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I have been using LR6 on an iMac (OS 10.12.6) for a few years and have just recently encountered a strange phenomenon. When I move photos from one folder to another, they appear to be copying rather than moving so that I end up with 2 versions of the same photo, one in the original folder and one in the destination it was moved to. To make matters more confusing, this is an intermittent problem - it only happens with some photos. I am reluctant to delete the problem photos from their original folders incase this results in the loss of both versions. Has anyone an explanation or suggestion?
My only suggestion is to copy the folder on disk from Finder. Then update Lightroom and delete the originals. I always use this method rather than “move” which seems to be the safest.
Go to part 2 – Updating Folder Location
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I may not have explained the problem
adequately. I am not talking about moving files into LR but moving them
within LR. For example: I import a batch of new photos as a folder into
LR6 and then move some of them to various existing subject folders. But the
photos can now be seen in both folders, the original imported folder and
the folder to which they were moved. Previously, when I moved a photo, it
disappeared from the folder from which it was moved and could be viewed
only in its new folder. Now (but only in some cases) the photo is viewable
in both folders. I have tried editing a photo in the original folder and
then checking to see if the edits occur in the folder to which it was moved
- but they don't, so it seems the photos are being copied rather than
Sorry I can’t reproduce this. For small batches using drag and drop the files get moved between Lightroom Library folders and on disk.
Have you considered using collections? You never have to move any files, they can remain in their original import folder.
You can't do a copy of photos from within LR, except at Import. Dragging photos into another folder, from entirely within Lightroom, causes the photo to be moved, not copied.
It is possible that the original folder is write protected (or read only permission) and the photos can't be moved from that folder, that is an operating system issue, and may result in the appearance of the photo being copied to the new folder.
Check the permissions on these folders that display this problem, make sure you have them set for write permission.
Thanks for your input on this, but the folders I am referring to are within LR, so issues like write protected folders don’t arise. I import photos to LR to folder A then drag and drop selected photos from folder A to folders B & C. Normally, the photos would no longer be available in folder A - they have been physically moved to folders B & C. My problem is that after moving photos from A to B & C, the photos are still visible in folder A. So the problem is one that exists entirely within Lightroom.
Folders don't exist within Lightroom. Lightroom refers to the operating system folders, that's where the problem is.
I take your point - the folders are on my external drive, but all the actions I am referring to occur within LR. I am performing a normal moving exercise between folders within LR. Normally the image disappears from its original folder and is visible only in the folder it has been moved to. Recently I find that after moving photos (but only some), they remain in their original folder as well as appearing in their new folder.
Lightroom uses operating system calls to interact with files.
yes, this has just started happening to me also (8/30/20). I had been happily dragging and dropping photos WITHIN lightroom cc from one folder to various other folders in my catalog. Then all of a sudden, the photos were not moving out of the original folder AND were showing up in both places...the original folder and the new folder where I had dragged and dropped them. Looks exactly like copying since the photos are now in 2 folders! (Not collections). I logged out, backed up and logged back in again. Worked the way it was supposed to for a while, and now it is back to this "copying" behavior. I also did the edit trick and found the same behavior as @mikecanonbury.
As dj_paige states LR Does NOT, never has and never will AFAIK, Copy images.
So what you describe can't happen using LR to move images from one folder to another.
Going to need to see screen shots of what you are seeing.
Yes, it has always been my understanding and experience that when a file is moved between folders in LR, it moves rather than gets copied. In other words it ceases to exist at its original location. But in the last couple of days I have found that some files (photos) that were moved from one folder to another are now at both locations. The file numbers are identical and if I try to move one of these files a second time I get the message that it already exists at the chosen destination. And if I edit the photo in the original folder, the edit is not applied to the 'moved' photo. All of this strongly suggests that these photos have been copied rather than moved. It is precisely because this is a unique experience that I have raised it here. I am totally flummoxed! Not at all sure what screenshots would help illustrate the problem.
Sent from my iPad
This happens to me often. I want to move files to a different "directory" in Lightroom & it copies rather than moves files. I end up rebooting a lot & restarting Lightroom. So far, after a few times it starts working correctly again. Don't ask me why.
"This happens to me often. I want to move files to a different "directory" in Lightroom & it copies rather than moves files. I end up rebooting a lot & restarting Lightroom. So far, after a few times it starts working correctly again. Don't ask me why."
I'd like to ask how you know it is doing a copy? As far as I know, Lightroom does not have a feature to copy photos from one folder to another, it only does moves.
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Is it possible that in some instances you have moved these images to subfolders of the original folder, and in the Library menu you have checked the option to show photos in subfolders?
Thats it - thanks!