Very Useful Lightroom Script Can Help You Recover Lost Photos When All Else Fails


Have you ever accidentally deleted or lost a folder full of master images in Lightroom? If you have a backup you should be okay, but even backups fail, and what then? Are you really out of luck? Are those images gone forever? Maybe not.

Gary Martin over on Fstoppers explains that all hope might not be lost thanks to a script that you can download from Adobe. This script will allow you to extract 1:1, full-size JPEG previews of your lost files. Sure, they’re not the RAW images you had, but it’s a far cry from being left with nothing.


The process is a tiny bit complicated, but if you want to protect yourself against the possibility that you might lose your images for good, the effort will be worth it. Here’s a quick step-by-step breakdown of what you’ll have to do, complete with links to Adobe’s Help pages for further explanation:

  1. Make sure you’re building 1:1 previews on import by selecting ‘1:1′ in the ‘Build Previews’ dropdown menu under ‘File Handling.’ This is located in the top right corner when you’re importing photos (see image above)
  2. Go to ‘Catalog Settings’ under the Lightroom menu, click over to the ‘File Handling’ tab and make sure ‘Automatically Discard 1:1 Previews’ is set to ‘Never’ (see image below)
  3. Click here to access the Adobe Help page on Extracting Previews and download the .zip file linked there.
  4. Follow the step-by-step instructions on that page to insert the script into a new Scripts folder you create within the Lightroom Presets folder.
  5. Restart Lightroom. You should now have a scripts menu (looks like a scroll) located to the right of your Help menu, and in that menu will be the option ‘Extract Presets’


That’s it. I did this myself (every step described above) and it took only a few minutes to do the whole thing. Now, when I have Lightroom open and I look to the right of my Help menu, I see this:


It’s a quick and easy install, with the only real downside being that you’re going to take up a lot more hard-drive space creating and keeping 1:1 previews. But a little HDD space is a small price to pay for another fail-safe backup that’ll help you recover photos when ALL of your other backups have failed.

(via Fstoppers)

  • slvrscoobie

    Or, you could be competent photographer and make a damn backup of your files. 3TB drives are $100.

  • Matt

    I’m thinking this is in addition to those. One that you can not easily delete by mistake.
    But, ya. Storage is so cheap these days, it is easy to have multiple backups.

  • Andrew

    so, we’re creating 1:1 previews and taking up more space with the backup possibility of just a JPEG, when we could just use that space to backup our RAW file folders?

    For some I could see this working but for me, I’d much rather have all my files, the whole damn drive – backed up file for file onto another drive.

    Syncback is what I use and I plug my external drive in, hit go, double-check it’s not deleting any RAW files once the comparison is made, and then hit confirm. It mirrors the files I need changed and I unhook the drive. LR catalog files and PSD files are the only changes usually made, since I import RAW files via ViewNX2 to both drives simultaneously when possible so I have two copies immediately from the card. If I have no backup drive during image downloads then RAW files are copied with syncback later and left on the card until that time if they are client images.

    3tb should not cost more than $100, so please do yourself and any clients you may have a favor, and backup your files.