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Volume / Folder appearing several Times in Folder Panel


Senior Member
Jun 19, 2009
Zurich, Switzerland
Lightroom Experience
I came across a clever solution of a quite common problem lately, so I thought I'd share it here:

Since LR3, I've seen quite a few people complaining about seeing the same physical folder location under two or more separate drive entries in the folder panel. The volumes (drives) appear to be the same, but stay there in separate entries.

Another commonly seen phenomenon is seeing the same physical folder in different spellings (upper- vs. lowercase) in the folder panel.

This is an example of this behaviour. Note how

  • the folder "$Fotos" appears under
    • Ts-tgl5c9-1 auf "TeraStation (Ts-tgl5c9)" (U)
    • \\Ts-tgl5c9\ts-tgl5c9-1\
which both denote the exact same network share on my NAS.

  • the folder "$Fotos" on Drive F: appears as
    • $Fotos
    • $FOTOS
which both denote the exact same physical folder on drive F:


This situation occurs in LR, if you
  • use different methods to access a network share during import operations in Windows (don't know about Mac). In Windows Explorer, you can access a network share through at least three different paths:
    • Through use of a mapped drive letter
      Ts-tgl5c9-1 auf "TeraStation (Ts-tgl5c9)" (U)
    • Through "My Network Places" > "Entire Network" -> "Microsoft Windows Network" > domain > servername > share name
    • In WinXP through "My Network Places" > a previously used share name, which might even give you another different spelling
  • Import from a folder which - at some point of time - did have a different capitalization (i.e. all owercase vs. all upercase or mixed case)
Depending on which path you use to access a folder on a network share and depending on how folders are spelled at the time of import, you will get a slightly different different representation of their name, which - in LR - unfortunately are treated as separate drive/volume/folder entries. This has been aknowledged and recorded as an issue by Adobe, as LR would be able to find out that they all denote the same physical folder.

Now that one knows about this behaviour, one might be more carefull to consistantly import using the same access path to a share in the future, and not to change folder's names as far as upper-/lowercase goes. But how to clean up the mess in the folder panel and get rid of the duplicate drive entries?

First of all, one has to decide which one of the drive entries one wants to use for imports in the future or which of the folder-spellings is the one currently represented on disk (the "strategic drive/folder") . A good way of doing this is to import a test image through whatever access path one is used to, and see under which drive/folder this image is imported. Then, you want to get rid of the remaining (duplicate) drive-/folder-entries and consolidate them into the "strategic drive/folder", the one to be exclusively used from now on.

To do so, you cannot move an image from a folder under one drive to the same folder under a different drive (-spelling), because LR will tell you the the file already exists at the destination (which is true, since it is the exact same location).

I used to advice people to create a temporary folder somewhere else, move all the images to this temporary folder in LR, and then move them to the appropriate folder on "strategic drive/folder". This method works, but gets very clumsy if you have a complicated structure of folders below the drives.

How to consolidate:

a) For Folders (Network Shares) under Volumes with differently spelled Names

  • "Add Parent Folder" on all the folders to be consolidated, so you end up with as few top level folders as possible
  • On all of the top level folders under a "non strategic" drive, choose "Update Folder Location ..."
  • Navigate to the folder on the network share through the path which you want to use in the future (one of the three described above)
  • Now LR will (rightly so) tell you that the selected folder already exists in LR and asks you whether you want to combine the two folders :) :
  • Confirm by clicking "Merge" and the "non strategic" folder is gone in LR
  • Do so for all remaining folders of a "non strategic" drive, and the "non strategic" drive will disappear from the folders panel, leaving you with a clean folder structure:
b) For differently spelled Folders (different Capizalization) under the same Volume

The procedure for duplicate folders with wrong capitalization in names under the same volume/drive is a little different, as you will get the following error when just trying to update the folder location to the currently spelled folder within the same drive/volume:
"An internal error has occured: Attempted to clase a session with a pending transaction"

To get around this problem (which is also noted by Adobe), you can proceed as follows:
  • "Add Parent Folder" on all the folders to be consolidated, so you end up with as few top level folders as possible
  • For each duplicate folder entry, choose "Update Folder Location ..."
  • Navigate to any folder on your system which does have nothing to do with where the images actually reside (i.e. C:\Temp, "Desktop")
  • All the images in the folder (and it's subfolders) will now show missing ("?")
  • Choose "Update Folder Location ..." for the now wrongly linked folder again
  • Navigate to the folder folder on disk with the current spelling (which contains your images)
  • Now LR will (rightly so) tell you that the selected folder already exists in LR and asks you whether you want to combine the two folders :) (see above)
  • Confirm by clicking "Merge" and the wrongly spelled folder is gone in LR
  • Do so for all remaining wrongly spelled folders, leaving you with a clean folder structure:

If you end up having the same share showing several times in the LR3 import dialog
you can get rid of the unwanted entries by selecting "Remove Network Volume" in the context menu of a share entry. This is not possible for a mapped drive letter though.

I hope this post can help people get their duplicate entries sorted out without pain, if it happens to them.


P.S: Please excuse my German Windows screen shots, but I think you'll get to what they mean without exactly understanding the words ;)
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