Lightroom Classic: Create a duplicate Catalog file at a second location

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I have been using Lightroom desktop application since version 1 in 2007, now at LR Classic cc 8, over the years there are lots of individuals that post on the user to user forum about corrupt of their Lightroom Catalog file. To mitigate loss of editing work done before a backup has been created, the usual suggestion is to "automatically write to xmp files" however I would like to make an alternative.

Allow Lightroom to write to a duplicate Catalog file at an alternate location, another internal drive on the computer, an attached external drive or flash drive etc.

This could allow for immediate recover of the Catalog if the copy on the primary location were to become corrupt.
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Denis de Gannes

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Posted 1 year ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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As I understand it, you are not talking about the catalog backup feature that Lightroom already has, but about having two (identical) catalogs open and updated simultaneously? That sounds a lot easier than it probably is. As Lightroom even has to restart if you simply open another catalog, I assume it would require a rewrite from the ground up. 
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Dan Hartford Photo

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There are two basic causes of Catalog corruption.  One is some sort of software, or logic, failure.  this is where the catalog becomes inconsistent.  For example in one table there is a reference to a row in another table where that row doesn't exist.  These sorts of failures can occur from programming errors, very unusual key sequences (especially on a slow processor), and unexpected terminations such as power failures.  If two catalogs were being updated simultaneously the corruption would most likely happen to both.  But even if it didn't, detecting that one catalog was updated differently than the other would require a start up or continuous comparison utility not to mention what to do if it did indeed find a difference (which one is right?)

A 2nd common cause of catalog corruption is hardware failure of the disk drive.  This can be the entire drive or just some sectors of the drive going bad.  In these cases a 2nd copy on another drive would be useful.  But, all things considered, taking a backup to a 2nd drive of the catalog upon exit every day would be almost as good (you'd just lose at most one day's work assuming you backed up daily) which would probably be the least of your problems when facing a drive failure.

As you may know, the Catalog is actually an SQL database that is updated in real time.  Your suggestion would required a 2nd such database, also updated in real time, which would also have to be available every time you use LR.  This again could pose issues for laptop users who neglect to bring the 2nd drive on trips.  

As a final thought, Catalog corruption, while it does happen, is not a common occurrence and is much less frequent than in the earlier days of LR.  I have been in business helping people with LR training and problem solving for over 5 years and have yet to be confronted with a true catalog corruption issue.  I myself had a true catalog corruption in LR 3 or 4 that occurred in a January but did not show itself until July when I went to look as some photos I had worked on in January.  I determined this by first figuring out how to force the error to show itself (ie. open a certain photo in the Develop module).  Then i went back to successively older and older catalog backup's till the problem didn't occur.   But, other than that have not come across any other catalog corruption instances.