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Catalogs Can I safely delete older versions of LRcat ?

chrisbreen

New Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
19
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version Number
13.3.1
Operating System
  1. macOS 14 Sonoma
I am struggling for space on my laptop - which is the computer that I use to do most of my LR work. The latest LRcat file was accessed yesterday (8 July 2024) and is 4.3gb, however there are older versions that are 4gb, 3.7gb and various that are 1.3gb zip files. Can I safely delete the older files in the knowledge that the data on those older files is now also on the newer ones - so that they are therefore redundant (and just taking up space on my laptop)?

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks in anticipation.
 
I've inserted a screenshot to show the various LRcat files that are on my laptop...
 

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All files and folders in this folder with a name beginning with "Lightroom Catalog -2-2-v13-3..." belong with your current master catalog. All of the others refer to older version and can be deleted provided you have a good backup catalog file. If you exit Lightroom before doing the clean up some of the files named ""Lightroom Catalog -2-2-v13-3..." will be removed automatically as LrC tides up after itself.

You can (with lightroom not running) rename all of the "Lightroom Catalog -2-2-v13-3..." files and folder to something like "Lightroom Catalog -v13-3..." to simplify the future naming. My catalog file is named "Master-v13-3.lrcat" for simplicity and clarity since Lightroom automatically creates every new catalog with the "Lightroom Catalog..." name.
 
All files and folders in this folder with a name beginning with "Lightroom Catalog -2-2-v13-3..." belong with your current master catalog. All of the others refer to older version and can be deleted provided you have a good backup catalog file. If you exit Lightroom before doing the clean up some of the files named ""Lightroom Catalog -2-2-v13-3..." will be removed automatically as LrC tides up after itself.

You can (with lightroom not running) rename all of the "Lightroom Catalog -2-2-v13-3..." files and folder to something like "Lightroom Catalog -v13-3..." to simplify the future naming. My catalog file is named "Master-v13-3.lrcat" for simplicity and clarity since Lightroom automatically creates every new catalog with the "Lightroom Catalog..." name.
Many thanks for this.
So, I have also discovered that the preview.lrdata file is huge [a massive 1.3tb]. I think this may be because I am using 1:1 previews when I am importing images. Do you know if it is possible to retrospectively change the image preview size? (I assume the 1:1s are why the preview.lrdata file is so big).
 
Many thanks for this.
So, I have also discovered that the preview.lrdata file is huge [a massive 1.3tb]. I think this may be because I am using 1:1 previews when I am importing images. Do you know if it is possible to retrospectively change the image preview size? (I assume the 1:1s are why the preview.lrdata file is so big).
Previews.lrdata is a folder not a file. Apple Calls these "packages". You can right click on the package to open and see the indvidual files. You can also (wih LrC closed) delete the Previews folder and LrC will create a new empty file when it restarts. Since this file is empty, Lightroom rebuilds only those image previews that it needs and this will take a little extra time for every file that you open that does not have a preview. You can Select a group of images and rebuild selectively standard or 1:1 previews.

On import, I build minimal previews and let LrC manage the preview sizes it needs when it needs them.

So if you are worried about the size of the previews folder, you can delete it. Also unless you are on a laptop and leave the original images behind when mobile, you do not need the Smart Previews folder at all. I do not have a Smart Previews folder at all.
 
If the backups LrC generates when you exit are also on your internal drive (they should be on an External drive if you have one), then you can thin out the old ones. Here's one reccomentation

Backups taken by LrC when you exit the program are not required – until they are. The question of how long to keep them keeps coming up. The answer depends on several things such as how much disk space you have for such things.

A BACKUP RETENTION PLAN

a) Have LrC do a backup the last time you exit LrC each day in which you made any changes in LrC. (set the preference to ask every time you exit LrC)

b) If you’ve done any folder changes or file renames other than during imports in that session make some sort of note on the backup Zip file name or keep a log

c) Keep all of these backups for 90 days

d) For backup ups taken in the 2 years prior to that keep the first one from each month

e) For backups older than that keep 1 to 4 per year (say first one of each quarter)

Adjust retention periods according to space available and preference
 
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