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Folders display issue in Lightroom when connected to a Time Machine backup

New Here ,
May 06, 2020

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Hello, I have an issue to see my folders when I am connected to my Time Machine backup (external hard drive). Time Machine creates so many steps before getting to the actual photos that the path is too long and the titles of the folders are no visible in LR library - which makes it very difficult to work with. Even when I extend the folders area in Lightroom there is not enough room. Any idea? Thank you!

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Correct answer by JohanElzenga | Adobe Community Professional

Lightroom should not use images in a Time Machine backup, period. What you need to do is restore the image folder(s) from that backup onto your hard disk. After that is done, start Lightroom, right-click on the name of the folder in the Folder panel and choose 'Update Folder Location'. You will get a standard 'Open' dialog. In that dialog select the folder you just restored onto the internal disk.

 

By the way, it will be difficult to see the exact folder that you need to right-click, because it is already almost invisible. It looks like you may have to do this for several folders, and possibly also with a at least one folder on the LaCie#1 disk, which is shown collapsed. Here is a trick that you can use to make the panel wider: drag on the divider between the panel and the grid while holding the OPTION key. That allows you to widen the panel to almost half the screen.

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Folders display issue in Lightroom when connected to a Time Machine backup

New Here ,
May 06, 2020

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Hello, I have an issue to see my folders when I am connected to my Time Machine backup (external hard drive). Time Machine creates so many steps before getting to the actual photos that the path is too long and the titles of the folders are no visible in LR library - which makes it very difficult to work with. Even when I extend the folders area in Lightroom there is not enough room. Any idea? Thank you!

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by JohanElzenga | Adobe Community Professional

Lightroom should not use images in a Time Machine backup, period. What you need to do is restore the image folder(s) from that backup onto your hard disk. After that is done, start Lightroom, right-click on the name of the folder in the Folder panel and choose 'Update Folder Location'. You will get a standard 'Open' dialog. In that dialog select the folder you just restored onto the internal disk.

 

By the way, it will be difficult to see the exact folder that you need to right-click, because it is already almost invisible. It looks like you may have to do this for several folders, and possibly also with a at least one folder on the LaCie#1 disk, which is shown collapsed. Here is a trick that you can use to make the panel wider: drag on the divider between the panel and the grid while holding the OPTION key. That allows you to widen the panel to almost half the screen.

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May 06, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
May 06, 2020

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Folders in Time Machine are backups. They should not be used for any purpose, except in the unfortunate situation where your originals are no longer available. Why don't you use the original photo files in Lightroom, not the Time Machine files?

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May 06, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 06, 2020

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Photos in a backup should not be imported again in Lightroom Classic! That is not how a backup system works. Lightroom Classic should only show you the images in the original location (which I assume is your internal hard disk). If Lightroom Classic shows both, then simply remove the entire Time Machine backup from the Lightroom folder panel. If Lightroom Classic only shows the Time Machine backup, then other steps need to be taken to rectify this, so let us know in that case.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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May 06, 2020 0
New Here ,
May 07, 2020

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This reply is for dj_paige as well. 

I just bought a new Mac. My old one from mid 2012 still worked perfectly but was way too slow. I have 8 years of photos on this old Mac and a Time Machine backup on a 2 To external HD. I cannot put these picts on the new Mac because it would be full too and I need the space for photos to come. So to acces my original old photos from my new Mac I have only my Time Machine backup, and it works fine with the Lightroom catalog I saved. Is it true that a Time Machine backup is not supposed to be used that way ? 

 

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May 07, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
May 07, 2020

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The whole point of having backups is to be safe and secure and unused and untouched, except in the unfortunate sitaution where your original is no longer available. So, yes, I would say clearly that Time Machine (and any other backups) are not to be used as the storage location that Lightroom Classic accesses.

 

Your originals that Lightroom Classic accesses must be on the internal disk of your new Mac, or on an external disk connected to your new Mac, or a network drive. If you don't have enough space to have your originals on some disk(s) and backups on different disk(s), then you need another disk(s).

 

If you read these forums, you see the horror stories told by people who didn't have proper backups. If you are using Time Machine files as your working copies, you don't have proper backups. Don't get caught in that situation.

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May 07, 2020 0
New Here ,
May 08, 2020

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Yes, Lightroom Classic shows only the Time Machine backup. The originals are on my old Mac, that I will format and resell. My LR catalog is able to find each photo at the exact place it has been saved by Time Machine, with all the settings on .xmp files. When I work on the photos inside Lightroom, the photos are not touched as you know. It's a non destructive process. All the adjustments I make are saved only inside the LR catalog in my computer, not on the backup hard disk. Conversely, Photoshop changes the actual photo but it's impossible to record the modifications inside the backup, since a Time Machine backup is self protected against any modification. So the only issue I see at that point, it's the display of the whole path to the photos inside Lightroom library, which is a lot too long to be shown, making the navigation very uncomfortable, as you can see on the screenshot attached to my first post. 

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May 08, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 08, 2020

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Lightroom should not use images in a Time Machine backup, period. What you need to do is restore the image folder(s) from that backup onto your hard disk. After that is done, start Lightroom, right-click on the name of the folder in the Folder panel and choose 'Update Folder Location'. You will get a standard 'Open' dialog. In that dialog select the folder you just restored onto the internal disk.

 

By the way, it will be difficult to see the exact folder that you need to right-click, because it is already almost invisible. It looks like you may have to do this for several folders, and possibly also with a at least one folder on the LaCie#1 disk, which is shown collapsed. Here is a trick that you can use to make the panel wider: drag on the divider between the panel and the grid while holding the OPTION key. That allows you to widen the panel to almost half the screen.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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May 08, 2020 0
New Here ,
May 08, 2020

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ok, so I will restore the main folder from the backup, on an external hard drive though, to avoid my computer being full. Then I will update the location in Lightroom. In order to do this, I have to buy an external hard drive to restore my backup. At this point the question is: if the files saved by Time Machine can be accessed later only thru the restore button, and must be copied on another disk, why did I used Time Machine instead of saving manually my new photos each week directly on this external disk? I would need 1 disk instead of 2. 

Of course, if I could keep my originals in my computer (internal disk), there would be no problem. I manage 50 000 RAW and Tiff images so it's not possible. 

Thank you very much for your tip about the option key. This is going to save me. 

 

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May 08, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
May 08, 2020

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"if the files saved by Time Machine can be accessed later only thru the restore button, and must be copied on another disk, why did I used Time Machine instead of saving manually my new photos each week directly on this external disk?"

 

Time Machine makes backups automatically. Manually copying photos to a "backup" is not a good strategy because people are not perfect.

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May 08, 2020 0
Conrad C LATEST
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 08, 2020

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Dana_Mill wrote: “So to acces my original old photos from my new Mac I have only my Time Machine backup, and it works fine with the Lightroom catalog I saved. Is it true that a Time Machine backup is not supposed to be used that way ?...the only issue I see at that point, it's the display of the whole path to the photos inside Lightroom library, which is a lot too long to be shown, making the navigation very uncomfortable…”

 

One reason the path is so long is because of the way Time Machine backups are maintained. There's only one copy of every file backed up, but to be able to present the unchanged files to you in hundreds of date-named folders without making actual copies, Time Machine builds an extremely complex structure of “hard links.” While it worked well enough when Time Machine was first created, this is generally considered to be a very fragile system for today’s much larger drives. It’s relatively easy for a Time Machine backup to become corrupted and display a message that “verification failed”; while most users will follow Apple’s advice (throw out the corrupted backup and start a new one), I’ve managed to rescue mine using complicated steps that many users will not even want to try. If these are the only copies of your images, you probably don’t want to expose them to this level of risk by using that backup as a working drive.

 

Also, if you’re still backing up to that Time Machine backup, when it runs out of room the oldest backups are deleted. That means Time Machine should never be used as a permanent archive (of, for example, irreplaceable images).

 

We understand your problem; eventually, many of us end up with more images than will fit in the Mac’s internal drive (in my case, it’s because my main Mac is a laptop). What I decided is to buy an external 4TB hard drive large enough to store all my photos and videos with room to grow; those have gotten very affordable. USB 3 external storage is more than fast enough for raw images, and Lightroom Classic has no problem including external drives in the catalog.

 

And because main photo storage (well, anything important) must always be backed up, you could simply have Time Machine back up your external photo drive too as long as you got a big enough backup drive for that plus your Mac system drive. Sure, this might mean you have to spend a little more money, but buying enough drives for both primary and backup storage should be a non-optional part of the budget for a computer.

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