Lightroom Classic: How to safely move mobile download data to dedicated drive and prevent re-build on C: ?

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Last night I had a barrel of laughs (not) keeping me up to the wee hours of the morning to fix everything after my near disastrous attempt at moving mobile download images to a new, dedicated hard drive. I installed a 1TB SSD to use solely for LR Classic CC and resulting mobile sync data on my desktop. I researched and figured out how to move everything from my C: drive to the new dedicated drive. It was actually a simple cut and paste exercise moving the entire Lightroom folder to my new G: drive and simply double clicking on the Lightroom catalog file that magically instructed Lightroom that all my folders and catalogs are now on the new G: drive location. So far so good.

Then recently I realized that Lightroom was still writing new mobile download data to C: and had accumulated 45GB's of data taking up limited space on my C: drive. Moreover Lightroom now has two mobile download folders it is referring to, one on the C: drive with the newer image files and one on the G: drive with the older files stored at time I copied everything over to the new drive. So, now is where I messed things up:

1) I went into LR Classic preferences and instructed LR to download mobile data to a specific location on G: (previously unspecified), and 2) I copied and pasted all recent image files from the mobile download folder on the C: drive to the mobile download folder containing the older images on G: Step 2) was sheer stupidity on my behalf of-course as I have images from two cameras quite close in shutter count with same file naming convention and this lead to several hundred images being overwritten on the G: drive. After realizing my error I was up for hours manually re-instating overwritten files from a previous backup. Regarding 1) this appeared to have no effect in Lightroom. Despite specifying new location for mobile downloads on G:, LR immediately started to re-build the mobile download folder on C:. After realizing I didn't have a clue what I was doing I deleted all the newly copied images to download folder an G: and just let LR re-build folder on C: over night. Fortunately all my image files are now found again in Lightroom and I have not permanently lost any images.


So, my question is 1) how do I safely get mobile download data transferred over from my C: drive to G: drive without messing up referencing in LR and 2) how to permanently prevent LR re-building the mobile download catalog on C:?
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Roy McLaren

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Posted 10 months ago

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Dan Hartford Photo

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Okay, here goes....  Your step 1 looks correct.  "Edit (or Lightroom on Mac) -> preferences".  then point to the folder you want NEW images coming from the Cloud based LR CC to go to.  Please recheck to assure that the preference is still set to the "G" drive.  right after setting to "G"  import one new photo to your mobile device and see where it lands when it arrives in Classic.  Should be a folder on the G drive as well as being put into a Classic based collection.

On your step 2 you don't say if you did the copy/paste from within the folders panel in LR (drag and drop) or in the OS (Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder).  If the later you would need to re-link them in LR after the move.  But, your main problem as you noted is that you had duplicate file names that were not duplicate images. 

As you use 2 or more cameras simultaneously (as i do) you are a prime candidate for renaming image files upon import.  The naming pattern should create some indication of the camera.  For example, I use a file name like 5dk3R04-#0001 for my Canon 5d Mark 3 in which I'm in the 4th time going through the number range on that camera (Role 04).  the last 4 digits are the last 4 digits from the camera generated file name.  Similarly the images from the Canon 7d Mark II are named 7dk2R02-#0001 (only 2nd time through the number range).  You can create a file naming preset for each camera to simplify this and also use that preset to to rename pre-existing images.  So, before you merge the two folders you may want to use the metadata filter to select camera A, and rename the images from that camera such that they won't overlap camera B.  Then just for consistency sake do the same with images from camera B.  What this doesn't solve is getting the auto download from the CC ecosystem to automatically use the correct preset for the different camera's, and you can't do that in the CC ecosystem in LR.  But, let's leave that problem for later.

Once you have your files renamed, withing the folders panel of LR, drag the images from the default folder on :"C" to the new folder on "G" and you should be good to go.  

But, let me ask if rather than keeping an ever increasing number of images in the download folder you've considered moving them to other folders (organized by date or shoot or whatever rings your bell)?  In other words periodically empty the default download folder by moving those images elsewhere on your "G" Drive.  This could help the redundant file name problem.

I'm not sure why it would rebuild the mobile folder on C once you changed the preference.  However, in your statement you said "rebuild the mobile download catalog on C".  I'm assuming you meant folder.  If it is indeed doing something with a catalog on C, then you may not be using your catalog on G.  Did you actually MOVE the catalog from C to G or COPY it?   Did you change your preference to "Always use the catalog on G"?   Launch LR using the desktop or taskbar icon and see what catalog it openes.  

Your situation seems to be complicated, so if this was not useful we may need to see some screen shots and tackle the components piecemeal.

Dan

PS - you can contact me offline on this topic through email by going to www.danhartfordphoto.com and using the "about+contact" menu item if you want.

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Roy McLaren

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Thanks for taking time to put this response together Dan! This will undoubtedly help. When I moved files last night I did it in Windows Explorer behind Lightrooms back. When I then attempted to re-link the files in LR it would only re-link one image at a time despite having checked the “link near files box”. Then I simply gave up after I saw that the image thumbnails were changing in front of my eyes due to having overwritten files with same names and went into damage control mode.


Based on this experience I realized Ieast risky is to do this within LR when I re-attempt this operation. I haven’t spent that much time with file handling and organization in LR. I thought about this last night, but couldn’t locate where my new mobile download files on c: were located within LR file structure. I believe I have found them now tonight and appear to be located under “Other Lightroom CC Device / Imported Photos”.


So, assuming I do the renaming excercise first, or I think I’ll rather just create a new folder on G:, how do I actually move the photos? Should I simply drag the Imported Photos folder (currently under Other Lightroom CC Device) and drop it into the new folder I create on G:? It doesn’t seem possible to select images themselves in the Library thumbnail screen and drag those over to the Navigator screen and the folders in the Navigator screen do not expand to show the individual files in that folder.


I’ll leave the discussion here, so as not to write a giant message. And once I feel comfortable with this first step we can discuss the other items .


Thanks.

Btw, I always upload images to my iPad Pro first and import to Lightroom CC on iPad. Images are then synced to Lightroom Classic on desktop. My organizational system is therefore primarily grouping images from different shoots into Collections rather than folders on my desktop. This is why I haven’t earlier put much thought into organizing the mobile downloads folders themselves .
(Edited)
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Here are some tips:

  1. If you need to find where LR is placing the images coming from the tablet, right click on one of them in the Grid and select "Show in Explorer" (or "Show in Finder").

  2. To move images select them in the grid and drag them to the desired folder in the LR folders panel.  If you create the target folder outside of LR, and it doesn't appear in the Folders panel, just put any JPG image into it in File Explorer or Finder.  then import that image.  Now the folder will show up in the folders panel.  If the folder doesn't already exist, select the images then right click on the parent folder under which you want the new folder and pick "Create folder inside......"

  3. If it won't let you click on a folder to make it the source of what you see in the grid is a folder, and it won't let you drag the selected images showing in the Grid, it may be due to the images being "missing".  Look for an "!" in the top right corner of the thumbnail.

  4. I'm confused by your reference to "folders in the nagigator screen".  Navigator panel doesn't have folders.  it just shows the zoom size and the active image.  Can you provide a screen shot showing what you mean but the paragraph starting with "So, assuming"?

  5. In Classic, folders in the folders panel represent physical locations of the images on hard drives connected to your computer and are totally independent of anything in the CC ecosystem.  The only connection to the CC ecosystem are images in collections designated to sync with the cloud.  Those images in collections just refer to images in  physical folders so you can physically move images from any folder to any other folder without affecting the CC ecosystem as long as you do the move from within LR.  As you already have a "shoot" oriented set of collections, you may want to create a folder for each collection - but that's a side subject.

  6. If an image originates in the Cloud LR, the "master" copy of that image is stored in the cloud..  If you then sync it with Classic, I'm pretty sure the full size original comes down to Classic and is then considered the master (does anyone know for sure?).  If the full original comes down to Classic, I'm then not sure which is considered the true master.  Perhaps the cloud based one is replaced by a Smart Preview.  I do know that going the other way, where the image starts in Classic that the copy shown in Classic is considered the master and the version in the CC ecosystem is just a smart preview (small JPG).  Still vague on what happens when going the other way.  BTW, do you go to the tablet first due to being away from your Classic computer or some other reason?  Do you do any editing of images in the cloud based versions of LR?
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Roy McLaren

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Sorry, I was referring to the catalog, folder and collections sub-window shown to the lower left below the navigator screen. It seems LR will not let me select images in the Library view grid and drag and drop them into folders. Images are not missing. I'll study your response and look into this more when I get home tonight. I created a target folder outside of LR on G: drive where I want to move my mobile download images from C: drive. I then added that target folder in LR by hitting the + button in the folders section and specifying the newly created target folder. It is now visible in LR, but I cannot drag and drop images from the grid view to this folder. I will try adding a jpeg and importing it into LR to see if that makes a difference.
(Edited)
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Dan Hartford Photo

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When you experiment, try dragging one image rather than a bunch to see if the problem persists.  Also select the image by clicking on a folder in the folders panel rather than on a collection.  If all your images are in a massive folder and the one you want is hard to find in the folder, first go to your collection and select the image.  Then, with the image still selected right click on it and select "Show in folder".  This will move the source of the images showing in the grid from the collection to the folder and the same image will still be selected.  Then try dragging it to the new G folder,  

If it works with one image, then try a half dozen.  If that still works then try a larger number at a time. 

If it doesn't work, are there any error messages?


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Roy McLaren

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Got it Dan! :-) I researched a bit more and found out that I had to drag photo from the grid by clicking on the actual image portion of the thumbnail. I was trying to drag image by clicking on the grey frame around the thumbnail and that doesn’t work. Now all my mobile download images are in a new folder on G: drive! Feeling very proud of myself at this time :-) !


Now that I have accomplished this first step I think going forward I’ll leave my mobile download folder on C: and periodically move the files over to G:. This will allow me to organize my photos periodically by specifying new target folders each time I move photos from C:. I may also explore different organization strategies as you suggested. I will come back to this thread periodically to refer to all the tips you have provided.


As discussed my primary organizational structure is in my Lightroom mobile generated collections, one for each shoot, that are synced into Lightroom Classic collections panel. This is reducing my immediate need to create a folder based organizational structure, but will probably work more with this at some point. For example may separate images into different folders based on rating and folder for culled images.

Many thanks for taking the time! Appreciate it.
(Edited)
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Roy McLaren

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Well, thought I was done. Photos moved to G: successfully, but now Lightroom is busily re-building mobile download folder on C: ! Another 45GB download and double copies on my PC. Hmmm

Edit: now fixed. Created new folder on G: and specified that as mobile download location. As soon as that was done LR stopped re-building original download folder on C:
(Edited)