by ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq

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My Lightroom collection has previews and catalog on local hardrive and originals on external hardrive. I've lost external hardrive, what is the easiest way to extract preview images from local catalog?

Clarification: I'm using MacOS

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ahockley: why this edit to the title, if I may ask? Preview images are not thumbnails, they can actually be very high resolution (think cache). That's why, I assume, he is trying to recover them, to get something as close to the lost original as possible. Answer to this question can be used to extract much more than a small picture. – sebastien.b Jan 18 '11 at 19:26
up vote 5 down vote accepted

For Lightroom2, consider using Jeffrey Friedl's “Extract Cached Image Previews” to do just that (works on any platform LR2 runs on, i.e. Mac, PC).

My “Preview Extraction” plugin for Lightroom 2 allows you to extract JPG preview images from a catalog's image cache. This might be of use if you have lost the original master images, or don't have them at hand.

It also seems that FastPictureViewer (PC only) supports that preview format (e.g. all your .lrprev files in your "Lightroom 2 Catalog Previews.lrdata" directory).

This codec if part of v2.4.0.3 and let users browse the Lightroom preview cache (*Previews.lrdata) directly from Windows Explorer. Windows 7 and Vista users can also open LR previews directly in Photo Viewer or Photo Gallery. The codec was tested with LR2 and LR3 preview files.

For Lightroom3, consider using Marc Rochkind's LRViewer (Mac, PC).

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