How to create independent backup of entire Lightroom CC library?

Community Beginner ,
Mar 14, 2019

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Dear community,

I am trying to figure out how to create a backup of my entire Lightroom CC library that is independent of Lightroom. That means that I don't want to use the "store originals locally" option as these will still be linked with the cloud. The backup should ideally have a YYYY-MM-DD folder structure. What is the best way to make Lightroom CC create such a backup?

Cheers,

Tristan

I would use the 'storing originals locally' option but there is a problem connected to it. I don't have enough space on my laptop to store all photos on it. That is one of the reasons why I went for the Lightroom CC cloud option: to free up space on the laptop. I would still like to have a local, non-cloud backup of my photos. So I tried storing my originals on an external drive using the tick box in Lightroom CC. Then, however, when the drive is not connected to my laptop and I want to edit photos on it, Lightroom CC does not load the 'on the fly' originals from the cloud, which is unfortunate. So that option does not work for me.

But I might have found a solution for my problem: I guess I could simply use the Adobe Downloader app. I will try this at some point in the next week and then update this thread. It might help others.

Here is the link to the downloader app: Download synced Lightroom photos and videos from the cloud to a computer

Cheers!

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 14, 2019

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Hi Tristan,

As you're looking to back up the Lightroom CC library, could you please check this thread and us know if it helps?

How can I backup my Lightroom CC library | Photoshop Family Customer Community

Regards,
Sahil

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 14, 2019

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Hi Sahil,

Thank you for your reply! The thread unfortunately didn't help me.The only thing I could find in it is some kind of workaround/hack with a wi-fi capable external drive. Also, the mentioned workaround only works for backing up as you import new pictures to Lightroom CC. I am looking for a function that allows me to back up my already existing Lightroom CC library.

Is there such a function? It would be great if it would be possible to download the entire content of the cloud to a local drive in a YYYY-MM-DD folder structure. I would do that maybe four times a year just to have an additional backup unrelated to the cloud.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 14, 2019

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If you don't store the originals locally using that option, I don't believe there is a way for you to backup your entire online "catalog". It is on the Adobe servers.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 14, 2019

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I would use the 'storing originals locally' option but there is a problem connected to it. I don't have enough space on my laptop to store all photos on it. That is one of the reasons why I went for the Lightroom CC cloud option: to free up space on the laptop. I would still like to have a local, non-cloud backup of my photos. So I tried storing my originals on an external drive using the tick box in Lightroom CC. Then, however, when the drive is not connected to my laptop and I want to edit photos on it, Lightroom CC does not load the 'on the fly' originals from the cloud, which is unfortunate. So that option does not work for me.

But I might have found a solution for my problem: I guess I could simply use the Adobe Downloader app. I will try this at some point in the next week and then update this thread. It might help others.

Here is the link to the downloader app: Download synced Lightroom photos and videos from the cloud to a computer

Cheers!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 14, 2019

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Have you considered attaching an external hard drive and redirecting Lightroom CC to save images to the EHD rather than to your internal hard drive?

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 15, 2019

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You mean the 'store a copy of all originals in the specified location' tickbox? I tried that, yes, but as mentioned above there is a problem connected to it. When I use that function and I don't have the external drive connected, Lightroom does not load originals from the cloud 'on the fly' when I want to edit my photos.

99jon explained why that is the case in this thread: https://forums.adobe.com/message/10976529#10976529

That means that by using the 'store a copy of all originals in the specified location' option you loose one of the core function of the cloud-based editing software: to load originals from the cloud whenever you need them.

Or did I get you wrong, Jim, and there is another way to tell Lightroom to save images to an external drive?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 15, 2019

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Tristan+Hess  wrote

You mean the 'store a copy of all originals in the specified location' tickbox? I tried that, yes, but as mentioned above there is a problem connected to it. When I use that function and I don't have the external drive connected, Lightroom does not load originals from the cloud 'on the fly' when I want to edit my photos.

It should do, but of course the computer needs to be online in order to access the cloud. When you start LRCC with the designated external drive disconnected you should receive a warning message (unless you've previously chosen not to show it again), like this:

Screenshot_2019-03-15_12_10_41_png.png

Provided the computer is online, you should still have edit and 1:1 viewing capabilities for your cloud-based files.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 15, 2019

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I did get that warning message but my computer (being online) did not load the originals from the cloud when I started editing them or zoomed in to 1:1. The only way I could make Lightroom download the original is by saving the photo to my desktop or by opening it in Photoshop.

99jon explained that by choosing to store originals locally, one replaces the dynamic Lightroom cache with that local storage option and that is why it doesn't load images 'on the fly' anymore. But maybe that is not the case and it is because of a bug that the 'on the fly' loading doesn't work for me when I have the external drive disconnected? This might be interesting for the Lightroom staff to look into.

As mentioned above, I think I found a way to create a backup that is independent of the cloud by using the Adobe Lightroom Downloader, so I want to thank you for your help and ideas and I think we can close this thread.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 15, 2019

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Be careful with the Downloader. It is designed as a single use lifeboat for escaping from Lightroom CC, not as a routine backup tool. Each time you run it, it is not clear what it is downloading.

And there's not really a way "to make Lightroom CC create such a backup" - other than syncing a Lightroom Classic catalogue and backing up the files it downloads.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 15, 2019

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Thanks for your replies!

It is a shame that there is no option to create a non-cloud backup of my entire library. I do trust Adobe that they are able to manage their storage well but it is always good to have a redundancy. If for some reason the adobe cloud should fail I would be happy to still have my images stored elsewhere. Also, imagine you get hacked and someone messes with your images in the cloud.

Be careful with the Downloader. It is designed as a single use lifeboat for escaping from Lightroom CC, not as a routine backup tool. Each time you run it, it is not clear what it is downloading.

John, you said I should be careful with the downloader. What do you mean by that? Could it cause harm?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 15, 2019

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Yes hacking will always be a risk but that tends to be more of a consideration for business users. Most will not use cloud solutions if their data consists of confidential client information. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 15, 2019

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No, I don't think it will cause harm, Tristan, but it might give you a misleading sense of security - which is harmful, I guess. It's not very well documented and is a bit of a black box - you set it running, with no options, and it does something. While it's designed as a lifeboat at the end of the subscription, my testing makes me think that it works incrementally - but I may be wrong. It seems to download originals and xmp sidecar files which contain titles, captions, keywords and adjustments, but I am not sure what it does with other originals which don't ever have sidecar files. So no harm, but you have to verify that it has downloaded all your stuff.

My view would be that one would be best off looking at backing up pre-LRCC. So anything that is uploaded to LRCC will have already been backed up by you. This would safeguard you against LRCC's continued lack of any trash feature - using the downloader or LrClassic would not download anything accidentally deleted in LRCC.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 15, 2019

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Good points, John. Thank you!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 15, 2019

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I think this comes back to why we make backups when choosing a cloud solution.

In most cases cloud storage is safer than local storage. Redundancy in cloud architecture ensures that any individual failure has a fall-back path. At least for the most reputable providers.

So if I get a computer crash or total disk failure I can simply get it repaired, or buy a new computer and install LRCC again. None of my data is lost.

A backup would provide some comfort for accidental deletion from the cloud which is why there have been so many requests for a re-cycle bin in LRCC.

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New Here ,
Jun 23, 2020

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I think I worked out a solution: to have a local backup and cloud backup of all my photos.  I have an IMAC and Time Machine.  The Time Machine gives me an external backup and the Apple Cloud a cloud based one.  Apple cloud only backs up the Documents and Desktop folders, so I had to move my Pictures folder (where I keep my photos for LR) to the desktop, then point LR to it.  It took 2 days to upload to the Apple cloud (I pay for 2TB storage), and it seems to be working with the added bonus that all my photos are now available to all my Apple devices.  The downside is the uploading of changes to anything on my desktop, especially pictures, slows down my computer (I think).  Wouldn't it be nice if Adobe could figure out how to allow cloud storage of LR files, while still using the LR Classic interface?

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