How do I move folders with a catalog, from my master drive to another drive for archiving, and keep the rest on my working drive.
Though Adobe religion says to move the folders via LR's Folders panel (drag and drop the folder from one drive to another), LR is very slow doing that, and it has a deserved reputation over the years for doing it unreliably.
Instead, move a folder using Windows File Explorer. In the Folders panel, that folder will now have a ? on it, indicating that LR thinks it is missing:
Right-click that folder and do Find Missing Folder to tell LR its new location.
Some people will copy rather than move a folder using File Explorer, and then if that completes successfully, delete the original folder. While File Explorer won't ever lose individual files when you do a move, if an error of some sort occurs during the move, you could be left with some of the files in the old location and some in the new, and you'll have to clean up the mess.
Start with a full up-to-date backup of your Catalog and also of all your image folders on the master drive - or wherever else they currently live.
To "package" a new Catalog containing a copy of some identified subset of your LrC image library, plus the set of source files which relate to that, highlight (select) all the photos that need to be involved in this, within your main Catalog. This can include photos and virtual copies across various folders, and also that appear in many Collections etc.
Then choose Export as Catalog, selecting a Catalog name and destination location on the archive drive, and checking the options "Export selected photos only", and "Include negative files" (this means, make copies of the relevant imported source files into the new destination). You can do what you choose about previews and Smart Previews, this only really affects the time it takes since those can be generated later as needed.
This process creates a new Catalog containing those images only, and the Collections and Smart Collections they belong to, and referring for source files to suitable subfolders inside that same location. So the archive drive needs that much space and spare. This new Catalog can be opened in LrC and everything will appear the same for those photos, but now fully independent of your master setup. And your main Catalog and source files, still remain just as they were for now.
If you want, you can now go back to the same images (that continue highlighted, by default) within your main Catalog. Decide if there are any you want to keep in the main Catalog - for Portfolio purposes or whatever: de-select any such. But the images which you do want to remove, because copies were made of the files and of their edits during the Catalog export, can now be deleted safely from your master Catalog including deleting the source files from your master drive.
To look at these photos hereafter, you would need to open up your selective archive Catalog instead, which has got its own separate set of source files for these photos (because of checking "Include negatives" - this is important).
Caution: if you had not checked "include negatives" the new Catalog would be referring to the original image files still on your master drive, and when those file were in due course deleted (working from your master Catalog), the images of the new archive Catalog would have been orphaned. This is why we make backups before any major operation like this!
Richard's method splits your catalog in two. Is that what you really want? That will make searching for photos and keeping metadata consistent significantly harder. In general, there is no performance advantage to splitting catalogs.
I believe so. I want to archive older photos with the catalog to a seperate drive which I will label, "like 2000-2019. If I need a photo I will still be able to locate it.
Still, I think splitting the catalog in two is unnecessary and usually a very poor practice. Why not have everything in one catalog?
As the years go by, and as the number of photos in your entire set of photos increases, it becomes more and more difficult to remember which photos were taken in 2019 or earlier, and which photos were taken after 2019. With one catalog, you don't have to remember this hard-to-remember piece of information. This is just one of a bazillion and 14 disadvantages to using multiple catalogs. There are some reasons where multiple catalogs makes sense and has advantages, but you haven't mentioned those reasons at all.
Perhaps you are assuming that photos on a different drive have to be in a different catalog. This is not correct, a catalog can have photos on many drives.
You are 100% correct. Thank you.
One valid purpose for doing this, is to divide and then run with separate Catalogs. For your images of ongoing usefulness, running a single Catalog is definitely my strong advice though - unless you have some very clear division (such as paid business work vs personal hobby work) which would be an overriding justification to split.
However just Exporting as Catalog has not in itself "split" your main Catalog - that still contains all these images and edits, unaffected.
Another perfectly valid purpose, is to archive out all the images for a particular job, or from a particular year of working, or whatever - in a way that maintains their full function and edits, but as a copy insulated and separate from the master setup.
So maybe in due course you decide that you don't need ALL the images from that year (or whatever defined set you'd archived) within the master Catalog as well as in the archive. Maybe, you only want to continue having the 3-stars rated and above, from that set, happening in both places.
Or maybe it's a completed job of work where usage restrictions would prevent you from doing any more with any of those images. In that case, the usual benefits of keeping them in your main Catalog longterm, may not apply at all.
So far as an approach, to have made a separate working Catalog per year or per job or whatever in the first place, is IMO needlessly finicky and restrictive. I view this as more of a later archiving technique, for images whose active career is largely over.
I'm with dj_paige! One catalog, always.
Also, I'm on a Mac but I've never had any issues using LR itself to move images from drive to drive or other locations. Ditto doing anything I'd do outside of LR (in the Mac Finder) like rename, move, delete, etc. When you do this work outside of LR, it doesn't know what you've done and it understandably gets confused and you end up having to locate all this inside of LR to clear up the mess. I'd just stick with one catalog, and within LR, simply move folders from drive to drive there even if it may be slower initially.