If you want to move a Lightroom catalog off of your computer and onto an external hard drive (or to any other location on your computer, for that matter), here’s how I would do it, keeping my typical backup process in mind.

Summary

Need space on your computer? Looking to move your Lightroom catalogs off of your computer and onto an external hard drive?

Lightroom catalogs take up quite a bit of space on a computer so it can be handy to just move them over to an external hard drive. Moving them is actually very simple. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Close Lightroom (this should be done first, before doing anything else)
  2. Navigate to where your Lightroom catalog is located on your computer (usually in the Pictures > Lightroom folder)
  3. Select each catalog folder you want to move (use Shift to select multiple folders)
  4. Cut and paste the catalog folder to your external hard drive (make sure you’re cutting/pasting the entire folder, not just a LR catalog file)
  5. Once it is finished moving, open the catalog file you just moved
  6. After it opens, click to close it….a little box should come up asking where you would like to back up your catalog. Currently, it still thinks that the catalog is being backed up on your computer. But since the catalog folder is no longer on your computer, you must choose the new location of the Backup folder in the catalog folder there on your external hard drive.

As a side note, I don’t recommend backing up your catalog in the default Backup folder that Lightroom provides. What happens if your computer or hard drive crashes? You will lose everything because both your catalog and backups are stored in the same catalog folder. Therefore, I recommend you periodically make separate backups of your computer or external hard drive. This will result in an absolute mirror that you can refer back to in case of a computer or external hard drive failure.

On a final note, to save more space, go into the Backup folder and delete old backups. Just make sure to keep at least one backup file, and that preferably from the previous LR version.

For Further Study

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