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Huge Previews.lrdata file

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lgphotography

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Joined
Oct 18, 2013
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73
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Lightroom Version Number
12.5
Operating System
  1. macOS 13 Ventura
My LR catalog contains 100k+ images/files.

I tried selecting all the files and deleting both Previews and Smart Previews but Previews.lrdata file is 245GB. I think it was slightly larger before I deleted the previews.

Is this a possible size due to the large amount of images in my catalog or is there something else I can do to shrink that size down?

Thanks!
 
First ask yourself why you even need Smart Previews. If you are working on a desktop or a laptop that never leaves the drive containing the imported originals behind, you can eliminate the Smart Previews folder and stop creating smart previews on import.
As for the Standard Previews, there are many images that you need to keep but will never need the previews again.
Lightroom will generate any previews that it needs on demand if that preview is not available in the Standard Previews folder.

My advice is to delete both previews folders. Lightroom will generate a new empty standard Previews folder on start up and the generate previews for only the images that you want to view on demand. This will keep your Previews folder limited to only the images you are using. Some people make a practice of deleting their previews folders on a regular basis to keep the size of the folders small.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
First ask yourself why you even need Smart Previews. If you are working on a desktop or a laptop that never leaves the drive containing the imported originals behind, you can eliminate the Smart Previews folder and stop creating smart previews on import.
As for the Standard Previews, there are many images that you need to keep but will never need the previews again.
Lightroom will generate any previews that it needs on demand if that preview is not available in the Standard Previews folder.

My advice is to delete both previews folders. Lightroom will generate a new empty standard Previews folder on start up and the generate previews for only the images that you want to view on demand. This will keep your Previews folder limited to only the images you are using. Some people make a practice of deleting their previews folders on a regular basis to keep the size of the folders small.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hmmm...previews are in a file not a folder for me (Previews.lrdata).

So are you saying that even though I deleted all of both kinds of previews that now I should just delete Previews.lrdata completely and let it start over?
 
Hmmm...previews are in a file not a folder for me (Previews.lrdata).

So are you saying that even though I deleted all of both kinds of previews that now I should just delete Previews.lrdata completely and let it start over?

Previews.lrdata is a folder (In MacOS, this type of folder is called a package.). You can open the package in MacOS or in Windows and see the sub folders and eventually drill down to the actual image files. These are managed by a database file contained inside the package. The only way to completely eliminate the structure as well as the assorted preview files is to simple delete the Previews.lrdata folder and let LrC start with a empty folder. If you are concerned, exit LrC then Temporarily rename the folder and watch LrC create a new one. You can delete the renamed folder later when you are comfortable that all is well.


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FWIW, extensions (like “.lrdata” or “.exe” etc.) are not limited to files
 
I delete my preview folders every 18 months approx .. I regard this as a routine maintenance task.

The following is good advice.

The only way to completely eliminate the structure as well as the assorted preview files is to simple delete the Previews.lrdata folder and let LrC start with a empty folder. If you are concerned, exit LrC then Temporarily rename the folder and watch LrC create a new one. You can delete the renamed folder later when you are comfortable that all is well.

Also, there are multiple settings which control the size of previews in the preview folders. For example, in my opinion and in my workflow, I see no reason to keep full size previews greater than 30 days.
 
Previews.lrdata is a folder (In MacOS, this type of folder is called a package.). You can open the package in MacOS or in Windows and see the sub folders and eventually drill down to the actual image files. These are managed by a database file contained inside the package. The only way to completely eliminate the structure as well as the assorted preview files is to simple delete the Previews.lrdata folder and let LrC start with a empty folder. If you are concerned, exit LrC then Temporarily rename the folder and watch LrC create a new one. You can delete the renamed folder later when you are comfortable that all is well.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

FWIW, extensions (like “.lrdata” or “.exe” etc.) are not limited to files
Ok, I did just that and watched it start over.

But now it is taking a very long time to be able to view my work. I work on multiple projects that span years and so being able to quickly go into a collection or folder and scroll through is important too. But I would like some disk space back as well.

Are there any other options to just deleting the entire file? Why isn't "Discard 1:1 Previews" in the Library module effective? I had been trying to downsize the Previews.lrdata file selectively.

Thank you for your help.
 
I delete my preview folders every 18 months approx .. I regard this as a routine maintenance task.

The following is good advice.



Also, there are multiple settings which control the size of previews in the preview folders. For example, in my opinion and in my workflow, I see no reason to keep full size previews greater than 30 days
Thanks for your suggestions but I as I stated above, I work on projects over long periods of time and now everything is taking forever to render. I was just hoping to be able to selectively remove the 1:1 previews, and "Discard 1:1 Previews" doesn't seem to work for me.
 
Now I'm really confused. I just looked at my catalog settings and it appears I had had delete previews after one week. If this is true how on earth did Previews.lrdata get to be 245GB?
Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 9.14.32 AM.png
 
Ok, I did just that and watched it start over.

But now it is taking a very long time to be able to view my work. I work on multiple projects that span years and so being able to quickly go into a collection or folder and scroll through is important too. But I would like some disk space back as well.

Are there any other options to just deleting the entire file? Why isn't "Discard 1:1 Previews" in the Library module effective? I had been trying to downsize the Previews.lrdata file selectively.

Thank you for your help.

Lightroom will need to build new previews for the images that you want to see. By looking at one or two images at a time, you will not be noticeably slowed down waiting for LrC to build the needed previews

If you have a large number of images to view at once, it is probably best too group these in a collection and do a limited build on the images in the collection. In a collection, LrC will build previews ahead in the background in anticipation of the images that you might need next.

Pay attention to the advice the Gnits just gave about which previews to build and how long to retain 1:1 previews. For me, I only build Minimal previews on import and let LrC build other preview sizes only as necessary.


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Go to the Folder or Collection of your choice.
Select all images in the Folder / Collection
Then using the Menus ....

Go to Library ... Previews ... and select which previews you wish to build.

If it is a lot of images ... go for a coffee ... or run over night..

1695396891851.png
 
Go to the Folder or Collection of your choice.
Select all images in the Folder / Collection
Then using the Menus ....

Go to Library ... Previews ... and select which previews you wish to build.

If it is a lot of images ... go for a coffee ... or run over night..

View attachment 21710
Yep, I just figured this out, thank you. Still wondering why there is the option to discard previews if it doesn't work, and why I had delete previews after 1 week selected and still had a 245GB preview file...
 
Yep, I just figured this out, thank you. Still wondering why there is the option to discard previews if it doesn't work, and why I had delete previews after 1 week selected and still had a 245GB preview file...
That option is, as it says, to discard 1:1 Previews. It doesn't change the Standard Previews.
 
That option is, as it says, to discard 1:1 Previews. It doesn't change the Standard Previews.
With 1:1 previews being deleted every 30 days, I don't have an issue, so I was wondering why Gnits was deleting preview folders every 18 months. Are you saying it's to remove standard previews? I had not considered that. So, if one uses 1:1 previews, does it also create standard previews and just keeps them?
 
I especially want to delete standard previews (and any other previews). What I want to do is ensure there is no accumulated orphans, corrupt previews etc. I did this a few years ago and it cleared up consistent performance and occasional hangs. I cannot prove it was a problem with the previews. However, I am conscious of the number of times my Pc goes into sleep mode and I cannot wake it up without a reboot, I expect there are lots of scenarios when Lr updating of tables, indices, previews, does not run to a logical completion and rubbish gets left behind.

I suspect Lr has built in a lot of safety features and can auto repair a lot of scenarios… as it is proven to be a stable product on a vast array of systems of different ages.

However, if I was experiencing odd behaviour I would try a variety of strategies incl clearing historically built previews.
 
The 1:1 previews are extra, not instead of.
In this case, any 1:1 previews will be used instead of standard previews. To quote Johan :->
First of all, there is no separate 1:1 previews cache, there is only one cache containing all the previews. Secondly, this is a little more complicated that it seems at first sight. Lightroom will only discard a 1:1 preview if its width is 2 or more times the width of your standard-sized previews. If it is smaller, then Lightroom keeps the 1:1 preview to use as the standard-sized preview. So if your 1:1 previews are for example 4096 pixels wide, and your standard-sized previews are 2560 pixels wide, then discarding the 1:1 previews will have no effect ( because 4096 < 2 * 2560). That would explain why you do not see a difference if you discard 1:1 previews.
@lgphotography's standard previews are 5120 wide, so assuming the pics are less than 10240 wide, a 1:1 preview will be retained in lieu of a standard preview, and Discard 1:1 Previews won't delete them.

If a pic is, say, 7000 pixels wide, then the 1:1 preview will be nearly twice as large in bytes than a standard preview. If a pic is only 6000 wide, then the 1:1 preview will be only about 40% bigger.

So in these cases where LR uses the 1:1 preview as the standard-sized preview, the only way to recover that extra space is to delete the Previews folder.
 
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