5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 27, 2017 6:53 PM by wobertc

    Consolidating Multiple Hard Drives to Single External HD

    gundamgeek Level 1

      I have scoured the forums for an answer to this question and as many solutions and answers as I see, there are none that quite solve this issue. Currently I have about 20k photos (according to lightroom) spanned across 3 hard drives (One my C:, the other 2 are external) and the goal is to take all of these photos and move them all to a brand new single external HD. Every guide I have seen on the forums is essentially move the photos, reset light room without the old drives plugged in, and find the new location one collection at a time.

       

      I have followed Merging Individual Lightroom Catalogs into a “Master” Catalog « Julieanne Kost's Blog
      and How to Consolidate Your Photos in Lightroom - Pixel Training

       

      It seems cumbersome, but following the second guide, it has me importing all of the photos (which after about 6 attempts I realize to just do in chunks of 1000)) until they are all on the desired hard drive. Unlike what the guide implies though, I can't do the multiple drives at once leading me to believe that it would make me create 3 catalogs (one for each drive) instead of just pushing everything into one master catalog (that retains my tags and collection information), which is the desired outcome.

       

      Maybe I have just been reading all these forum posts wrong (because boy you all make this seem extremely simple) or I'm not understanding these guides.

       

      I have half a mind to pull a light room no-no and just physically move all the photo locations through windows explorer and refind the locations for the folders (but although I have my catalog triple backed up, I'm afraid it will lose my tags and keywords in that process)

       

      Help possibly?

       

       

      P.S.
      This is for Light Room 5

        • 1. Re: Consolidating Multiple Hard Drives to Single External HD
          Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

          Please use the correct terms when asking a question.

          You refer to One Collection at a Time.

          Collections are different from folders on your drives that hold your images.

          Collections in LR are just Groupings of images that can be stored on any drive. Collections only exist inside of LR.

          Folders are where the actual images are stored on your drives

          If you move images from the various hard drives they are now stored in onto the new external using the same Folder Structure from within LR or using your File Manager and then Relinking them in LR all your collections will be preserved.

           

          If I was in this situation I would move one folder of images onto the new external using the File Manager of the OS and then use the Update Folder location option in LR to Relink them to there new location. I would also use the same folder structure. So if the images were stored in a folder called Pictures then a subfolder I would create the PATH on the new external and then Move the images.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Consolidating Multiple Hard Drives to Single External HD
            wobertc Adobe Community Professional

            I have half a mind to pull a light room no-no and just physically move all the photo locations through windows explorer and refind the locations for the folders (but although I have my catalog triple backed up, I'm afraid it will lose my tags and keywords in that process)

            That is exactly the (best- by many opinions)  way to do it! 

            But -  Never do any re-Importing, never, never! All the photo links are already in the Catalog.

            You will not lose tags and keywords- they are all in the Catalog.

             

            The steps simplified are-

            1. In Explorer, COPY a folder of photos to a NEW drive location. If you have a 'Master' top-level folder with photos in sub-folders- so much the better-  Copy the 'Master' folder and all it contains.

            2. Now in Lightroom you will RM-click on the original (OLD)  'Master' folder and choose [Update folder location]

            3. In the explorer dialog that opens select the 'Master' folder on the NEW drive location.

             

            Now Lightroom is referencing  all the 'Master' folders and photos in their NEW location.

            When you have this working, you can use explorer to delete the folders from their original OLD location.

             

            (An analogy would be like- changing someone's address in your phone index-  the index now points to their new location. You do not make a new index.)

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Consolidating Multiple Hard Drives to Single External HD
              gundamgeek Level 1

              I do understand the concept of Collections (in LR) and Folders (in OS).

               

              I think what makes this confusing is (for simplicities sake) I have a Collection called "Concert", the items in the "concert" collection have pictures from 3 folders (in the OS) with the path "C:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1, C:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 2, and C:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 3"

               

              Is the only way to retain Collection placement, to move the folder (in OS) to the external hard drive keeping the same path, for example "Z:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1"?

               

              Is there not a sort of mass export option or tool that would take the pictures (within LR) current path and place them on to the "Z:" drive?

               

              Meaning can light room mass export (copies) of all my LR photos, while updating all existing paths to "z:"; as opposed to me reforming the entire structure in my OS file explorer?

               

              This started when I had an old PC crash (which was Pathed beautifully ) and I scrambled through all my back up drives to find all my photos.

              • 4. Re: Consolidating Multiple Hard Drives to Single External HD
                Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                gundamgeek wrote:

                 

                I do understand the concept of Collections (in LR) and Folders (in OS).

                 

                I think what makes this confusing is (for simplicities sake) I have a Collection called "Concert", the items in the "concert" collection have pictures from 3 folders (in the OS) with the path "C:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1, C:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 2, and C:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 3"

                 

                Is the only way to retain Collection placement, to move the folder (in OS) to the external hard drive keeping the same path, for example "Z:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1"?

                 

                Is there not a sort of mass export option or tool that would take the pictures (within LR) current path and place them on to the "Z:" drive?

                 

                Meaning can light room mass export (copies) of all my LR photos, while updating all existing paths to "z:"; as opposed to me reforming the entire structure in my OS file explorer?

                 

                This started when I had an old PC crash (which was Pathed beautifully ) and I scrambled through all my back up drives to find all my photos.

                Yes that is what I would do. Once they are moved and you have everything working correctly you can try moving them around to different folder, omitting the User folder, and the Collections should update automatically. But I'm not completely sure about that as I have never done this or ever had to.

                Best of luck to you. Hope everything works out.

                • 5. Re: Consolidating Multiple Hard Drives to Single External HD
                  wobertc Adobe Community Professional

                  "Collections" in Lightroom are virtual lists of photos made by gathering photos from any folder. They are not visible in the OS, they cannot be 'copied' with the OS, they would disappear if you start a new fresh catalog in Lightroom, as they only exist in the catalog.

                  So- a Collection called "Concert" only exists in the catalog.

                   

                  "Folders" in Lightroom- visible in the Folders Panel are an exact mirror and a direct link to the folders in your OS. With one big exception- you only "see" folders that contain PHOTOS. (ie. Photos you have IMPORTED)

                  So-{ C:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1 } a folder in the Lr Folder panel, is the folder in your OS.

                   

                  There is no mass export function in Lr to re-link the catalog database. The Export function creates NEW files which are not the same as the originals.

                   

                  Is the only way to retain Collection  (edit:  FOLDER)  placement, to move the folder (in OS) to the external hard drive keeping the same path, for example "Z:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1"?

                  Yes.  but the drive name might change!  eg.  Z:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1   might become- E:\User\Pictures\Concert\Day 1  

                  This is simply fixed with the [Update Folder Location] function in Lr.

                  scrambled through all my back up drives to find all my photos.

                  So this is a situation when the Lr catalog folder panel has lost all links to the folders in the OS. A difficult job to remedy, and best to accept the crash has forced a new LR Catalog build.

                   

                  My Situation:  My prime 'Backup' external drive W: is an exact mirror of my 'Images' drive E:  and these drives are automatically synced to be the same. If my E:drive crashes or fails, I have the W: drive to re-construct all my photos in exactly the same folder structure onto a 'new' E:drive replacement.