Backing up dng files

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Aug 22, 2009
Loire Valley, France
So, I'm clear on backing up my raw files on import, I'm clear on backing up my catalogs, but I'm not clear about creating backups of my .dng files once they are in Lightroom. Do I need to manually do this? Just remember now and again to back up my actual files? Do I export them or do I copy from one hard drive to another? I suppose mirroring the hard drive might be the best way to do that? (I'm not sure how to do that!)

In a related question - I'm moving my files and catalogs to a new, faster hard drive and want to make the current hard drive the back up copies. I'm exporting as catalog per my understanding of Matt Kloskowski.

Once I have moved all my catalogs over to the new hard drive, should I just remove the catalogs (after backing them up) from the archives and leave the archives where they are as back-ups? Hope that is clear!
Okay, everyone, tread carefully... :)

You probably want at least one initial backup of your DNG files, so that if you have a disk failure you'll be able to recover.

Whether you need regular, ongoing backups of your DNG files is up to you. If you write XMP data into them or if you update their embedded thumbnails, then you might. If you do neither, then you don't need to keep backing them up.

If you do update them and don't back them up, then you'd still be able to recover from a disk failure -- the catalog has the XMP data, and can regenerate the embedded thumbnail. But if you want the simpler recovery process, you'd need to back them up regularly as part of your regular system backup, or using a dedicated backup process.

You don't want to export them -- they're just files; you just need to copy them. Use regular file copy or backup software, like Time Machine, ChronoSync, Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper, or something like that. Mirroring the drive does protect against drive failure, but not data corruption -- a corrupted file will just automatically be copied to the mirror, overwriting the good copy there.

As for moving files to a new drive, I don't understand why you're exporting a catalog. You can just copy the catalog file, previews database, and DNGs over. I'm curious what Matt K. wrote that suggests that exporting a catalog is the way to move from one drive to another...
So I can just copy over the entire archive - files and catalogs to the new hard drive? I did this once and I can't swear that there wasn't something else going on as it's been awhile, but my LR catalog freaked (I don't even remember how - just that I had to start over - it wasn't the typical question mark) out so now I'm nervous about copying files between hard drives.

Again, it was my understanding of a video Matt did on Kelby Training - but it was specifically related to syncing laptop and computer - but he did mention that it was also pertinent if you had a new hard drive, etc. It seems to have worked - I haven't launched the new catalog yet.

I do backup my RAW (CRT) files when I import to LR, but I do need to back-up my .dng's and photoshop edited files. I haven't been doing this! Yikes.
I think you need to look at Back-Up from an overall system wide approach. If you do this, then what happens to LR will not be a critical factor if a recovery becomes necessary.

A system wide backup scheme should include all those critical files necessary to bring a system back to a complete state as it existed when the back up was made. Backups should be regular, repeateable scheduled events that run without user intervention. Just as you want to preserve important documents, you also want to preserve your master image files. Your master image files are the ones that were used by LR when you made parameter adjustments ( Tone, Contrast, crop etc.) If these are the OUT of camera RAW files (CR2, NEF) then these RAW files are the one that need a backup. OTOH, if you create DNGs and LR uses these DNGs instead of the CR2s, then you need a back up of the DNG. The CR2s become a file needed only for an archive of what came out of the camera.

If you investigate backup possibilities for your Mac, you can find a good solution that will also at the same time take care of most of what you need for LR. The LR catalog is a 'peculiar animal'. When LR is in use, the file is open and can be in an unstable state. If another process decides it is time to back up this file, the file that is backed up is in that unstable state and the result is that the back-up copy could be corrupt. For this reason, I recommend regular back-ups of the catalog using the option included in LR.

Making a second copy of the files that come off the camera card is a good short tem solution that really only should be used until a regularly scheduled system-wide back up has made at least one redundant copy of your master image files. That second copy of the files from the camera card not only backs up the good images but also the culls and images that should have never been saved to begin with. If you are like me, my culls outnumber the really good 'keepers' 1' to 1.
So, as far as moving catalogs, here are two good videos - although I already knew these tricks.''9/'5/how-to-get-your-lightroom-catalog-onto-an-external-hard-drive/

Yes, I do understand the system - wide back up - I'm just not implementing it! LOL. I have Time Capsule and started using it, and want to start over. I have to figure out how to do that too! This week is my buckle down and get this whole thing figured out week!

I have read that Time Machine will do weird things if you back up while certain programs are open. I'm thinking I'll keep it turned off while I'm working at let it run at night after all programs have been quit. I wasn't sure if I wanted everything to go to this drive though. I have 3 computers and A LOT of photos and video.
The simplest way i find (although more time consuming - ill get to that) is to have 3 identical copies of my entire folder structure on 3 separate external drives.

I work in DNG, save to xmp and back up the catalog once a week unless i have a heavy shoot.

I am on PC, use beyond compare (BC) to sync from one drive to another. Now (here's the time factor), because i save to xmp and this info is embedded inside the DNG, when BC reads the file, it appears as though the whole file has changed and thus has to replace the old one with the new one. This is the only disadvantage with DNG (i haven't changed to version 2'1' on everything yet!!) But, i go to bed and wake up and it's done.

When finished, i have 3 mirrored copies of my entire catalog.
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