Lightroom: Moving files, resulted in deleting the files

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I am using Mac OSX and LR CC 2015.

I have a workflow that involves importing thousand of raw photos and then sorting them. In order to sort them, I take a group of photos of the same subject and move them to a temp folder and then repeat until all the photos have been moved to sub categories based on there names. I then move the photos out of the temp folder into the original folder and delete the temp folder.
While attempting to move the folders containing the photos, one of the folders and the 97 photos under it was lost. There is also a descrepancy in the number of photos copied 97 vs 76. And I can no longer find the photos on my hard drive. i did NOT delete the photos. LR seems to have deleted them. This is a HUGE problem.
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John Borys

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Do they end up in the Trash Can?
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John Borys

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no. They are just gone.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Can you share more details? More Screen Shots?

On the drive where the Temp folder resides is it local, external or networked?
On the drive where the organized folders reside is it local,external or networked?

Prior to deleting the Temp folder, do you verify via the OS that it is empty?
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Tomi Lahcanski

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Rikk,

I just encountered a similar problem. I am really panicking because my files on my backup HDD (that was connected to my PC) ware also deleted.

I used the video instructions from Julianne Kost to transfer my files from my OS HDD to an external HDD. Some of my files transferred some disappeared altogether; they are not in the recycle bin either. In addition, the files on my backup HDD were also eliminated- I did not even touch that one.

I need to talk to someone at Adobe directly. What number should I call?
I use windows 7 and I have LR 5.5.

Please help me!
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John Borys

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Both folders are on an external hard drive. I did not verify via the OS that it was empty because I did not delete the folder. I simply moved it's contents to another folder. I used LR to do this because, as you know, if I do that in the OS LR will lose the link to those files and I will have to find them again inside LR. I do not know what other screen shots I can provide.
External HDD. Move from one LR folder to another about 5,000 photos and one of the folders contents disappear it the gist of it.
I have been a software engineer for the last 17 years so I am not a newb when it comes to user interfaces or how directory structures work. I am mystified. And one of my clients is heartbroken.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Thanks for the additional information, John.
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Kjetil Drarvik, Employee

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I notice that one of your folders is named 'kimberly Bench' while the other is named 'Kimberly Bench'. What were the exact steps to get to that point? (Doesn't seem like just drag/drop would case a change in case. Did you manually create the 'kimberly Bench' folder, then drag selected images back from the (temporary) 'Kimberly Bench' folder?)

Also, I'm assuming this is not the case, but is the file system on your external drive case sensitive?
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John Borys

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No I didn't. I dragged all of the folders from the temp directory to the perm directory. I have no idea how the case changed. I too see no reason why LR would be responsible for changing the case on these directories. Now I am questioning my own sanity...
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Paige Miller

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There are many similar reports in the Lightroom Forum, these are rare but persistent.

I have compiled a list of such reports here
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Richard Dyson

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This cost me nearly £300 in obtaining a restore of some extremely important images from a wedding I had shot. I would like someone from Adobe to contact me to discuss how I could be reimbursed for this loss due to the software issues.
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Ryan Milton

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom CC: Moving files lost images.

Hi,

I decided i really should start backing up my image files to an external HDD. In preperation of this I tried to move 5 old image folders into one subfolder (Still on my internal HDD).

My images have always been organised as follows when imported by LR:

     Pictures/'Year'/'dd-mm-yyyy'/imagename001.DNG

So I tried to move 5 year folders into one main 'Archive' folder, so like this:

    Pictures/Archive/'Year'/'dd-mm-yyyy'/imagename001.DNG

I created the 'Archive folder in Finder, then I thought the best way to complete the move would be within lightroom to retain ties between the catologue and DNG files.

However after moving the folders lightroom flagged up an error message (I can't remember the wording but may have been about duplicate directory naming) and after clicking OK it seems that 4 folders were successfully moved but 90% of my files from 2014 have vanished.

They are not in the original location,they are not in the new location, they are not in the trash. 

I've paid for and run disk rescue software to find them but none of these files could be found. The only thing i've managed to do is run a script to save the LR previews as .jpg.

I know i should have backed up sometime earlier, but it still stings that i'm trying to do the right thing here and still get screwed by LR deleting my files. What is going on here Adobe?
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Ryan, can you go to Help>System Info... and get us your exact LR Version number?

Thanks!
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Ryan Milton

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Lightroom version: CC 2015.5 [ 1067055 ]
License: Creative Cloud
Operating system: Mac OS 10
Version: 10.11 [4]
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Since there continue to be reports about this problem over several years, a number of us recommend that if you're moving more than a few files, especially if you're moving folders, do so outside of LR with Mac Finder or Windows File Explorer.  Then reconnect the LR folder with its new location by right-clicking the folder in the Folders panel and selecting Find Missing Folder.
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Paige Miller

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Since there continue to be reports about this problem over several years, a number of us recommend that if you're moving more than a few files, especially if you're moving folders, do so outside of LR with Mac Finder or Windows File Explorer.  Then reconnect the LR folder with its new location by right-clicking the folder in the Folders panel and selecting Find Missing Folder.

I would recommend an even safer method. COPY (not MOVE) the photos to the new hard disk. Then, right-click on the top level folder in Lightroom and select "Update Folder Location" and point to the new copies. Then, once you are sure everything in Lightroom is reconnected and working properly, you can delete the originals. This is all explained in detail in the section entitled "Updating Folder Location" of this document: http://www.computer-darkroom.com/lr2_find_folder/find-folder.htm. This was also Ian Lyons's recommendation (he is the author of this document), and this recommendation is at least 4 years old now.

Nevertheless, how are we going to let users know about this?
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Ryan Milton

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Yes, it's difficult to find this solution until you know about the problem...
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Jason Armistead

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I have CR2 (Canon RAW) plus JPG files, since I am shooting with both (for various reasons).  I will occasionally see this issue with the CR2 file not being moved.  It seems to happen more if I am using my second monitor for the Loupe view. 

My best guess is that the Loupe view window is trying to show the "current" file in the Library, but right as this is happening, the Move operation is trying to move it to the new folder, and there's some conflict between the two operations (which as a software engineer, suggests to me a threading problem in the code).  So far, no lost files, but I do need to retry the Move operation (normally after I remember to turn off the second monitor).
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Paige Miller

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A new report, this is the first one I am aware of where the move was between two folders on the same disk.

https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2174292
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Paige Miller

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Another identical report, files disappear when they are moved inside of Lightroom
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2193842
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Paige Miller

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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thanks for the report Paige.  We are still trying to repro here.
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The same just happened to me. I moved 11 folders, each containing subfolders up to two levels. All the folders/subfolders contained images.

Two folders with subfolders were lost, totalling in 216+128=344 lost images.

I am extremely annoyed that a function offered in Lightroom can have such disastrous consequences. My LR version is 2015.8, OS is 10.11.5. Conventional HD connected via ESATA.
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To be precise, the folder structure remained intact, just the images were lost.

I have a theory what might have caused this:

When I dragged the folders, one level of subfolders was still expanded. I simply highlighted the containing folders plus all the subfolders and dragged everything to the new location. I did so because I was lazy, the folders happened to be still expanded from what I had done before.

This might lead to conflicting tasks within Lighroom when it tries to move a folder and a contained folder within at the same time. The top level folder tries to move the sub-level since it belongs to it, but the sub-level folder has been highlighted additionally and also tries to move.

Perhaps one of the LR-Gurus could look into that?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Dominik Busch has identified at least one cause of errors moving folders: Selecting a folder and its contained subfolders and dragging all of them to a new location can cause LR to get confused, moving the subfolders into wrong locations and reporting spurious errors.  To reproduce on OS X:

1. Download and unzip this folder: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/21811200/LR%20move%20bug.2017.03.20.zip

2. Place the unzipped folder "LR move bug.2017.03.20" on your Desktop.

3. Start Terminal and execute these commands:
cd ~/Desktop/LR\ move\ bug.2017.03.20
sh build.sh ~/Desktop/root 5 5 3
This will create a nested folder tree containing 125 copies of a 44 MB DNG.

4. In LR, import the folder ~/Desktop/root using the Add option.

5. On an external drive, create a folder "dest", add a dummy pic to it, and import "dest" into LR using the Add option.  Then, delete the dummy pic from the catalog and disk.

6. In the LR Folder panel, option-click the triangle next to "root" to expand the tree completely. Then select "root" and all the nested folders:



7. Click and drag "root" to "dest".

8. A number of spurious errors will be reported that look similar to:





9. All the files got copied, but the folder structure was scrambled:

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Using your instructions and test files, John, I was able to duplicate this issue.  A bug has been filed against this thread. 

Thanks to you and Dominik for the instructions. 
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Very good.  This has been a long-standing issue very hard to nail down, and perhaps this is a source of most or all of the reports over the years.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Multiple image move operation bug.

1. change to Library mode -> Grid view (press 'g')
2. select > 10 images
3. drag and drop images into any folder - notice the image that is highlighted!
4. error dialog "Error While Moving Files" is displayed that the highlighted image was unable to be moved - see screenshot #2
5. manually drag and drop last file into folder :(

This is not 100% reproducible but on my current system (i7, SSD, 12gb RAM) when sorting panoramas into sub-directories, I get this error about 75% of the time. Also on my old system (AMD Phenom x4 w/ 6gb RAM) I would get this error even more frequently.

Win7 x64. Lightroom v3.4.1 (however this bug has been around since at least v2).



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Oleksandr Petrenko

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It's a separate issue. No files deleted in this case.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Good morning. We'd like to invite you to our prerelease if you're interested in evaluating a fix for this issue. Let us know and we'll get you added.
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John Borys

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yes. please invite me.
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Lambert Wolterbeek

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sure, bring it on ;)
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Oleksandr Petrenko

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If it for disappearing files bug or not moving files bug?
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Michael Akin

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Please Invite.  LR just lost 600 files.  Thankfully, I backed them up first.
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Official Response
Lightroom CC2015.12/6.12 was released today and should address this issue.  Please update your Lightroom to the latest version and let us know if you continue to see the issue. Thank you for your patience.

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2017/07/lightroom-cc-2015-12-now-available.html
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Oleksandr Petrenko

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Issue of incomplete move of files not resolved yet?
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Oleksandr Petrenko

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Oh yes... Till last moment I had some hope...

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Oleksandr, 

Go to Help>System Info and verify your Lightroom version is either 6.12 or CC2015.12. If it is not, please update your Lightroom installation. 

If it is, then you will need to provide very detailed step-by-step instructions for creating this issue again. Based upon the original poster and then John Ellis' additional instructions we were able to reproduce and fix this issue. If you are still experiencing this issue, we need to know very specifically what you are doing when this occurs.  Without that information, I cannot reopen the bug. 
(Edited)
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Oleksandr Petrenko

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Not that much changed since original poster of the issue Glenn Bristol posted it 6 years ago.

1. change to Library mode 
2. select images (I usually use "Ctrl+A" in filmstrip) 
3. drag and drop images into any folder 
4. error dialog appears - see screenshot

LR is updated this morning. Just to check if it will be able to move.
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Paige Miller

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Sometimes the updater doesn't update properly, so you need to confirm, by looking in Help->System Info, that you have Version 6.12 or CC 2015.12, and state affirmatively that you tried this procedure with version 6.12 or CC 2015.12.

Also, no screen capture appears in your message.
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Oleksandr Petrenko

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I've checked the version before posting the message above.
Screen capture is in the second reply to the announcement (above). 
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Inka Ellenbrand

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Hi Rikk, will the update be of any help if the files are already deleted. I have the same issue as most other users. I moved a folder between two external devices and all the files are gone. 9000 images of my kids. Please help!
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Inka, Rikk's traveling at the moment, but I can answer instead. The update aims to prevent it happening in future. You'll need to restore the images from your backups.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Correct, the update is designed for prevention - not recovery.  (And I am back...)
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Joanna conner

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I am using the current version of Lightroom. Today I moved a file from my laptop hard drive to my external hard drive. LR gave me an error message stating that it could not move one of the file. An entire folder of images (260) is now gone. It is not on either hard drive. This is the second time this has happened. This issue is still not fixed! How do I let Adobe know this is still a problem? 
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You may have had all of the files in that folder selected and when you did the move. Search your hard drive(s) for one of the file names you moved. They may be there, but in a different location than where you intended to move them. Can you remember any of the file names? Is the one file that could not be moved still showing inside LR?
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Ramune Cabby

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Please help!

Couple of days ago I used Lightroom 5.7.1 on my Laptop with Windows 10 and tried to move a folder "2017" (containing over 9300 raw files) from computer's hard drive to the external hard drive. The Lightroom moved 19 pictures only and the rest of the files and the folder itself disappeared entirely from my hard drive and only those 19 files could be found on the external hard drive. The move process took only a minute so it looks like it did not transfer the rest of the files. Please help as it was my entire year of work and family pictures! Thank you!
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justin k

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Today I moved a folder inside LR to an external HD. The folder itself was over 40GB. The progress bar stopped about 1/3 way through the process, and after 15 minutes no more files were being moved. I finally stopped the move by clicking the "x." When I looked at the size of the folder in the external HD and the size of the original folder still remaining, I had lost over 25GB!!  
Arguably the most important function LR has is not image organization, it is image preservation. And if files just disappear due to LR glitches, then steps need to be taken to fix that as priority #1! 
I will not be moving files within LR any longer, and I will not recommend that anyone do so. If I know of someone who is considering using LR, I will suggest they look at alternatives.  Unbelievable!
(Edited)
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Many of us long-time users make the same recommendation: If you're moving large number of photos and folders, do it Mac Finder or Windows File Explorer.  Then relink the missing folders in LR.  There have been infrequent but persistent reports about disastrous data loss for many years.
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There is something really different in the way LR and Elements Organizer deal with moving files and folders.
With Elements (at least not too old versions) if you get a problem like a power outage when moving files, what happens?
- The original files are not deleted, they are still there.
- The part of moved folders is on the destination master folder or drive. The catalog rolls back to the original situation. You only have to delete the partial copy and restart the process.
Seems like there is a two steps process : a copy followed by a delete only if the first transaction has succeeded.

In the Organizer or LR, it's obvious a backup is in order before such a risky move.

On the other hand, relinking in LR is much better than in the Organizer, so, in the Organizer I am often tempted to recommend moving by drag and drop from the folders panel.

I have not met the issue with moving files in LR (infrequent reports...) but I wonder what happens in this case with the original files (can they be recovered from waste bin) and the original catalog (which may have been backed up) ?
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"I will not be moving files within LR any longer, and I will not recommend that anyone do so. If I know of someone who is considering using LR, I will suggest they look at alternatives.  Unbelievable!"

It's all in a word and using a "Move" operation in ANY application with a large number of files & folders is dangerous. Any number of things can go wrong during the transfer such as a power outage, memory issues, drive issues, etc. that can cause files to be lost.

Instead use 'Copy' and 'Paste' to add a copy of the files and folders to the new drive or folder location. Once completed you can compare the original location top-level folder for Size, File count, and folder count and compare it to the new location copied to. They should be identical. If not you still have all of the files at their original location and can try again.

Scroll down to reply #13 at the below link for more details:

https://forums.adobe.com/message/6590881#6590881

It's always recommended to backup the LR catalog and image files before doing ANY operation on a large number of files, but the above Copy, Paste & Compare procedure is pretty safe.
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justin k

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Is this copy and paste method what Adobe officially recommends? Or are they on record recommending that people move files within LR? If it's the latter then they should at minimum issue an official policy that warns against major unrecoverable data loss during this procedure. 

I see in the site you referenced someone suggests changing the name of the original folder to break the LR link and then copying and pasting. I will probably do that. 
Regardless of what my happen to cause files to be lost, this was not due to a power outage. This is a LR issue and has been documented in the past-- of which this thread is evidence. I do back up the LR catalog frequently. That is a moot point. 
I did have most of the files backed up, thankfully. However, now I have the remaining files left on a HD, which LR did not move, and which are contained in collections, and a backup in a separate location which does not contain every file, but most, that LR has no awareness of. So it's a complete mess. Thanks Adobe!
(Edited)
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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"Is this copy and paste method what Adobe officially recommends? "

To the best of my knowledge NO and when moving a small number of files there generally is NO problem. The problem occurs when moving a LARGE NUMBER of FILES for all of the reasons I stated at the link provided.

"I see in the link someone suggests changing the name of the original folder to break the LR link and then copying and pasting. I will probably do that."

No need to do that! When you copy the folder structure to a new drive LR is completely unaware of the operation!

"Regardless of what my happen to cause files to be lost, this was not due to a power outage. This is a LR issue and has been documented in the past. I do back up the LR catalog frequently. That is a moot point."

So all the more reason for using Copy & Paste from outside of LR, agreed?

"I did have most of the files backed up, thankfully. However, now I have the remaining files left on a HD, which LR did not move, and which are contained in collections, and a backup in a separate location which does not contain every file, but most, that LR has no awareness of. So it's a complete mess."

 I totally agree and it's a mess that could have been prevented using Copy, Paste, & Compare from outside of LR! To "repair" the damage you can try using File Synchronization software to find and copy-over files in the original folder and/or backup that are missing at the new drive location.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_synchronization_software

I use FreeFileSync available here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/freefilesync/

Make sure to use the 'Donate' link and not the 'Download' link, which contains adware. There are also numerous other synchronization apps as shown at the above Wikipedia link.













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justin k

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Todd, so you agree that this is 1) An Adobe LR issue and 2) LR official documentation online makes no mention of it and in fact advises users of LR to engage in a risky practice that could result in major file loss and 3) LR has said this issue is solved (according to this thread) when in fact it is not solved. So among people in the know or who frequent this forum, the copy/paste method is known to be safer. Well that's great, but that is not enough, not by a long shot, wouldn't you agree? Where is Adobe on this issue? 
For some reason you seem to be doing everything except laying blame at the feet of Adobe. Why is that?
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"Todd, so you agree that this is 1) An Adobe LR issue"

Yes,and I feel your pain!

"2) LR official documentation online makes no mention of it and in fact advises users of LR to engage in a risky practice that could result in major file loss"

That is correct. Users in fact are advised NOT to move files and folders from outside LR since they will become "Missing" and need to be located and reconnected inside the current catalog. It's a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation.

"3) LR has said this issue is solved (according to this thread) when in fact it is not solved."

Correct.

"Where is Adobe on this issue?"

Adobe is aware of the issue and made at least one attempt to correct it with the LR CC 2015.12 bug fix. This report was entered over three years ago, but to date has received only 10 'Me To' votes. That's not a huge number of people claiming to have experienced the issue. That said there have been numerous reports of this issue in the LR forum, but Adobe Engineering rarely views those posts. Example: https://forums.adobe.com/message/8240503#8240503

"For some reason you seem to be doing everything except laying blame at the feet of Adobe. Why is that?"

The primary reason is because I simply don't trust LR or any other application to move large numbers files "automatically" on my desktop system. If I was using a server-grade system with ECC Memory, RAID 5 storage, and a UPS perhaps I would be more trusting. To be honest I do occasionally use LR when I need to move a few files, but in general once files are imported into LR I don't move them. Instead I use keywords and collections to "organize" my image files.

Even if Adobe implemented file & folder moves using an "automated" Copy, Paste & Compare checksum routine there's no guarantee that files won't be lost due to external system issues. That should make it more reliable, but the only 100% foolproof method is using Copy, Paste and a human comparing the origin versus destination results. It's a relatively simple & painless operation, especially if you're moving one top-level folder containing thousands of file. This is the way I moved files & folders for years before LR was even available so maybe I'm old-school.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Just an update: I've rerun John's test shown above that originated this bug against 6.9 and it shows that this particular issue remains fixed. It is likely the two recently reported issues on the other thread are not exactly the same issue as was reported here.
(Edited)