Why do some photos show a question mark when searching for tags?

When I search for something in PhotoLab, for example ‘Owl’, some of the photos are not available and have a question mark instead. However, when I try to find that photo in the DXO folders, such as (2021), it’s still viewable and I can edit it just fine. I’m on Mac.

The situation you describe mostly results from moving or renaming folders and/or flles outside of PhotoLab. The renamed items are seen by DPL as new files. We then have e,g. one file and more than one entry for it in DPL’s database. As search is based on the database, found items can be inexistant and DPL shows those files with a question mark.

As of today, there is no way to reconcile database entries with files on the drive - except to delete the database. Consequences have been described in other posts.


Thanks! Would it work if I just retag the lost files?

Why don’t you try it and report the result here?

Re-indexing will read the metadata from (existant) files, but it will not remove the non-existant files, which is okay, if we consider the possibility that the files might only be missing temporarily and that we’d not like the respective edits to be lost.

Moving files outside of DPL can work, as long as DPL is open while we mive or rename those files. 've seen DPL fix database entries, but not necessarily every time. Depending on the number of orphaned entries, your best option is to delete the database. Edits and metadata changes are stored in the .dop sidecars, Other things can be lost when the database is trashed.

In spite of what DxO says about asset management capabilities of PhotoLab, there is a lot of room for improvement in this field. Search the forum for more about database maintenance and DAM features.

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Thank you! I will try it. I’m confused what you mean by deleting the database?

It works, but the question mark remains. There are now 2 copies of the same file when I search it up, one with the question mark, one containing the actual file.

I have found that the questionmarked files can go away, but not necessarily always - as seems to be in your case.

Deleting the database is easy

  1. quit DPL
  2. navigate to the database file(s)
  3. move DB file(s) to the trash
  4. restart DPL.

The DB files can be found here:
Macintosh HD → Users → UserAccountName → Library → DxO PhotoLab v7 → DOPDatabase*

Where are the database files on Windows?

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C:\Users\Paul\AppData\Roaming\DxO\DxO PhotoLab 6\Database

for a user called Paul and version 6 of PL.

Thanks Paul. I also hinted at the fact that with DPL on Win, the path to the database can be found in DPL’s settings - and also changed to somewhere else, something that the Mac can’t do (yet?).

something that the Mac can’t do…unless one edits DPL’s preference file, a workaround I’d not consider to be sustainable. Nevertheless, here’s an example of a changed location entry:

Note: I’d not consider the Desktop to be a good place to put the database. Editing the location could serve as a temporary workaround for testing, e.g. when the 2nd location is on a different volume.

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Sorry for not replying as you had already given the right ‘standard’ path.

Yes, in the Windows version → Preferences one can change the storage location
(e.g. on a NVMe M.2, while smost of my pics reside on a HD)

  • General tab → Database
  • Performance tab → Cache

After update the new locations are usually remembered, but of course better to be controlled. :slight_smile:

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Thanks everyone! Will do more of my DAM in PL now to avoid this, and am working to fix the issue that exists already.