Deleting old lrcat and lrdata files

Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Hi,

I've been ploughing through old posts regarding deleting old lrcat and lrdata files and am now thoroughly confused.  My situation is that I have a load of old lrcat and apparantly associated lrdata files taking up too much space on my HDD (Mac).  Most of them have not been accessed for years.  Am I right in saying I can safely delete anything other than my current catalog and previews?  

Many thanks

Ian

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Am I right in saying I can safely delete anything other than my current catalog and previews?  

 

You can certainly delete old previews. As far as catalogs go: You might be right. You might not be right. This is something you have to figure out, as we don't have access to these files and we don't know what is in them and we can't give you a blanket statement that you should or should not delete them. You should determine whether or not any of these .LRCAT files are still needed by opening them and seeing what is in them and confirming that you have these photos in later catalogs.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Hi DJ,

Yes that makes sense, in any case it's the old previews that are taking up space, so I'll start with them and then check the old catalogs as you suggest.

Thanks again

Ian

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Opening old catalogs should be a last resort because they will need to be updated to LrC 11.x, which means that you will now have two copies of the catalog that will almost certainly have been superseded by the catalog you're currently using.  I suggest you do as Johan has already advised and also check the 'Modification' date in 'Finder'. Anything older than 10 months or not having an extension ending in v11.lrcat or v11.lrdata hasn't been opened in LrC 11.x 

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LEGEND ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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And what if it is an old catalog that has pictures that were never transferred to newer version of LrC? Not everyone uses only 1 catalog 100% of the time. You were using two catalogs for a while, forgot about one of them over the years, and it probably should not be deleted without looking at it.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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True, but then I did mention 10 months or older (roughly when LrC 11 first shipped). If the catalog is older and hasn't been opened since, and the user hasn't been in the habit of creating multiple catalogs, then odds are heavily stacked against them being much more than disk space wasters.

 

In the end, the OP can do as he thinks best. 

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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@dj_paige wrote:

And what if it is an old catalog that has pictures that were never transferred to newer version of LrC? Not everyone uses only 1 catalog 100% of the time. You were using two catalogs for a while, forgot about one of them over the years, and it probably should not be deleted without looking at it.



That is why I suggest to keep them as a backup. If and when you try to find an image and can't find it in your current catalog, then you can look in the old catalog(s) to see if the image is in there.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Most likely these are older versions of your catalog, as Lightroom Classic upgrades a copy of your catalog each time there is a new full version. The names of those catalog files often give you a good indication. If you have a 'lightroom catalog.lrcat' file and a 'lightroom catalog-2.lrcat' file and a 'lightroom catalog-2-v10.lrdata' file and a 'lightroom catalog-2-v10-v11.lrcat' file, then it's almost certain that the last one is your current catalog and the other ones are old catalogs you can trash. You could try to open these old catalogs to double check that, but that won't be possible without Lightroom Classic upgrading a copy again. That means it's up to you to decide whether you trash them without verification, or keep them as a kind of backup. Catalog files are not that big, and you could move them to an external drive to save space. Old lrdata files can be trashed safely because they can be rebuilt if and when needed.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022

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Hi Johan,

Many thanks for getting back to me, I'll be able to delete the data files and free up a load of space and then check the catalogs before binning them.

Many thanks

Ian

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