Troubleshoot corrupt catalog

Why does a catalog get corrupt?

A Lightroom Classic catalog is essentially a database and, like every other database, it can get corrupt.

In most of the cases, the catalog gets corrupt due to a hardware or operating system-level issue. These can include system crash, hardware fault, or power outage, any of which can prevent Lightroom Classic to access the catalog safely.

Catalogs can also get corrupt if the connection to the drive, in which the catalog is located, is interrupted while Lightroom Classic is writing to the catalog, This can happen due to an external drive being accidentally disconnected, or the catalog being stored on a network drive.

How to prevent catalog corruption?

While catalog corruption can happen due to various reasons, here are some of the things that you can follow to minimize the chances of catalog corruption:

  • Take the back-up of your catalog regularly. For more information, see Back up a catalog

  • Always shut down your computer properly.

  • Save your catalog on the local drive.

  • If for some reason your catalog is on an external drive, do not disconnect the external drive while Lightroom Classic is open.

  • Select Test integrity before backing up and Optimize catalog after backing up options in the Back Up Catalog dialog box.

    Back up options

Troubleshoot Corrupt Catalog

If you get one of the following errors while opening Lightroom Classic, it means that your Lightroom Classic catalog is corrupt.

  • Lightroom encountered an error when reading a catalog file and needs to quit.
  • The Lightroom Catalog <catalog name> is corrupt and cannot be used or backed up until it is repaired.
Corrupt catalog error

Corrupt catalog error

To troubleshoot a corrupt catalog, follow the steps below:

  1. Press and hold the Alt (Win) / option (macOS) key while launching Lightroom Classic. In the Select Catalog dialog box, select the catalog which is corrupt and check Test integrity of this catalog option.

    Test integrity of the catalog

  2. Press and hold the Alt (Win) / option (macOS) key while launching Lightroom Classic. In the Select Catalog dialog box, click Create a New Catalog and then try to import the corrupt catalog.

  3. Try to open backup catalogs. For more information, see Restore a backup catalog.

  4. If the catalog is located on an external drive, copy the catalog to the local drive and then try to open it.


If you get the following error "The Lightroom Catalog "lrcat" is corrupt and cannot be used until it is repaired," wait for the repair process to complete. Lightroom Classic takes the backup of the original catalog in the Corrupt Catalogs folder beside the catalog file.

Affected version: Lightroom Classic 11.3 (April 2022 release)

Repair Catalog


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