Lightroom Tip - Recover Corrupt Catalog



I recently had a problem whereby I opened Lightroom when I found that many my images were all messed up. Lots of wrong thumbnails and Lightroom was telling me that my files could be damaged. Scary!

No problem, just return to recent backup you say. Well, yes, but I had pruned my backups, and my last two backups had the same problem.

I tried relaunching and optimizing in Lightroom but it did not fix the problem either.

So how did I get out of this mess?

First I made sure that I could not use any of my backups.

I then tried resynchronizing the top level folder; that did not work either.

Then I created a new empty Catalog and then imported my folder structure using the File menu item
Import Photos from Disk.

I expected to have to re-rate and re-edit hundreds of images. I did not have to!

The reason being that I had retained my previous ratings and edits was because I had selected Automatically write changes to XMP in my catalog settings.

Lightroom Catalog Settings

The primary purpose of Auto writing XMP changes is to keep in sync other XMP compatible software such as Bridge. However, it also writes all the rating and editing information as well into the XMP file. So when my import was completed I was in good shape.

The only data I have lost are my Collections. Keywords and keyword tagged images are fine. All my Develop Module edits are intact. Collections are not hard to re-create.
So make sure you turn on that XMP setting as well as keep backing up.

Let me know if this tip helps you.

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