Using lightroom and external hard drives

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by paul_sharratt, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. I use lightroom on a laptop with an external hard drive. On import, a copy of an image is saved to the c: drive of the computer and the lightroom working copy is saved to the external drive. I maintain the Lightroom catalogue on the laptop's c: drive. FWIW, every month or so I also copy all images on the c: drive to another external drive that is stored off-site.
    My question: I have filled the external drive with images (2 TB). I'd like to replace the external drive with a new drive 3TB. Will Lightroom recognize that I have two separate drives or will I need to something so that it does. I notice if I plug two external drives in, sometimes the names change between g: and h: (sometimes drive one shows up as g: and sometimes as h: and vice versa for drive two). I'd like to keep the 2 TB drive as Drive 1 and have the 3 TB become Drive 2. Please advise. Thank you.
  2. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    LR can recognize multiple drives, no problem. All within one catalog. Or you could just copy/clone all the data from the 2 TB drive to the 3 TB drive, have one 1 TB extra for more images. The key here is the HD name (keep the same) or just go to the root folder on the older driver you see in Library, alt/option click on it, pick Update Folder Location and point to the NEW drive that has that copied root folder. LR should now update and recognize all the files there are on that different drive.
  3. You can use any drive you wish, but the Lightroom library itself should be located on an internal drive. The library maintains the thumbnails, so you can do a search even if the drive with the images is disconnected. You can copy and transport the library to another computer, but it's usually best to copy the images to a "permanent" drive in your work station and re-import them to that copy of Lightroom. This process will only save changes you export to a new file, not non-destructive changes made in Lightroom.
    Rather than copy images to the C: drive, which will fill up rapidly, I use a large external drive array, which is more or less permanently attached to my work station. I use a portable drive (2T WD Passport USB3) on the road, and backup the images using a portable Blu-Ray drive. BD discs (27GB) are handy for backing up 16GB CF cards.
    It's best to assign a drive letter. Otherwise you have to "locate" the missing files each time you mount the disk. You can do that while formatting, or change it in the Disk Management applet in the Control Panel (Windows). I have a lot of loose drives, so I number them and make that number the disk name (which can also be changed) for identification if the drive letter changes. With an assigned letter, the disk will always use that letter if it is available. If not, it will mount to a new letter assigned by Windows. I seldom mount more than two floating drives, so I try to keep letters G: and H: available.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The library maintains the thumbnails...​

    The "library" maintains nothing. The thumbnails are generated from previews in the Catalog.
    Otherwise you have to "locate" the missing files each time you mount the disk.​

    If the drive is properly organized, it only takes one click to find the "missing" files.
  5. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    I'm with Jeff, I see no reason why one has to locate the catalog on the internal drive (and I don't). In fact, having it travel with the external disk makes backing up that data, or taking to any number of other systems that have the LR app far easier and effective. I prefer to put all the eggs in one basket and back it up multiple places. As Jeff points out, the thumbnails are in a separate file (lrdata) that should (or is by default) in the folder with the catalog and other settings.
  6. Nomnclature. I should have said "catalog."
    It's easy enough to locate a changed drive, but you have to do it for each folder and each time the drive letter changes. You could store everything in one folder, but that's defeating the purpose of a relational data base. If you're not careful, that could lead to loss of data unless you rename each new file. Nikon, for one, starts repeating numbers at 10,000 images. (Leica starts over again at 10 million.)
    One drive for everything? Maybe one ring to rule them all, but I have my images spread over two 2TB drives, and will shortly add a third.
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    but you have to do it for each folder and each time the drive letter changes.​

    No you don't. If you organize it properly, for example with a top level folder called "Images," you only do it for one folder. If you have a couple folders, it's a couple clicks. This is bad information and should not be propagated.

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