Adobe Lightroom & Drobo Redundancy Tip

I figured something out this evening, I hope it might help you better manage your Adobe Lightroom 2.4 Catalog across multiple drives.

I was trying to figure out the best way to move my 2008 photos from “working archive” to “full archive”. All because of drive speed economies on my faster drives. The full archive is still available on my Drobo (H). Temporary archive (D) is a 500gig SATA in my system. This is the working archive I still have been using recently and it sits between the Drobo and my scratch drive, and working drive for current projects; my C drive which is Raid 0+1 (stripe and mirror) for max performance.

I wanted to retain my Lightroom catalog, collections etc. Here are the steps for PC, Mac’s will be slightly different. Replace your folder names and drive letters accordingly

  1. Ensure your files on D have all the metadata changes written to the files*.
  2. Perform a backup of files from D to H (I use Microsoft’s Free Synctoy, it’s brilliant, I run Win7/Vista/X task scheduler every night to do a mirror)
  3. In Lightroom navigate to the album folder e.g. “Photo Album 2008” on D
  4. Right click on the folder and select “Update Folder Location”, choose the location on H and select ‘OK’
  5. Job done

Some History: I had tried adding the mirror location to my Lightroom catalog while the old location was still there. I thought it would be fine, hey they are on different drives, right? It kept showing only 10% or so of the photos, and not all the folders. So I tried this approach and it worked. Funny thing is I’d expect it to show none of the files/folders if it recognized some as being in the catalog. Maybe it was something to do with how I had added/removed to the catalog on the various drives before. Who knows!

Either way, whilst not 100% intuitive the above system is a very elegant way of preserving your Adobe Lightroom catalog integrity while having a solid back up solution.

Now, if I had the firewire 800 card in my PC I would just be using my Drobo as either my main drive, or at least my working archive, doubling as a full archive. Until I hear of a solid Win7 Firewire 800 card I won’t be messing with my hardware set up. If you have suggestions please let me know via Twitter.

* Select all photos in a catalog (make sure you are in the root folder of the catalog so can select all the photos in any subfolders. Lightroom will display all photos in subfolders natively. Then click “Metadata –> Save Metadata to files”


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