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How to Restore a Corrupt or Missing Lightroom Catalog

119 ratings | 26904 views
Went to login to Lightroom and found out my Lightroom catalog was corrupted and missing. After a quick internal freak-out I figured I should be able to restore from a recent catalog backup and decided to record a tutorial to explain my thought process and help any others in a similar situation. Ended up being quite easy and all is well - watch to see how to restore a corrupt or missing Lightroom catalog!
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Text Comments (35)
Maja (2 days ago)
Lois Stauffer (18 days ago)
Thank you Cole. Very helpful.
Stephen Griffin (1 month ago)
My Lightroom drive is dying and I tried this procedure but the program won't load the cat's. They unarc just fine so the files must be OK. I'm wondering if the drive letter needs to be the same.
Pritesh Nathoo (1 month ago)
Thanks. This video helps me everytime.
Hayley Gjertsen (1 month ago)
You saved my life. Thank you!
Fiverdog (1 month ago)
Thanks Cole, you're a life saver! xo
Victoria Sedgwick (4 months ago)
What if you you have not backed up?
KaybGaming 321 (4 months ago)
Plz help
KaybGaming 321 (4 months ago)
I cant even open LR at all without having to choose a new catalog
kamelpasha (7 months ago)
yeah, like all those below, this really helped, what was lost was retrieved and everything's back to normal. Thanks! BTW, even with paying $50mo. to Adobe for the privilege of using their platform there was no assistance or guidance forthcoming from them, very disappointing support services!
imwithyoubuddy (7 months ago)
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I thought I've lost all hope!
Gunnar Karl (8 months ago)
Thangs, you help.....
Angelo Nonog (9 months ago)
thank you
KCMWSOT (11 months ago)
I'm posting this where ever I can as these solutions did NOT work for me but the method I used DID. Step 1: DO NOT LET LIGHTROOM TRY AND REPAIR NOR "Check Integrity" of your catalog. I immediately ruined (I think) my chances of using the SQL method. If you already tried this do not despair. Step 2: delete (in the Lightroom folder) everything except the .Ircat file of your catalog itself. (or make a backup if it allows you, at this point mine didn't and gave me an error code in trying to copy any of the files anywhere else than my hard drive) Step 3: Launch (LR) lightroom with a brand new catalog. Close it. Step 4: Launch LR with old corrupted catalog. It should let you check it now and open as normal. (if it doesn't keep reading) HERES WHERE IT MATTERS! you have a time frame/ window of anywhere from 5 to 15 seconds before Lightroom loads your entire catalog (the more images your have the better) and gives you the error again that its corrupted. NOW IS THE TIME TO GO UP INTO THE MENU BAR AND SELECT ALL! I Repeat SELECT ALL! Move fast and then hit command + S. At this point it loads the error message BUT if you notice on the top left bar, it starts going through the action of saving all your side cars/ xmp files. It wont save all your work done, (I lost about maybe 8 edits) BUT it'll save you a grand majority of the work. DO NOT PRESS OK on the prompt that tells you lightroom needs to close untill its done saving the side cars. Along the way I got other prompts that stated some could not save and it gave me the option to save as text, of which I haven't tried implementing back. LAST STEP: If it didn't let you launch as normal in step 4, or you have presets like custom color filters you made (I lost watermarks I had manually saved so I didn't care to hassle with it) to back up, youre going a) make sure again you delete in that folder all of the files except the actual catalog file, and you're going to want to move it to a new folder / area within the hardrive. and start from step 1. A hassle, but for me was worth saving 2+ years of edits. I dont know nor didn't care to try seeing if this saves any smart filters, or other metadata/ organizing as I never really used LR as comprehensively as I could've, but in theory should work. You may find you'll have to restart your computer at times and strongly suggest you backup (if you dont already) your virgin files into a backup drive before starting (minus the corrupted catalog folder, it gave me glitches when I tried)
Dabney Graney (3 months ago)
Thank you for this!! It let me get into my LR but now I'm not sure what to do?? I tried exporting the catalog but it says "Lightroom was unable to create the new catalog due to an unexpected failure." My catalog has 127,754 photos. Would really like to keep this catalog! (Side note/background: I had let LR try to repair the catalog a bunch of times because it says it might work if you keep trying (paraphrasing what it said), then read not to do that. My computer had recently crashed and I don't know if this is related or if one caused the other to fail.) LR is still saving the metadata. Hoping it finishes this operation, but once it does I'm not sure what to do next. Can you help??
SONG LYRICS (1 year ago)
you are happy you can open lightroom i can not open it at all i can not even create a new catalog. This all happend after i did system restore on windows. Can anyone help me what to do ?
Marco Diaz (1 year ago)
OMG can i hug you? You saved my work. thank you so much!
Cole's Classroom (1 year ago)
Happy to help. :)
The Dirt Rider (1 year ago)
Excellency Films (1 year ago)
oh you saved me days of work dude! thanks a million!
William Fong (1 year ago)
thanks !! you help me a save alot of headache
mforrest67 (1 year ago)
I need help on how to do this on my mac! HELP!!!! Over 2,000 pics GONE!!!
Joseph Rodriguez (1 year ago)
never mind I found the problem crisis averted .
Joseph Rodriguez (1 year ago)
what if it says there another application  with same catalog name open  and it says for me to quit the other application for it to relaunch and I cant seem to find it .
Canden Mosley (8 months ago)
Joseph Rodriguez ay you figure it out ??? i'm having the same problem right now
Imon Yousuf (1 year ago)
Hi I'm having trouble with going into the app it's Bcz I don't have an lrcat file so what can I do in order to get it
Cole's Classroom (1 year ago)
The lrcat file is your Lightroom catalog. Have you installed Lightroom through Adobe.com?
Tonya Thornton (1 year ago)
Thank you so much for the information. I had accidentally synced a preset to my entire catalog and couldn't undo my action without going to each photo and going back in history. Relaunching my catalog from a backup saved me from having to do fix tens of thousand of photographs.
Cole's Classroom (1 year ago)
Good save - happy to help!
Alex Zarodov (1 year ago)
thanks, thats help!
Jonni Armani (1 year ago)
thank you!
Greg Curtis (2 years ago)
Great! Thank you! :-)
Edward Videos (2 years ago)
thanks anyway
Edward Videos (2 years ago)
ok, how you recover in a mac
kent T (2 years ago)
Thank you very much for this tutorial. Helped me a lot

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