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Incremental back ups to external hard drive and importing to new computer

May 29, 2010 9:32 AM

I need some clarification on precisely how to back up additional pictures on a PC to an external hard drive to keep all the pictures in the same catalog and folder structure.I have exported my existing catalog (exporting the negative files and including the previews) to an EHD to a folder I have created called My lightroom Photos.Within this folder there are three sub-folders:(1)My Lightroom Photos previews.irdata, (2) My Lightroom Photos.lrcat LRCAT file and (3) Pictures (which contain copies of all the subject folders I have created on import-the original pictures being retained on the computer hard drive). When LR opens you have the option of backing up the alterations to pictures in an EHD (but not the pictures themselves).So if some alterations in the develop module are made,these are backed up as a fourth sub- folder on the EHD with the date recorded.However,if certain pictures are added to Lightroom following the earlier catalog export, how can these pictures together with the alterations be added to that same exported catalog with pictures added to various established folder names -eg France, Italy etc? LR is currently set to back up to the parent folder-My Lightroom Photos.


Secondly, I believe that to import the catalog into LR on a second computer,all that is necessary is direct LR to open the last dated LRCAT file from My Lightroom Photos folder on the EHD.However,my last backed up "fourth" LR folder only imported two grayed out images with no previews visible.


Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 29, 2010 11:26 AM   in reply to investigator1

    Lightroom is not a tool to create backups of your photos, nor incremental backups of your photos. The capability doesn't exist.


    And while you can use "Export as Catalog" to create a backup, that wasn't the purpose of the command, and there is no way to do an incremental backup.


    So, I suggest you use an actual dedicated backup program to make your backups and incremental backups.


    If you want to import the catalog into LR on a 2nd computer that was created wtih File->Export as Catalog, you need to use File->Import From Catalog ... is that what you tried?

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2010 4:33 AM   in reply to investigator1
    On the subject of incremental back ups, this means that although you can add pictures to LR and back up the alterations at the start up menu,this resulting back up is divorced from the new pictures

    This doesn't sound correct, although I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "resulting back up is divorced from the new pictuers". If I understand you properly, then I would say this is incorrect.


    ... so I wonder how they are supposed to be reunited by LR if the computer internal hard drive is damaged. I would have thought that Adobe could have provided a seamless and easy way to perform this for such a critical function.

    I believe it is the user's responsibility to restore the catalog file and backups from your backup location.

    Secondly, I want to maintain my existing folder structure with all the editing history when I import onto the new computer.If you try to import from the catalog, this does not import the pictures in the relevant folders.It simply mixes up all the pictures in a non-structured way.I have dragged and copied my created LR folder on the EHD to drive C on my new computer which now resides in my Pictures.However an attempt to drag and drop the folder into the listed drive C within LR is not possible.

    While I have never done a File->Import from Catalog for this purpose, you could certainly move the entire existing folder structure to your new computer using the operating system. In fact, I wouldn't use File->Export from Catalog and then File->Import from Catalog to move everything from one computer to another computer. But when you do the File->Import from Catalog, you do get an option to indicate where the photos will be stored.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2010 7:24 AM   in reply to investigator1

    I've created a Smart Collection of all photos edited since DD/MM/YY, where I amend the date in the selection criteria to the last time I backed the photos up to an external HD. I use this collection to 'Export as DNG' to my HD, and then amend the date in the collection to today. When I next decide to do an incremental backup, I select all the photos in this collection, and change the date when I've finished.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 2, 2010 4:09 AM   in reply to investigator1

    I assume that what you really need is some form of keeping the photograph folders on your internal hard drive in sync with the folders on your external hard drive (the catalog itself can be backed up from within Lightroom). This downloadable little utility works for me when I want to keep my spreadsheets, letters, iTunes files ...etc... backed up;

    It's nothing to do with Lightroom. You first set up simple jobs within the utility, telling it which folders on your internal drive should be backed up to which folders on your external drive. It will then run, and copy to the ehd any items in the source folder that have changed since the last sync. Then, if your internal hard drive fails, you can copy these folders and catalogs from your ehd to the replacement hd, using the original folder structure.


    In Lightroom, the catalog is the main organisational tool, rather than the folder. I let LR decide on it's own folder structure, because I never refer to my RAW files outside of LR. Hope this helps.

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