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Which files can I get rid of?

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Active Member
Jul 1, 2012
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Operating System
  1. macOS 12 Monterey

I'm doing some file tidy up work on my machine before my nice shiny new M1 Pro arrives early next month and in my Lightroom directory I have the files shown in the screenshot.

I know I can get rid of the V10 files now I've updated to V11 and I know there are older backups in the backups directory I can remove.

What are the other files and which can I remove safely?



  • Screenshot 2021-12-05 at 14.35.58.png
    Screenshot 2021-12-05 at 14.35.58.png
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Jun 20, 2009
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
What are the other random looking files for? Mainly the shm and wal files?
These are intermediate log files the Lightroom creates and delete while active. Exit LrC and these files will be used then deleted by LrC. The "wal" is the Write Ahead Log and the "shm" file is the Shared Memory file used by Lightroom to store data base entries temporarily until LrC can s add them to the catalog file as a background task.
The folder labeled "Mobile Downloads.lrdata". is the destination of any file originating from the Adobe cloud. You can move these file to your usual import location(s) and change the destination for Lightroom Sync file in Preferences. Once this is done and this folder is empty, you can remove this folder since it will be no longer used.

The "Backups" folder contains your catalog file backups. It should be located on another drive since when this drive fails. you will lose your catalog and your catalog backups. You can change the destination in the Backup dialog that opens when backing up on exit. Old backup files that have accumulated in this folder that won't be needed to correct stupid mistakes that we all make, can be deleted.

The Smart Previews folder can be eliminated and setting changes to not create Smart previews IF you don't mind a little lag in develop AND you don't plan to run Lightroom in a mobile setting where you might leave the disk containing your master image files behind.
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