Lightroom: Undo moving pictures

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It's not currently possible to "undo" moving pictures from one folder to another. Since this is a recordable and nondestructive process, it should easily be undoable.
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martijn Saly

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Posted 2 years ago

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Cletus Lee

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Moving files is a filesystem process. LR must use the filesystem to facilitate the process.  The file system does not allow "undo"  The only thing LR could do is move back.  IMO this would require an unreasonable and unnecessary overhead to track files moves.
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Robert Lambert

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"unnecessary; It is not, master file-system time you shall! You WILL!"  - Master Yoda
(Edited)
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Paul Plak

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Moving a file around is not just a database operation, like most other operations that happen solely inside LR. Undoing it really requires a lot of code, and no one can be sure the file will not have been moved again outside LR when you try to undo it.
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martijn Saly

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This is true also if the file hasn't been moved. In other words, a file can *always* get moved or become inaccessible at some point. And Lightroom has a flag for that as well.

So, undoing a file move is actually quite simple. Move it back on the filesystem as well. If it's not possible for whatever reason, display a message, and mark the moved-back file as inaccessible. At least the undo has then been performed while all edits are preserved.
(Edited)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Note that both Windows File Explorer and Mac Finder support undo of moving files.
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martijn Saly

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That only works if you also use Explorer to move the file in the first place. A file move executed by an application is not magically injected into Explorer's undo history.

On top of that, undoing the file move in Explorer (hypothetically! because as I said this isn't possible) doesn't magically move it back in Lightroom. Lightroom would see it as a totally new file and all edits will be lost.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I agree.  I neglected to elaborate on my comment, which was intended to support your position.

I cited the examples of Explorer and Finder to show that it's straightforward for applications to provide undo of file move (as other applications also provide, e.g. the Photoshop Elements Organizer, at least as of PSE 8).  

If LR provided undo of move, it wouldn't impose any more overhead than is already imposed on every other batch operation in LR (e.g. changing the keyword on thousands of pics at once).  LR's implementation already has an undo log with an architecture designed to support undo of diverse commands; the move operation would do as all other commands do, writing an entry into the undo log with the detailed information required to undo the move.  
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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" e.g. the Photoshop Elements Organizer, at least as of PSE 8).  "
... and in all uterior Elements versions ...
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Jon Kreski

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Moving Files - Changes Can't Be Undone - Really?.

My photo folders on my Windows 10 PC need to be reorganized.  I went to move a folder inside Lightroom and it warned me that any changes made could not be undone.  Concerned, I did a little test.  I took some arcane photo and cropped it and changed the exposure, then moved it.  I was then able to change the cropping back to what looked like full image and reset the exposure back to zero.  The warning and my ability to still make changes don't seem to make sense.  Please provide some insights.  And if changes can't be undone after I close the software or something - how does one ever reorganize files and folders?  That limitation doesn't seem reasonable.
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Robert Cullen

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The warning "changes can not be undone" only refers to the 'Move' function, and as stated in above posts-   Lightroom does not allow "undo  Ctrl+Z" of the 'Move'. (And yet operating systems do allow 'undo')
You can always 'Move' a folder any number of times within Lightroom if wanted (eg. to 'reverse' a move).
All edits and development of the photo in the Lr Catalog remain unchanged.