Have you ever edited photos in Photoshop, only to find the edited photo appears in a different folder in Lightroom’s Folders panel? Or perhaps you’ve ended up with two Pictures folders in Lightroom, but only one on your hard drive.
The cause is simple. Lightroom’s catalog is case-sensitive, but most hard drives are not. Windows or macOS can see Pictures and pictures as the same folder, but Lightroom sees them as different folders.
The fix is equally simple. We just have to “lose” the folders and then “find” them again, correcting the path in Lightroom’s catalog.
Confirm the Cause
Firstly, we should identify whether capitilization is the cause of your duplicate folders. There are two ways to do this:
- Right-click on the folders and choose Show in Explorer (Windows) / Show in Finder (Mac). If both folders take you to the same place, you’ve confirmed the cause.
- Float over the folder until a tooltip appears showing the full path. Write it down carefully, then repeat for the other folder. Look for a difference in capitalization somewhere in the path. It’s often the user account name that differs (e.g., Users/Paul vs. Users/paul) or a NAS mount point (e.g., 192.168.0.1 vs. D:\).
In our example, we have a folder called general 2019 and it’s duplicated as General 2019 below it.
1. Take a catalog backup, which acts as a restore point.
2. Create a temporary folder on another drive using Explorer / Finder, and call it CapsFix. We’re not transferring any files, so it can be an external drive, USB stick, memory card. The important thing is that it’s not the drive that has the duplicate folders.
3. In Lightroom, make a note of the name and path of the folder with the issue. Right-click on the first folder (e.g., General 2019), select Update Folder Location and navigate to the CapsFix folder that you created in step 2.
Repeat for the other folder (e.g., general 2019). If it asks permission to Merge, that’s fine.
4. Don’t worry if the photos seem to disappear. They’ll appear under the CapsFix folder, but will be temporarily listed as missing.
5. Now, right-click on the CapsFix folder in the Folders Panel, select Update Folder Location again, this time browse to and select the correct folder name (e.g., General 2019).
6. Your photos should now be back in the single copy of the folder, and next time you Edit in Photoshop, the photos will end up in the right place.
If you have more than one occurrence, just repeat! And if you get stuck or this sounds too complicated, don’t panic, just take screenshots and post them on the forum, and we can give you more specific instructions based on your own folder names.
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Kathy Robinson says
Oh thanks so much for this! I thought I was losing my mind! It worked perfectly. The difference was the letter of the drive (w: vs. W:). Who would have guessed?!
David Eichler says
I am experiencing duplicate drives, except that the content displayed for each drive is vastly different. Can’t see how the above fix would work for this. If that is the case, is there a different solution for my problem?
Victoria Bampton says
That would suggest that the duplicate drives have been around for ages without being fixed. The solution is the same, except it’ll almost certainly ask permission to merge, and if you’ve imported the same photos at both “locations”, it might say it can’t be done. Make sure you take a catalog backup before you start, as there’s higher potential for mess, and if you get stuck, drop us an email via the Contact Form if you’re a Premium Member, or via the forum if you’re a free member.