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Over the last few chapters, we have been learning about how important Lightroom catalogs actually are; therefore, it's worthwhile to take a few minutes to talk about how we can back up these catalogs, how we can protect this really important and valuable aspect of our overall Lightroom workflow. Well, one of the things that you can do is you can set up a few preferences to expedite this overall process. To do that, navigate up to your Lightroom pulldown menu and then here click on Catalog Settings. This will open up the Catalog Settings dialog.
Now, inside of this dialog, we want to go to the General tab, and we want to do a few things here. One is if we go down to Backup, we can back up this catalog in number of different ways. Here you can see some of the options: Never--which definitely isn't a good idea--Once a month, when exiting; Once a week; Once a day; Every time; or When Lightroom exits next--or the next time you close Lightroom. Now, the great thing about this is you can do this when you're done with Lightroom. Now what I find in my workflow is that a lot of times I'll leave Lightroom open for an extended period of time, maybe even a week.
So what I'll like to choose is either Once a day or Every time Lightroom exits. The great thing about this is that it will open a dialog, and if you don't want a back up, you can always skip this. Now, in your own workflow, I recommend that you choose the option which will allow you to backup Lightroom at least approximately once a week. That's probably a pretty good idea. Now that being said, as your catalog grows in size, it's going to take longer to back up. So, you will want to think about this, yet you want to begin to allocate some time for backup to really integrate this into your workflow.
So, here I am just going to choose Every time Lightroom exits, because in my workflow I tend to have my computer on a lot. Lightroom is on a lot. So this way I'll be sure at least back up once a week. So every time it exits, there it is. I close out of that. Then I am going to go to my Lightroom pulldown menu and quit Lightroom. Now when I do that, it's going open up this dialog, and there is some important information here. Let's walk through it. For starters, it says, "Hey, this is your preference to back up every time when you close Lightroom." Okay, great.
This next line is a note. It says, "This is only going to back up your catalog, not your photos. In other words, Lightroom is going to take care of its own space. It's not going to take care of your images. You are going to need to do that outside of Lightroom. It's going to work on the catalog, save a backup version of that for you. Awesome! So, we really want to focus in on that. That's what's happening here. Now, where is it going to back up to? Well, by default it's the same folder as your catalog. Here, you can see it's in my Pictures folder, and then there is that subfolder, LR-3 Demo/, backups are inside of there.
A couple of options you want to definitely leave on. Test the integrity, make sure the catalog is whole, and optimize the catalog. In other words, this will go through the catalog, really clean it up, and what this will do for you is it will boost Lightroom's performance. Now, you can see here that I've chosen this option to back up each time I close Lightroom. Now, I am not necessarily saying that you need to choose that option, but you do need to choose an option which will allow you, or enable you, to back up at least once a week. If ever you don't want a back up, you can always skip it, or sometimes you'll see skip till tomorrow.
So, here you always have that flexibility. Well, in my case what I want to do is back this up, so I'll go ahead and click Backup. That will then tests the integrity, optimize the catalog. Voila! If we go to my Pictures folders here on the hard drive, you'll see I have this folder where my catalog resides, and inside of Backups I now have a brand-new backup of that catalog. You'll notice it's named exactly the same; it's just saved in a different location.
Now that we've set up this preference to create this backup catalog, let's dig a little bit deeper into this topic of backups and catalogs, and let's do so in the next movie.
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