Lightroom: Unknown error when moving a folder (Windows 10)

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  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)
Sometimes when I move a folder to another folder in the left pane under "Folders", just by dragging one into another, I get a message that says:

An unknown error occurred

And that's it. Then I try again, and suddenly it works fine.

So, two things to check for:
1) Why does Lightroom not try again by itself if that's all it takes?
2) Why is this error occurring in the first place, and can you (Adobe) please fix the cause?

Please note: local folders on a local SSD, moving folders within the same drive and partition. This is a *totally* mundane file operation, normally. Nothing fancy about it.

Also note: this is NOT reproducible. It's a lucky shot really (or unlucky shot if you will). I don't know under which circumstances this is most likely to happen. Perhaps when Lightroom is still doing, ehm, stuff, in the background or something, calculating, ehm, stuff. I have no idea. I hope Adobe does.

Tested on Lightroom 6.7 on Windows 10. Happens on multiple pc's with very different hardware, but all Windows 10 (not saying it's exclusive to Windows 10 though!). The circumstances are the same among these pc's (local folders, within same drive, etc). Battery/AC power or power saving mode don't seem to influence anything in this regard, that I do know.
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martijn Saly

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Posted 2 years ago

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Chris Parker

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Also note: this is NOT reproducible.

So what you are saying is that it only happened on one occasion and you can't reproduce the error. 
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martijn Saly

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That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying it's not reproducible. I'm not saying it's never reproducible.

Reproducible usually means "do this and that and such and such and the issue will show itself", but as it's an unlucky shot, seemingly random, I don't call that a reproducible issue.
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Chris Parker

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Tell me a little about where you store your images (internal drive or external), by what means the drive is connected, how much free disk space you have on that drive, how much free disk space you have on your internal drive, how much RAM you have, how many other applications are running concurrently (if any).  All that information builds a picture of what is going on at the time the issue occurs even if it does appear to be random.
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martijn Saly

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They are stored on an internal SATA SSD, with about half of its 1TB free. I've got 20GB of memory, usually most of it is free (and always at least a few GB is free). I've seen this issue when the computer is and isn't doing anything else in the background. When Lightroom is and isn't the more-or-less-only running application.

I'm not at my computer atm, so this is from the top of my head: my catalog contains around 20,000 files and is between 600 and 700MB on disk, excluding generated previews.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I'm glad you reported this.  

One thing to consider: A number of us don't trust LR to do folder and file reorganization.  There have been rare but continuing reports of LR losing files while doing moves;  see this topic for the list of reports compiled by Paige Miller: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/moving-files-resulted-in-lr-deleting-the-file...

I do the reorganization using Finder or File Explorer and then update the folder and file location inside LR.
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martijn Saly

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I've never seen LR ending up deleting files. Neither from the catalog nor the physical files. Gosh, I don't think I'd be all too amused if that happened.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Several years ago, Adobe posted that they did a close review of the relevant code and couldn't find anything. But Paige continues to document the infrequent reports.
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Chris Parker

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Does this situation arise where the user controls where the images are stored?  By that I mean that lets say you have been to a motorsport event and rather than letting Lightroom store the photos where it normally does, i.e., in date folders within years, you put them in a folder named, say, 2016BrandsHatch or 2016Daytona500?
I would have thought that as a photographer you don't care where the images are stored on disk and all you want to see are the images organised in your collections.

You might have an external disk set allocated to Weddings and a separate one for Motorsport events or to Corporate images but in any case each of them has a catalogue for those specific events but you let Lightroom deal with the folder in which the image is stored and you attend to the Catalogue/Collection structure that makes sense to you.
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martijn Saly

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I would have thought that as a photographer you don't care where the images are stored on disk and all you want to see are the images organised in your collections.

I do care where they are stored. I like my files on disk as organised as possible. Folders are a neat way to have a hierachical "collection" that's neatly the same on disk.
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Chris Parker

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So you have a double hierarchy to manage.  Folders within Folders within Folders (maybe) on disk and then a hierarchical structure in your collections.  That's an extremely disciplined approach but that's your choice.  My view is the Lightroom catalogue is the first place I will go to find an image given that all my images are hierarchically structured in collection sets and collections and also have a keyword structure which indicates the subject and the Year (and perhaps the month) that it was taken.  From that I can simply click "Show in Finder" if I really need to know where it is on disk.  I started doing it like you are by insisting that the images be stored in specific folders but it was doing my head in so let Lightroom organise that.
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martijn Saly

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So you have a double hierarchy to manage.  Folders within Folders within Folders (maybe) on disk and then a hierarchical structure in your collections.  That's an extremely disciplined approach but that's your choice.

No, I have a folder structure only. In Lightroom, the "Folders" pane is by definition in sync with the folders on disk. The pictures in them only need syncing when I change something on disk.

I like it that way, because Lightroom is not the only tool I use. And having a sane structure on disk makes sense if you need to find that one picture in the one collection (not really collection, but folder then). Or better yet, find a range of pictures to process in Autopano. This is horrible if the structure on disk is totally different.

I don't use collections at all to "store" my pictures. I use collections only for temporary stuff, like reminders. I have a collection "to be geotagged", for example.

 From that I can simply click "Show in Finder" if I really need to know where it is

The "Show in Explorer" feature doesn't always work either. Sometimes it only opens the correct folder without selecting any file. If I then try that again, it does open the correct folder AND select the correct file. Weird, and unrelated, but since you brought it up, I though I'd bring this up :)
(Edited)
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Dwight DeLong

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I have run into this many times. I think it is because there are files in the folder that are not photos or videos. The files are successfully moved (at least in my case) but then the folder removal fails.

As my LR catalog grows I move folders to a new location to consolidate the folders so I can create a new catalog of them and remove them from my main catalog. At times there are files (especially in older folders where some of the photos are from older photo-editing software) that aren't recognized. LR moves them, but then stalls, telling me that an error occurred, which in my case is not an error at all: everything was moved. But it couldn't (for some reason) remove the tree, and gave an error.

My complaint is not that it gives an error but that it halts the operation. MANY times I have set up a move operation to run overnight and come in the next morning to find it stopped after just 4 or 5 folders. VERY annoying!! It's not possible to make a list and let me know these things AFTER the operation finishes?!?!?!?

(Edited)