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Is it possible to move the file location for Lightroom Previews?

Walter vom Saal

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Mar 3, 2011
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My automatic backup software wastes time and space backing up Lightroom Previews which I do not want to back up. What would work best would be to move the Previews and Smart Previews folders to a completely different location on my hard drive and then not include that in my backup. My understanding is that there is no way to do that. I'm hoping someone may either confirm that understanding, or suggest a way I might move the Previews and Smart Previews folders to a location of my choice. (Of course I do NOT want to move the Lightroom catalog with them, just the Previews and Smart Previews folders).

I am using Windows 10.

Thanks for any help.
 
Joined
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Cloud Service
Welcome back to the forum. There are two possible answers to your problem.

The first is the easiest. Simply exclude the Previews folder from your backup schema. This is the approach that I take and I think most people do as well. What backup software do you use? You can use Crashplan to accomplish this. It is one of the backup apps that I use. It also works on Windows. I'm not that familiar with the backup app that ships with Win10 but it should be as customizable as Crashplan.

The second answer addresses your question directly. You can substitute a symbolic link to the Previews folder and then the Previews folder can be anywhere in your system as long as the name of the symbolic link is the same as the previews folder and the link resides in the folder alongside your catalog where LR will create a preview folder.

You can use the same options for the Smart Previews folder too. However, unless you are sync'ing with Lightroom Mobile or going portable and leaving your master image files on a EHD at home, you don't need the Smart Previews folder at all.

If you do actually use the smart Previews folder for one or both of these two reasons, you do not need to create a Smart Preview for every file on import. For LR Mobile you only need smart Previews for the images in the collections that get sync'd with the cloud. Also for the portable LR situation, you probably do not need every images accessible when you travel. Before the trip, you can decide which images that are in your master catalog that you actually plane to access during the trip and create Smart Previews for just those.
 
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I agree that simply excluding the Previews.lrdata folders from the backup scheme is by far the easiest solution. Almost all backup software allows you to do that. In fact, if you use the second method, you still need backup software that can exclude certain folders... If you still want to use the symbolic link method, make sure that your backup software doesn't 'follow' symbolic links itself. Dropbox does that, for example. If the software follows the link, it will still backup the entire folder and not the symbolic link itself.
 
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This will not work for most laptop users, but I installed a dedicated SSD drive for my Lightroom Catalog and all various Adobe cache folders. I did this for performance reasons. I make specific arrangements to backup my Catalog, but can then ignore the huge volume of various cache files on this drive. As an SSD drive it also has less likelyhood to fail (but SSD's can still fail ....I had that experience).

I am critical of Microsoft Windows for their poor standard backup and recovery tools, so have reverted to 3rd party apps for backup and restore.
 

Cerianthus

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Gnits, If you have a separate SDD for the catalog, it will still have the previews on that same disk. Although it is wise to keep the previews itself on the fast disk, if that is what you mean in relation to the original question.

What backup software is Walter the OP using ? maybe we can help set it up to ignore the previews....
 
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Gnits, If you have a separate SDD for the catalog, it will still have the previews on that same disk. Although it is wise to keep the previews itself on the fast disk, if that is what you mean in relation to the original question.

What backup software is Walter the OP using ? maybe we can help set it up to ignore the previews....

Yes, agreed. I just backup the Catalog. I am happy to re-generate the previews on the very rare occasion I might need to.

Also, in this specific case, I agree if we can find out the backup software in use, we may be able to advise on settings, etc..
 
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