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Migrating photo folders to new, larger external hard drives

Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2022 Oct 18, 2022

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Running out of space on my 3TB WD hard drives and need to purchase 2, 6TB units, one to work from and one for a backup.

Most all of the images I work with are on a folder named 'Categories' that only takes up 1TB. The rest are photos I almost never use.

I was wondering if I could just copy and paste or do a backup from the old external to the new ones with only the Categories folder.  That way the unused photos will still reside on the older, 3TB externals and the new drives will be more streamlined with only the active, Categories folder. My worry is that Lightroom might need the established folder hierarchy to 'find' all the images and that are in the LR directories now.

Am I making it more complicated? Should I just leave everything as is and move the entire 3TB contents to the new 6TB drives. Will LR find and open the images on the new drive or will I need to import all photos for each folder I work from?

Thanks,

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Community Expert ,
Oct 18, 2022 Oct 18, 2022

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You can do either option.

 

If you just want to move your "Categories" folder to a new drive, simply copy it (outside Lightroom) to one of the new externals. Don't change any names or reorganise anything during or after the copy. Then open LrC, and in the Folders Panel right-click on the "Categories" folder and select the "Update Folder Location" option, then in the resulting file browser navigate to, and select, the "Categories" folder on the new external drive. That's it, and once you are happy and you have started backing up the new drive, you can delete the "Categories" folder from the original location at your leisure.

 

If you want to move everything from the old drive to the new drive, it's a similar process. See here: https://www.lightroomqueen.com/move-photos-another-hard-drive-leaving-catalog/

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Community Expert ,
Oct 18, 2022 Oct 18, 2022

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If you move photos behind LrC's back, you'll get '?' on the folders and '!' on the photos.

Move folders and/or photos directly within LrC is the way to go.

If you'd like to move a larger structure and like to do it with Explorer, you can do so as well. However, in that case, make sure to absolutely do not alter the folder tree structure and the photos in its position within. You will then have to re-link the topmost folder only.

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Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2022 Oct 18, 2022

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Thanks for the input. Sometimes LR makes me very nervous when I need to muck around in it.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 18, 2022 Oct 18, 2022

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Will LR find and open the images on the new drive or will I need to import all photos for each folder I work from?

 

Neither. You need to point Lightroom Classic to the new location of the folders. LrC will not find these photos by itself, and importing is completely wrong and makes things worse. Once you point LrC to the new location, everything works as expected.

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Explorer ,
Oct 18, 2022 Oct 18, 2022

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Thanks. I think I get it now. You've all been helpful. Thanks again.

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