There are many people on the forums complaining about having corrupted Lightroom catalogs. The whole catalog can be corrupted or just some of the Lightroom data can be corrupted. Today, we’ll look at the worth case scenario, the whole Lightroom database/catalog is corrupted.

You start Lightroom and you get the following message:

Lightroom encountered an error and needs to quit. There was a problem reading one of the Lightroom catalogs.

Then you get:

The last time Lightroom ran, it shut down prematurely due to a problem reading the catalog. Lightroom must now check the catalog before proceeding.

Then finally your get:

The Lightroom catalog “Lightroom Catalog” is corrupt and cannot be used or backed up until it is repaired. The repair operation may take several minutes to complete and should not be interrupted while in progress. A message with further instructions will be displayed when the repair process is complete.

  1. NEVER click on repair catalog when you get the error message.
  2. Get out of Lightroom and make a copy of your catalog. You only have to copy the LRCAT file to somewhere else.
  3. Restart Lightroom and then let Lightroom try a REPAIR CATALOG.

The reason is that once the Lightroom tries to repair the catalog and fail, you will never be able to recover. If Lightroom fails to repair the catalog, there are many companies on the web that can repair the Lightroom catalogs. Not cheap but for business and as a last resort…

After the scare of your life, especially if you are a professional photographer, you will change the backup catalog settings to: Once a day, upon starting Lightroom see: Lightroom: Backing Up Your Catalog