I'm using Lightroom 5 on Windows 8.1.

I have a ton of photos from a wedding gig a week ago. I've already gone through about 1/3 of them, rated them and done some basic adjustments to some.

Yesterday I fired up Lightroom again and did more adjustements on the first 3 photos that I've also already adjusted a bit before, then moved to the next ones and BAM, a gray exclamation mark icon appears on the photos I just edited in film strip. The error message says An unexpected end of file occurred. I use the auto-save feature and did not manually trigger save.

My photos are on a network drive, so I can't definitely say Lightroom is completely at fault, but I've never seen any other incomplete files on the same drive. Also, I've read of similar problems with lightroom but either the people asking or answering have been kind of vague with the details, so I saw best to ask about this specific case.

Right now moving the files to a local drive is not an option. My workstation doesn't have much space since I thought it would be safer to have the important files on a home server that mirrors the important files on 2 HDDs. Kind of regretting that now.

So, I'd like to know if Lightroom is known to fail writing files either on a local or a network drive and if there is something I could do to prevent this from happening again. Also, is there some way to fix or completely remove the XMP metadata to make the files accessible to Lightroom again?

EDIT: Got impatient and ordered a new HDD to use as a working disk. Still, I'd like to know what causes the original issue.

The details:

  • The original raw files were good.
  • The converted DNGs were good at the beginning.
  • The image data seems intact
  • Just the XMP metadata at the end of files was cut short.
  • The files reside on a network drive

I got this from the very end of a damaged DNG file:

xmp:CreatorTool="Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.0 (Windows)"

I don't think I've left anything important out, but if I did, just ask.


1 Answer 1


Sounds to me that it is more likely to have been a failure saving the file over the network. Network backups are nice for archival storage, but horrible for live work due to the extremely slow load times for relatively large files.

The process I generally use is to initially transfer my files to my high speed scratch SSD array (striped). I then immediately copy the files to my external long term archive drive (RAID 5 array) prior to doing any work on the files. (I use an eSATA enclosure connected over USB3 rather than a network, but the principal is the same.) After the files are backed up to the external, I am free to do whatever I need and can simply save off the Lightroom catalog with all the changes at the end of working through the set.

This ensures quick load times and an expedient working environment while also minimizing the risk of data loss or corruption issues, both because of the long-term backup of the originals as well as the fast, local performance of the SSD working drives.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I have a huge catalog for everything. I'll look into having separate catalogs for projects :) The only reason I work on a network drive is because it's sufficiently fast. Gigabit is not SSD fast, but my HDDs can hardly keep up at times :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Pichan
    Jan 14, 2014 at 16:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 - that is definitely a case of the file transfer being interrupted. That could be for a number of reasons (cabling, router/hub, server or your machine). The fact is it has happened and lightroom hasn't checked that the file is the right size (which would have given it the chance to try again.) This is yet another reason not to use DNG as well, since if the changes are done to raw files many changes are saved in the xmp sidecar, which is not only smaller but if you lose it you only lose the edit. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15, 2014 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @James That really seems to be the case. When I decided to go embedded XMP on a network drive I never would've thought Lightroom could fail with such a basic task. I hold over 3TB of frequently used files on the network drive and not once I've experienced this kind of corruption. Even though I originally thought of it as a hassle, I'll consider going with sidecar XMP from now on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pichan
    Jan 17, 2014 at 23:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer is good information, but not exactly THE answer I was looking for. If no one else comes up with info on how, why or when Lightroom fudges up files, I'll mark this one accepted :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Pichan
    Jan 17, 2014 at 23:40

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