My catalog has images from two different hard drives. One, my main drive and the other a small external. I want to bring all the files from the external to the larger hard drive WITHOUT deleting them from the external. I believe this is impossible from all the searches I have done. I can easily move the files by moving the folders within Lightroom, but this deletes the files from the original drive. I cannot import the files because they are already in the catalog. I can use explore to copy the files but when I do this Lightroom ignores the duplicate because it already knows about the image and where it was originally and still is located. This is true even when the external is disconnected.
One idea is to create a new catalog and import all photos to the new catalog. If I do this will I lose any editing I have done in the original catalog. And, can I import the files from the main drive without actually moving the actual raw data i.e. just tell this new catalog hey these photos are already in this folder go find them, and then import the files from the external, by physically copying them within the lightroom import dialogue box from the external to the main drive. This results in one large photo file on the main drive with all photos imported and named the same way collected by date without destroying the files on the external.
Cleaning up from past mistakes is always way more complicated than taking ones time and not making them in the first place, but I have not lived my life in this way. Thanks for any and all help.
Best to the community,
Correctly stated that when you would try to move the images from one drive to another within Lightroom, it removes them from the original location.
However, you can try to copy the images to the other drive outside Lightroom using explorer and then in Lightroom, right click on the specific folders and choose Update folder location to assign the new location
so that Lightroom can relocate and know that the new location for those images resides on the main drive.
I want to bring all the files from the external to the larger hard drive WITHOUT deleting them from the external. I believe this is impossible from all the searches I have done.
Not true, it is possible.
In your operating system, you COPY the files (not MOVE) to the larger hard drive, then point Lightroom to the new location of the photos on the larger hard disk using these instructions (scroll down to the section entitled "Updating Folder Location")