Migrating Lightroom CC Library to External Hard Drive

New Here ,
Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018

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I recently bought a WD Elements portable external hard drive to store all of my Lightroom photos in because I am running out of space on my laptop. I can't seem to figure out how to move all of my photos off of my laptop and put them on my hard drive though. I have found plenty of tutorial videos describing how this is done on Lightroom Classic, but can't find any explanation for how this is done on the new Lightroom CC. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018

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Lightroom CC stores the images in the cloud, not a local hard drive. That’s why you can’t find any information about moving the photos.

Do you possibly also have a Lightroom Classic catalog on the same computer, synced to Lightroom CC? If so, the Classic catalog is pulling the images down from the cloud to your computer, filling up space. If not, something else is filling up your computer.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 25, 2019 Jul 25, 2019

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But LR CC stores smart previews on the computer. If your catalog is large, that adds up to a lot of space. How do you get LR CC to store the smart previews on the external hard drive?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018

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If you turned on the preference to store a copy of images locally, that would fill up your computer too. You can change the location of the copied originals in the Lr CC preferences. Lightroom CC preferences

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New Here ,
Aug 04, 2020 Aug 04, 2020

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I have the same issue, how do I tell lightroom to build the lightroom librayr.lrlibrary file on my external hard drive instead of on my mac? The catalog is filling up my computer even with the previews and local stores turned off. 

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New Here ,
Feb 03, 2021 Feb 03, 2021

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I've answered this below if you still need help. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 25, 2019 Jul 25, 2019

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If you have a constant internet connection then unless speed of accessing the photos is crucial then you probably wouldn't need to store the Smart Previews. Obviously if you are travelling a lot whilst using Lightroom then it’s useful to have them locally.

I believe there is only an option to store a copy of originals externally, not the Smart Previews.

If you are struggling for space try not storing them locally and maybe reduce the cache size in preferences also?

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New Here ,
Feb 03, 2021 Feb 03, 2021

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This one isn't obvious but I noticed nobody has answered this yet. I didn't find anything online so I just fiddled my way through it while creating backups in case I made a mistake.

I wonder if anyone who has commented here has wondered why their "Lightroom Library.lrlibrary" file is so large. I have just started a new one so it's an easy example to use. My .lrlibrary file was 18GB. 

In my case I'm using a mac, and I want my originals to be on an external hard drive while keeping my previews local. 

So I...

Lightroom >> Preferences >> Local Storage >> Select "Store previews on [[Local Disk]]" >> Confirm "Store a copy of the original at the specified location" is NOT SELECTED >> Select new location for Library >> Save >> Lightroom should ask if you'd like restart the app. YES.

When the app restarts it should start to move your files out of that .lrlibrary file and into the External Drive. You'll notice it will now be in a folder called Lightroom CC and it will have a conventional file structure unlike the self contained .lrlibrary file. In my case this new folder was 16GB. Short 2GB from the original .lrlibrary file. Now go check the original location of the .lrlibrary file... it's still there.. but in my case it was 2GB instead of the original 18GB.

I just confirmed this all works properly by "permanently deleting" all the files that were in my "Recently Deleted" folder in LR CC. After running through the process, the files were deleted from the external SSD as they should be, and the .lrlibrary file that is storing all the smart previews is smaller by the appropriate amount. 

 

I sure hope this works for anyone wondering because I almost didn't attempt it based on the previous advice given here.

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