I want to clean up my cluttered Images folder. After embedding images in an Indesign file, can the previously linked image files be removed from the folder where they reside?
Embedded images no longer rely on links, and you can export, print, and redesign the Indesign document with no issue. However, if images are deleted, you will no longer be able to modify and edit [easily] within the native application they were created.
After embedding images in an Indesign file, can the previously linked image files be removed from the folder where they reside?
Yes, but keep in mind the file sizes of embedded image will be added to the InDesign file size—if you embed 10 100MB images the saved InDesign file size will expand to 1GB and you will likely see a performance hit.
Also, an embedded image can be unembedded and and returned to a linked asset via the Links panel’s flyout menu Unembed Link.
I will be very blunt here. Embedding those images is a horrible idea in 99% of cases. At some point the file size will blow up and could very well become corrupt. Then you won't have anything except a whole lot of tears.
Instead, use the "copy links to" command to move everything into a single folder or, package everything using the file > package command.