Move to New Hard Drive

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Today’s Question: You suggested it was possible to move photos from one hard drive to another within Lightroom [Classic] to free up space on a drive that is getting full. But the new larger external hard drive I bought doesn’t show up in Lightroom. How can I move photos to this new hard drive?

Tim’s Quick Answer: To make a new hard drive visible in Lightroom Classic you’ll first need to create a new folder on that drive within Lightroom. This can be done by clicking the plus (+) icon to the right of the Folders heading on the left panel in the Library module. Choose the “Add Folder” option, and create a new folder on the new hard drive. That folder will then appear on the Folders list on the left panel, along with the other hard drives that already contain photos being managed by Lightroom. You can then drag-and-drop to move folders (and photos) to the new hard drive.

More Detail: Because Lightroom uses a catalog to manage your photos, rather than serving as a simple image browser, it is necessary to actually import photos into Lightroom in order to work with them. By extension, that also means you will only see hard drives on the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module if that drive contains photos that are already being managed in your Lightroom catalog.

Fortunately, it is easy to make a new hard drive available within Lightroom, such as for moving photos from one drive to another. All you need to do is add a new folder on the new hard drive. So, you can click on the plus symbol (+) to the right of the Folders heading on the left panel in the Library module, and choose “Add Folder” from the popup menu. Navigate to the new hard drive, and click the “New Folder” button to create a new folder. Give that folder a name (such as “Photos”), and click the Choose button to select this folder as the one you want to add in Lightroom.

At that point the new folder will appear under a heading with the volume label or drive letter for the new drive. You can then drag-and-drop folders from a different hard drive to the new folder on the new drive. When prompted by Lightroom after dragging a folder, click the Move button to confirm you want to actually move the folder (and photos) from one hard drive to another. The folder (and photos within) will then be moved to the new location, both in terms of the reference in your Lightroom catalog and the actual file storage on your hard drives.