Lightroom: Set Maximum # Of Catalog Backups, and Auto-Replace Oldest

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Currently it's up to the user to check how many catalog backups have been created, and delete the oldest ones. For people with large catalogs, the amount of disk space consumed can be significant.

It would be great if I could tell LR to create a maximum of 3 backups, and automatically replace the oldest one with the newest one.
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Gavin Farrington

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Posted 8 years ago

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Matt Dawson

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Hi Gavin,

Agree this would be a useful feature.

In the meantime I have written the TPG LR Backup plugin that compresses the catalog backups and can help you move them to a different HDD. The catalog backups typically compress to 10-25% of their original size so it definitely helps conserve disk space so you don't need to manually clean the files up as quickly. I will be adding a feature to manage the backups by maximum number of backups or Mb consumed by backups. ETA for that is still to be confirmed.

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Gavin Farrington

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Great plugin, Matt. Looking forward to the auto-replace functionality!
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I just found out that lightroom keeps spamming my harddrive with backup databases without any limits.
That actually feels like a huge bug, but seems to be a "feature".

So here to request would be what tons of other pieces of software already do:
Make it an option to discard old backups automatically via one of two criteria:
a) discard oldest backups if total sum of backap data exceeds x megabyte
b) discard oldest backups if the get older than x days/weeks/months

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: Automatic backup cleanup option.
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Pete Roberts

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I have about 100k photos, and my LR4 Catalogue is nearly 2Gb in size. I've been in the habit of backing up every time LR quits, because I do a fair bit of editing and don't want to lose recent changes if things were to go belly up. I checked the backup folder yesterday and it is over 100Gb in size, with backups stretching back to the last Ice Age... ;o)

Would it be possible to introduce an option to limit the number of backup copies. By that I mean the user could tick a box to limit the number and select how many copies of their catalogue they wish to keep. The programme would keep track of this and delete older copies automatically, or at least give the user a prompt to say "OK, bin them!"

For me the "perfect" implementation would have two aspects:

Firstly, an option to retain, for example, the latest four daily backups then, say, weekly backups of the last month, and perhaps a few monthly backups. This would give a reasonable buffer if anything did go wrong big style.

Secondly, the option to save backups and catalogue to two different locations (i.e. drives) simultaneously.

Thanks for your consideration folks, and an even bigger thank you for LR! It's awesome! :o)

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Heap Big Backup Catalogue (Catalog) Folder.
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Clear backups LR catalog safely from LR. I had twice problems with deleting old backup files by hand. In the first time, I only lost one day work at all; in the second one, this time, I lost more than month and half work... I was deleting them because they weighted all together more than 40 GBs (1 GB per lrcat).

So, I was sure that I was deleting them correctly, all the backup files except of this month. Everything OK, 30 GB more on HD. Next, I enter LR and says that there's no catalog. What? Lost again? Look in the catalog folder for files. Nothing, everything empty... Not possible! Again!

So I lost/deleted all my backup files and only recover with a good recovery application but at the date of October 13th of this year...

It could be possible to do the cleaning from LR with safety?? This type of human errors could be avoided...


This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Clear old backups LR catalog safely from LR.
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Thomas Scharrer

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Implement possibility to specify automatic deleting of old backups.
Old backups of LR catalogs are building up quite fast which is a waste of storage space unless old backups are deleted manually. Would be nice to automate the removing of old backups.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Automatic deleting of old LR catalog backups.
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Rob Cole

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I recommend a scheme that allows user to keep x per year (old years), and y per month (old months), or something like that.

In other words having the latest 15 catalogs does no good if you oppsidentally reset a bunch of photos 16 catalogs ago. One is not likely to restore everything from 16 catalogs back, but one does not need to restore an entire catalog, one can just import adjustments for selected photos from an old backup...
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James Hope

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It would be really great to have the option to only save a certain number of backups. At the moment I have to delete excess backups as I save them to cloud storage and they take up quite a lot of space. I'd like the option to only save the last 3 backups, the fourth being automatically deleted when a new backup is made.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Multiple back ups.
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Jack Ellis

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: Gigabytes of backups are eating up my hard drive!.

I love LR5 but wish there was a way to limit the number of backups saved in an automatic way. I backup at least once a day when exiting and when I forget to check the backup folder for a long time Giga bytes have been eaten up on my hard drive. This is easy to resolve if your memory (personal) is good enough, but couldn't LR handle this by a Preference that allowed me to select "Save the most recent X (e.g., 6) backups and then I could remember more important things that LR can't remember. Thanks!
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I too, would like to see a "save most recent X backups" feature. It is annoying how the backups fill up the hdd (and one forgots about deleting them manually)
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Andrew Rose

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Looks I'm late to the party but only now realized how I had about 60GB of wasted space with my lrcat backups.  Please Adobe, help us better manage our disks.
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Keith Bauer

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Remove old copies of LR catalog backups.

There really needs to be a user settable parameter to remove old copies of LR Catalog backups.  It could either be based on age of the backup or on the number of backups that are currently in the specified backup location.  I work with clients and often find hundreds, if not thousands of old LR catalog backups consuming a lot of space on their hard drives for no reason at all except then don't know they are there and don't know they can delete them with no harm.  This is a significant oversight in the catalog management process that needs to be corrected.
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Art M.

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YES it would be great to be able to specify max 3 backups or something more sophisticated.  In the meantime, at least TELL people that it's ok to delete backups!   First, they may not be aware of them, and second, like me, they may initially fear deleting backups thinking that they are incremental rather than individually complete. 
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Philippe Coudé du Foresto

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Since LR doesn't has this cleanup function, I've written a Powershell script that remove the backup based on the age and the minimum number to keep. In case it may be useful to some of you, here it is :

#%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%# Script Suppress LR Backup
# Purpose
# =======
# This script will remove all but the n most recent LR catalog backup
# files, providing they are old enough.
# The number of files to keep is defined in $FilesToKeep
# The oldest aging to keep is defined in $lastmod

# Declaring variables

#$mypath = "S:\Temp\testremove\test"
$mypath = "S:\Sauvegarde\Catalogue_LR"
$FilesToKeep = 5 # Minimume number of files to keep
$jour = Get-Date
$lastmod = $jour.AddDays(-10) # Minimum aging days for the file to be removed

# Suppress all but the "$FilesToKeep" most recent files,
# providing the files are old enough.
$Count = 0
Get-Childitem $mypath -file -recurse | Sort-object $_.LastWriteTime -Descending | Foreach {
$Count = $Count +1
IF ($Count -gt $FilesToKeep) {
IF ($_.LastWriteTime -le "$lastmod") {
# write-host "Deleting File" + $_.fullname -foregroundcolor "Red";
Remove-Item $_.fullname | out-null
# Suppress the empty folders
$ListFolder = Get-Childitem $mypath -Directory -recurse | where { @(gci $_.Fullname).count -eq 0}
Foreach ($Folder in $ListFolder) {
Remove-Item $Folder.Fullname -Recurse | out-null

# End of script


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John Hawkins

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Brilliant, just what i needed