The problem I am experiencing is with the existing catalog locating the existing files. They moved, used to be on drive L: and are now on drive E:
The catalog found the last two years of files - 2013 and 2014 - but has failed to locate the other annual folders. 2001-2012.
Do you have any ideas of the cause and how I can get this corrected?
Adam: Am I correct in understanding that all of your images (and catalogue?) used to be on drive L but are now on drive E? If all of the images are on the same drive, are they all in one parent folder or not? In other words, do you have one parent level folder (like Pictures), and have the annual folders under that, or are they organized differently?
The answer to your question can be simple, depending on your folder structure. When you import an image or images to LR, all the program does to begin with is to create an association between that image's location and the LR database (catalogue) that says, "This image is located here." Now, 'here' can be any drive that the computer can read - an internal drive, an external drive, a flash drive, DVD... even the synced drive of something like Copy or Dropbox. LR doesn't care, it just creates a dynamic link to each image. Now, if you move images outside of LR (or if your drive crashes), then that dynamic link gets broken and LR doesn't know how to find the image(s) anymore. That's why you get the ? (LR 1-4) or ! (Lr5 - go figure) in the upper right corner of the missing images. What you need to do is to direct LR to where those images now reside, but you don't have to do it one image at a time. By relinking 1 image in a folder LR will try to link all of the images in the same folder, and (if you check the box that says include subfolders) any images in subfolders as well. That's why I asked if all of the images are in one parent folder.
What you want to do is to go to make sure that Library/ Show Photos in Subfolders is checked, and go to the top-most folder you have where images missing. If you don't see that folder in the directory tree of the library grid on the left panel, right-click on the highest level folder you do have showing and select 'Show Parent Folder'. So, if for example LR shows you annual folders of 2001, 2002, ... 2014 but they're all contained within a Pictures folder or something equivalent, you would right click on one of your annual folders and select Show Parent Folder to bring the Pictures folder into view. If that's not the case and your file structure is organized differently, you may have to do this a few times to relink everything.
Once you can see the highest level folder that has missing files, you can either right-click on the missing folder and select Find Missing Folder or left-click on the little ? or ! (depending on LR version) icon on one of the missing files and select Locate File. Both will get you to the same place. LR will then ask you where the new location of the file or folder is, and you navigate there and highlight the file or folder in question. Click Okay and LR will begin relinking the files, which basically updates the catalogue data entries with the new dynamic links. It's not as complicated as it sounds.