If you move image files in the Finder (Mac OS) or Explorer (Windows), the link between the files and the Lightroom catalog breaks. When a catalog can't find a photo, Lightroom displays a Photo Is Missing icon () in image cells in the Grid view and the Filmstrip. In the Develop module, Lightroom indicates that the photo could not be found, or is offline or missing.

Follow the steps below to help locate your missing photos and restore links to the catalog.

"The file could not be found" message in Lightroom
The message "The file could not be found." appears in the Develop module when the link from the catalog to the photo has been broken.


Links between a catalog and its photos can also break if photos are stored on an external drive that is offline. If the drive is offline, turn it on. If the drive letter has changed, change it back to the letter Lightroom expects.

  1. (Optional) In the Library module, choose Library > Find All Missing Photos to display missing files in the Grid view.

  2. Click the Photo Is Missing icon ( or ) in a thumbnail cell in the Grid view.


    The Photo Is Missing icon also appears at the bottom of the Histogram panel. You can click it there, too.

    A dialog box opens and displays the last known location of the missing photo.

    Locate missing photos dialog box in Lightroom
    Lightroom asks if you'd like to find the missing photo and tells you where the original was located.

  3. Click the Locate button, navigate to where the photo is currently located, and then click Select.
  4. (Optional) In the Locate dialog box, select Find Nearby Missing Photos to have Lightroom search for other missing photos in the folder and reconnect them as well.


    If an entire folder of photos is missing — the folder is dim in the Folders panel and has a question mark icon () — you can relink all the photos at once by right-clicking (Windows) or Control-clicking (Mac OS) on the folder and choosing Find Missing Folder from the context menu. See Locate missing folders

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