View Full Version : Lightroom HELP please! - HD failure

01-22-2012, 12:14 PM
Hi members,

So yesterday was a bad day. My main external drive (1 TB) that houses almost all my images as well as the LR catalogue, failed yesterday. Click of death. I am now on a PC using Windows 7. This is a NEW computer and I have not used lightroom on it yet - I was going to start yesterday.

LUCKILY - every import into lightroom was exported onto TWO externals (as I don't keep those files on my computer's internal drive...at least on the old computer) and my second external is indeed intact with all the images.

The issue is now the sorting. Whereas in the main external HD that failed the images were put into named folders, in this secondary backup all images are in one main folder called lightroom backup. I can still see the metadata for each file and well as flags and stars but all files are in one huge folder with over 15,000 images.

I do believe that I have an older LR catalogue file on that secondary external HD but it is 11 months old.

So my question to knows that know lightroom well.... is

What course of action should I take now? Like I said, I have never run LR3 on this new computer.

I'd love some opinions here please and if this is too complicated for a forum post, it's more than my pleasure to set up a phone chat if anyone feels that they can help and that this would be easier by phone.

Many thanks in advance,


01-22-2012, 03:08 PM
Last year I have the same problem but I found that is AC adapter not working.If you have external drive with power supply it is worth to buy new one and see what will happen or if you have one from another external drive with the same cord try to switch for test.

01-22-2012, 04:18 PM
Was this the first time you tried to access the external drive within the OS7 environment? If yes, do the lights on your external illuminate? if it does/they do, then it is not the power supply/adapter. If they do illuminate (most times a single lens with a green and red LED behind), try plugging the external into another computer's USB plug (You aren't using firewire are you?) and see if it can even be "seen". If it can be, then it sounds like the external connection with the HDD hasn't been established via software (OS or drivers) on your new computer.

Did you plug the external into a USB 2.0 or a 3.0 outlet, newer computers are including both so check (you likely have a USB 2.0 device so only plug it into a 2.0 slot).

While tedious, having to re-sort all those isn't a bad option compared to total loss.

01-22-2012, 04:41 PM
Ooooo that sucks.

I think trying to get the data off the bad drive would be the best solution. That way you would still have all the folders, edits and tags, etc preserved. However the clickng sound is not a good sign. It suggests it is more a mechanical hardware issue than poor data on the drive. Can the system even see the drive any more? If you can see the drive, I you could try running a disk recovery utility called Spinrite from GRC.COM. This is by far the best disk recovery utility available. I must have recovered data off of at least 20 drives at work over the years with this utility. You can download a trial copy and give it a shot. However, if it is a mechanical problem (which it sounds like it is), this utility will not work. This may seem crazy but I've heard that it does work the odd time. Put the drive in the freezer for a while and then give it a try (you won't have much time before the drive heats up again so you will have to be quick getting the data off of it). This is a last ditch effort when all else fails. Also how much is the data worth to you????? You can alway try one of those disk recovery companies where guys in bunny suits take your drive apart and put the platters in a new drive. This is not cheap. It may cost you $2000

As for Lightroom and your second drive. I know of no way you can easily get back all your folders. You could open the 11 month old catalogue. Lightroom will then indicate that it can't find the files. You can then tell it to search for the files in the one main folder that you have. You would have to repeat this for every folder in the old catalogue. This would at least preserve all edits, etc for those images over 11 month old. As for any files newer than 11 months, you would have to import them like they were newly taken and for those it would be like starting from scratch. i.e you would have no edits etc preserved. This unfortunately would result in everything being in one main folder. You woud then have to try to manually recreate the folders, and move the files (within lightroom) to the newly created folder. Hopefully the folder structure in the old catalogue and tagging you did would help you figure out how your folders were organised.

As for me I use a tool from Microsoft called SyncToy. I have to run it manually (and I do it after ever shoot i do). It copies files from chosen folders on disk A to disk B and preserves the folder structure. I'm sure there are other utilities that do this automatically but this is the one I use.

PM me if you would like clarification on what I have said.

01-22-2012, 08:57 PM
Thanks much for the info Gremlich and asnow.
This is almost certainly an HD failure.
My new computer will not recognize this external drive even though it DID recognize it just 48 hours ago.
Click of death (drive keeps clicking without being recognized by the computer) is what this is and I did try the freezer trick to no avail and tried connecting the external drive to multiple computers with different power sources.....with 0 success.

So I guess what I'm looking for now (unless someone had click of death strategies) are best strategies for rebuilding given what I have. Thanks asnow for your suggestions thus far.

If anyone has anything additional to add, I'd be really grateful.

Thx - Marko

01-23-2012, 12:28 PM
anyone? Thx!

01-23-2012, 02:29 PM
Sorry, I don't have anything to add about Lightroom other than you might consider contacting Adobe assuming you purchased the software. They might provide some support.

As for the external drive. Not sure how it may or may not work as an external drive but if you can get it out of the case and mount it internally to a computer and run SpinRite on it (from **Home of Gibson Research Corporation** (http://www.grc.com/) ) there's a better than even chance you can recover the drive long enough to move your LR organized files to other media. The "click of death" was actually associated with Iomega Zip Drives and that kind of behaviour in a regular hard drive usually indicates bad sectors that it cannot read - possibly in the boot sectors. SpinRite can usually correct these issues. Steve Gibson promises your money back if it doesn't work.

01-24-2012, 10:28 AM
Thx iggy - I may give it a try...

02-11-2012, 05:16 PM
There are companies that will recover the data for you, but it can cost mucho dinero. Clean room work. Professional Data Recovery (http://www.vitaldata.ca/) in Montreal.

this was on their website: "Hard drive crash: Failed hard drive. The symptoms of hard disk crash: computer will not boot, blue or black screen, clicking noise from the drive, rebooting, restarting, or freezing of system. "

02-11-2012, 05:37 PM
Marko, how did you make out recovering your data
A podcast suggestion - tips on backing up your pictures/data and what you have learned from this experience.

02-12-2012, 08:53 AM
thx a snow - I'm just manually adding everything back slowly.... i just got a new computer and there were plenty of older digital that never made it to the first catalogue.... so now I'm just adding everything into a fresh catalogue. The catalogue is the gold here for me and i can't friggen believe that I let this happen - i feel like a major bonehead....but not so big a bonehead that I lost any images. Only time.

and yup a podcast on this would be a great idea. :) i have some serious suggestions based on the error of my ways.

Thx! m