Lightroom: Compress catalog backups

  • 3
  • Idea
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • Implemented
  • (Edited)
Lightroom catalog backups seem very well compressible. I'm seeing a 3:1 ratio, and for backups that are easily 1GB in size, this seems like a reasonable trade-off. CPU power is readily available and is "free", while storage capacity is neither.

The kind of compression I'm talking about, is compression at the filesystem level (Windows NTFS compression, not sure if OSX has a similar feature). This will make it fully compatible with anything else that might need to read from it, and it requires a miniscule change to Lightroom itself: just set the "compressed" attribute when creating the actual .lrcat file. That's literally it.

Don't do this for the catalog you normally work in, because compressed files are in fact a little bit slower. But backups are not usually mutated, so it seems fair.

Scary? Not at all. Compression even survives a reinstall. Compressed files can be read and written across Windows versions side-by-side one after another. It can even be read on Linux and OSX (still on NTFS though). It's probably one of the most compatible and transparent compression features ever.

So to me, it makes perfect sense to use it.
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Martijn Saly

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Posted 5 years ago

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Yngvar Johnsen

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Saving disk space is sort of untrendy these days, I guess, but with backups I prefer to keep as many as possible on as little space as possible.

Using rar as compress method I get 14:1 compression ratio on my backup catalogs. A catalog that is 2,4 GB uncompressed ends up as 158 MB compressed with the WinRAR utility with settings to maximum compression for RAR files.

Performing the compression goes significantly faster than actually producing the backup file, so time should not be an issue.
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Bryn Forbes

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now that lightroom zips the backups I think this could be marked as implemented.