• Welcome to the Lightroom Queen Forums! We're a friendly bunch, so please feel free to register and join in the conversation. If you're not familiar with forums, you'll find step by step instructions on how to post your first thread under Help at the bottom of the page. You're also welcome to download our free Lightroom Quick Start eBooks and explore our other FAQ resources.
  • We are delighted to announce that Single Sign On has just gone live, so you'll no longer have to remember multiple login details for this site. Most existing passwords have been carried over, but if your password doesn't work, you can reset it using the Lost My Password link. Your current forum username is Guest. You're welcome to choose your preferred username here.

How to move Previews from SSD to HDD

OhPinchy

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
5
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
I have Lightroom 5 installed on a 256GB SSD also running my Windows 8.1 Pro operating system. I also have a 4TB 3.5inch HDD and a 3TB external USB HDD. The Lightroom catalog is on the SSD and based on what I've read (e.g. here as I found when searching this forum: http://www.computer-darkroom.com/blog/will-an-ssd-improve-adobe-lightroom-performance/) it should stay on the SSD. As I import all photos to the 4TB internal HDD, I don't use Smart Previews and I create 1:1 Previews when importing photos. Is this the optimal way to set it up?

As my Previews folder is now taking up 40GB on my SSD and I'm starting to run out of space on the SSD, I want to move the Previews to the HDD but leave the catalog on the SSD - link above suggests this should not have a significant impact on performance. I've searched around and have found plenty of discussions on the ideal storage setup, but can't find specific instructions for moving the Previews from one disk to another and as it's something I really don't want to mess up, any advice is much appreciated.

Great forum by the way, have found scanning it very useful during my newbie-getting-to-know-Lightroom phase!
 

Jim Wilde

Lightroom Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
11,372
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
Strictly speaking, you can't separate the Previews cache from it's catalog....Lightroom expects to find them in the same folder, so if you delete or move a previews cache then Lightroom will create a new Previews cache back in the original location.

You can, of course, get around this by using a Symbolic Link (symlink), which is a sort of advanced shortcut, the idea is that you move the Previews cache to your external drive, then put a symlink in it's place which points to the new location. If you've never used symlinks before, have a read through this article.
 

OhPinchy

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
5
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Thanks a lot for that Jim. I've never heard of Symbolic links before but from a quick scan of that site I can get the jist of it - will read up on it and try it out and post back with outcome, thanks.
 

OhPinchy

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
5
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Hi, so I gave this a whirl and thing it worked but amn't sure how to confirm? As I am looking to create a symbolic link across two drives, Hardlink was not an option (seems to be only available within the same drive), so I went with Symbolic Link Clone as I needed to ensure it recreates the folder structure. So I just clicked Pick Source on the previews folder (after copying it to the HDD and then deleting it from the SSD) and then clicked Drop As -> Symbolic Link Clone on the SSD Lightroom folder and it created the link there. I opened Lightroom and got no errors, but is there any other way to confirm it's working? Thanks.
 

Denis de Gannes

Active Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2007
Messages
813
Location
Trinidad and Tobago
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic 7
I would do the following, use;
a. The SSD for your OS and Programs. The Adobe Camera Raw Cache and Lightroom Preferences etc will be there along with your Lightroom (sub folder) in your User > My Pictures folder. The Lightroom sub folder by default has your LR Catalog File and the Lightroom Previews, and Backup Catalog Files.
b. Move the Lightroom sub folder and its contents from the SSD drive and put it on the 4TB HDD along with the actual Photo files.
c. Move the Backup Catalog folder from this drive and place it on the 3TB USB External Drive since you need to have your backup catalog files on a different drive than the original catalog.

Reasons.
a. This will free up space on the SSD to allow it to perform efficiently. You should try to have at least 100GB free at all times. The ACR Cache files will be there for use when you are in the develop module (the preview files which are on the HDD are used when you are in the Library module).
b. You can manage the size of the previews files by limiting how long 1:1 remain in place i.e. 1 week, 1 month etc. These are only used when you view at actual size.
c. Backup files for your catalog use lots of space but are not used often and are for replacing corrupt catalogs or restructuring. I have never had to resort to a backup catalog file since using Lightroom from inception 2006. Therefore there is no problem storing them on a slow drive.

Just a thought, a 4TB HDD with 2GB free space will be more efficient than a 256GB SSD with 50GB free space.
 

OhPinchy

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
5
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Thanks Denis. Are there any performance hits arising from having the whole Lightroom sub folder on the HDD and not the SSD? I'm open to giving what you describe a go, but am not sure of how to do it and want to avoid messing it up - do I go to Edit - Catalog Settings -> and change the Location to a folder on the HDD?

Likewise, how can I set how long the previews are stored and the Backup location (guess you can tell - I'm a newbie that knows how to do the core workflow tasks in Lightroom but little beyond that and I find the menu system not that intuitive, hence the basic questions!)?
 

Jim Wilde

Lightroom Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
11,372
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
If the 4tb HDD is internal, which I think it is from reading your earlier posts, then I don't think you'd notice much, if any, performance degradation if you placed the catalog folder on it. That Ian Lyons article that you linked to basically said as much, and from my own experience I agree. I moved my catalogs (with previews and smart previews) from a dedicated internal HDD to a dedicated internal SSD and saw very little improvement. And if you go the other route, i.e. catalog on SSD and previews symlinked to the HDD, then I think the difference would be negligible.

If you want to follow Denis's suggestion, it's quite simple. Close Lightroom and simply drag the Lightroom folder from the Pictures folder on the SSD to anywhere on the HDD.....a root-level folder is better as it makes it easier to find. Then you'll need to put the Previews.lrdata folder back in the same folder as the catalog and get rid of the symlink.

Once that's done, simply double-click on the catalog file to launch Lightroom, then go to Edit>Preferences>General Tab and make sure that the Default Catalog setting points to the catalog from the new location, not the old location (you probably don't want it set to the "Load Most Recent Catalog" option).

When you exit Lightroom to take a backup, if you want to change the target backup folder to an easy to find location on the backup drive, e.g. in a root-level "Lightroom Catalog Backups" folder, simply create the target folder using Explorer first, then when you invoke a catalog backup, use the "Choose" button to select that new target folder.
 

acquacow

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
61
Location
Virginia
Lightroom Experience
Power User
I use Junction Link Magic to make a junction in windows to move my previews to a separate drive.

Been doing it for years with no ill results.
 

clee01l

Senior Member
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
14,147
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
I use Junction Link Magic to make a junction in windows to move my previews to a separate drive.

Been doing it for years with no ill results.
Symbolic Links have been a part of the Windows OS since Vista. Third party functions are no longer necessary.
 

OhPinchy

New Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
5
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Thanks Jim. I've gone ahead and moved the entire Lightroom folder to the HDD and no issues, seems to be working smoothly. Thanks all for your help.
 

clee01l

Senior Member
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
14,147
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 8

acquacow

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
61
Location
Virginia
Lightroom Experience
Power User
That's fine... symlink it if you're in linux/osx

In windows you are more than welcome to setup junctions by hand in the command prompt. It's a much larger pain in the butt though... not quite as smooth as using ln in linux.
 

5Corners

New Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Hello!
I used symlinks to separate Lightroom catalogs from theirs previews data and to synchronize them on different computers, keeping original files in Dropbox folder and working with symbolic-linked clones. It has been working perfectly for years, but recently I noticed (may be it happened after moving from Windows 8 to Windows 10?) that my Lightroom 5.7 start creating Preview Data folder close to the original file in the Dropbox folder, ignoring the fact that I, as usual, launched it from the folder with cloned file. Do you know some remedy to resolve this problem?
 

LikesToys

Photo Editor, Certified Technical Trainer
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
3
Location
Cobourg Canada
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 8

clee01l

Senior Member
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
14,147
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 8

LikesToys

Photo Editor, Certified Technical Trainer
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
3
Location
Cobourg Canada
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
Mac Users: A lot of the links above were broken so I managed to piece together the information an wrote it up here: https://www.jeffgardner.ca/2018/12/22/lightroom-moving-lightroom-catalogue-to-a-ssd-while-leaving-previews-lrdata-on-external-disk/

Running well for me on LR 8 - rebuilding 1:1 at about 700 GIG for this years images.
Mac Users: A lot of the links above were broken so I managed to piece together the information an wrote it up here: https://www.jeffgardner.ca/2018/12/22/lightroom-moving-lightroom-catalogue-to-a-ssd-while-leaving-previews-lrdata-on-external-disk/

Running well for me on LR 8 - rebuilding 1:1 at about 700 GIG for this years images.
Your link is not valid and resolves to "http://Blog%20Move%20Previews%20Off%20SSD%20to%20HDD"
Sorry - I re posted below.
 
Top