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The Lightroom catalog is a single file, a database. The catalog is the only file that Lightroom opens. It would be difficult if not impossible to back up just portions of a single database file. So it seems to me that it is really not possible to do what you are asking for..
The backup that LR is doing is just the catalog file. It is not backing up your images. That is something you need to do yourself either manually or with some other Backup software.
No it is not possible for LR to do partial backups of the catalog file. If it did then if you ever need to restore the catalog only a part of it would be restored.
How often do you have the backups scheduled? Maybe set it to once a week (The Default setting) if it isn't already.
Perfect... I thought so and do understand. Thanks, Jim!
Fully understand and get it; just needed to confirm as well as reply to students. Thanks for the clear clarification!
If I understand the catalog backup mechanism of LR right, it is needed to have a backup of the catalog AND the corresponding images from the SAME time to be able to restore all the stuff in case the hard disk gets broken.
Having a catalog backup from e.g. today and the images backup from last week it might not fit together when trying to restore both.
What I do not understand then is the meaning of having multiple catalog backups (stored/packed in different time-stamped directories) LR produces. From my point of view it would be enough to make a complete (or differential) backup of the actual lrcat-file AND all related images at a specific time. Then I can be sure that all fits together.
Ok, I can construct a case where it might make sence to take an older catalog file and replace it with the actual one - but then I must be very sure that catalog and images fit together. A little bit risky...
Am I right with the above assumptions?
You are slightly wrong. LR never changes the original image in any way. Even if you had the option to Write changes to XMP checked the edits you do in LR are also stored in the catalog file.
So even if the backup you had of the images was from 2-3 weeks ago and the catalog backup was made today and your HDD crashed once you restore that LR catalog backup from today and place all your images in the same exact location all the edits, keywords, collections and ratings would all be there.
The only thing that might be missing is IF you imported images in that 2-3 week period those images would show as missing.
Ok, I was not precise enough.
If you are moving images or folders with images from A to B inside LR and you didn't do an backup immediately then you will run into problems when doing a restore.
Of course, also the newly imported images will cause a problem as well as you mentioned.
Btw., do you (or someone else) know a way to prevent LR from doing its backup in a timestamp-based folder instead of simply in the same folder with the same name?