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One thing that can be really disconcerting for a Lightroom user is when files and folders go missing from your Lightroom catalog. And you usually see a warning from Lightroom that a file is missing, you can't work on it, or you'll see a question mark on a folder. In this movie, I want to explain why that happens and help you to avoid the problem. And to fix it when it does happen. One of the most common reasons that you might have files or folders go missing in Lightroom, is that you've moved them, from outside of Lightroom, out in your Operating System.
So, let's go out to my operating system. An let's say that I'm tidying things up, an I realize that this particular photo, this vertical photo that's in my Paris folder, really doesn't belong there. That photo was taken in Sienna, so I want to put it in the Sienna folder. If I move that photo in my operating system, here on the Mac I can just drag it, lightroom won't know where it is. And let's say I go a step further and I move an entire folder. Maybe I'll take that Sienna folder and I'll move it up into my chapter 02 folder, at the top level Now let's go back into Lightroom.
Here in Lightroom, I'm in the Paris folder, and you can see that there is now an exclamation mark at the top right of that photo that I moved outside of Lightroom, from the Paris folder into the Sienna folder. And, when that thumbnail is selected, over in the bar under the Histogram, you can see a notation that the photo is missing. And I won't be able to edit that photo in the Develop module, at least if I haven't made Smart Previews, a subject I'll explain later. Now, take a look in the Folders panel in Lightroom's Library module, and you'll see something else that's missing. That entire Sienna folder is missing, because, you'll remember, that I moved it outside of Lightroom Into another location.
Now when I have a folder missing, if I click on that folder, then you'll see that all of the photos in the folder are marked as missing too. They both have exclamation marks. In this case the best idea is to try to fix the folder, not the individual photos. It's a lot more efficient. So what I need to do is tell Lightroom where I moved this whole Siena folder to. And that will get rid of this question mark. In other words, I'm reestablishing the link between the LIghtroom catalog and the actual location of this folder. To do that, I'll right-click on the folder, I'll choose Find Missing Folder, and I'll go out and find where I've put the folder. Now this isn't something that Lightroom can do for me automatically. I have to remember where I put the folder.
Or if I don't know I'll use the search mechanisms in my operating systems to go out and find the folder by name. And then when I right click on the folder in the Folder's panel in lightroom that opens this window. And in this window I will just navigate to the new location of the Sienna folder and I'll click Choose. So that fixes that problem, now the Sienna folder has no question mark on it. And when it's selected, the photos in that folder don't have an exclamation mark. When I click on one of these, you can see over here that the notation is now that this is the original photo. And I could work on this photo or this photo in the develop module in lightroom. Now, let's click on the Paris folder.
You'll remember it, that I took one of the photos from this folder. This photo of the fountain in Siena. And I moved in into the Siena folder. And now, Lightroom is confused. It thought that this photo was in the Paris folder, and now it's not there. No problem, I can just re-point Lightroom to the current location of this particular photo, and to do that I'll come up to the exclamation mark on the photo. I'll click that exclamation mark and I get this message telling me the name of the photo and asking if I can locate the photo.
Now we know where the photo is, so we can do that, but if you didn't know where a particular photo was. You can simply copy the name from here and using the search mechanisms in your Operating System. You can search for the photo's new location, and when you knew where it was, click locate and navigate to that location. So I'm going to go here. And then here to my Chapter Two folder. And there is that vertical photo, here in the Sienna folder. I'll select that. I'll leave find nearby missing photos checked, because if I had multiple missing photos.
Relocating just one of them for Lightroom can sometimes re-point Lightroom to the others as well. And I'll click Select. Now Lightroom knows that that vertical photo is not in the Paris folder, so that photo is disappeared from the Paris folder. If I click on the sienna folder, you can see that Light Room now knows where the photo is. And there is no exclamation mark on it. And I could work with this photo. So that's what to do when your photos or folders go missing. Well how do you avoid them going missing in the first place if you do want to rearrange them? If you want to rearrange photos or folders and you're just working with a finite number of photos or folders. Then I suggest that you do that from inside the Folders panel in Lightroom. For example, if I wanted to move this whole folder I would select it in the Folders panel and drag it where I wanted it to go. Inside the 02/10 folder, for example, where it started, and Lightroom tells me that that's fine, I can do that.
But that's going to actually move the folder with it's files out in my Operating System. So, be aware that if you move photos or folder inside of Lightroom that will actually move them out on your hard drives as well. I'll click move and in just a moment the Sienna folder is where it started inside the 02_10 folder. Now, let's say you want to move one or more files. Can you do that? Yes, the same way. You can select files here. And I need to click right on the image thumbnails if I'm going to move them. Not on their frames.
And then I'll click on either one of those thumbnails, and I'll drag. I'll just put these in the Paris folder. That will move them on the hard drive as well, as inside of Lightroom. That's okay with me, I'm going to click, Move. And now, I've moved those two files, this one and this one, into the Paris folder. And I did that from inside Lightroom. So, that's just generally how I'd suggest that you move files and folders from inside Lightroom, however, there's one exception to that rule. Let's say, as I suggested you do at the beginning of the course. All of your Lightroom photos are on a single hard drive and they're inside a parent folder, like the Exercise files folder here or a folder called my Lightroom photos.
And your drive fills up. And so, you go out and purchase a larger hard drive. And you want to move all of your Lightroom photos onto that larger hard drive, but you want Lightroom to know where they've gone. You could do that from inside the Folders panel here but that's a little complicated. You'd have to have at least 1 photo on that new hard drive and you would have to import that one photo into your Lightroom catalog. Then you could take your umbrella folder, your parent folder and drag it until the new hard drive which would appear here in this list. However, I don't suggest you do that, because there's kind of a delay if your moving a lot of files from one hard drive to another.
And when it's all of your photos, you want to be sure you know what's happening. So in that case, I would actually, move the entire parent folder outside of Lightroom. And then just repoint Lightroom to the new location. So, that's a look at missing files and folders in Lightroom. There's one other thing that can cause files or folders to go missing and that is if you rename them outside of Lightroom. And that's what we're going to talk about next.
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