Moving LR Files to a New Hard Drive

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I need to move most of my LR photo files from several smaller drives to a new 16TB hard drive. I started moving one of the smaller folders containing 9K + files and 33 subfolders from within LR and it looks like it will take quite a while to complete. Would it be faster to move the folders from outside LR and reconnect the links manually? If yes, can I connect the links at the highest folder level and have LR connect the links for the lower level folders and files?
Other than making sure I have a backup for the catalog and all the files, is there anything else I need to be aware of?
Thank you.
 
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'is there anything else I need to be aware of?'
I gave my new external hard drive a new permanant drive letter 'Z' as it was suggested that a different drive letter is assigned to the external hard drive depending on the sequence in which the USB drives are attached to the computer. So it could be drive G, drive H or another alphabet depending on the number of USB devices attached and the sequence in which they were plugged in. The variation in drive letters could result in confusing Lightroom as to where the Catalogue is located and one way of obviating it was to give it a unique drive alphabet. X, Y and Z were suggested as it was assumed that you'd never have 20 or more devices attached to your computer at any given time.
I'm no expert but am undertaking the same exercise of migrating my catalogue and photos to a new external hard drive currently.
 
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Yes, it makes sense in thsi scenario to move outside Lr then relink. See page 463 in your Classic FAQ (2022 Edition), Option One or the Blog below (also first option):

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/move-photos-another-hard-drive-leaving-catalog/
Thanks Paul

I drug the first folder to the new drive and it appears to have moved everything. LR reacted a little strange after the move, the drive and all the folders showed with question marks. When I right clicked and chose find folder, a window popped up indicating the folder was already in the catalog and asking if I would like to merge the folders. I declined a couple of times and finally gave up for the night. When I opened LR this afternoon, it found the drive and folders without me doing anything. I will move the other folders outside of LR. I'm fairly confident the rest of the move will go just fine. If not, I'll ask for help again.

Leonard James
 
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Look, I can't see what the Gurus are saying on my phone and I'm away from my base. But if you are shifting drives and consolidating your work from all over the place, as we all will when we move to 8TB and greater M.2 fast SSDs to store our work, you need to think about it and do it inside LR a little bit, then outside, then link it. I've been setting myself up for this for a while now.

Good luck.

Victoria needs to make a living figuring this out and explaining it better than anyone.

And the Gurus need to concentrate on teaching it.

Because this is the biggest deal in in LR. It is the biggest .... by far.
 
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Hi Leonard

It sounds like the system and Lightroom were trying to catch up with you! But best thing you did (and we stress this time and again) - you didn't panic!

Glad you feel confident, I always recommend documenting both the plan and ticking off as you go, easier to work out any anomalies.

Do pop back if you need a steer on anything of course (and tell us that it's all finished!)
 
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You know what you could do? OK.... Gurus aren't going to like this...

Don't sync the cat at all. Forget the catlog. Too compicated with what you are doing.

Let's do it differently.

Write to file everything you've done on every raw file you have on all drives, that way every non-DNG raw file has a sidecar, and every DNG has had the latest LR edits and meta written to it. At this point you have all edits and metadata not only in your cat but in your sidecar files (or written to the DNG files if you have them). Do that on all your drives. Just make sure every raw file has an updated sidecar or if a DNG file, it has been written to (update it by writing to file and update metadata).

Write to file and update metadata across the board on all folders in all drives wherever you have your primary source files. Do that in LR across the board. Easy and really quick unless you are having to rewrite every DNG file (I hate DNG files).

Start a new folder arrangement on your new 16 TB Home Drive. Create one folder (let's call it "Leonard Images"). Everything goes under that master folder. I don't care if it is 150,000 raw files and 4,500 folders. It all goes under that master folder.

Using Windows, not LR, copy all your files to the new folder structure on your new 16 TB Home drive wherever you want and however you want. You can move stuff around a thousand times and rename files and do whatever you want. Get that master drive and its folder structure exactly how you want it with all your image files on that new drive. Every raw file you moved has a sidecar file sitting next to it (so make sure you include them in all your copy and moving work).

So now your 16 TB drive is sitting there all neat and pretty organized exactly how you want it with every image file from your life there. You have your new naming conventions, file names and every raw file has its sidecar sitting next to it (except DNGs, which have the edits written to them non-destructively).

The only problem is you don't have any of that synced to your old catalogue, which was linked to a bazillion drives and old folders. Forget that old cat. It's done. It's garbage now.

Then start a new cat and simply import the master folder (Leanord Images) on the 16TB HDD that has all of your work in it.

That takes all the info from the sidecars and DNGs and writes it to a new cat and you still have the sidecars too. You now have a clean LR catalog perfectly and cleanly linked to your Master Folder and everything under it and LR did not mess with the file or folder names, folder structure or miss anything. It is all clean and pretty and new.

But you do lose some info because the LR catalog stores info that is not in the sidecars, but it is stuff most of us don't care about on a move like this. Sidecar files do not contain history, flags, ratings, or virtual copies. None of that stuff is important to me, but sometimes I do have some virtual copies with different edits, but you will lose that.

By the way, have you converted a bunch of raw files to DNG? Do you have any DNG files? How big will that new Master folder be on that 16 TB monster drive?
 
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Peter, I disagree. The way I suggested is easy and safe and is the way I would do it. But there are a lot of ways to do it. As far as very clear ways already described? Not really, just some generalities. No one here fully understand the details of his endeavor. How many disks he is copying from, how he is setting up the 16 TB drive, how many files, how many folders, etc.... I would like to know the total volume of his images.. He is going to base off a 16 TB spinner so it's probably a lot.

He already ran into trouble and he is going to run into a lot more I bet.

Then he has to back it all up (the image files on the 16TB drive). I could tell him the best way for that, but I would need to know how full that 16TB drive is really going to be.
 
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Hi Leonard

It sounds like the system and Lightroom were trying to catch up with you! But best thing you did (and we stress this time and again) - you didn't panic!

Glad you feel confident, I always recommend documenting both the plan and ticking off as you go, easier to work out any anomalies.

Do pop back if you need a steer on anything of course (and tell us that it's all finished!)
 
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Yes, I finally realized on the second move that even though LR appears to have finished making connections there are many files missing and when I step away and come back to the computer the number of files connected has increased. I went to dinner and returned about an hour and a half later and the file count had stopped increasing.
Now I have another problem and I suspect it a result of operator error and not the fault of LR.
Here is the situation now.
Outside of LR, I moved 2 high level folders containing about 9K files each in several subfolders. I then pointed LR to the locations of the 2 high-level folders and it was able to reconnect all the files from one high level folder. The second high level folder contained another high level folder that was named 20211114-22 and the subfolders under it were all labeled with a normal date format such as 20211115 … LR struggled to reconnect the files in that high level group. I suspect the odd high level name may have confused the program, but I’m not sure. LR shows all the folders except the oddly labeled high level folder. It reconnected some of the files in most of the folders, but none of the files in 3 of the folders. How would suggest I get LR to reconnect the remainder of the files?

Thank you.
 
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Hi Leonard

That sounds like good progress!

With the high-level folder, are you meaning all the sub-folders under it are showing? If so, try right-click on one of them an Show Parent Folder.
With the three folders that didn't connect, are they showing in Lr but as missing (so ? Against them)?

It might be good to pop some screenshots on here, helps us visualize!
 
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You know what you could do? OK.... Gurus aren't going to like this...

But you do lose some info because the LR catalog stores info that is not in the sidecars, but it is stuff most of us don't care about on a move like this. Sidecar files do not contain history, flags, ratings, or virtual copies. None of that stuff is important to me, but sometimes I do have some virtual copies with different edits, but you will lose that.
You know why we don't recommend it? It's called data loss. You did great listing some of the things that aren't included in the sidecar files, but a lot of people organize their photos using collections, or they've spent hours creating photo books, and they'd be pretty upset to lose those. There are occasions when when there's just such a mess, that it makes sense to cut the losses and start over, but just moving a bunch of files to a bigger drive definitely isn't it. I'm not having a go, but I have to include the extra details for the sake of anyone else who finds this thread in future and decides your way sounds easier. It's pretty hard to recover from otherwise.
 
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Victoria, I need to add Collections to the list of things not included in the sidecar files. You are right. That is a biggie. I don't use collections except on a temporary basis, but it is a powerful strength of LR, so if the OP uses them, he should not do it the way I suggested.

But remember, he is not just moving files to a larger drive, he is moving files to a larger drive from at least 6 or more other small external drives, and he has a bunch of folders that are date name folders that he is shuffling stuff around on and I'm not sure he knows what's in all of those folders. He is consolidating and reorganizing on one big drive, and he needs to decide on a new base organizational structure for that big drive.

This is old-school computer 101 stuff. The only complication is, he is going to have to have that entire new structure on the new 16 GB main drive linked to the new Cat. There are a lot of ways to do that, my way being the easiest unless he wants to do all of that reconsolidation from within the LR library.

I think it's interesting. BTW, I hate date name folders for photography unless you are a daily high-volume shooting pro and organize every job by date and not name. Just a personal thing and not really relevant to whichever way he does it.
 
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But remember, he is not just moving files to a larger drive, he is moving files to a larger drive from at least 6 or more other small external drives, and he has a bunch of folders that are date name folders that he is shuffling stuff around on and I'm not sure he knows what's in all of those folders. He is consolidating and reorganizing on one big drive, and he needs to decide on a new base organizational structure for that big drive.
Yeah that's not a big deal. Get them onto the new drive, relink with Lightroom, then reorganize inside LR. Works fine without losing anything, honestly!
 
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Or do not reorganize the folders at all, and learn how to organize your images with keywords, collections and smart collections.
No Johan, you and I have had this argument and I vehemently disagree.

That would be a big mistake and a violation of every computer file organization principal known to mankind.

It is madness not to have a good organizational folder and file name structure on your main data disk or location.

You can't just blow off a good folder structure and use LR to sort everything just because you can in that one program.

I spend a lot of time on key words, and they are important for many reasons, not just because LR can use them to sort a relational database and create collections. Collections are great, but that is not a good reason to abandon all sensible computer organizational basics.

I think in their enthusiasm for LR and its amazing collection powers, some gurus go over the top and keep saying you don't need a folder structure with your photography at all because you can just sort whatever you want from one massive pile of goo using key words. Huge mistake, and I think gurus have done a lot of damage teaching that bad practice to novices and new LR users and photographers. That is what they told me so many years ago, and I knew it was wrong, so I ignored that advice. But I did listen to them on Key Words and since Day One w LR I have always worked hard in post to assign good key words to every raw file.

I bet I could find a bazillion pro photographers who would disagree with your take on not needing a sound folder structure if we ran a poll.

Not having as good folder structure in your work is a terrible idea for 45 other reasons that go beyond LR.

Do both. Have a sound organizational structure to your data disk and also always use good key words, titles, captions, file names and metadata in your post processing. Key Words are supremely important. That I agree.

But the OP already has an organizational mess with data spread all over several disks with senseless folder names that he probably let some program or device name for him, and he is thus confused about what he has and wants to clean it up.

Let's not advise him to create a big steaming pile of mess (like he has now and is trying to fix) on his new big 16 TB data disk. If it were up to some of you gurus, he could just dump 250,000 raw files with their random file names and thousands of badly named folders into the new disk and just run collections from here on out (if by some miracle he had good key words assigned to them all). No. Please no.

He needs a good organizational structure on his new master data disk.

Concerning Victoria's response, yes, I agree that he could move the files first and relink to the cat, then do the organizational restructuring from within LR as he tools his organization and folder/file naming conventions on that new 116 TB HDD. I said that on my first post. I was just offering a conceptual alternative using the sidecar files because he had such a mess that trying to move it all and relink it could be a bit of a tickle.

But Victoria, you said it would be easy to move all those files to the new disk and then relink them all to the cat. Maybe if you were doing it, but if it were me or the OP, maybe not so smooth. LOL
 
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That would be a big mistake and a violation of every computer file organization principal known to mankind.

It is madness not to have a good organizational folder and file name structure on your main data disk or location.
Folder organization and image organization are two different processes. There is a reason that Adobe spent thousands on researching the best folder structure that gave Lightroom the most flexibility and offered the user over a dozen date named AUTOMATIC folder creation schemes on import and only one manual scheme. The folder concept is a hold over from the office days of yore where there were physical file cabinets and manilla folders that could store the only copy of the document. (And Date named folder drawers were a part of that manual scheme). When computer storage came along it was a simple concept (flawed though it was) for office workers to grasp.

This original post was solved with the first reply https://www.lightroomqueen.com/move-photos-another-hard-drive-leaving-catalog/. This solution has been around for a long time and has not shown to be flawed an any way. I think it is past time to put this thread to rest. If you want to argue for the sake of debating, please do it on your own time and elsewhere.
 
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I agree with your opening statement to some degree. Folder organization and image organization are different as you say, but also very closely related and one must understand how one wants to approach both in relation to each other. LR is very flexible with that whole process and one can design whatever data structure and image organization one wants.

I understand what LR is and what a relational database is. LR does not force any folder structure or naming convention and is perfectly amenable to any folder structure or naming convention (file and folder) one cares to develop.

I disagree with your characterization and your idea of what a folder structure must be. It does not have to be that way. I prefer my way to your way because you use a date convention and I think also let LR do that for you on import which is fine. I don't. Both work.

I also disagree with Johan's statement that one does not even need a folder structure.

You guys do a wonderful service every day giving great advice and fixing problems and have helped me many times, but I just don't agree with you on a lot of this. Is that allowed?

The original post was not solved. You need to look at the thread again. He is still having trouble.

Relax Clete. We are both old men set in our ways and stubborn. We might disagree occasionally on things that are outside pure LR - like image and folder organization, computer stuff and photography.

Photographers and computer hobbyists are like lawyers. They disagree on everything. LOL.

Oh, and I also don't agree with this statement: "The folder concept is a holdover from the office days of yore where there were physical file cabinets and manilla folders that could store the only copy of the document." Could disagree more. I/ve been hearing that for 25 years and it is nonsense.
 
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No Johan, you and I have had this argument and I vehemently disagree.
And because we had this argument before, there is no need to start the discussion once again. You can't deny me the right to voice my opinion and you can't change it, so don't try. Just agree that we disagree.
 
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We disagree about that because I like folders (along with 85% of pro photographers in the world) and you don't. On everything else, we agree.
So I belong to the 15% who fully understand Lightroom Classic. :)
 
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LOL. I hear you. I know exactly what you and Clete are getting at and I know you are not anti-folder. I know you teach the power of Collections.

I understand the power of Collections and play around with them a lot. I even use them. Just made one for Rome Churches and there are 9,000 shots in it. Kind of fun to see shots I took in Rome churches over so many years with so many cameras.

I even did one for a particular lens a months ago. Someone ask me to show them some examples for the Fuji GF 23mm Prime. Boom. I had 23 mm shots from all over the place.
 
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Exactly. Of course I did not dump my 200,000 images in one single folder. That would indeed be silly and would slow down Lightroom. I do have a folder hierarchy too. The difference is that I don’t care what that hierarchy looks like (and it’s far from a textbook hierarchy), because I don’t use it for organizational purposes. And that’s also how I teach Lightroom Classic.
 
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And that’s also how I teach Lightroom Classic.
I bet I could learn a lot about LR that I think I know but I don't know if I sat in one of your classes.

But I still haven't plowed through Victoria's book and I'm going to start tomorrow on the airplane.

Headed to Guanajuato, Mexico (an awesome old silver colonial town in the Mountains of central Mexico) and then to San Miguel de Allende (the Number One spot in North America) and then to Playa del Carmen.

I'm taking the Q2, GFX 100s, and GF 23, 30, 45, 45-100 and 100-200, as well as a monopod and tripod.

Quite a load, but fun.

Best kept secret if you live in S US. Fly to San Antonio. Take a direct flight to Leon, MX, there are two a week. Then hop in a taxi and go spend 3 nights in Guanajuato. Incredible.

Everybody is worried about safety. It's safe. The Cartels actually make it safer for tourists there because there is no petty crime.
 
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