I did the "Set the option Catalog Settings > Metadata > Automatically Write Changes Into XMP." Fix for the cropping bug and it worked...but only on original RAW files. It didn't work on any virtual copies. The workaround that @johnrellis gave me made things work but NOW I am stuck with a ton of XMP sidecar files that I want to get rid of. Is there a way to do it batch wise or do I have to delete one by one?
Also, can I undo the automatically write changes into xmp to stop LR from making these files going forward? Would it harm anything?
It won't do any harm to delete them, and unchecking the option in the preferences stops Lightroom writing to XMP, also for existing files. You can simply delete them in Windows Explorer. Sort on file type, select all XMP files and delete them.
I don't want to tell you what to do, but my suggestions are twofold - one, to just relax about the presence of these XMPs, they can do you no harm and may even do some good. For example, say you made a Catalog backup yesterday, then today you get a problem that requires reverting to that. Your latest work for each image will have been written to external XMP (aside from virtual copies, Collection membership, a few other matters). So for those images worked on subsequent to this last Catalog backup, latest edits can be read back in from external XMP, fully up to date - you will not have lost all work done after that backup happened.
Second piece of unsolicited advice: what works for me, is to treat the set of folders where my imported images' source files live, as well as PS edited versions etc, as a "black box". I have put LrC in full and sole charge of managing all that. I've told it (in import preset) what the folders and files are to be called and how arranged, strictly date based filing - handle once - that is what I am "paying it to do". There's a saying: don't buy a guard-dog and then bark yourself. LrC is my "front end" for finding anything I want to access, also for anything I might then do with that, including sending out to PS. Exports are made somewhere entirely separate, So I don't have any cause to even peek, let alone meddle, inside those "LrC Library" folders otherwise. Makes for a much easier life! I only have to keep an eye on the available storage space.
I upload all files into folders onto my external HD and from there into LRC (I have thousands of images, only way I can keep my computer HD from blowing up and to keep my files fairly safe as the exteral HD's back themselves up) I don't see the XMP in LR but when I look on my HD they feel like they are just taking up space. I never had LR write the metadata that way ever before, only when that bug with cropping appeared and it didn't help so that's why I'm wondering if I can have LRC handle my files on import as they did before I changed the settings.
If you have space issues on the internal HD, don't put the photos on the internal HD in the first place. Leave them on the external HD (which also results in the .xmp files on the external disk).
And photos that are now on the internal HD should be moved to the external HD. (Instructions)
The total amount of space saved by deleting all .xmp files is trivial compared to the space taken up by the photos anyway.
Great example, by the way, of why you should discuss the real problem (which is running out of space) instead of some secondary problem (you don't like .xmp files). These two lead to very different solutions, and fixing the secondary problem help only trivially with the primary problem.
I stopped putting photos on the internal HD years ago after a HD died on me. Strictly external HD then into LR. If the space the xmp's take up is truly that small I may elect to ignore them.
But earlier you said: "I upload all files into folders onto my external HD and from there into LRC (I have thousands of images, only way I can keep my computer HD from blowing up..."
This is not the same as the HD died, and anyway putting photos on an HD won't cause the HD to die.
So what IS the real problem here? Space on the internal HD? Space on the external HD? HD died at some pont? You don't like .xmp files?
XMP files are fairly small.
I second both suggestions from @richardplondon . In particular, I let Lightroom Classic do all of my file handling (with regards to photos). I view them in Lightroom Classic; I never view them in Windows Explorer. Thus, the .xmp files are invisible to me, and their presence is not a problem.
A different point of view. I don't write changes to XMP in Lightroom. I don't have any XMP files on my hard drive. I only use LrC to look at the changes in my raw files. If I view my raw files in File Explorer they appear unedited, but I expect that. If I want to see an edited copy of that file I export from LrC. I have been working this way for years and haven't regretted it. Everyone has their preferred way of working. That's my way, it might not work for others.
"I did the "Set the option Catalog Settings > Metadata > Automatically Write Changes Into XMP." Fix for the cropping bug and it worked...but only on original RAW files. It didn't work on any virtual copies."
An alternate workaround to the bug is rolling back to version 11.2. LR generally releases every 8 weeks, so we might expect to see 11.4 this week or next, and hopefully it fixes this bug.
Hey John! Your suggestion about develop loupe view to see what my cropped image dimensions are worked like a charm. I'm just asking if I can just get rid of all of the XMP files now (since that metadata setting did nothing for the issue) how to get rid of them, can I uncheck that option or just leave them be. The files just seem to be a waste of space to me no matter how small they may be. Just my opinion.
Do hope they get that bug fixed once and for all.
Yup, as others have pointed out, you can safely go back to the way things were for you before you tripped over the bug: Unset Automatically Write Changes Into XMP and delete the .xmp files. (I have that option set for some of the reasons enumerated above, but most people don't.)