The best way to do this is to close down Lightroom and use either Finder (Mac) or File Explorer (Windows) to copy all the folders to the new hard drive. Then, start Lightroom and right-click on each folder and choose the option to update the folder location and point Lightroom to the folder on the new hard drive. If you have your images all arranged within one master folder all you will have to do is update the location of the master folder. If you haven't done that then you will have to update the location of each of your image folders.
As far as what to store on that external hard drive, that is up to you. There is no benefit to having just photos. There is no harm in having other types of files on that hard drive. You just need to decide how you want to organize your files.
Oh thanks that was fast. I really appreciate it.
Now lets see if I can understand you. For starters I am using a mac with El Capitan OS. I thought that in order to make an exact copy of the original photo folders I had to make the copy using LR.
For some reason I don't feel too confident using this method, because I would hate to get that annoying message "can't locate folder, would you like to find It". I have closed to 1 TB worth of photos. Believe me I'm not doubting you, is just me that I'm very insecure because I don't want going after a goose chase
Yes, I have a master folder that contain all the photo folders.
My experience has been that when moving large numbers of folders Finder is much more reliable than trying to do it from within Lightroom. The copy created by Finder will be an exact copy of all the images. When you start Lightroom after copying the images you aren't going to get that message saying that Lightroom can't find your images, because it will still be pointing to the images on the original, now full, hard drive. So then all you have to do is tell Lightroom that those same images are now located on a new hard drive, and point Lightroom to them.
So then all you have to do is tell Lightroom that those same images are now located on a new hard drive, and point Lightroom to them.
and so this is what you mean
Then, start Lightroom and right-click on each folder and choose the option to update the folder location and point Lightroom to the folder on the new hard drive
So wen I open LR it will still show up the images as thou I never made a copy to the other Ext HD. Again, all I need to do is to RT click the master file and voila it will link it to the new drive right?
Lightroom doesn't know the you have made a new copy of your images on a new hard drive. All it knows is that it is supposed to point to the images on that (now full) hard drive. If you copy all of those images to the new hard drive they are there, but that is done completely independently from Lightroom. If you are showing the master folder on the external hard drive now, all you will have to do is right-click on that master folder and update the folder location. The window that appears will allow you to browse to the new external hard drive. You choose the master folder on the new hard drive and click OK. Lightroom will change its reference to the images in the new location. Now you can decide what you want to do with the old hard drive. If you want to disconnect it and just store it as a backup, that's OK. If you want to leave it connected, that's OK.
I'm not sure what you are so concerned about. I added a new hard drive to my computer recently and had to rearrange folders just as you are wanting to do now. I copied all the images to the new hard drive and followed the procedure that I have outlined for you. It worked flawlessly.
...I keep reading in most postings to move the photo folders to the new Externa HD, but I don't want to move it. I'd like to keep the full Ext HD as a back up,ie., I don't want to move any folders.
I thought at first to start using the new Ext HD as a new drive, without making a copy from the full Ext HD. However, I don't think it would be too practical since I need to get access to the catalog on a regular basis. Therefore, I bought a 3 TB Ext HD, which will allow me to copy of the full Ext DR to the new one...
The Lightroom Catalog on your Internal Drive is perfectly happy working with 2 EHDs. My personal opinion is to keep the old photos as is on the EHD1TB; begin putting new photos on the new EHD3TB. If you need access on a regular basis to the old photos, keep both EHDs plugged into your computer. If your computer does not have 2 USB ports, get a powered Multi-USB hub where you can keep both (or more) plugged in at all times.
If you move all photos to the new drive, what are your plans when that one gets full? Buy a new larger EHD at say 6TB? But wait, what about when that one gets full? ... Why put yourself through that unnecessary stress?
Thanks for contacting me with another twist. To be honest, at first I thought about doing that, ie., clean slate, but then I thought shoot I'm going to work with these images all the time and will end up with more clutter on my desk.
Btw to clarify, I don't have any of my files on my Int HD. I only have my catalog on my Int DR, the actual images are kept on Ext HD.
The only thing is that I'd have to keep the same scheme on all folders. I use a very unique scheme, in addition to the keywords that I attach to all my images. At the moment, I have one USB port available, but I do have a HUB with 5 ports.
I also keep 2 additional back ups copies, which they are also getting full. However, since both back up copies are getting full, I don't have to keep them on my desk only the new Ext DR for back ups. You know now that I'm thinking, I think I might use the other Ext DR I just bought which has 4 TB and use the 3 TB as my new back up copy 2, and use my other small Ext DR for back up copy #3
Maybe it's time to start culling And getting rid of some images. Only you can make that determination.
Just a word about the copying process I outlined for you. You probably realize that your images are not "in" Lightroom. Lightroom simply points to the images wherever they are located on your system. Trying to copy images using Lightroom sometimes becomes unreliable and some images can be left behind or lost. That is why I suggested that it would be more reliable to do it the way I outlined.