Lightroom Classic: Wrong timestamp stored in catalog causing wrong metadata status (all Windows versions)

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  • Updated 2 days ago
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Hi,

The problem I describe below is not new (I observed this at least since version 3) but this time I took the time to investigate more deeply...

From time to time, LR tells me that the XMP file of a given image is no longer in sync with the metadata in the catalog. Most often, this is correct because I made changes without recording the XMP file (Ctrl-S - I'm not using the automatic XMP updating mode). But very often, this information is simply wrong. I didn't change anything to the image and suddenly, the little down arrow appears in the upper right corner of the thumbnail.

Hitting Ctrl-S may or may not fix the problem. Sometimes, the little down arrow reappears after a few seconds or minutes although I didn't do anything (hands away from keyboard and mouse).

I recently did the following test for multiple images unduly displaying the "metadata status changed" flag. I compared the following values :

1. Windows "last modified" timestamp for the XMP file.
2. Value of the xmp:MetadataDate field in the XMP file.
3. touchTime column value for that image in the Adobe_images table of the catalog (which is a SQLite database).

The touchTime value is stored in a special format, so I had a hard time converting it to a readable date/time value. However, I will not explain this and how I navigated the database in order to access this timestamp (this requires some knowledge about databases).

Result:
For all the images tested, values #1 and #2 were always strictly identical. The touchTime value was always off (sometimes about 10-15seconds, sometimes much more). So no wonder that LR thought that the XMP file and the metadata in the catalog were not in sync.

Moreover, the difference in time can be negative of positive. So LR displays the up or down arrow accordingly (meaning that the XMP file is older or newer than the metadata in the catalog, respectively - which is wrong in both cases).

I explained above that sometimes, the image reappears as "not in sync" just a few seconds or minutes after I did a Ctrl-S. In that case, a quick look at the database showed me that the touchTime field had not been updated. So the time difference causing the image to be flagged as "not in sync" was still there. In that case, the problem can be fixed by reading the metadata from the XMP file which was actually correctly updated. This operation updates the catalog and everything is in sync again.

Anyway, there's something very wrong in the computation of the touchTime value of the Adobe_images table. That seems to be obvious. This wrong timestamp generates in turn a wrong metadata status.

I made another interesting test :

1. I started from a situation were 0 image was flagged as "not in sync" with the XMP file.

2. I purged all 1:1 previews and started a Build all 1:1 previews.

3. In Library mode, I setup a filter to show only the images that had the Metadata Status set to "has been changed". I got a cup of coffee and waited.

At the beginning of the generation process, no image was displayed in the grid, as expected. While LR was building the previews, images unduly tagged as "not in sync" started to appear. I got about 200 of them. For all these images, the metadata status was just plain wrong. These were finalized images not modified since a long time and for which the XMP file had been timely updated after the last modification. I checked the touchTime field for some of them and each time it was different from the Windows "last modified" timestamp and from the xmp:MetadataDate field of the XMP file as mentioned above.

So now I know what's going wrong but I'd like to have this problem fixed after all these years.

Thanks in advance.
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Patrick Philippot

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  • frustrated

Posted 4 years ago

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Patrick Philippot

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Please do something about this one. It's incredibly disturbing, given my workflow. It obviously doesn't have the correct priority level in the bug log. This should be fixed since years.

Just a few minutes ago, about 50 images spontaneously and unduly got the "Metadata Status is not up to date" flag and re-appeared in the smart collection I created to collect such items. This is happening every day I'm using LR since years.
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Michael Becker

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Same on Mac OS.
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Patrick Voss de Haan

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For months now I have struggled with a situation which is quite similar to the one described by Patrick in this thread (details, if needed: metadata conflicts with large files and a NAS). 

Thanks to Patrick for the work! The explanation is very helpful and makes the situation easier to handle.

However, I am deeply disappointed by Adobe's way of (not) handling this:

- The issue apparently has been known for many years.

- Three years ago already an analysis was provided in this thread with a relatively simple first approach for a fix.

- Despite users doing Adobe's work in this case, the issue has not even been properly addressed. 

This does not only cause paying users to waste time every day due to the false error messages. It also causes additional loss of time due to the necessity to investigate the issue in the first place. The latter could be avoided if Adobe at least documented the issue properly. It is anybody's guess how many people have spent plenty of time trying to understand the problem and find a solution.

Request to Adobe & staff: If you are not willing or able to fix this issue, please show some basic respect for your customers and respond to this issue and document it in an appropriate place--one that is easy to find even for a newcomer, e.g. in the FAQ.

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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I've asked the team to review this thread again. .
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Patrick Philippot

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Thanks.

Given the information provided in this thread by John R. Ellis and me, the problem should be easy to fix. At least, it should be easy to be more tolerant when comparing the timestamps. A very small difference shouldn't be taken into account.
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Patrick Voss de Haan

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Thank you for responding.
I think it would be appreciated if you or the team could keep us posted.