Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Performing a better catalog backup, part of Lightroom 4: Catalogs.
Now that we know a little bit about the basics of backing up our catalogs, here what I want to do is share with you a few tips, which will help you more effectively back up your catalog files. All right! Let's go ahead and navigate to our Lightroom pulldown menu and select Catalog Settings. In our Catalog Settings dialog, I want to make sure you have this option turned on, Backup your catalog every time Lightroom exits. And with this option turned on, it gives us a bit of confidence, like we are effectively backing up our catalog all the time, every time we exit Lightroom.
Yet, the problem is, is that we're saving this backup catalog really in the wrong location. In this dialog, you can see the location where a catalog lives. It's in my Pictures folder by default. That's a great spot for the main catalog. Let's go ahead and click Show in order to open up that folder. Well, here you can see I have the main catalog, and then in a subfolder, I have all of my backup catalogs. The problem with this strategy here is pretty obvious, isn't it? If I accidentally cleaned out this folder or deleted this folder or perhaps if this hard drive crashed, well I would lose not only my main catalog but also all of my backup catalogs.
In other words, it's like we've put all of our eggs in one basket, and when it comes to backup strategies, that just isn't a very good idea. So how do we fix this? Let's go ahead and close this dialog. What we want to do is change the location where we're going to save these backups. To do that, in Lightroom, you can go ahead and quit Lightroom. You can do that by navigating to the pulldown menu and selecting Quit. This then gives us the ability to save this backup. And this line here is perhaps one of the most important steps that you can take when it comes to effectively backing up your catalog, because this line tells us where this catalog is being saved.
It's been saved to my Pictures folder; not a very good idea. I want this to be on another hard drive, in a different location. In order to choose that you simply click on the Choose button. Here what I'm going to do is navigate to an external hard drive. I have a hard drive which I've named Backup Drive. On this drive, I've created a subfolder. The folder is called Lightroom-Catalog-Backup. I'll click on that folder here, and then click Choose. In this way, what I'm doing is saving my main catalog on my internal hard drive.
Then that backup catalog or all of those backup catalogs, they're saved on another external device. So here, all that I need to do now to back this up is to simply click Backup and it will check the integrity, optimize that catalog, and then back that up. Well next, what I want to do is open up that drive in order to look at those files. So I'll go ahead and open up the folder now, which is Lightroom Catalog, and here you can see I have the backup file on a different hard drive than my main catalog. And by separating these two locations, it just makes this more stable.
Now another strategy that you might want to take when it comes to backing up your catalogs is to using software to automatically back up those catalog files. If you're on a Mac, you could use time machine or you could use other software that you can set up to automatically back up particular files. I want to show you a resource web site where you can find some information about this type of software. The web site is titled dpbestflow.org and if you go to the Resources section and then click on Links, it will take you to this page.
Well, here on the Links page, there is a section for Software. You can use these programs say like SyncBack or ChronoSync or the other ones listed there, and you can use them to automatically back up files from particular folders, and you can set this up, so that it happens on a regular basis at a particular time on specific days. By using software like this, again it just ensures that you're backing everything up. Well, whatever your strategy, most importantly what I recommend that you do is that you at least save your catalog files on a separate hard drive than your main catalog.
That way you can have your main catalog in one place, and you can have your backup files in a completely different location.
- Comparing RAID storage to JBOD storage
- Finding images in a catalog
- Importing images
- Understanding the difference between catalogs, collections, and folders
- Optimizing catalogs and upgrading legacy catalogs
- Merging catalogs
- Relinking images
- Solving conflicts with new hard drives
- Restoring from backups
- Saving adjustments to raw files