Some of my photos are grayed out have the word INVALID next to them.

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My Lightroom Catalog is a mess. I've been trying to tidy it up following various suggestions on U-tube videos etc. So, not sure what I've done but in the process some of my photos are now grayed out and have the word "invalid" next to them.
I have tried to 'synchronise the folder' which does nothing. I've tried updating the folder location too, but I get an error that reads: 'Internal error: Source is required to change the folder location'. I've even tried updating to the latest version of Lightroom and resetting my preferences but nothing seems to be working.
I know I haven't deleted the images as they're still there in the finder. I can't even delete these grayed out items to start again.

Does anyone know what I've done wrong or how to fix it?
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Dave McGregor

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Posted 1 year ago

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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Did you rename any files or folders from outside LR?  It sounds like you renamed a top-level folder, which has disconnected all of its subfolders inside LR (invalid path representation). In Finder or Windows Explorer navigate to that top-level folder and see if the name is now different than what you see inside LR. The more details you can provide concerning the "tidying-up" you did the easier it will be to find a solution.
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Dave McGregor

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Before I started 'cleaning up' I had stuff in various folders all at the same level on an external HD, whereas I realised I should have ONE main folder with everything else inside that, including the catalog file. So I stupidly re-organised everything in the finder (not Lightroom). Thankfully I was able to fix this in Lightroom by 'updating the folder locations' for each folder I moved.
That worked for about 90% of what I'd moved but there still remains about 5 or 6 folders that are grayed out with the word 'Invalid' next to them. They don't have a 'question mark' on them as so many help videos allude to... they are simply Grayed out.
One other thing I did while restructuring things was to change the name of the Main folder. All I did was to capitalise the name from Lightroom to LIGHTROOM – to make it stand out as my MAIN folder.
I was able to relink the majority of my folders so that everything appears the same in the finder as it is in LR. So I'm a bit confused about why this has only affected a few folders.
(Edited)
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Dave McGregor

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I got thinking about what you said Todd. I decided to try going back to the original lowercase spelling on the main folder to see if that opened any doors for me. Thankfully it did. Suddenly the Synchronise feature worked as it should, although I had to shuffle things around from one location to another as LR kept telling me there were duplicate files at the locations I was moving them to. Interestingly, they were invisible to me in LR but I could see them in the finder. From that point on, I made sure to make any changes strictly inside Lightroom and eveything came right. I was able to re-link everything and the 'Invalid' labels are now gone.
Once I got to that point I then renamed the Main folder all in CAPS but I did it within LIGHTROOM as I should have done in the first place. Lesson learned!

Thanks for your help.
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We crossed-post (see my reply below). Mac OS X is not case-sensitive unless you reformatted your disk to be so. Have you modified your drive to be case-sensitive? If not renaming the top-level folder without caps shouldn't have changed anything.  Even though your system may not be case-sensitive apparently LR is so renaming the top-level folder in all caps will create the disconnect you are seeing. Sorry for any confusion and glad you got that part of the issue resolved.
Suddenly the Synchronise feature worked as it should, although I had to shuffle things around from one location to another as LR kept telling me there were duplicate files at the locations I was moving them to.
Synchronize is the wrong way to "reconnect" moved folders & files. When you use synchronize the image is "reimported" and all of your LR edits are lost!
(Edited)
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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As long as none of the subfolders or image files were renamed or moved between subfolders yo should be able to "relink" them inside LR. Mac OS X is not case-sensitive unless you reformatted your disk to be so. For the remaining 5 or 6 folders marked 'invaild' check to see if those image files are in another folder that isn't invalid. They may now be duplicates of the "original" moved folders that are now relocated and can be removed. Also right-click on the top-level picture folder (Pictures?) and select 'Show Parent Folder.'  If you still can't reconcile these folders post a screenshot of the LR folder pane.

BTW- There is no need to keep the LR Catalog and Previews folders in the same folder as you image files. In fact I recommend keeping them in a separate folder on your system drive. LR has many tools and features for "organizing" your image files such as keywords, collections, ratings, picks, rejects, and EXIF/IPTC metadata. Using Folder and File renaming and moving for this purpose is not necessary and as you've discovered can create a mess if done outside of LR.

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Dave McGregor

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Unfortunately, my lightroom issues have not been fully solved. Now I have a different problem, but it probably stems from my same bad practices in LR. It's kinda difficult to explain, but it's essentially a 'Missing File' issue.
However, this problem differs from all the U-tube videos I've watched about how to find missing images. In my case there is no question mark or exclamation mark indicating a missing file.

I have a number of photos that have been edited outside of lightroom in photoshop. I want to bring them back into LR to keep them in my catalog. In recent times I've done this successfully using Lightroom. But in the past, I stupidly organised them in the Mac Finder instead of LR. Now I'm looking for a lot of my older photos and can't find them in LR.

So for e.g. in LR I have a folder with 5 images in it (called 'Old Collection' in image below) but in the Finder I have an additional 41 images in the same folder which LR can't see.
I have tried synchronising that folder and importing those photos, but when the import window opens and I navigate to that particular folder, all the images are there and visible, but they're GRAYED out and I am unable to import anything. I suspect I may have already imported them to a different location in LR on a previous occasion, but I simply can't remember.

Like I said at the outset, my Lightroom is a complete mess and I need to get it sorted. Any help or suggestions you may have will be much appreciated.
(Edited)
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Dave McGregor

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Ok, here's a bit more info...
A lot of my problems stem back to some old habits that go back a few years to when I first started using LR. I basically had no idea what I was doing! I think I know better now but I've got a huge mess to clean up.

So I started off just allowing LR to store my photos in the default location in the 'Pictures' file on the HD. Eventually my hard drive became full, that was the beginning of the problem. So I got an external HD and decided to start again saving all my images to it in a new Catalog. So I've still got a lot of images in that old Catalog which I don't use anymore except when I'm looking for some old photos. I guess what I really need to do is get those images off the original HD but when I try LR tells me these files already exist that I'm duplicating the image. And yet I can't see it in LR on the external HD... it's invisible.

It's probably as a result of these issues that led me to force the issue by doing what I wanted in the Finder instead of LR, but I see that I have now compounded the problem. Yikes! what a mess.
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So I got an external HD and decided to start again saving all my images to it in a new Catalog. So I've still got a lot of images in that old Catalog which I don't use anymore except when I'm looking for some old photos.
What you should have done is "move" all of your image files to the external HDD and keep using one (1) LR Catalog. Unless you're a professional with multiple client accounts you want to keep separate only use one (1) LR catalog. This allows you to search, find, and edit ALL your image files (old + new). You can also leave the "old" image files on the system drive and "new" image files on the external HDD and still use one (1) LR catalog. You can merge the old catalog with the current working catalog to get them back together: https://www.lightroomqueen.com/merging-catalogs-overview/

At a later date you can move ALL of the "old" image files from the system drive to the external drive if you need to free-up system disk space. This is the ONLY time you should do this from outside LR using Finder or Windows Explorer. Move the entire folder tree structure at the top-most folder level using COPY and not MOVE. Then from inside LR use 'Find Missing Folder on the top-level folder you just copied over and point it to the new  top-level folder location on the external drive. Once you've verified ALL files are present inside LR at the new location you can delete the original folder tree on the system drive.

The reason for using this procedure is because image files can be lost when moving a large number files from inside LR due to power dropout or other system issues. Since LR only uses a MOVE operation the files are permanently lost. With the above procedure you an easily recover and move any files that did not copy-over due to the mentioned system issues. More here:

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

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I think I just answered my own question.

Wherever I was told there was a duplicate I tried to locate the duplicate files in the Finder and just deleted them. The crux of the problem was I had my photos saved across 2 hard drives... an internal HD and an external HD. I never had time to do all the necessary housekeeping at the time so it ended up in a giant mess. I needed to consolidate everything so there was only ONE set of everything. Amazing how that freed up a lot of space too. Duh!

Sorry to have bothered you.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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When you see a greyed-out image in the Import module it means LR already has a copy of that file imported. There are some plugins you can use for finding and removing duplicates that were imported in the LR catalog. More info here:

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/clean-duplicate-photos/
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Dave McGregor

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Thanks Todd.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Glad to help. I think every LR user does something like this at least once. Hopefully once burned you don't make the same mistakes again. There's a good book i can recommend by Peter Krogh on Organizing Your Photos with Lightroom: http://thedambook.com/organizing-your-photos-with-lightroom-5/