Feature #9730

Rescan updated directories

Added by Jesko N over 4 years ago. Updated over 3 years ago.

Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Affected Version:
git development version
hardware architecture:


Currently DT users who manage their photos outside of DT in lighttable mode often
  • see 'skulls'
  • don't see images which have been added to a folder after importing it to DT

This can only be solved by deleting the directory from DT and readding it manually.

It should be possible to rescan a folder (and its subfolders) from DT's UI.
A good place for the rescan option would be the folder's context menu (in the /folders/ view of the /collect images/ module).

A script to purge non existing images can already be found here:


#1 Updated by Jesko N over 4 years ago

Additionally: After rescanning a directory all empty film roles in this directory (or its subdirectories) should be removed from the DB as well. (Currently empty film roles are displayed crossed out in the folders view and it's even impossible to remove them manually by clicking the "remove" option of the context menu of a folder in the folders view)

#2 Updated by Dmitry Pashkevich almost 4 years ago

I agree, this is an essential feature. Just ran into a need for it.

#3 Updated by Tobias Ellinghaus almost 4 years ago

No need to remove a filmroll, just import it again to have it being updated. And empty filmrolls should be removed, IIRC there was a bug a (long) while ago that didn't do that in some cases, but that should be fixed.

#4 Updated by Joel T over 3 years ago

Could the behavior of be incorporated into re-importing a folder (but only for that folder)?

I use darktable on two machines, both of which access the same images from a common nfs share. In order to refresh changes from the other machine, I have to:
1. Purge missing images
a. Quite darktable
b. Run (open terminal, et)
c. Re-open darktable
2. Refresh changes, add new images
a. Re-import folder

Instead, the desired behavior should be:
1. Refresh changes, add new images, purge missing images
a. Re-import folder

#5 Updated by Tobias Ellinghaus over 3 years ago

  • System set to all
  • bitness set to 64-bit
  • Affected Version set to git development version
  • Category set to Lighttable

I guess that could be added to the crawler we have in master. It already looks for updated XMP files, checking the raw files should be possible, too. That way it would give you a list with all images that got removed (*) on startup, no need to reimport anything.

Would that help?

(*) It will however not look for newly added images.

#6 Updated by Joel T over 3 years ago

Yes, that would be perfect!

Actually, one thought: would that delay program startup? Hopefully the master crawler runs in parallel and therefore would not increase the start time.

I have a relatively small collection, but already the purge script takes ~10 seconds...

[joel@manjaro ~]$ time ./

real 0m9.943s
user 0m0.530s
sys 0m0.850s

#7 Updated by Tobias Ellinghaus over 3 years ago

  • Target version set to Future
  • % Done changed from 0 to 20
  • Status changed from New to Triaged
  • Assignee set to Tobias Ellinghaus

No, it doesn't run in parallel, since subsequent parts of initializing darktable have to run after the crawler is done. If you are on git master you can just enable it in preferences and see for yourself how long it takes.

#8 Updated by Joel T over 3 years ago

Sorry, I haven't had a chance to test this out since I am not currently on git master.

I appreciate your efforts on this, and I think the best place for it would be on Import -> Folder instead of on startup.

What if a user's drive is temporarily disconnected (network, USB unplugged, etc)? In that case, simply opening Darktable could purge quite a lot unexpectedly.
However, if a user tries to (re-)import a folder, then it would be clear if the folder was not available, and it would also be expected that the folder contents should be refreshed.

Thanks again.

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