Should I keep my Lightroom Catalog Backup on a separate drive?

John Cicchine

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Hello,

I recently saw a video on YouTube stating that it is best if I store my Catalog Backup on a seperate drive from the drive where I keep my catalog. Currently I store my photos on 2 external hard drives and my catalog and the catalog backup on a 3rd. external hard drive sperate from where my photos are stored. But this video states that it is better to put the catalog backup on a 4th. seperate external hard drive. My questions are as follows...

-Since all 3 of my external hard drives are backed up to another hard drive using "Super Duper" to copy each drive and I am in the process of backing the drives up to the cloud with
"Backblaze" am I not already safe if there were to be a problem?

-In the video it shows where to tell Lightroom to store my Catalog Backup (see screenshot) so I know how to do that but should I change my location first then let Lightroom backup to
the new location and then move the existing backups to the new location or should I move my existing backups first to the new location then have Lightroom do a new backup to the new
location?

-How do I move my existing backups to the new location and make sure that Lightroom knows where they are located? Should I open 2 Finder Windows and click and drag the existing
backups to the new folder in the new hard drive or is there something else I need to do?

-If I change the location of my catalog backups will Lightroom know to automatically relocate my existing backups without me having to move them manually myself?

I am running Mojave 10.14.6

I included several screenshots that show my Catalog Backup structure. It me look a bit messy but that is the best I can do so far. I have at least one or two other catalogs that may be corrupted and I need to locate some photos in a few other catalogs I was previously using but I plan to do that at a future date. Any help on this thread I posted is as always greatly
appreciated. Thank You Very Much.

John

Lightroom Backup Choose Location.png
Lightroom Backup. Catalogs.png
Lightroom Backups 3.png
Lightroom Backups. 2.png
 

John Cicchine

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After coming across this last night I share my thoughts. I keep my Lightroom catalogue and all my photos together on the SAME external disk. That disk is ritualistically backed up to another external disk by Super Duper clone software after EVERY session and BEFORE erasing my card. Usually I have a third copy of the same disk as well. This way you can move to another computer with your catalogue AND photos all on the same disk. If the disk is a 2.5 inch size its easy to take your whole library on a trip in case you get a request for something when on the road. If one disk goes down you have one or two more to be up and running quickly. So I don't run Backups of my catalogue only within LR. Maybe I am wrong but this works good for me and feels safe. Photos and catalogues are on 2TB disks. Movies and connected catalogue are separate set of 2 2TB disks. (I separated the photos and movie a few years ago. LR is mostly for organizing the movie clips and marking the best ones before taking them to Final Cut Pro etc)

My main photo Lightroom FOLDER on the external disk (not catalogue) is 43 GB and contains all the presets ect as well as the newest and older catalogues.
Hi edo- sky.plata,

Thank You Very Much for your advice. Once again I apologize as I have to others here for not replying sooner. I’ve been a bit busy here and having difficulties with my eyeglasses. But I see what you are saying but I cannot tell you how many times I have heard especially on YouTube that you should keep your LR Catalog and your Photos on 2 separate hard drives. And so I took that approach a long time ago. But also as you said you back up to another drive with Super Duper as I do so there should not be a problem if the original drive fails. But I think I will stick with the way I have been it for now. I’m glad that my thinking was correct and if there is a proper backup there should not be a problem. As always I am open to any advice that someone has. I truly appreciate your help and the help of others here and I thank you very much.

John
 

PhilBurton

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Sometimes I think that people over-think this issue. Ideally you have an internal SSD to store your catalog, for best performance. If not, an external SSD. You probably need a much larger spinning HDD to store actual photo files.

You should use a separate drive (not just a drive partition) for backups of both the catalog and actual photo files.
 

John Cicchine

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Sometimes I think that people over-think this issue. Ideally you have an internal SSD to store your catalog, for best performance. If not, an external SSD. You probably need a much larger spinning HDD to store actual photo files.

You should use a separate drive (not just a drive partition) for backups of both the catalog and actual photo files.
Hi Phil,

Thank You Very Much. My External Hard Drives are G Tech Drives and they are rated at 7200 RPM. Also I do not have any partition on them. Only 1 of my External Drives has 2 Partitions. It is a Back Up Drive I use with Super Duper and because it is a 10 TB Drive and the Drives it backs up are smaller.
Thanks again my friend!

John
 

edo-sky.plala.or.jp

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Hi edo- sky.plata,

Thank You Very Much for your advice. Once again I apologize as I have to others here for not replying sooner. I’ve been a bit busy here and having difficulties with my eyeglasses. But I see what you are saying but I cannot tell you how many times I have heard especially on YouTube that you should keep your LR Catalog and your Photos on 2 separate hard drives. And so I took that approach a long time ago. But also as you said you back up to another drive with Super Duper as I do so there should not be a problem if the original drive fails. But I think I will stick with the way I have been it for now. I’m glad that my thinking was correct and if there is a proper backup there should not be a problem. As always I am open to any advice that someone has. I truly appreciate your help and the help of others here and I thank you very much.

John
No problem on speed of reply. And we all back up and work the way that is best for us. Staying backed up is the keyword.
 

edo-sky.plala.or.jp

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Sometimes I think that people over-think this issue. Ideally you have an internal SSD to store your catalog, for best performance. If not, an external SSD. You probably need a much larger spinning HDD to store actual photo files.

You should use a separate drive (not just a drive partition) for backups of both the catalog and actual photo files.
I admit my method above is not the best one for performance, but I am not usually in a big hurry :) Finally moved all my LR to SSD and that did help.
 

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Hi Phil,

Thank You Very Much. My External Hard Drives are G Tech Drives and they are rated at 7200 RPM. Also I do not have any partition on them. Only 1 of my External Drives has 2 Partitions. It is a Back Up Drive I use with Super Duper and because it is a 10 TB Drive and the Drives it backs up are smaller.
Thanks again my friend!

John
John,

Regarding your external drives. Depending on your file sizes, 7200 rpm may provide some performance gain over 540 rpm drive, but that also depends on the connection type (USB vs Thunderbolt, etc).

Your G Tech drives certainly came with one partition, occupyng the entire drive. Without a partition, you can't drive any data to a drive.

Just be sure that your 10 TB backup drive doesn't have any Lightroom or photo files on it. I don't know anything about MacOS or Mac storage architecture, but there should be a way to reallocate the disk space used by each partition.
 

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No problem on speed of reply. And we all back up and work the way that is best for us. Staying backed up is the keyword.
Hi edo-sky.plata,

Very well said. "Staying backed up is the keyword". That's absolutely correct and I guess in what ever way works best. Thanks again my friend.

John
 

John Cicchine

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John,

Regarding your external drives. Depending on your file sizes, 7200 rpm may provide some performance gain over 540 rpm drive, but that also depends on the connection type (USB vs Thunderbolt, etc).

Your G Tech drives certainly came with one partition, occupyng the entire drive. Without a partition, you can't drive any data to a drive.

Just be sure that your 10 TB backup drive doesn't have any Lightroom or photo files on it. I don't know anything about MacOS or Mac storage architecture, but there should be a way to reallocate the disk space used by each partition.
Hi Phil,

Thank You Very Much. Actually my 10 TB External Hard Drive has 3 partitions. 1 for my Internal Drive Back Up and the other 2 are to back up my 2 other External Drives that contain my photos. So they do have Lightroom photos on them but this is only for back up. Also all my drives are 7200 RPM. As always I appreciate your advice very much again I apologize for the delay in writing back.

John
 
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Hi Phil,

Thank You Very Much. Actually my 10 TB External Hard Drive has 3 partitions. 1 for my Internal Drive Back Up and the other 2 are to back up my 2 other External Drives that contain my photos. So they do have Lightroom photos on them but this is only for back up. Also all my drives are 7200 RPM. As always I appreciate your advice very much again I apologize for the delay in writing back.

John

There is no benefit in the modern computer environment to creating partitions. You might also need to recognize that when this 10TB EHD fails, you will lose all three partitions. Your backup software should be able to backup all of your disk drive onto one EHD large enough to hold all of the data and versions.


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PhilBurton

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There is no benefit in the modern computer environment to creating partitions. You might also need to recognize that when this 10TB EHD fails, you will lose all three partitions. Your backup software should be able to backup all of your disk drive onto one EHD large enough to hold all of the data and versions.


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Cletus,

In a Windows environment, there is some operational benefit and simplicity to matching the source partitions with the backup drive partitions. Consider all the various drive/folder synchronization utilities, e.g. Goodsync, File Sync & Backup Software | GoodSync I use the paid version, which is totally worth the cost.

I can't speak for MacOS.

Phil Burton
 

John Cicchine

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There is no benefit in the modern computer environment to creating partitions. You might also need to recognize that when this 10TB EHD fails, you will lose all three partitions. Your backup software should be able to backup all of your disk drive onto one EHD large enough to hold all of the data and versions.


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Hi Cletus,

Thank You Very Much. I always thought partitions were fine to use. Since it is getting harder to find another drive that is what is considered now as a bit small in size 2TB-4TB I thought it would be good to just but one larger drive and partition it and store the smaller drives on it. I do see what you are saying of course. Also I am planning to purchase another 10TB Drive and make another exact copy and store it someplace remote. And I am backing up to the Cloud using Backblaze so shouldn't I then have enough redundancy? Thanks again for your advice Cletus.

John
 

John Cicchine

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Cletus,

In a Windows environment, there is some operational benefit and simplicity to matching the source partitions with the backup drive partitions. Consider all the various drive/folder synchronization utilities, e.g. Goodsync, File Sync & Backup Software | GoodSync I use the paid version, which is totally worth the cost.

I can't speak for MacOS.

Phil Burton
Hi Phil,

Thank You Very Much. I just wrote to Cletus and I said that as far as I knew partitions are fine to use in both Windows or MacOS. Of course I am always open to any advice someone has. Also I am planning to make another backup similar to my 10TB Back Up Drive and storing it remotely and I am also backing up to the cloud with Backblaze so I should be safe I would think. But as I said I am always open to suggestions and appreciate the help I receive here very much. I am thinking that I may put this matter off to the side for a while because I want very much to figure where my lost photos are. Not that I have many but I still would like to know where they are. But of course backing up remains a priority for me as it does for everyone who cares about their images. Thanks again my friend!

John
 
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If one uses cloning software such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! to backup multiple source drives to a single target drive, I find it convenient to partition the target drive (1 partition for each source drive to be backed up). If one formats the drive as APFS, then one doesn't have to worry about figuring out how much to allocate to each partition because MacOS will dynamically change the size of each partition to match the storage space needed. There is some performance hit for using APFS with a spinning hard drive, but since the drive is for backup, that doesn't matter so much.

My $.02 worth is that if you are regularly backing up your system drive and data (external) drives to a 10TB backup drive AND using BackBlaze, then it is a bit of overkill to have a second backup drive to backup the first backup drive. If you have a primary drive fail AND the 10TB backup drive fail, you have BackBlaze to come to the rescue. If the 10TB fails and the source drives do not, you just go out and buy another target drive and make new backups of your primary drives.
 
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In a Windows environment, there is some operational benefit and simplicity to matching the source partitions with the backup drive partitions.
I use Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office as one of my two System back up Apps. In one backup I can back up several Disc drives onto one single partition EHD. Acronis comes in both Windows and MacOS flavors. From the backup, I can restore any portion of the backup from a single file or folder to a whole disk partition to the whole backup over several disks. My TimeMachine system backup does the same. I see no operational benefit. In fact I see an operational benefit for using a single partition and a single backup process for all mounted disks.
 
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Thank You Very Much. I always thought partitions were fine to use. Since it is getting harder to find another drive that is what is considered now as a bit small in size 2TB-4TB I thought it would be good to just but one larger drive and partition it and store the smaller drives on it.
At one time The Windows filesystem was limited to 4TB(?) However, the size of the disks them selves were being produced in much larger sizes for other operating systems. Partitioning was the only option for Windows users. The big problem with partitions is the single source hardware. When that fails, All partitions are irrevocably lost. It is for that reason that I recommend one partition per disk. If you have one disk with multiple partitions, and assign one partition to data and another to backup, where do you back up the data partitions? If you backup the data partition to the backup partition, the you lose both when the disk fails.

Currently I have EHDs consisting of 3, 8TB; 1, 6TB; and 1, 4TB. Two of the 8TB disks are dedicated to system back up of the primary disk and several of the other critical data disks.

Multiple partitions on one disk are fine, however they offer limited benefit in a modern operating system environment Each partition takes up some overhead on the disc and if you want to preserve the maximum space on the volume for data, then one large partition provides the largest space for storage. There is even a RAID partitioning scheme to span multiple disks with a single partition. Called Just a Bunch Of Disks (JBOD). It is of some use where data is larger than the available single disks. However if any one of the disks in the JBOD fail the whole partition is unrecoverable.
 
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I use Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office as one of my two System back up Apps. In one backup I can back up several Disc drives onto one single partition EHD. Acronis comes in both Windows and MacOS flavors. From the backup, I can restore any portion of the backup from a single file or folder to a whole disk partition to the whole backup over several disks. My TimeMachine system backup does the same. I see no operational benefit. In fact I see an operational benefit for using a single partition and a single backup process for all mounted disks.
I think this is an excellent solution! I have never investigated Acronis for Mac, although I do use it on my wife's PC to backup her machine to an external drive. IIRC, Acronis does use a proprietary format for storing the files on the target, which some folks consider a disadvantage over storing files as they would be stored in Finder/Explorer, but many others do not find that to be an issue at all. Personally, I am agnostic on this point.
 
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I think this is an excellent solution! I have never investigated Acronis for Mac, although I do use it on my wife's PC to backup her machine to an external drive. IIRC, Acronis does use a proprietary format for storing the files on the target, which some folks consider a disadvantage over storing files as they would be stored in Finder/Explorer, but many others do not find that to be an issue at all. Personally, I am agnostic on this point.

Acronis, like many system backups stores a compressed version of the files in the backup. There will be several versions of the same file in the backup if changes or deletions have occurred between backups. Cloning systems which are not true back ups usually lack version control and often do not retain deleted files.


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I've used Acronis for over 10 years, but I wouldn't recommend it now because of all the security bloat they've added and because of their terrible support. I believe they are currently focused on the security aspect of the product and not improving the backup software.
I'd suggest doing a trail of Acronis and other backup solutions, then determine what is the best solution that works for you.

The product that I will probably switch to is Macrium Reflect.
 

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At one time The Windows filesystem was limited to 4TB(?) However, the size of the disks them selves were being produced in much larger sizes for other operating systems. Partitioning was the only option for Windows users. The big problem with partitions is the single source hardware. When that fails, All partitions are irrevocably lost. It is for that reason that I recommend one partition per disk. If you have one disk with multiple partitions, and assign one partition to data and another to backup, where do you back up the data partitions? If you backup the data partition to the backup partition, the you lose both when the disk fails.

Currently I have EHDs consisting of 3, 8TB; 1, 6TB; and 1, 4TB. Two of the 8TB disks are dedicated to system back up of the primary disk and several of the other critical data disks.

Multiple partitions on one disk are fine, however they offer limited benefit in a modern operating system environment Each partition takes up some overhead on the disc and if you want to preserve the maximum space on the volume for data, then one large partition provides the largest space for storage. There is even a RAID partitioning scheme to span multiple disks with a single partition. Called Just a Bunch Of Disks (JBOD). It is of some use where data is larger than the available single disks. However if any one of the disks in the JBOD fail the whole partition is unrecoverable.
Cletus,

I don't mean to dive head-first into a deep rabbit hole here. I'll just say that for Windows (since I know zilch about MacOS), it makes sense in some cases to have multiple partitions, in other cases not. It's also a matter of "personal IT style."

I always have data and media collection partitions that are separate from my Windows (C drive) partition. When (not if) Windows fails, I haven't lost any data because I never stored any there. I can do a wipe and a clean install of Windows, if desired, without worrying about any of my data files. When I need to upgrade my drive subsystem, it's easier to move data partition by partition.

Regardless, it is ALWAYS a bad idea to have a backup partition (or folder) on the same physical drive as any form of data files. We are in violent agreement on that point.
 
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I always have data and media collection partitions that are separate from my Windows (C drive) partition. When (not if) Windows fails, I haven't lost any data because I never stored any there. I can do a wipe and a clean install of Windows, if desired, without worrying about any of my data files. When I need to upgrade my drive subsystem, it's easier to move data partition by partition.
I don't disagree that it is a "Personal IT style." And in fact some corporate IT shops might require it. I disagree however on failing hardware and multiple partitions. If the hardware fails, then every partition on that hard ware is lost. As for your "clean wipe" on the Windows partition, my IT experience suggests this is a quick solution in the corporate world where users ofter botch up their Windows environment to the point that it saves IT management time to do a clean install. In my Windows experience, I never needed to resort to a "clean wipe" to set things right. And It might be a "Windows thing" but I have always upgraded Mac versions without having to separate the data from the OS. Even when Apple switched from HFS+ to APFS filesystems, the filesystem got changed with out having to copy the OS and data elsewhere.

Enough though, we are well of topic.
 

John Cicchine

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At one time The Windows filesystem was limited to 4TB(?) However, the size of the disks them selves were being produced in much larger sizes for other operating systems. Partitioning was the only option for Windows users. The big problem with partitions is the single source hardware. When that fails, All partitions are irrevocably lost. It is for that reason that I recommend one partition per disk. If you have one disk with multiple partitions, and assign one partition to data and another to backup, where do you back up the data partitions? If you backup the data partition to the backup partition, the you lose both when the disk fails.

Currently I have EHDs consisting of 3, 8TB; 1, 6TB; and 1, 4TB. Two of the 8TB disks are dedicated to system back up of the primary disk and several of the other critical data disks.

Multiple partitions on one disk are fine, however they offer limited benefit in a modern operating system environment Each partition takes up some overhead on the disc and if you want to preserve the maximum space on the volume for data, then one large partition provides the largest space for storage. There is even a RAID partitioning scheme to span multiple disks with a single partition. Called Just a Bunch Of Disks (JBOD). It is of some use where data is larger than the available single disks. However if any one of the disks in the JBOD fail the whole partition is unrecoverable.
Thank You Clee.
 

John Cicchine

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I don't disagree that it is a "Personal IT style." And in fact some corporate IT shops might require it. I disagree however on failing hardware and multiple partitions. If the hardware fails, then every partition on that hard ware is lost. As for your "clean wipe" on the Windows partition, my IT experience suggests this is a quick solution in the corporate world where users ofter botch up their Windows environment to the point that it saves IT management time to do a clean install. In my Windows experience, I never needed to resort to a "clean wipe" to set things right. And It might be a "Windows thing" but I have always upgraded Mac versions without having to separate the data from the OS. Even when Apple switched from HFS+ to APFS filesystems, the filesystem got changed with out having to copy the OS and data elsewhere.

Enough though, we are well of topic.
Thank You Clee.
 

John Cicchine

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I've used Acronis for over 10 years, but I wouldn't recommend it now because of all the security bloat they've added and because of their terrible support. I believe they are currently focused on the security aspect of the product and not improving the backup software.
I'd suggest doing a trail of Acronis and other backup solutions, then determine what is the best solution that works for you.

The product that I will probably switch to is Macrium Reflect.
Thank You Gary.
 

John Cicchine

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If one uses cloning software such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! to backup multiple source drives to a single target drive, I find it convenient to partition the target drive (1 partition for each source drive to be backed up). If one formats the drive as APFS, then one doesn't have to worry about figuring out how much to allocate to each partition because MacOS will dynamically change the size of each partition to match the storage space needed. There is some performance hit for using APFS with a spinning hard drive, but since the drive is for backup, that doesn't matter so much.

My $.02 worth is that if you are regularly backing up your system drive and data (external) drives to a 10TB backup drive AND using BackBlaze, then it is a bit of overkill to have a second backup drive to backup the first backup drive. If you have a primary drive fail AND the 10TB backup drive fail, you have BackBlaze to come to the rescue. If the 10TB fails and the source drives do not, you just go out and buy another target drive and make new backups of your primary drives.
Thank You Camner.
 
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