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The backup and restore process really is a copy, not a move of both your catalog folder and your image tree library.
After the restore, you have two exactly similar copies.
What is not described in the process is that if you no longer need the original on your laptop, you simply use your Explorer or Finder to delete the photo files tree from your laptop.
After the restore, the catalog folder copy is on your external drive. It is seen in 'custom' location in the catalog manager.
You can choose to move it back to the default (hidden) location on the laptop from the catalog manager, it's your choice. You can always move the whole catalog folder elsewhere from the explorer, its contents are not changed.
When you have deleted the photo files tree on the laptop, you still have its original catalog on the laptop. From the Organizer with the newly 'moved' catalog selected you use the catalog manager to find and highlight that original catalog in the list and press the 'delete' button.
I understand that if I just move the 42,000 images via a simple drag and drop, that it will mess up my catalog (won't it)?
No, it won't. The drag and drop method is both secure and flexible, but the backup/restore is still safer. You get two working versions plus a backup... Some will think dragging is easier (it is really, and more flexible) and faster; but since you'll probably make a full backup before the drag and drop, it's not faster. The drawback is that you have to let the process run without any feedback about the percentage performed. Dragging is safe. I had once a power failure in the process at 90%. Nothing was changed or deleted from the original. I simply had to delete the part of the already moved library from the Explorer and to start again from scratch. You can see that the drag and drop process is really a copy followed by a delete if everything goes well.
And, then in the future, I'll make sure I keep the 'My Pictures' folder on my laptop under 1,000 pics by doing weekly incremental backups
- If you use the menu Edit >> Preferences, you set the default folder and drive you want your imported or scanned photo to go to. Nothing will go to your Pictures folders in you laptop. No need to check the size.
- Beware of incremental backups. They are tricky to restore.
You might prefer full backups every few months, keeping only the last two versions.
For maximum safety between those full fackups, I use the Windows Synctoy to Sync both my library and current catalog to an external drive after each important editing session. Really much, much faster than an incremental backup. There are many similar syncing softwares available. They don't enable you to move your catalog and library like the backup/restore method, but you can go back if your computer is still working.
Thank you very much for the time and details and thoroughness that you put into your post. Unfortunately, at the moment it is a bit 'over my head'.
I am disabled and have been very sick over the last two weeks (and I still am sick). When I get like this, cognition and short-term memory become very problematic.
I will print out and study your post and possibly later have a reply that might have a halfway intelligent question or two to help me understand your post.
I just wanted to let you know why I have been slow to respond back and thank you for your help/answer/reply/response. All is much appreciated by me.
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My best wishes for your health.
The good news is that there is a solution for you either by drag and drop or by backup/restore.
Please ask if you need more detailed explanatiions.