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Deleting Lightroom Backups

Charles Blanton , May 31, 2011; 04:33 p.m.

Hello,
Everything I've found on here relating to this topic is a little old and I just want to make sure I do the correct procedure on this. I'm running Lightroom 3.4.1 on my home pc that is Windows 7 based. 500GB internal hard drive is now full and I only have @ 8400 pictures so it's mainly full because of 2 years of Lightroom backups. I think? I've read that I can delete all but the last 2 copies to gain back space but what I don't understand is none of these folders appear to be duplicating the previous one plus any new photos. I'm worried I'm going to wipe out a pile of pics without meaning to do so. Part of my confusion is there are 2 folders, one named "backup" the other is "download backups". What's the diff? Which ones can I delete?

Could someone give me a step by step procedure on how to do this in the current Lightroom 3.4.1version? Part of the confusion I have is the older posts have screen shots and explanations that don't look like what I'm looking at on my screen. Thanks for the help.
Charles

Responses

amber frederiksen , May 31, 2011; 06:06 p.m.

I believe in your Lightroom folder, under Backups, you will see all of the backups in order by date. If you use Lightroom frequently and have a large catalog over a number of years, these backups add up to take up a lot of space. I came across the same problem a year ago and realized that I needed to occasionally delete these older backups. As long as you are keeping the most recent backups, and you have only added to your catalog and not deleted folders from it that you want to keep tabs on, you should be able to delete the older backups in your Backups folder. Also, if you have more than one catalog (for example, one for personal, one for work, etc), make sure that you are keeping at least one or two copies of all catalogs. Lightroom stores these backups in the same place, but you can see the name of the catalog in the filename. I don't have a folder called "Download Backups", so I'm not sure what is in there, may be worth checking to see if there are catalog files in there.
Lastly, I would suggest that you make sure you also keep a backup of your Lightroom catalogs in a separate location from your computer and occasionally update these, too.

Mark Sirota , May 31, 2011; 07:38 p.m.

The catalog backups (probably the folder labeled "backup") contains dated folders containing copies of your catalog. Just your catalog, not the photos. You can safely delete all but the oldest few.

Most likely the "download backups" are copies of your image files made at import time using import's "second copy" feature. Assuming you have proper backups of your image files elsewhere, you can delete these -- but be sure you have good backups elsewhere first!

Alan Olander , May 31, 2011; 08:58 p.m.

Lightroom catalogs or catalog backups do not contain images only data about the images. You probably created the "Download backups" folder at some point for Lightroom to backup your images to a second location on import. You don't need to keep these images as long as you've backed up your image folders to another drive, DVD, etc.

Charles Blanton , Jun 01, 2011; 12:54 a.m.

Amber/Mark- Thanks for the responses but here's what's got me confused. The"backup" folder is only showing as a tiny 97 MB file when I look in properties, the "download backup" folder is the bigger BY FAR at 146 GB. Does this mean I've somehow managed to get these folders switched and the backups everybody is telling me to delete are in the folder labeled "download backup"?
Alan - I'm seriously not smart enough to create an extra folder so I don't even know how it got there! Here's the bottom line I guess, I've managed to get a 500gb internal hard drive almost full and a 1TB WD desktop hard drive used as a backup too full to do anything else with a measley 7934 pictures! I'm guessing this log jam is a result of backups not being deleted and tons of duplicate info somewhere but not really sure. Any idea what I've done wrong and how to fix ?? As you can tell, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer on this.. Thanks
Charles

Mark Sirota , Jun 01, 2011; 10:41 a.m.

Charles, a screen shot of the folder listings of your "backup" and "download backup" folders would be helpful, so we can get an idea of what's actually in there. We're just guessing based on the folder names.

Charles Blanton , Jun 02, 2011; 10:22 a.m.

Thanks to all for the replies, I have a guy hired from Craigslist coming over today to help straighten this out, it's over my head.
Mark - If I knew how to provide a screen shot I would, but I don't, so I can't even help you help me! Sorry.
I showed this approaching problem to a Photoshop trained worker at my local professional camera store about 4 weeks ago and even he was very confused while initially scrolling through and looking at stuff but couldn't spend any time helping me on this. Hopefully this guy will help me out today. Thanks,
Charles

Mark Sirota , Jun 02, 2011; 11:49 a.m.

Charles, if you don't know how to do a screen shot on the computer, you can always just grab your camera and take a photo of your screen, then upload that.

Are you on Mac or Windows? On a Mac, there's a utility called Grab in your Applications/Utilities folder, or you can use the keyboard shortcuts. Command-Shift-3 will grab the whole screen, Command-Shift-4 followed by a space will allow you to select a window, or Command-Shift-4 followed by a drag will allow you to grab any selected region of your screen. (These will write the files to the desktop by default, I believe.) I don't do Windows.

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