Hard Drive Upgrade


Today’s Question: In Lightroom [Classic] I was exporting files from a smaller 8 TB external hard drive to a new larger (10 TB) drive. I plan to keep the older 8 TB drive as my new backup drive. I’m exporting all files to the new drive. In the new drive all the images are jumbled into the same folder, which I would have to re-separate if I want to keep the sub-folders. Do you have any suggestions for this workflow?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You actually don’t need to export the photos at all, but instead should transfer the photos from the “old” drive to the “new” drive directly within Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: Today’s question is related to yesterday’s question about moving a catalog and photos to a new external hard drive. However, I wanted to address this question as well because it relates to a common issue that I find many photographers experience at some point in their workflow.

When you want to upgrade to a new and larger hard drive, or expand storage to an additional hard drive, one of the challenges is that you can’t browse (or copy to) a hard drive for which Lightroom Classic isn’t managing any photos. The solution is to create a new folder on that hard drive first.

I think it is also worth pointing out that this migration can be managed directly within Lightroom Classic. There’s no need to export photos from your catalog just to import them again to a different hard drive. In fact, this could create a variety of problems and confusion in terms of potential duplicate images in your catalog.

So, to get started you simply need to add a new folder on the new hard drive, with that new folder serving as the “parent” folder for all of the folders and photos you’ll store on the new drive. To create the new folder click the plus symbol (+) to the right of the Folders heading on the left panel in the Library module. From the popup that appears, choose “Add Folder”. Then navigate to the new hard drive, and click the New Folder button at the bottom-left of the dialog. Type a name (such as “Photos) for the new folder, click Create to create the new folder, and click the Choose button to finalize the process.

You will now see the new hard drive and the new folder listed in the Folders section of the left panel in the Library module. At that point you can drag folders from the existing drive to the new folder you created on the new hard drive. You can even select multiple folders at a time if you prefer. I do, however, recommend moving folders in small batches to help ensure everything goes smoothly.