Today’s Question: I deleted about 8,000 photos from Lightroom Classic, did the complete delete from disk option, but it did not increase the available space on my hard drive. Is there an additional step?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, in order to free up hard drive space after deleting photos from Lightroom Classic you need to empty the trash on Macintosh or the recycle bin on Windows.
More Detail: On both Macintosh and Windows when you delete files they aren’t removed from the hard drive, which means additional hard drive space is not freed up. To actually clear up the additional space you need to empty the trash on Macintosh or the recycle bin on Windows.
It is also worth noting that the default option when deleting photos in Lightroom Classic is to remove the photos from the catalog but not to remove them from the hard drive. In my view if you want to remove photos from your catalog you would almost always want to delete the source image files. After all, there’s generally no reason to have photos taking up space on your hard drive if you aren’t managing them in your Lightroom Classic catalog.
Even if you choose the “Delete from Disk” option in the confirmation dialog when you delete photos, the files aren’t automatically removed from the hard drive. Rather, they are moved to the trash on Macintosh or the recycle bin on Windows. You’ll therefore need to empty the trash or recycle bin in order to reclaim the hard drive space taken up by the photos you deleted.