Jeffrey’s “Extract Cached Image Previews” Lightroom Plugin

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

This plugin works in Lightroom Classic, and older versions as far back as Lightroom 4.

The same download works for both Windows and Mac. See the box to the upper right for the download link (in orange) and installation instructions.

After installing, select the thumgnails for the images whose preview you want to extract, then invoke via File > Plugin Extras > Extract Preview Images.

I have no need for this myself, but I wrote it because I thought someone, somewhere, at some time, might find themselves in a pinch having lost their original image files, and might want to extract what they could from Lightroom's image cache.

I hope you never need this plugin.

Other Options

Marc Rochkind's has a still-available but unsupported LRViewer tool that might also be handy.


This plugin is free. I hope it helps.

(Gifts, if you want to send them, are appreciatively accepted here.)

Version History
( Update Log via RSS )


Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 12.67.


Don't ever overwrite files.

Allow one to set the prefix added to extracted filenames.

Removed spurious "no previews found" rows of the table.


Properly handle catalogs with "lrcat" in both the name and as the extension.


Updates for Lr10

Added some extra debug logging to note whether the plugin is enabled.


Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 11.70.


Added the ability to strip accents from filenames, for systems where they cause problems with extraction.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 11.50.


Updates for Lr8 (Lightroom Classic CC Version 8).

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 11.01.

Clicking on the version number in the Plugin Manager now copies version info to the clipboard.


Oops, more Lr7 stuff.


Updates for Lightroom 7

Switch the log-sending mechanism to https.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 10.55.


Handle folders in the root of a disk better. Added some debug logging.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 10.26.


Images with virtual copies could have not been all extracted properly; now append the virtual-copy "Copy Name" (if any) to the name of the extracted file.

Added an option to maintain the folder hierarchy as seen in Lightroom.


Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 10.00.

Try to avoid yet another place where Lightroom gets hung because it can't handle certain kinds of dialogs at the same time.

20150811.52 Wasn't handling the no-previews-available case well.
20150607.51 Fix a "gpsAltitude" error.

In the POODLE-vunerability dialog, display a raw URL of a page on my site that discusses the issue, so that folks can be independently sure that the dialog is indeed from me and not malware.


Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.76.


Now stuffs GPS data into extracted copies.

Now extracts Smart-Preview DNGs if they exist (Lr5+)

On some systems could fail to re-extract when applied to a set of photos twice in a row.

Gave the UI some general love.

20141019.46 Windows Only: Add a one-time check for the POODLE security vulnerability, and alert the user if it exists.
20140902.45 New build system
20140731.44 Registration fix for Lr5.6
20140728.43 Previous updates broke support on Lightroom 2
20140720.42 More Creative-Cloud support.

Fixed an issue with Creative-Cloud revalidation.


Lr5.5 and later Creative-Cloud installs can now revalidate themselves if needed.


Now supports Lr5.5+ Creative-Cloud Installs.

20140704.38 Sigh, introduced an error for some folks with the rebuild the other day.
20140630.37 Build-system update

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.60.


Fixed a bug in the "smoother revalidation" stuff recently added.


Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.53.

Make the revalidation process smoother, especially for folks using Lr5.4 and later.


Metadata might not get re-injected into recovered images on Windows.


Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.46.


Update for OS X Mavricks.

Updated the Image::ExifTool library to version 9.39.

20130702.30 Some filenames were getting two dots before the filename extension.
20130613.29 Better support for plugin revalidation.
20130611.28 Yet another Lr5 update
20130524.27 Apparently, a recent change broke things on Lr2, which some folks apparently still use.
20130501.26 Update for Lr5
20130209.25 More build-system maintenance
20130206.24 Tweak for my registration system

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.15.


Fixed a bug that showed up on Windows

Show scrollbar while extracting.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 9.09.

20121009.21 Added some debug logging.

With some behind-the-scenes help from Adobe, resurrected this plugin from the dead for Lr4. Still works in Lr2, but it does not (and can not, so please don't ask) work in Lr3.

If you want to recover previews from an Lr3 catalog, upgrade the catalog to Lr4 and in theory you can then use this plugin to extract the previews.

20100829.18 Made the revalidation process much simpler, doing away with the silly need for a revalidation file.
20100819.17 Discovered a bug in my plugin build system that caused horribly difficult-to-track-down errors in one plugin, so am pushing out rebuilt versions of all plugins just in case.
20100625.16 Yikes, shaking out some more build issues.
20100624.15 Discovered a nasty build bug; pushing a new version in case it affects this plugin.
20100316.14 Yikes, a typo broke some operations for some Windows users. Fixed.

Completely changed how the one-click upgrade applies the newly-downloaded zip file, in the hopes that it'll work for more people. Rather than unzipping over the old copy, it now unzips to a temporary folder, then moves the old folder out of the way and the new folder into place. Prior versions' folders are now maintained (with the version number in the folder) in case you want to revert a version; you may want to clear them out from time to time. Of course, it won't take affect until you try to upgrade after having upgraded to or beyond this version.

Wholesale changes that attempt to honor the user's locale settings for numeric display (e.g. Europeans writing 3,14156 for pi). I've probably missed some spots, so let me know if you find some.

20091022.12 This plugin does not work at all in Lightroom 3 Beta, so this update has it at least mention that if you try to load it there.
20091022.11 Note that this plugin doesn't work in LR3. Sorry! (UPDATE: it does now, in later versions)

Enhanced the one-click upgrade stuff quite a bit, now detecting ahead of time when it will fail because the plugin is installed where Lightroom can't write (if Lightroom can't write to it, it can't update itself). I also added a progress bar, and now download in smaller chunks to avoid 'out of memory' errors on the larger plugins. Do remember that this new functionality becomes available after you upgrade to or past this version, when you then upgrade with it.

20090521.9 Fixed a "loadstring" error some users got.
20090510.8 Added a link in the Plugin Manager to the plugin's update-log RSS feed.
20090510.7 Replaced the "Extract to" text with an edit field. Cleaned up the dialogs a bit. Added a link to Marc Rochkind's LRViewer application, because it can extract previews as well (and much more).
20090425.6 Tweaked how the plugin tries to update itself during the one-click upgrade process, to hopefully get things working for those few Windows users that have never had it work. Crossing fingers. We'll see.

Added scroll-one-line arrows to the top and bottom of the scrollbars, to allow fine-grained control of scrolling very long lists. (I've been programming for almost 30 years, but this is the first time I've ever built a graphical scrolling system from scratch, so I may be a bit slow on the uptake at times 🙂 )

Also, I'm sorry to report that the thumbnail orientation stuff added in the previous version doesn't actually work on Macs. Dunno why yet. Sorry.


Fixed a plugin crash if you tried to have it extract to a folder that doesn't exist. Also, if extraction can't be started (because you haven't told it where to extract to), it not actually tells you why it can't be started.

Discovered and worked around a LR bug that sometimes caused the "Size in Lightroom" to report a value with the width and height swapped.

Removed the plugin expiration. This kind of plugin will likely gather dust on someone's drive until one day they suddenly need it, so it'd suck if it didn't work then.

Upgrade the scrollbar stuff to something that actually looks and works like a real scrollbar.

The thumbnail is now displayed in portrait mode if the image in Lightroom is in portrait mode, landscape if in landscape. There's no way for the plugin to know whether the rotation is proper (that is, it may appear upside down, for example), but you can now click on the thumbnail to rotate it. In case you've flipped the image in Lightroom since the preview was made, you can right-click on the thumbnail to flip it horizontally. These flips and rotations are just in the display of the thumbnail; the extracted preview on disk remains as it was extracted.

20090129.3 Small housekeeping update for the new locales supported by Lightroom 2.3.
20090127.2 The "in Lightroom" size reported was pre-crop. It now reports the post-crop size, to better match up with preview-size expectations.
20090126.1 Initial public release.

All 96 comments so far, oldest first...

Spiffy! I’d rather have the ability as a lightroom plug in than a stand alone. Happy to try this out. Thanks!

— comment by Avlor on January 27th, 2009 at 12:06am JST (14 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

This is totally a LIFE SAVER!!! I had photos I took at a funeral reception, I ended up being the only one who took pictures, everyone wanted them, then I stupidly used the setting “Import from Disk”….. which means, the moment I used my camera to erase the photos from the card, “poof” the images were gone forever… except for the cached photos… THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS CODE!!!!!!!!!!

I’m glad it could be of help, but “Import from Disk” can make copies as it goes… are you sure they’re not on your hard disk somewhere? Also, even if you’ve formatted the card, you might be able to recover the originals, with PhotoRec. Good luck! —Jeffrey

— comment by Joshua on March 19th, 2009 at 2:52pm JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

This looks exactly like what i have been missing, as i have my catalogue on my mac and images on external disk, so i need to use the cached photos for email or web sometimes that i dont have access to the harddisk, i wondered why lightroom couldnt simply allow email with a cache version, the size i perfect
Thanks a lot

— comment by solsang on April 1st, 2009 at 6:15pm JST (14 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink


— comment by sjogro on April 1st, 2009 at 6:49pm JST (14 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Thank God for brainiacs. 🙂

— comment by Dana on April 10th, 2009 at 4:28pm JST (14 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks ever so much for this Jeffrey, you’re a real life saver!

I had all my photos on a RAID5 array, unfortunately the logic board failed and I lost a lot of data (1Tb ish), thankfully I had the catalogue on my machine with some full renders. I now have at least some memories of the last 3 years of photos 🙂

One thing i did notice is that it exports by the original file name, which causes problems if you have multiple files in your library with the same original file name. So, My D200 is set to number them by card (DCS_0001 can occur multiple times) so the export overwrites the image when it next exports. If it could give you the option to to that, or just count from 1 and increment for each export that’d be great.

Thanks for this great plugin!


Oops, didn’t think about that. Will fix. Sorry to hear about your terabyte(!) —Jeffrey

— comment by Dave on April 19th, 2009 at 4:45am JST (14 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Thank god for you!! For the first time ever I deleted photos from our family vacation without backing up (a Monday morning when I had run out of coffee) and while they were just family photos, I was still really upset! Stumbled on your plugin after I couldn’t get another program to work and it was so easy!!! Not only did I save my vacation photos, but after a few minor adjustments in Photoshop, I was even able to blow most of them up to an 8×10 size (not bad for preview images, eh??)

— comment by Lyndsay on August 26th, 2009 at 6:13am JST (14 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I am writing from California and grateful for all of your wonderful plug-ins! I am having a bit of trouble figuring this one out. I am on a Mac, but when I go to export, it isn’t an option for images whose original file is missing. So if I go to File, Plug-In Extras, Extract Previews, the box opens up, asking for extraction location, which I enter, but at the bottom, I only have the option to select cancel, the begin extraction button is grayed out, not functioning???
Any help is much appreciated, THANKS AGAIN!

Hmmm, if the begin-extraction button is grayed out, I’d think that a message should be showing telling you why. I’m away from my build computer at the moment, but I’ll look into it and get back to you. —Jeffrey

— comment by Erin Thompson on November 3rd, 2009 at 4:35am JST (14 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Thank you for this, Jeffrey. Is it Mac compatible?

Should be, though for LR2.x only on any system. —Jeffrey

— comment by Heidi on November 26th, 2009 at 1:57pm JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, writing from Minneapolis. I did something dumb, and then something even dumber. In July I decided it was time to split up my catalogue into multiple catalogues to improve LR performance. Everything seemed to be going smoothly. I created different catalogues on external disks, verified that the photos were on the external disks, and then deleted them from my internal drive. 2007 – Fine. 2008 – No problem. 2009 I was going to keep on my internal drive. But I somehow erased all of my 2009 photos and emptied the trash. It was a week before I realized what had happened.
Then I discovered your plugin. I tested it and it worked beautifully to recover a sample of my photos and I thought I would do the rest overnight. Then I upgraded to Lightroom 2. In LR2, at first the previews were visible, then they weren’t. I did something, I don’t know what, and they came back again, and then shortly afterwards they disappeared again. Since then I haven’t even seen the previews, just grey boxes with question marks. I do have the original preview lrdata files, one with 4.7gbs of info in it, and one with 1.55gbs of data. But somehow in upgraded and moving catalogs around, the catalogs don’t seem to be linking to these files.
Your beautiful plug-in only works through an active catalog with visible previews. How can I re-link a catalog to a preview file so I can use your plugin?
I lost 10,000 pictures and feel like 7 months of my life are missing! And the worse thing is I did it to myself!

Sorry to hear about your woes! Check out LrViewer… I think it can work with whatever previews you aim it at. If it can recover your stuff, please consider sending the guy a gift consummate with the level of life you got returned….. and consider a better backup plan! (I’ve heard good things about —Jeffrey

— comment by Aaron on January 10th, 2010 at 4:59am JST (13 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

You saved me from losing my anniversary photos. I already tried the web gallery trick but, as you know, max size is 2070px that way. Luckily I did full preview on photo import, so now… JPG only, but still full res!

Thanks a lot from Italy. I’ll spread more than a word in my Lightroom seminars about your plugins 😉

Glad to hear it was of some help. You might want to talk about good backups, too 😉 —Jeffrey

— comment by Paolo on February 7th, 2010 at 4:06am JST (13 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, just wanted to say a huge thank you for this plugin. I’m normally a judicious storer and backuper, but as I was migrating my LR catalogue to a new computer I realized that a couple of years ago (on an overseas field shoot and juggling several storage media) a batch of great photos had apparently gone missing. No idea where, just poof . LR still thinks they’re there, but no dice on the HD. Searched for them high and low, and even with 3 backup hard drives they are nowhere to be found. Anyways I mercifully found your plugin (I already had your Smugmug plugin which I love) and ran the previews through it. Lo and behold I now have a batch of decent size Jpegs. Not my NEF’s, but still better than the swift kick in the pants I had before! THANK YOU for putting out great freeware like this.

John – Ottawa, Canada.

— comment by John on February 7th, 2010 at 12:37pm JST (13 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

You are a life saver!

— comment by Betsy on February 23rd, 2010 at 7:24am JST (13 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, Thank you very much for this plugin. I’m sorry you were sick and all when you made it, but it is very helpful and a lifesaver to some. I’ve been re-organzing and cleaning up old files from the past few years and apparently, accidentally deleted my RAW original file. It’s still in lightroom, so at least I’ll have the JPG from it. Thank you!


— comment by Jim on March 26th, 2010 at 4:27am JST (13 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

You saved my life!!!

— comment by olli on May 10th, 2010 at 6:37pm JST (13 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you so much for this great plugin. You helped me to recover all of my photos (about 8000) in full quality (I’m so glad I used 1-1 previews) when my external drive failed while I was transferring everything to a new computer.
Thanks again!

Darshan (London).

— comment by Darshan on May 25th, 2010 at 10:05pm JST (13 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink


— comment by Pavlo on June 19th, 2010 at 5:45am JST (13 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for this great tool! (although I have not used it yet)

My begin-extraction button is grayed out also… using LR2.2. My hard disk unfortunately crashed after 1 year, to the point beyond recovery, so desperately needs to extract the photos. Tried LRViewer, it’s good but does not give me 1:1 previews. Hopefully this bug can be fixed asap… will definitely recommend my friends and donate to your blog!

Why on earth are you using Lr2.2 when Lr2.7 is out? Sorry to hear about your crash, but I doubt this plugin will be able to extract anything that LRViewer does not. The previews don’t necessarily include 1:1 previews. Be sure to enter a valid folder in the “Extract to” box… if the “select an extraction destination” message doesn’t go away, pick another location. —Jeffrey

— comment by Sky on July 6th, 2010 at 12:44am JST (13 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I think I love you man…

Lost all my original files upon a bad RAID restore… lost 10 months, my son is 6… hopefully my catalog wasn’t on the same drive.

keep up

— comment by tooms on July 6th, 2010 at 9:55pm JST (13 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Does this work on LR 2.7? I have downloaded and installed as per normal for plug-ins and the plug-in manager tells me it is installed and running, but I cannot find it anywhere. Not in the presets, not in export—where can I find it?

Not sure why I didn’t mentioned it on this page before, but I’ve added the note about how to invoke it that should have been there from the start. —Jeffrey

— comment by David H on July 13th, 2010 at 10:51am JST (13 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

got an old lightroom 2 catalog, all the previews are visible when I open the catalog in lightroom but when I run the plug-in it tells me “no preview available”. When zooming in I have a nice 1:1 preview, but neither this plug-in or LRviewer can ever seem to find the previews themselves to restore from. Any ideas? And what’s the “Web gallery trick” that Paolo mentioned above?

I’m not familiar with the “web gallery” thing, but if there are no previews available, I’d guess that either there weren’t any previews and your 1:1 were being generated on the fly (and that you’d have previews after that), or a bug in the plugin. Hard to debug this one from afar. —Jeffrey

— comment by Greg on August 3rd, 2010 at 2:50am JST (13 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you so much – recovered pictures of Mum’s 60th birthday party that would otherwise have been lost to the ether.

— comment by Russ McGinn on September 6th, 2010 at 11:36pm JST (13 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I downloaded the plugin for LR3.2, however I receive an error message that says “An internal error has occurred. ?:2: attempt to call field ‘?’ (a nil value). Please help! I will be more than happy to donate for your services! I must find the files. Thank you!

Sorry, see the end of the first paragraph of this page. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dana on October 14th, 2010 at 11:14pm JST (13 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hey Jeff, will you marry me? You seriously saved my ass(for the second time… 2 weddings, 1 big back up mishap!). I’ve attempted to use LRviewer a few times and it never opens properly for me. Your plug-in is fantastic. Lots of good karma for you! Keep up the great life saving!

— comment by Laura on November 27th, 2010 at 5:49am JST (13 years ago) comment permalink

I am having issues. I unzipped the file, and went to lightroom plug in manager. I have Lightroom 2.0. Well when I went to the folder I had unzipped the plug in manager couldn’t locate a file within the contents of the entire folder or sub-folders to be used a plugin. It would not let me just select the main folder. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Your help is appreciate. Thanks.

After unzipping, you’ll have a folder named preview-extraction-jfriedl.lrplugin. That is the plugin, and what you need to point the Plugin Manager at. But if you’re running Lr2.0, you should avail yourself to the free upgrade to Lr2.7. I haven’t tested with 2.0 in years. —Jeffrey

— comment by Kayti on December 4th, 2010 at 5:40am JST (13 years ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffery, I have had a fatal disk crash and am desperately trying to find out how to export the cache previews from Lightroom 3.2. I have tried using LRviewer but it says tha database is locked. Can you help in nany way?

Thanks, Josh

You’d have to ask LrViewer’s author, but perhaps there’s a lock file lying around that you can delete to let you have access? I have no experience with it myself, so best to ask LrViewer’s author. —Jeffrey

— comment by Joshua Gross on December 4th, 2010 at 3:54pm JST (13 years ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,
Just wondering if your plug in can extract .CR2 files into raw files not just jpeg? I’ve tried “LR viewer” software mentioned above because it’s not a plug in, & because my situation is kinda unique where my hard drive crashed I was using LR2. When copying I didn’t get all of my raw files, & didn’t know this at the time. I have since installed a LR3 trial & in going to see the images I found that most were missing. I have the original LR2 cat. I just don’t have the raw images & jpegs. The other unfortunate thing is I was never able to edit them until now, & they really need to be raw to come out ok.

When viewing them in the “LR viewer” I see they are .CR2 images, raw, correct? My question is, is there a way to extract the raw images from the catalog with your plug in, if I reinstalled LR2? If not now, could it be done & or will it be possible in the future?
Thank you for your time, & your plug in! 🙂

Sorry, but the master CR2 raw files are not kept in the Lightroom catalog, so the best you’ll get from the catalog are the previews, if any. I think there’s a separate, unrelated ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) cache somewhere on the computer, but I don’t know where or what form that data might be in, and if you hadn’t edited the missing photos recently, that cache would not have any data anyway. I’m sorry for your loss. You might try running PhotoRec on the drive. Good luck. —Jeffrey

— comment by stacey on December 17th, 2010 at 3:26pm JST (13 years ago) comment permalink

Hola Jeffrey,
After arveling 10000 miles from Venezuela I visited my son in Jerusalem, and I dropped down his hard disk and lost his pictures (no backup, even I told him a thousand times).
He’s using LR3,. Is it possible he loads his catalog in LR2 and then use your plugin?
Speak to me, I can’t even sleep.


I’m sorry, no, the catalog data is completely different. For Lr3, use the LrViewer program linked above. If the disk is physically able to run, even if the data is corrupt, you can probably recover everything using a low-level scan such as with PhotoRec or the like. Good luck! —Jeffrey

— comment by Juancalop on May 19th, 2011 at 11:48am JST (12 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

You and your plug in are amazing! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I couldn’t get LRViewer to work and thought I was screwed but then YOU happened! You get extra awesome points from me!!!!

— comment by Korin on August 18th, 2011 at 9:58am JST (12 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I can’t seem to get lr view or other programs to work… yours appears easy to use and install… but I have LR3… will you support lr3 soon?

No, never. As I’ve said in comments above, what I did with this plugin simply can’t be done in Lr3. —Jeffrey

— comment by Julie on October 22nd, 2011 at 4:07pm JST (12 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink


My plugin doesn’t work in Lr3, sorry. Even if you formatted and reused the card, you can likely extract images unless your “reused” filled the entire card, so give PhotoRec or the like a try. And as for extracting from your Lr3 catalog, check out LrViewer. Good luck. —Jeffrey

— comment by Trae Triplett on January 14th, 2012 at 8:16am JST (11 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you for this plugin!

Even though I have a backup, it does not include the latest 200 pictures. Now I at least have them as JPEGs. Will try to retrieve the remaining pictures from the CF Card.

I’m glad that at least I will have the pictures in JPEG format, even if I cannot retrieve anything from the CF Card.

— comment by Eugê on July 25th, 2012 at 1:02am JST (11 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

T H A N K Y O U S O O O O O O O O M U C H,

— comment by yan on October 26th, 2012 at 2:27am JST (11 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I was using LR trial. I uploaded some images, and I accidentally deleted the images from my laptop. My question is, if I were to purchase LR will the images I uploaded during my trial be available once I enter my serial number?? I am hoping they are so I can use your plug in to retrieve my images :/ Please any information will be greatly appreciated!!

The cached previews might be available… they might be full size, or might be much smaller, or might not be there. No way to tell without looking. If Lightroom no longer works because you exceeded the 30-day trial, you’ll have to buy it in order to launch the plugin, but the plugin page lists other methods that might allow you to recover previews from outside Lightroom. —Jeffrey

— comment by Laura Gordillo on November 4th, 2012 at 5:20pm JST (11 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I have the error ““An internal error has occurred. ?:2: attempt to call field ‘?’ (a nil value)”, which you said look a the second paragraph. I can’t find the answer, advise please. I really want this to work : )

Thank you very much

At the time, the 2nd paragraph said that the plugin could not work in Lr3. (That’s now the 3rd paragraph). If you’re in Lr4 and getting that error, please send a log. —Jeffrey

— comment by Pomme on January 3rd, 2013 at 6:50pm JST (10 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi champ I have just trashed and then clears trash of over 5000 photos and now have a tech working on recovering them for me which they are confident of doing but just on case can this plug in help me. The photos are in Lightroom just not accessible due to the original file missing. I haven’t slept or eaten for 2 days I’m in serious trouble if I can not resolve this problem and would love some advice. I’m using LR4 thanks for your time I’m in Australia mate

Sorry to hear about your accident. The plugin should recover the previews from Lightroom, if it had any (it likely did), but I would recommend not using the disk where the images were until you have exhausted all recovery techniques. If you haven’t done much with the disk, I expect you could recover them all with PhotoRec or the like (as I did once from a corrupt memory card). The plugin works with both Windows and OSX. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brenden on January 9th, 2013 at 12:52pm JST (10 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, My external hard drive crashed and the dreaded ???? is now on every file when I access via Lightroom 4. I tried the plug-in but it directed me to an earlier version (3) and the files i’m hoping to re-generate (to any extent) were not created using that version therefore are not seen on the menu. I am hoping to retrieve any/all data via professional rescue from the crashed drive, but am hoping this will be another avenue to get files of reasonable quality. Did I do something wrong with the download?
I am in St Petersburg, Florida.

I don’t quite understand your message (“directed me to an earlier version”?), but if your catalog was created in Lr3, the plugin won’t work… unless, perhaps, you upgrade the catalog to Lr4, and then it might work. I don’t know. The problem with Lr3 is that the plugin has no way to connect cached files with Lightroom images, and the upgrade process may adjust things so that the plugin can work. Good luck! —Jeffrey

— comment by Karen on June 27th, 2013 at 2:44am JST (10 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,

This plugin is really great in retrieving most of the data from LR. I have a small problem though, the extracted images seem to stay in the wrong color space (sRVB) instead of AdobeRGB. Of course I checked “reinject metadata and colorspace” but it doesn’t seem to work, nor for colorspace nor for metadata (although the metadata is showing correctly in LR 4.4).

The other (small) issue is that the extraction will crash if video files are selected (this one I could workaround with the LR metadata filter).

Manu (Montreal, Canada)

It seems to be working for me in both respects, so I guess I’ll need more info (such as a log after a crash). —Jeffrey

— comment by Manu on July 2nd, 2013 at 4:41am JST (10 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Wow after nearly 2 weeks trying to recover my lost files on backup drive and main mac i gave up and started to rebuild my mac. Luckily I still had the LR catalog files backed up (pure luck) and this tool has let me recover at least some JPG versions of many of my files!!!! Thanks Jeffrey for your wonderful work and tools 😀

Only one question (Isn’t there always? 😉 ) – even though I tell it to make large previews (1440X___) upon import some only extracted thumbnail image – any idea why that might be? why would LR have lost those previews?

Thanks again!!!
Cheers, Jason

The short answer is that I don’t know, but maybe they were invalidated by subsequent develop changes? —Jeffrey

— comment by Jason on November 1st, 2013 at 4:16pm JST (10 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

GAH! You have saved my life! Accidently deleted a folder containing undelivered client photos.

And this is why I wrote the plugin. Most people will never need it, but it’s got high meaning for folks that do. 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by K. on November 2nd, 2013 at 2:50am JST (10 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Muchas Gracias, exelente plugin me ayudo mucho.

Thank you, excellent plugin helped me a lot.

— comment by Mauricio on November 29th, 2013 at 10:01pm JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

OH MY GOD! You must be sent from heaven! I accidently throw my external hard drive on the ground and all my photos of 1,5 year were gone forever!!!
With this tool I can at least get my jpg back!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT!!! You can’t imagine how happy I am now!

— comment by Photographer on December 14th, 2013 at 10:06pm JST (10 years ago) comment permalink


I can only get thumbnail previews! is there a way to get the full image? Another plugin perhaps or am I screwed? These are wedding photos and I desperately need the full image, this is making me bonkers. Been working on this since November. Your plugin however is amazing and quick 🙂


Sadly, the plugin gives you everything there is to be had, so if you’re getting only thumbs, that’s almost certainly all there is. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jenny on January 8th, 2014 at 12:08am JST (9 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Ahhhhhhhhhh any clue why there is only thumbs on some images and not others? Is there a way to make them larger w/o ruining image quality? It’s 85% of this wedding album…..I’m in such deep water

It depends on what kind of previews were generated when the images were available. I doubt they can be made much bigger, but you can load it into Photoshop to try. If you still have access to the camera memory cards, perhaps try to recover from them. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jenny on January 8th, 2014 at 12:16am JST (9 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, Thanks so much for this plug in! I had a hard drive fail last month and was unable to recover the images. Thankfully, I had backups of most of them, but was missing my grandson’s birthday party images. I had imported them into Lightroom as standard thumbnails and have been trying to find a way to print from the thumbnails (as I was the only one with pictures of that day). This worked perfectly! I am so thankful to have found it and have already passed you site info along to other friends! Blessings on you! Terry

— comment by Terry Arnold on February 5th, 2014 at 11:26pm JST (9 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you so much. I am forever grateful to you for having made it possible to at least preserve some very precious memories based on lightroom previews. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! 🙂

— comment by Greatful on March 21st, 2014 at 9:58pm JST (9 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you so much Jeffrey! I told my husband I might be in love with another man. Totally joking but thank you so much for saving my pictures, I can breathe again.

— comment by Kiersten on March 25th, 2014 at 7:10am JST (9 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks Jeffrey – this saved my life. I lost 2y of personal photo history but fortunately still had good previews. Thanks again!

— comment by Markus on September 21st, 2014 at 8:42am JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Between your EXIF viewer and this plug-in… I can’t tell which I am more grateful for. Thank you, thank you.

— comment by Johnny on September 24th, 2014 at 1:44pm JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you. Your script was easy to use and made my wife very happy to have the photos “back”.

Just a heads up, while you can get all the photos in various directories, all of my photos then went back into a single directory. I ended up duplicating my subdirectories and then running the script multiple times to copy each to the appropriate area.

Also note, you cannot get back video files with this. I’m not saying it was ever implied you could, I’m just letting people know to burst any optimism before it swells 🙂

— comment by John on December 26th, 2014 at 10:06am JST (8 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, Jeffrey!

Please add option to extract previews with directory tree.

— comment by XYZ on January 19th, 2015 at 8:09am JST (8 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, Jeffrey, first of all I would like to thank you for this plugin, then, I’ve got a problem, when I select some pictures to export the previews, and I run your plugin, a window come up with the plugin logo on the left and this message on the right: “Access to undefined global: gpsAltitude”

What can I do with that? It just extract the first preview of the selected pictures, but not the others because I assume it stop working after this message.

Thanks, Enrico.

Sorry for the delay… I’ve (finally) fixed this. —Jeffrey

— comment by Enrico on April 4th, 2015 at 3:17am JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, the site for Rob Cole seems to no longer be active. Would you consider updating this to make it available for LR5/6/CC? Thanks

It should work fine… I’d just neglected to update the docs. —Jeffrey

— comment by Joe on June 7th, 2015 at 8:40am JST (8 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
First of all, thanks for your great work !

I’m considering using this plugin for a fast way to export photos to a web gallery;
I’m just stuck on the lack of the IPTC ‘ObjectName’, which Lightroom (and others) use as ‘Image title’
Ok, I could use IPTC ‘Headline’ (which you export), but I have no easy way to retrospectively duplicate these entries…
A good idea would be to export the items currently present in the Lightroom metadata panel !
(or, still better, use a selected set of another excellent plugin named ‘JF Metadata Wrangler’, if inter-plugin communication is possible);
Additionally, the charset encoding of IPTC data is ISO-8859-1, whereas Exif data are UTF-8, which is a bit annoying as I live in France, where résumé looks better than rÈsumÈ (or r�sum�)… (but perhaps this is an exiftool issue ?) – at least I can recover this in my gallery, thanks to php mb_detect_encoding and utf8_encode functions.

This plugin is intended to help recover something from catastrophic data loss. —Jeffrey

— comment by Gifad on July 6th, 2015 at 7:54am JST (8 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink


— comment by Anna Gonzalez on July 22nd, 2015 at 10:43pm JST (8 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for you fantastic and generous work with this plug-in!
Unfortunately my situation doesn´t quite seem to match up with what this is designed for and I was wondering if you would have any suggestions?

I´m trying to recover (what ever I can) for images that I have deleted from within Lightroom 5 (hence the previews are no longer showing up). They are not backed up, and I haven´t been able to recover them from the original disk (which was encrypted) where they were stored using a disc scan or recovery etc.

So My last hope is that the preview information might still exist in the preview cache file because I do have a backup that I made of the Entire LR Catalogue Package, immediately after I´d closed lightroom, after deleting the pictures.
I´ve read that sometimes LR doesn´t actually clear the preview cache when you delete a photo from within the programme, but instead may hold onto that information in the preview cache until you
next open the catalouge (or at some other point?) when that information is finaly cleared out?

So my question is – is it possible to read that Preview Cache without restarting lightroom itself? or is there anyway to view those previews that don´t show up in Lightroom Catalouge but might still exist in the preview cache (before they are cleared)?

I´m running OS 10.10.2 and LR5.

Many thanks for your efforts (and apologies for the length of the question)
(Note: unfortunately – LRViewer doesn´t seem to Work with LR5 )

The best that I can suggest is this: Make another copy of the whole thing, then start Lightroom and let it sit for a while… hopefully it’ll clean up stuff. Don’t edit any pixels. Exit Lightroom, then compare the list of files in the preview to what was there before… if some files are now gone, they might be your previews. To check, make a new catalog with one image and create its preview, then delete the master image so that Lightroom can show only the preview. Exit Lightroom, then copy the preview file you identified earlier as potentially of interest… copy it over the preview file in the new catalog. Then start Lightroom and you should see the image that was there. Lots of work, but it’s one way to check. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dave on September 7th, 2015 at 12:42pm JST (8 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffery I am in a bit of a jam. I uploaded my images to LR5 however, they did not finish creating preview before I removed the card. now the card has been rewritten and can no longer retrieve the images I need. I have to date downloaded your plug in but can’t seem to use it. when i go to file , another window opens. I am stuck there. also, if you know of any other way or place those images might be, please advise . i am desperate.. thank you

— comment by Debbie on September 17th, 2015 at 3:02am JST (8 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

sorry, i was able to figure it out.. however, after the thumbnails are extracted. will they be of use after? or only of thumbnail size? please advise.

sorry never experienced this issue before

First, perhaps try to recover images from the card, even if you’ve shot with it since… see this post for how I’ve done it in the past. If you shot with it since and filled it to capacity then you’re out of luck, but otherwise you may find some in there. Second, upon import, Lightroom brings in the images much more quickly than it can build previews, so they should be in your library. Something else must have happened that you didn’t mention for them not to be there. Finally, the plugin extracts everything it can; if a thumbnail is all that’s there, well, it’s probably not going to be of much use, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Debbie on September 17th, 2015 at 3:14am JST (8 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

I had my photos saved on a 1TB external hard drive. The drive failed a few weeks ago. Sadly, it was the only place I had them backed up. A data recovery company was unable to recover ANY data. I found the script to extract previews from Lightroom. I installed this and extracted 2000+ images (it couldn’t extract 48). My question is this: almost every photo is terribly low quality. None are over 400 KB. Is there any way to recover high-quality jpgs of my photos. In researching, I have seen “1:1 Preview” as important. I knew nothing about this before this catastrophe happened, so prior to the drive crash, I had not had 1:1 preview enabled. “Minimal” was under the “file handling” dropbox. Is there ANYTHING I can do? I hope to hear from you as I am just desperate now.

Thank you so much in advance for any advice,

Unfortunately I can’t think of anything else, except maybe trying to recover a few images from your memory cards. The plugin would have extracted the biggest previews it could find. Sorry for your loss… it’s a bitter way to learn a lesson. )-: —Jeffrey

— comment by Dan C on September 20th, 2015 at 11:15am JST (8 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you for your extraction plug-in…I do sports photography for a local high school and university, when my external WD passport with my RAW unprocessed photos fell off the counter to the wood floor…no more masters of the photos. Some, however, have the preview in Lightroom. When I use this extraction tool and another type, a very few of the previews come up with full-size jpg and most of them with a mini version…why does this happen, when all of the previews are 1:1 raito previews? Can I change anything to get a full-size jpg in the extraction? Thank you for your help!

The plugin does its best to extract what it can… if you’re not seeing full-sized JPGs, I suspect that the 1:1 previews are just not there. On the other hand, it could be a bug with the plugin, but the only way to tell would be for you to send the zipped up catalog and preview tree. If you can do that, I can take a look. The zip would be huge, but perhaps you can send via Dropbox, Copy, etc… —Jeffrey

— comment by loyalt on November 14th, 2015 at 5:19am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

I try to install your preview plugin in Lightroom 5.7 64bits windows and I get :
This plugin is defect and cannot be used ! (translation from french version)

For info I have tried LRViewer without success.

I see the pictures in LR but the location is empty. I have found a directory from cameraraw/cache with files like Cache0000000xxx.dat with the date I try to restore. Do you think it is possible to restore it ?


It should work fine in Lr5…. try downloading the plugin with a different browser, or unzipping with a different utility, I guess…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Polain Jean-Marie on November 17th, 2015 at 7:04am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Great Work, Jeffrey!!!

I am writing from Portugal, Porto, my home town.

I need your help, please….

I have Lightroom 6, both in Mac and Windows, and I downloaded your Extraction Plugin, because, unfortunately, I lost all my photos from my trip to the Caribbean…..

When I open LR, I see exactly the number of photos I took, I see their metadata, but, all the thumbnails are grey…

When I try to use your Plugin, LR gives me your Logo in PNG format!!!! It does not open the Plugin…

Can you help me here, please?

Thank you.

Kind regards.


It sounds like you’re trying to import images from the plugin, instead of adding the plugin to Lightroom as a plugin. Please see the plugin install instructions. —Jeffrey

— comment by Amelia on December 31st, 2015 at 2:18am JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Quick question. When I try to extract the files some come back as the original large files but most are reduced down to very small images although in lightroom they are shown as having the larger images. My hard drive crashed and I am trying to recover some family pictures. I have tried several times to extract but keep getting the small images! Please help!!!

The plugin extracts what it can; if you’re seeing large versions that aren’t being extracted, I wonder whether the originals are indeed available, or if perhaps you have Smart Previews for those photos. Those are DNG files in a folder tree rooted at the same level as the catalog file itself. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jonathan on January 13th, 2016 at 1:41pm JST (7 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, great plugin, thanks. Question for you, I’m looking to extract an entire catalog and I’m wondering if there’s a way to maintain the folder structure during export?

There is, as of version 20160319.54, which I just released. —Jeffrey

— comment by Alex on March 9th, 2016 at 12:13pm JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hello there, this is great! But recently i deleted all my HD. Funny thing, got most of RAW files, but no even one catalog backup from previous weeks (the most updated one was like 6 months older).

So if i get it, this only works if you have a fully functional LR lightroom right? Cause i have been able to recover some full LR folders from my disk, even with the “smart previews – folder” and a lot of 1 or 2 MB DNG files but i just can’t run the catalog. Couldn’t open those DNG files also.

So sad that some days before i completely backup my catalog with smart and 1:1 previews for all images.

Thinking on some miracle solution, i have this – like 40 GB- folder with a lot of LR folders from many attempts to get them completely functional using recovery software. Some have all things needed, others just a couple of files.

Anything to do with this folders and files? or should i just delete them all and start all over again?

Sorry to hear about your predicament. Yes, the plugin works only if you have the catalog. If the recovery software found any “SQLlit Database” files, rename them to end with “.lrcat” and try opening them as a Lightroom catalog. The Smart Preview DNGs you’ll find are normal DNGs so you should be able to open them in Lightroom (so long as it’s a modern enough version… the “normal” DNGs likely won’t open in old versions of Lightroom or Photoshop). Save the other preview files… there might be tools out there to extract the images from them, and if there aren’t now, perhaps there will be in the future. —Jeffrey

— comment by Leandro on March 16th, 2016 at 11:24pm JST (7 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

That just saved me a lot of time. Thanks for creating and maintaining this – I’ve sent a modest donation.

— comment by Aaron B on April 14th, 2016 at 12:30am JST (7 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

I’ve lost all my family photo’s due to a corrupt hard drive and now I only have the thumbnails available. Unfortunately I’m on Light room version 3.4 so I see from your blog page that your preview extraction tool doesn’t work on my version. Do you happen to know if their is any other way I can extract my thumbnails from light room version 3?

Kind regards,


This might work: save a backup copy of the preview tree just in case, then upgrade to Lr4 or later, then use the plugin. The problem with Lr3 is that in that version the plugin has no way to connect a preview file to a photo in the catalog. The preview files do contain the preview images, so even if this doesn’t work, hold on to them and try other tools to extract them… —Jeffrey

— comment by Lawrence Chapman on April 18th, 2016 at 4:14pm JST (7 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey! Thank you so much! It works perfectly! You saved my life!

— comment by David on May 13th, 2016 at 10:14pm JST (7 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

WOW, i’m impressed!
Hi Jeffrey, i really like your work here! I’m a Photographer myself and i know how much work that alone can be. Plus you obviously have a family, that consumes a lot of time too.
So THANX for that impressive work!

I came along your site because i was looking for something special, and your “preview-extraction” tool is somehow close by. Let me explain my situation.
I love the idea of having a complete offline catalogue with previews of ALL my Photos ever taken with me on my Laptop.
So i created a catalogue that grew over the years and today it contains over 250.000 photos (only raw files! no exported jpg etc.!)
It works perfect, because i can watch a preview of EVERY photo ever taken, even when i’m on the road. So if a client calls and wants a photo i can deliver, because i can identify and find exactly what he wants.

The Problem is the size of the catalogue. in the meantime it has grown to 190GB because there is so much Preview-Data stored.

Here comes my question:
I want to recreate specific parts of the previews in a smaller size. Lightroom can only trash 1:1 Previews or ALL Previews. But i dont’t want to trash ALL Previews, because a complete rebuild would take FOREVER!
The perfect way would be to select images, or a folder and than trash the associated previews. Then i can let lightroom recreate the previews in the desired size.

Do you have an idea how that could be done? Do you have a plugin for that, or do you know a plugin by somebody else that can do that?
If you have any idea, please let me know!

thanx in advance,


I’ve added a “delete preview cache for selected photos” feature here. —Jeffrey

— comment by Arvid on May 23rd, 2016 at 7:30pm JST (7 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink


Wow, you are great!
Thank you sooooo much! I tried it, and it works perfect! So this will help to save a lot of disk space in the future!

The only thing is:
I’m sure, other people are also interested in this feature, but the term “preview cache” is a little confusing. Maybe you should call it “delete previews” or “delete standard previews”

Superduper nice work man!

Thanx a lot!

The phrase has to differentiate what’s deleted from Smart Previews. I can’t use “standard previews” because that’s only a subset of what’s deleted (“1:1 previews” are also deleted; I can’t separate them out.) Maybe “Library previews”? —Jeffrey

— comment by Arvid on May 27th, 2016 at 6:49am JST (7 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I think it’s ok to go with any of those terms, as long as they exclude “cache” because that means something different. It’s not a cache that the software created for internal purposes, but previews that the user decides to create in a size he chooses etc.

But anyway, as long as it works, it doesn’t matter what it’s called 🙂

By the way: It seems to be necessary to restart lightroom after deleting those previews with your sript, otherwise it won’t recreate the previews. In that case it says: previews already created…

Actually, it is exactly a cache (that the software creates to speed up interaction); the ability for the user to have them explicitly made is to let the user pre-populate the cache, suffering the cost of generating it at a time of their choosing such as when grabbing a cup of coffee instead of while sitting in front of Lightroom trying to get work done. The previews in various sizes will be made by just interacting with Lightroom, even if the user doesn’t know about the various preview commands. —Jeffrey

— comment by Arvid on May 28th, 2016 at 4:52am JST (7 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, I’m doing charity work in Sierra L:eone and love this plugin. Thank you!

I noticed that it was crashing when it encountered video files in my LR6 catalog on Mac. I used a filter to remove those from the selection and now it’s happily churning through my catalog. This works for me but in the off chance that you have some time eventually to debug it I thought I’d leave the note. Feel free to reach out if you want some testing.

— comment by Joshua Wagner on June 18th, 2016 at 9:14pm JST (7 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Oh man, you are a genius. I´m so happy. I lost the hard disk with my childrens´ pictures of an entire year. And now I got them back. I thank you so much!! Best wishes from Berlin….Rob

— comment by Robert on December 21st, 2016 at 4:50am JST (7 years ago) comment permalink

From Virginia,

Hey! I love the plugin, but I got another problem. Many of the photo previews are being extracted very small. I don’t know all the technical lingual, but this is a big problem. I was able to recover many photos in a decent size, but many others are just so small. Any help would be appreciated!

The ones that are small are the best that the plugin can come up with, because almost certainly that’s all that’s available among the preview files. Sorry. )-: —Jeffrey

— comment by Rattasay Soukkhaseum on December 23rd, 2016 at 3:27am JST (7 years ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey thanks alot!

I’ve lost 120GIGs of Data cause of RAID Failure.
I found a working catalog from lightroom and expracted 4500 PICTURES, after reveral Trys of repair and recover lost Data

Thank’s alot!

— comment by Viktor on February 16th, 2017 at 9:05pm JST (6 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for this plugin – I’ve just recovered some precious photos I thought I’d lost. Im awaiting the results of a full data recovery scan at present but am not holding my breath on the results, so knowing I at least have these previews is such a relief.

I also know that in the future I will *always* generate 1:1 previews, just in case I find myself in the same situation again in the future!

It’s ridiculous, as I do have backups, but this issue came about as a result of an attempt to remove a number of duplicate images. The duplicate finder must have collated different images with the same name as a single image, and although I checked a fair few of the results, I ended up saying s**** it, and trashing the lot. I didn’t notice until a few days ago, by which time my time machine backups had been overwritten due to limited space :/

— comment by Rosie on May 19th, 2017 at 10:31pm JST (6 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for your apps.

Someone recommend this but when I download and open the zip file, it opens Lightroom and seems to want to import 63 files. Is this what we’re supposed to see? We have to import 63 files into LR to make this work? Please clarify, as this is very strange to me and am just being cautious.

Thank you!



It seems that your browser is being a bit too aggressive… it’s trying to “execute” the plugin, which pulls up Lightroom but doesn’t tell Lightroom it’s a plugin, so havoc ensues. Just cancel out of everything and look in Finder/Explorer for the plugin folder (“….-jfriedl.lrplugin”) and move it to wherever on your system you want it to live, e.g. a “LightroomPlugins” folder in your “Documents”, then point the plugin manager at it. —Jeffrey

— comment by stu on July 20th, 2017 at 10:25am JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

More bacon saved! This is awesome! Thank you so much!

I’m re-organizing everything I’ve ever done professionally (long term project!). Lost all files from a shoot from 2010. I was pretty terrible then, but these recovered 1440×900-ish jpegs are plenty good enough for my memoirs!

— comment by Chip Sprague on August 21st, 2017 at 9:05pm JST (6 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Your are my HERO! I live in Snowmass Village, Colorado, and recently returned from a Nat Geo photo workshop in St. Lucia. Joe McNally was teaching all about lighting. I have a regular workflow when downloading photos from my SD card onto my computer/external drives. Well, after a very long day of shooting firemen at their station, it was time for a glass of wine or two. I had to get my photos downloaded and ready for the next morning’s critique. It seems that I downloaded directly into LR without making folders for the photos, and then formatted the card in my camera. After the workshop was finished and I was beginning to organize all the photos from the week, disaster struck! All firemen were gone! Lesson learned: NEVER download after a glass or two of wine! Thanks to you, I have recovered all those fun photos. I’m not even worried that they are jpg instead of raw. Thank you!!!

Thanks for your story. 🙂 FYI, even if you’ve formatted the card, if you haven’t re-filled it with new photos, you can probably recover the original raws via disk-recovery software, such as this. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dafri on October 26th, 2017 at 9:15am JST (6 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

This is just fantastic Jeffrey and just what I’ve been looking for after I for the first time ever by accident deleted from PC and formmattet an sd card fra my A7R2, which apparently was a low level format…

— comment by Steen K on March 13th, 2018 at 4:13pm JST (5 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

THANK YOU for creating this plugin.

I had a DroboFS fail completely on me, and take with it all my 10+ years of family photos. 2 drives failed out of 5, and still working to recover that.

but in the meantime, my Catalogs had previews and your plugin is restoring whatever I can from the catalogs (decent amount being recovered)

Thank you again!


— comment by Ravneet on August 12th, 2018 at 2:55am JST (5 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, Thank you so much for this plug-in. I recently visited Longwood Gardens and photographed their lily ponds. Simply amazing. Unfortunately, in my haste to free up space, I accidentally deleted the images from Picture folder. I tried this plug-in and it worked perfectly!

— comment by Janet P on October 13th, 2018 at 10:46pm JST (5 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hello, I would like to thank for the plugin, saved a family job that I had lost. God bless you!

— comment by Felipe Barreto on January 12th, 2019 at 5:41am JST (4 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Great plugin, just one question, What tool(s) do you use to develop lightoom plugins? I’m interested into developing one for increase own productivity. Thanks in advance for your time and attention.

I use a text editor to type the program code. —Jeffrey

— comment by Iván T. on March 2nd, 2019 at 11:14pm JST (4 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, Jeffrey. Quick question. Does this script work to recover videos from Lightroom smart previews as well? (If not, is there any way to recover the videos to your knowledge?)

No, it doesn’t work with video yet. You can check in the file system at ~/Library/Caches/Adobe/Lightroom/Video/ (or the Windows equivalent) for cached videos… —Jeffrey

— comment by Matthew on April 15th, 2019 at 12:16pm JST (4 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink


I am very grateful you published this plug-in!

As I found out today, last year I happened to erase ALL the pictures I had of my children from when they were born until two years ago when I started to use a new Lightroom catalogue.
The only thing that I have left is the Lightroom catalogue and – thank god – the preview library from which I now can extract all the pictures in an acceptable size. Most of them 1680 px and up.

I am always very cautious with my back-ups, but this was a big miss.
I am so happy that I now can save my files!
Thanks a lot!

— comment by Gert Germeraad on May 3rd, 2019 at 7:01am JST (4 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Happy I am with “Extract Cached Preview Images”, without it I would have lost entirely 117212 images and 200 years of family history. So bless you sir and all your family. I’ve got a long task ahead extracting and re-establishing these images. But without this lifeline, I’d be sunk.

I can see that in video files few frames are still in the Preview Cache. I accept that no plug-in is going to restore the video files that have been deleted for too many reasons. But is there anyway to choose a particular frame for extraction apart from the first one?

I’m glad that it’s been of some help, but sorry that you had the need. Frankly, I don’t know much about video previews (no one’s ever asked), but the preview files in the catalog seem sufficiently small that I imagine that they have just one thumbnail. However, if you’re on MacOS, look in your ~/Library/Caches/Adobe/Lightroom/Video/ folder, and perhaps preserve it with the catalog. It’s got some big files that may one day be decoded. (I imagine there’s a comparable location on Windows.) —Jeffrey

— comment by William Turner on October 30th, 2019 at 10:00pm JST (4 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Thank you so much 🙂

— comment by Erik on November 15th, 2019 at 4:34am JST (4 years ago) comment permalink

I love you

— comment by mat on February 1st, 2020 at 7:12am JST (3 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, you are right it would be certainly better not need your great plug-in but if you need it is the the last resort!
Thank you so much and greetings from Germany!


— comment by Ulrich on June 12th, 2020 at 6:30pm JST (3 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Is there also a way to extract .mov of .mp4 files out of light rooms (smart) preview data? I lost a lot of small movies and wondered if they could also be extracted somehow… I do have (smart)previewed my whole catalog (>100Gb) so… I do see them when I scroll over the preview windows…..very frustrating to loose these memories. Hope you could help.



I’ll take a look at it…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Boudewijn on July 15th, 2020 at 7:52pm JST (3 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I just wanted to say THANK YOU!

Lost a clients photos while moving them within folders somehow and this has saved me hours and hours of work being able to extract these cached images !


— comment by Exotic Desire Boudoir on August 26th, 2020 at 2:00pm JST (3 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Had great promo photos for my business which deleted somehow??? and remember being pissed all day 🙁

did a bit of research found some videos on youtube which led me to the adobe scripts tutorial

unfortunately didn’t work has so much hope…

found this blog, downloaded plugin, added then exported –> got all my photos back 🙂

Thanks my-man!

— comment by Andres Montero on October 29th, 2020 at 5:49am JST (3 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I downloaded the to my desktop but don’t know how to make it work or how to open it and connect it to lightroom. Are there directions somewhere? I’m optimistic but stuck. Please help. Thanks

See “Installation Instructions” in the box at the upper right. —Jeffrey

— comment by Barbara T Rubens on January 5th, 2021 at 3:55am JST (2 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hey there —

I came across this plugin when I was searching for a way to extract the JPEGs from some preview files I had. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the associated catalogs for them.

After taking a look at the .lrprev files, I wrote a small Python script to extract the largest JPEG from the file. I think File Juicer could also do this, but I didn’t have a Mac handy.

I figured I’d share it in case anyone else had a need for it.

It’s very basic and limited, and the JPEGs have no metadata at all, so if you’re pulling a lot of previews, you’ll have your work cut out for you in sorting. But, if this is your last resort, it might still be worth it.

The script is here:

Goodbye from Ohio!

— comment by Nick Kneer on November 23rd, 2021 at 5:28am JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

Thank you SO MUCH. Much to my dismay, all the photos from my exchange semester were on an external drive that broke, the data recovery process after some consultation would be $$$ but realized I had the embedded lightroom previews. While not having the raws still sucks from a photography standpoint, having this once in a lifetime period of my life still documented has been priceless. Thank you for making the process of saving the preview jpegs headache-free!

— comment by Jaymi on December 6th, 2021 at 1:38am JST (2 years ago) comment permalink
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