where the photos are in relation to the catalog, so putting them in the Lightroom folder parallel to the folders is fine.”
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Hmmmm, those greyed out files looks like a Finder problem of some description. That's nothing to do with Lightroom. I guess you can't open those photos by double-clicking on them, right?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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You mentioned your photos have only been on the iMac since January - what were you using before?
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David Oettinger

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Victoria, I have been on the Mac since 2008. I have only had the Fuji since January. Previously I had used SilkyPix, PS Elements, ViewNX2 & a few other editors on the Mac. I switched to LR when I started shooting RAW with the Lumix & it loaded up & seemed to be running fine until the mess that started this thread. My intention was to have LR be my sole editor (& maybe use Nik Silver FX for B&W.)

The files are only greyed out in LR. In Finder I can open the jpgs using Preview. They are well-formed images SOOC around 5mb each.

Were you suggesting in previous post that I copy contents outside of LR using Finder? --This is really getting frustrating.
Thank you again for your responses.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Ah, I've just spotted why you can't select them - that's the Import from Catalog dialog, where you're supposed to select one of the other catalogs, not the photos themselves.

You said before that you had a catalog for each camera. In your original post you said you have Lumix Pix .lrcat, Nikon Pix.lrcat and so forth. Those are the files you're supposed to select in that dialog.
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David Oettinger

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Victoria, thanks again for your advice. I have wound up re-importing selections from the SD card into the catalog structure you suggested. That works & the files I originally imported are still on the HD if I need to get at them.
I still don't know what caused the original problem, but it hasn't happened again. Anyway, thanks to you, the basic LR structure is now improved & I can hopefully start processing new images.