7 Replies Latest reply on May 3, 2015 6:33 AM by D.A.R

    Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection

    Alison Petty Photography

      Hi there

      I'm a little new to this community but so very glad to have found you all.

       

       

      I am currently using Lightroom 4 and have a question about backing up external drives and maintaining the catalogue should the primary drive fail.

       

      At the moment, I have a system where my archives are stored on one external drive and I have another (same sized) drive that I want to have as a clone.

       

      I'm still learning about catalogues and trying to get my head around how this all works. Hoping someone can tell me though the best way to keep a second copy of the first drive so that if that one fails, I can plug in the second and carry on working as before.

       

      I was wondering if using Time Machine to back it up would work sufficiently? I know it would back-up the first drive but I don't know how the catalogue would then connect to the second drive should it ever need to.

       

      Really hope you can help.

      Many thanks in advance...

      ~Ally~

        • 1. Re: Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection
          D.A.R Adobe Community Professional

          You say your "Archives" are on the external drive.

          Do you actually mean your image files that you are working with?

           

          Where is your Lightroom Catalog file? By default its in the Pictures or My Pictures(PC) folder on your working OS drive.

           

          Assuming default setup for catalog, it will track your images on the "Archive" drive. When that drive is backed up, by either dragging and dropping or using backup software only the images are backed up. Should your Archive drive fail it will not affect Lightroom as that is a database on your OS drive. You would simply connect the backup drive to your computer and use Lightroom to find the missing folders. Finding the top level folder should be sufficient.

          • 2. Re: Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection
            Alison Petty Photography Level 1

            Hey there D.A.R

            Thank you so much for your reply. I realised this morning that I probably should have posted this in the ‘beginners’ section that I’ve just found as whilst I am not new to photography, I am new to Lightroom. So my apologies and I hope that I’m not too confusing.

             

            You say your "Archives" are on the external drive.

            Do you actually mean your image files that you are working with?

             

            Ahh yes sorry I should have written Photo Archive there

             

             

            Where is your Lightroom Catalog file? By default its in the Pictures or My Pictures(PC) folder on your working OS drive.

             

             

            Mine is under 'Pictures' > 'Lightroom'

            On my laptop. I haven't ever changed the set up of this so will be the default.

             

             

            Ahh ok so I think I might be understanding this correctly!
            If I explain what I think is how this works and what I'm planning to do could you just let me know if I'm thinking correctly. Would be so appreciated.

             

             

            > I currently store all of my Photo Archive on external drive #1.

             

            > My Catalogue for all of my Lightroom files (that are both stored on my laptop and on my Ext. Drive #1) is stored on my Laptop (as mentioned above). I have yet to learn about making specific Catalogues so at the moment there is only the original one for all of my Lightroom images.

             

            > To make a back up of Ext. Drive #1 I am going to use TimeMachine so that I can make backups to Ext. Drive #2 as I work with the files stored on Ext. Drive #1.

             

             

            ~ Therefore, should Ext. Drive #1 ever fail, I should then technically be able to plug in Ext. Drive #2 ~

             

            Have I understood you correctly?

             


            What I'm not sure about is how Lightroom will connect to Ext. Drive #2 and all the settings and adjustments will connect as if it was Ext. Drive 1?

             


            Thank you again so much for taking the time to help me out.
            Happy Sunday and warm wishes

            ~Ally~

            • 3. Re: Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection
              dj_paige Level 9

              As with any backups made by any program, you don't simply plug-in the backup drive. You have to copy or move all the backup files to the EXACT SAME location as the original files were located! Then everything would work fine. If that is not possible, and the backups are on a different drive than the originals, but in the same folder structure, you can use these instructions to allow Lightroom to work with the backup drive (see Figure 4) Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders

              • 4. Re: Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection
                Alison Petty Photography Level 1

                Ah so I would do as I wrote above in my last reply ... but *then* re-direct Lightroom to point to the the backed up Ext Drive #2 via the 'Find Missing Files and Folders' function?

                 

                It would be great to know that this process (from my start to finish) would work

                 

                Cheers guys!

                 

                P.s. I've used the 'Find missing files' function before when folders have got disconnected within my laptop but thank you so much for the link... I'll have a look as so much I still need to learn!

                • 5. Re: Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection
                  Alison Petty Photography Level 1

                  Also, just to add...

                   

                  I do understand that doing all of this will re-connect the files to my lightroom.

                   

                  ...but what I'm not sure about is whether the same adjustments will be there of the newly connected Ext. Drive #2... in the exact same way they were on the on the files lost on Ext. Drive #1 (should the drive fail.) 

                   

                  Assuming of course, that Ext. Drive 2 is an exact back up of #1.

                  • 6. Re: Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection
                    dj_paige Level 9

                    Yes, the adjustments and metadata will be present, that's the whole point of re-connecting.

                     

                    By the way, maybe I missed it, but I don't see anywhere in your process description of you making backups of your catalog file to your backup drive. This can be done from within Lightroom, and as far as I am concerned, this is mandatory.

                    • 7. Re: Backing up external drives and keeping the LR catalogue connection
                      D.A.R Adobe Community Professional

                      Im going to disagree with the notion that you have to copy the files back to the same location. The concept of the backup in this case is to clone the data from one drive to another. I personally wouldn't use Time Machine for this as its proprietary. I would, and do, use Chronosync.

                       

                      Should the first drive fail, its effectively useless without expensive recovery.

                       

                      The backup drive, as its a clone, will retain the folder structure. Lightroom only needs to be pointed to the top level folder.

                       

                      The changes you make to images are stored in Lightrooms catalog Database, so they will be applied to the images and everything will look just as you left it. Ready for another drive to come along and serve as a new backup.

                       

                      There are additional steps you can take to prevent loss of data:

                      Write the metadata to the files: Metadata > Save Metadata to Files...

                      In the case of DNG files this will embed any LR changes to the file (still fully reversible)

                      In the case of raw files it will write a sidecar (amp) file alongside the raw file.

                      In the case of tiff, jpg, and PSD the data will be written inside the file.

                       

                      If the Lightroom catalog file becomes corrupt then all your changes are still safe with the files themselves.

                       

                      Another step to take as @dj_paige suggests is to make a habit of backing up the catalog file. You can elect where to save this backup but it makes sense to place it on the drive where your images are so it also gets backed up to the clone drive. Preferences > General > Go to Catalog Settings > General. Choose the frequency. When you see the backup dialog (upon exiting Lightroom) choose the location.