metadata changed by another program error, overwrite disk or not?

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When I tell Lightroom Classic CC (October 2017 release) to write metadata to the file, I get an error stating that some other program changed the metadata and Lightroom wants to know if I want to overwrite what is on the disk.

This is an outstandingly unclear question to me, since all of the metadata information is saved on my hard drive in one way or another. It's all on "the disk".

Is it asking if I want to overwrite the metadata in the photo file, which would mean overwriting the latest changes to that information?

Is it asking if I want to overwrite the disk copy of the metadata in the Lightroom Catalog, which would mean overwriting old information with newer information.

I'm getting this error after editing photos in Photoshop via Bridge and Camera Raw (sidestepping Lightroom for the edit). But the editing app is actually irrelevant -- it is the meaning of the question (what would get overwritten?) that I don't understand.
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Carl Douthit

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Posted 10 months ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I assume you're seeing this message:



LR stores all information about cataloged photos in its catalog file, including edits and changes to metadata.  Optionally, it also can write that information back to the photo files (or in the case of raws, the associated .xmp sidecars).  But by default, it doesn't write that information back to the files until you do Metadata > Save Metadata To File.

In your situation, you've edited a photo using Photoshop / ACR, which changes the photo files (or the sidecars) directly.  When you do Save Metadata To File, LR notices that the photo files have been modified since the last edit you made within LR (which is stored only in the catalog).   It's asking you whether it should overwrite the changes stored in the photo files (made by Photoshop/ACR) with the edits you made in LR (and which are stored in the catalog).
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Jerry Syder

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John, I've been using LR for years. Now, I would like to consider myself and advanced user(I know my way round comfortably and can dive into tweaks) but only until now, was that made clear to me. I guess I could have googled and educated myself but my point is.. I was always left scratching my head when I saw that prompt. It's far from clear and I'm honest, I always clicked one button(cancel) or the other(overwrite) without knowing what I was doing
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Rob Rippengale

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I agree it's confusing. How about something like "should Lightroom overwrite the modified XML file (or DNG or whatever it specifically is) with the previous Lightroom values." And also, there should be an obvious choice to update the Lightroom catalog values from the file. The way this question is posed, if you choose Cancel, one could expect the Lightroom values AND the file values to be left unchanged and the dilemma remains for future consideration. Surely we should be asked to choose which data to update, the file or the catalog. Updating "the disk" will happen in either case.
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Jerry Syder

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My sentiment, exactly 
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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'm getting this error after editing photos in Photoshop via Bridge and Camera Raw (sidestepping Lightroom for the edit). But the editing app is actually irrelevant -- it is the meaning of the question (what would get overwritten?) that I don't understand.
There is no one "correct" answer here.

If the edits you made using Bridge/Camera Raw are something you would like to keep current inside LR then you need to select 'Read Metadata from File' before making any further edits to the image file.

If the edits you made using Bridge/Camera Raw are specific to the PS document and you do NOT want to apply those settings inside LR then you need to select 'Overwrite the settings on disk.'

This of course begs the question why you used Bridge/ACR to create the PS document instead of LR's 'Edit in PS' function.
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Carl Douthit

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Thanks for the help on this, everyone.

How DO I go about updating the Lightroom Catalog with these new values so that the question does not reoccur for that particular photo? As Rob mentioned above, the question gives no opportunity to do that.
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Carl Douthit

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Thank you, John, that is very helpful.

I guess I'll have to do this one photo at a time from off the grid view, but at least I know what the Lightroom error message means and where to look to be able to fix it.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You can do this in batch.  You can find all photos with a given metadata status using the Library Filter bar's Metadata browser:



You can select one or more photos and do either Read Metadata From File (to import the settings from disk) or Save Metadata To File (to save LR's settings to disk).
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Carl Douthit

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Thanks!