Today’s Question: When I use the Command+Delete keyboard shortcut [Ctrl+Delete on Windows], the dialog pops up and only lets me remove photos from Lightroom Classic and not from the hard drive. How can I fix this?
Tim’s Quick Answer: If the “Delete from Disk” option is not included in the confirmation dialog when removing a photo that is an indication that either the source file is not currently available, or you have selected a virtual copy for removal.
More Detail: When you use one of the commands in Lightroom Classic that enables you to remove photos, such as “Remove Photo” or “Delete Rejected Photos”, a confirmation dialog will appear. I recommend selecting the “Delete from Disk” option if you want to discard the image, so that you’re not leaving the source file on the hard drive when removing the image from your Lightroom Classic catalog. However, this option won’t always be available in the confirmation dialog.
If you have selected a virtual copy for removal, you won’t see the “Delete from Disk” option in the confirmation dialog because there isn’t a file on the hard drive to remove. A virtual copy is an additional version of an image that references the original, so if you remove a virtual copy you still have the original image available.
If the source image is not currently available, you also won’t see the “Delete from Disk” option because the file can’t be deleted if it isn’t currently available. This would be the case, for example, if the external hard drive containing the source image isn’t currently connected to the computer.
In the case where the source image is not currently available, I recommend choosing the Cancel button in the confirmation dialog and then remove the photo when the source file is available. For example, connect the hard drive that contains the image, then choose the Remove Photo command again, so that the “Delete from Disk” option will be available.