Welcome Dialog

Welcome to the Community!

We have a brand new look! Take a tour with us and explore the latest updates on Adobe Support Community.


Re-using an external HD with originals on a new Mac

Explorer ,
Jul 17, 2021 Jul 17, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I have Lightroom store originals on an external drive. I'm migrating to a new Mac. It's easy enough to sign in on the new Mac nad have Lightroom download everything it needs to. But can I connect that external HD to the Mac, change Lightroom's preferences to use that drive for originals, and have Lightroom use it without downloading all the originals again? Or do I have to wipe it and start again?

 

Thanks for any tips.

TOPICS
How to

Views

128

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 17, 2021 Jul 17, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

You can try to connect Lightroom on the new Mac to the originals downloaded on the old Mac. Provided you ensure that, when you change the location for the originals on the new Mac from the default location to the external drive, you specify the location exactly as you had it set on the old Mac....and of course you'd need to be usiung the same Adobe ID. Also, obviously set the new location for the originals in the Lightroom preferences before you enable the option to "Store a copy of all originals at the specified location". Then keep you fingers crossed that Lightroom will detect all the originals are already there, and therefore doesn't start downloading them all again.

 

I have tested this a few years ago and it worked OK then, but I haven't tested recently.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

OK, thanks for that insight. That's the way I'd hope it would work, but would obviously require some special logic on Lightroom's part. Do Adobe staff ever reply here?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Sometimes Adobe staff will answer in this forum, but they tend to be more visible at the official Adobe feedback site: https://feedback.photoshop.com/topics/lightroom-desktop-cloudbased/5f5f2093785c1f1e6cc40874

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

EDIT: I answered this but maybe incorrectly. In my response below, I was referring to the option in Preferences>Local Storage tab to "Store a copy of all originals at the specified location". This is different from the "Store Locally" option for an album, or the "Get This Original" option in a single image. 

 

It's important to understand the the locally stored originals are nothing more than a repository for storing copies of the original files you've imported (without any edits or modification). In Lightroom (cloud), the real working copies of originals are stored in the cloud, and any edits are associated with the cloud originals.

 

If you were to inspect the locally stored originals, you'll find that they are just as they came out of the camera. So, I don't see any risks in mixing the backups from a different machine. Lightroom won't get confused, because it's only dumping copies into the folder you specify, during the import process. It never touches those files again after creating the copy.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

quote

Lightroom won't get confused, because it's only dumping copies into the folder you specify, during the import process. It never touches those files again after creating the copy.

 

Actually the primary purpose of the "Store a copy of all originals....." is not for backup, but is in fact for quicker (or offline) access when editing or 1:1 zooming any of your images. If the image you are working on is not currently stored locally, Lightroom has to download it from the cloud and it's then stored and accessed locally from the specified location. If the option remains unchecked, those locally stored originals will become eligible for deletion at some subsequent point (which depends on some complex rules). Thus the option is primarily provided to allow the user to have all images always available when working offline, or as a performance aid if using a very slow internet connection. 

Lightroom will also monitor the contents of that local folder so that it knows when an original is held locally as well as in the cloud. You can check the Info status of individual images and it will report what type of file (Smart Preview or Original) is currently held locally.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Yes, this is how I understood it worked. If you have a new machine, and set up LR for the first time on that machine, with the "store a copy" option set, LR will download all the originals from the cloud to that location right?

 

Given that's the case, do you have a view on what happens when that location already contains all the originals?

 

I do view this as a sort of last-resort backup. What happens if Adobe has some sort of catastrophic failure of their cloud system, or a bug that wipes some photos? Not exactly unheard of - there's already been a bug in the iOS app that irretrievable lost photos. Ok, I wouldn't have my edits, but at least I'd have my originals. I guess this does lead on to a broader topic of how to have a complete backup of everything if the cloud storage fails.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

No, the "Store a Copy" only stores originals during the import process... it doesn't pull anything down from the cloud at all, and will not retroactively retrieve anything. It is only your originals copied from the camera or card as you import them.

 

If you want to download a real backup of the photos in the Adobe cloud, you can use the Adobe downloader app - which will pull down all your originals AND the edits (edits are stored as sidecar XMP files). The downloaded files are stored in a date-based hierarchy. This would make a good snapshot of your entire Lightroom catalog:

Adobe Lightroom Downloader App

 

The downside is, it pulls down everything, and there's no way to tell it "just give me the changes since last time." You get everything, every time.

 

I'm not aware of any solution that will give you a way of progressively saving or backing up the data from your Adobe Lightroom cloud. If you want to be more safe than that, you have to go back to Lightroom Classic, and take responsibility for your own backups.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

With the greatest of rrespect, that's not what I'm seeing. My external drive has the same space taken up as my cloud photos, and certainly not all photos were imported using this machine. I just uploded a photo via the web interface. When the desktop app synced it, the Info display said it was synced and stored locally, the local copy being the original. And it's sitting there on my external drive.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

My apologies, but the post above from jennied was actually me! I was mistakenly signed into my wife's account at the time I posted.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

quote

No, the "Store a Copy" only stores originals during the import process... it doesn't pull anything down from the cloud at all, and will not retroactively retrieve anything. It is only your originals copied from the camera or card as you import them.

 

 

Actually it does both. When first enabled all the originals that are already in the cloud are downloaded to the specified location. Ongoing imports will also be copied to that location, which includes imports into ANY of the cloud clients...so if importing into Lightroom Desktop the images are copied to that location and then uploaded from there to the cloud. If importing into LrWeb or LrMobile, the images are uploaded from that specific app to the cloud, and then downloaded from the cloud to that specified location when Lightroom Desktop is next launched.

 

quote

If you want to download a real backup of the photos in the Adobe cloud, you can use the Adobe downloader app - which will pull down all your originals AND the edits (edits are stored as sidecar XMP files). The downloaded files are stored in a date-based hierarchy. This would make a good snapshot of your entire Lightroom catalog:

Adobe Lightroom Downloader App

 

The downside is, it pulls down everything, and there's no way to tell it "just give me the changes since last time." You get everything, every time.

 

I'm not recommending use of the Downloader app, as I don't think it's as effective as it could be and might give users the mistaken impression that it's a complete solution. There are too many things that it doesn't appear to download, e.g. in my (extensive) testing ANY metadata added in any of the cloud apps (such as keywords, titles, captions, location data), is NOT included in any downloaded file. That in itself would be a complete showstopper for some people. There are a few other oddities as well.

 

Ironically, in my testing it did appear that subsequent runs would only download new assets added since the last run, though it was a little inconsistent.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

quote

Yes, this is how I understood it worked. If you have a new machine, and set up LR for the first time on that machine, with the "store a copy" option set, LR will download all the originals from the cloud to that location right?

 

 

Yes.

 

quote

Given that's the case, do you have a view on what happens when that location already contains all the originals?

 

 

Assuming you have first copied the complete folder hierarchy from your other system, so that it matches what Lightroom on the new system would expect, when you first install Lightroom you of course need to set the two preference options (changing the location from the default first, and then enabling the "Store a copy of all originals" second). Done in that order, when you enable the "Store a copy..." option I would expect Lightroom to first check the new location, where it should find that it already exists. In that event, I believe it will do a verification analysis of the folder to see which files, if any, are still needed to be downloaded. If it's a complete copy, no images should be downloaded.

 

But as I said earlier, that was from a long-ago test, so I can't guarantee it will work exactly that way. All you can do it try it.

 

quote

I do view this as a sort of last-resort backup. What happens if Adobe has some sort of catastrophic failure of their cloud system, or a bug that wipes some photos? Not exactly unheard of - there's already been a bug in the iOS app that irretrievable lost photos. Ok, I wouldn't have my edits, but at least I'd have my originals. I guess this does lead on to a broader topic of how to have a complete backup of everything if the cloud storage fails.

 

I'm sure many users also use that option as a last-resort backup, and there's no harm in doing that if that's all you've got. Adobe's take is that they are responsible for ensuring that your cloud-based images are full backed up, but without specific details it's easy to understand in the modern world why some users need to be more in control on their backups. The example you quoted, ironically, is a vote FOR the cloud, not against it. The only users affected by that bug were those who had NOT used the cloud, thus there was no backup available to them.

 

But yes, it is a broader topic which is frequently discussed here in the forum. If I was in need of my own backups from the cloud, I would only consider using the Export with Original + Settings method, but doing that on a regular periodic frequency would be a difficult thing to manage. It's OK as an exit strategy, but difficult as a regular backup procedure.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 18, 2021 Jul 18, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thank you very much for your thoughtful and helpful response, Jim. I'm glad you could confirm the way originals are stored, which is contrary to what Michael thought, I think. Anyway, all's well. My apologies for asking again how you thought this would work - I missed that it was, in fact, you that had made the comment about testing this previously.

 

You are also right, of course, about the iOS bug. I'd forgotten exactly what the problem was. But as a general rule, I always like to have a backup of anything that's cloud based, because you never know what might happen to the service. But in the case of Lightroom, it would seem that the only practical thing to do for a large library is to store the originals, as we've discussed.

 

Thanks again.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Community Beginner ,
Jul 20, 2021 Jul 20, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Well I've just switched to my new M1 iMac. I signed out of Adobe on the old one, downloaded Lightroom on tthe new one, signed in, and waited while it downloaded and populated the library. The cloud icon shows all photos are synced and backed up. But LR continues to download at the full rate (100Mbps) of my Internet connection. My cloud library is 108GB, and LR has so far downloaded hundreds and hundreds of GB (lucky I have no download cap)! I haven't changed any settings - still on 25% of available disk space for caching, and haven't ticked the smart preview or keep originals boxes yet. What on earth is it doing? It's not filling up my hard drive or anything, just downloading. Quit LR, the downloading stops. Start LR and it starts again straight away. Worried!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2021 Jul 21, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I'm not sure what you are saying....if the Cloud icon shows "Synced and Backed up" (and there's no spinning blue wheel on the cloud icon itself), that should mean that Lightroom isn't doing any uploading or downloading, so what makes you think that Lightroom is downloading "hundreds and hundreds of GB"? How big is the Lightroom Library.lrlibrary package in your Pictures folder?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 21, 2021 Jul 21, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Exactly - LR shouldn't be uploading or downloading anything. But I have a traffic monitor on my Mac. With LR running it shows a constant download of around 100Mbps, attributed to the "Adobe Lightroom Helper" process. I've attached a screenshot of Activity Monitor, taken only a minute or two after starting LR. You can sit and watch the received bytes figure tick up pretty fast! It never stops, even after leaving it overnight. Downloaded around 500GB, confirmed by traffic statistics in my router. The LR library is only 15.5GB, which seems about right. Something seriously wrong here...

 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2021 Jul 21, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I agree something's not right, but I have no explanation for that. You'll need an engineer to look at it, so I suggest you post at the official Adobe feedback site: https://feedback.photoshop.com/topics/lightroom-desktop-cloudbased/5f5f2093785c1f1e6cc40874

 

It might be worth uninstalling and re-installing first, just to see if that helps.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 21, 2021 Jul 21, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Thanks for your thoughts. I contacted support and they remote controlled my machine. They saw the behaviour first hand. They deleted some catalog files within the LR library bundle, and this caused LR to start downloading the library again. I noticed that files in the Proxies folder (smart previews) were being doubled up, so I quit LR, deleted the library entirely and started again. I've also changed the amount of cache LR can use to 10% instead of 25%. I'm not entirely sure how smart previews are handled on an initial download. I don't have the option for storing smart previews locally set, but it still seems to populate the Proxies folder - to what degree I'm not sure yet. From my last attempt, the library only got to 15GB, so it certainly doesn't populate up to the 25% I had set at the time.

 

I'll report back whether this reload fixies the constant downloading problem, then I'll get back to the original question of how the external drive of originals is handled!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 22, 2021 Jul 22, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

LATEST

After a reload the problem continued. Went back to my old iMac and it was working fine. So I deleted the library on that one and let it rebuild, and the problem started there too! Constantly downloading. I had a couple of extremely frustrating chats with support and one phone call. Their main view was "it's a cloud based system that's always accessing the Internet". To which my response was "what, at 50GB an hour when I'm not even actively using the product?". Very hard to get through. Anyway, I started poking around and eventually found 3 videos in a strange state. They wouldn't play, and had a "Local" state of pending. I deleted all 3, including from the Deleted folder, and things seem to be good again on both machines! I'll try uploading them again one by one and see what happens.

 

I'm not sure I'll risk trying attaching my Originals external drive to the new machine, especially since I’ve been playing with the library a bit now. So that will have to go untested. Thanks everyone for the input.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines
Explorer ,
Jul 20, 2021 Jul 20, 2021

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Damn - used the wrong username again in the last post!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
community guidelines