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How to create a new cattalog from scratch?

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Active Member
Feb 24, 2013
Cape Town, South Africa
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Operating System: mac 10.11.6
Exact Lightroom Version (Help menu > System Info):Lr 6

It most likely will be much easier than I think.
I have a folder with my LR catalog in it. Sadly over time this folder became very confusing
level 1= 2 folder ( settings date folder 4 items)
open date folder=
Level 2 ( backup,> latest preview,>latest LR cat .ircat,.settings) open backu
level 3 date folder 4 items
level 4 same than level 2. Open backup again
level 5 date folder 15 items. Open
level 6 LR cat preview irdata,> LR cat. ircat, > Lr car ircat zip + all backups
I would like to get one properly organized folder with one "level" where i have cat, ircat, settings and backup all in that one level1
Possible and how????
I'm aware that I have done mistakes in the past!!
thanks for all help
If you know which catalog Lightroom is using, then all you need to do is the following:
1. Create a new 'Lightroom Catalog' (or any other name you like) folder.
2. Move the latest Lightroom catalog .lrcat file and the Previews.lrdata file into that folder.
3. Move the Lightroom Settings folder into that folder.
Start Lightroom by double clicking on the catalog file. You only have to do this once. From now on Lightroom knows the new location.
When you quit Lightroom and it asks you if you want to make a backup, you can change the location in that dialog. It's better not to store backups on the same disk as the original, so choose a different disk if possible.

The next question is where your images are. If they are also scattered over the same folder, you may want to reorganise them too. Let us know and we'll tell you how.
Hi Johan
This will be lengthy, in the right hierarchy pls point out which files I should put into the new folder. My latest backup would be in image 7 "2017-11-14 9;00"
In the past I just pulled that one folder out and recreated a full new "catalog" I guess that's why i have that mess now


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Thanks, but that is called Column view. Could you please make a screenshot in List view? I want to be able to see the Date Modified as well (right-click on the listing to add this if it doesn't show), so I can be sure what is newer and what is older.

Yes, this is fine. So judging from this, the files you need to move to a new Lightroom Catalog folder are only the ones I marked in yellow. Anything else seems to be old stuff and backups.

It seems that you have started Lightroom a few times from a backup catalog rather than the original catalog, that is why you have such a deep hierarchy with folders called 'Backup' at each level. So after you have moved these files and started Lightroom by double clicking on the 'LR Cat .lrcat' file you moved to the new folder, go to the Lightroom Preferences - General and choose this catalog as the one Lightroom should use when it starts up.

Your images are not in this folder so they won't be affected by this move. I assume they are in the folder at the bottom of this list, the one called 'My pictures' and that is fine. Just leave them there.

Untitled list 2.jpg
BTW, judging from that last remark: Are you sure you know what a backup is for? Your screenshot shows that you have started to use a backup catalog as main catalog several times in the past, and the question you just asked also suggests that perhaps you think that this is the normal procedure. It's not. The backup catalog is not the catalog that you should open the next time you use Lightroom again. It's just a copy that you make in case something happens to the original. So normally you do not touch your backups until you have a problem.
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