Catalog Backup Location


Today’s Question: My Lightroom [Classic] catalog is on my internal SSD drive. When I close Lightroom I’m asked if I want to backup the catalog, which I confirm. With all the recent columns about catalogs, I began to wonder if the internal drive is best for storing the catalog? Also, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know where the backup copy resides.

Tim’s Quick Answer: By default, the Lightroom Classic catalog backups are stored within the same folder as the catalog itself. I recommend changing this to a different storage device, so the backups are stored separately from the catalog.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic will prompt you to backup your catalog with a frequency that is based on the option set in the Catalog Settings dialog. You can choose to backup monthly, weekly, daily, or every time you exit Lightroom. When the allotted time has passed, Lightroom will prompt you upon exit to backup the catalog.

In the “Back Up Catalog” dialog, the current backup location will be indicated. By default, this is a “Backups” folder located within the same folder as your catalog. I recommend storing the catalog backups on a separate hard drive, just to provide more flexibility in terms of recovery options should something go wrong with the drive on which your catalog is stored.

To the right of the Backup Folder display in the Back Up Catalog dialog, you can click the Choose button to select a different backup location. For example, with the catalog on the internal hard drive on your computer, you may want to store the catalog backups on an external hard drive.

In addition, there are two checkboxes in the Back Up Catalog dialog that I recommend making sure to have turned on when backing up your catalog. The “Test integrity before backing up” checkbox enables you to have Lightroom verify that the current catalog does not have any indications of corruption before the catalog is actually backed up. The “Optimize catalog after backing up” checkbox enables you to potentially improve performance in Lightroom by having the catalog optimized.

While various other backup solutions can help you ensure you have a backup copy of your Lightroom Classic catalog in case anything goes wrong, the features provided by the two checkboxes noted above provide enough potential benefit that I recommend using Lightroom to backup your catalog even if your catalog is already being backed up by other software you are using.