Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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So I've noticed that the size of my harddisk drive that has the Lightroom backups is decreased dramatically. This is because it contains many Lightroom backups. I've almost 10,000 photos in my catalog. My question is what would I lose if I kept just the last update and deleted the rest? This will save me almost 40GBs. Am I gonna lose the history of photos' editing?

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My personal preference is to keep the most recent backup, the one from the first backup of the current month, and one from the first backup of the current year. So at all times I have 3 backups. Disk space is cheap, and having three backups of my 1GB library isn't a big deal to me. Everything else I trash.

You could just keep the most recent backup, but I have heard of people having a corrupt backup, even though Lightroom checks the integrity of the file before a backup. Personally, I think having more than one backup is just fine, since the tradeoff isn't significantly detrimental to me.

The principle product manager at Adobe - Jack Nack recommends keeping 2-3 library backups here. One opinion isn't the end all especially when it comes to backup strategies, but I think he offers solid advice.

Actually deleting these old backup files isn't going to do anything negative to your current library. Your current working library file has everything that you need for ongoing work. The backups are just that, stand alone files that can be used for recovery purposes in case of corruption or other emergencies. Keep in mind, the older the backup, the less fun it will be to use it in the case of a recovery. But I also believe the older ones may be more stable to some degree.

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Is there some reason you let your catalog grow that large? Export each project as a different catalog when you are done with it and save it with the final rendered DNG/JPEG images.

I have up to 5 projects at a time in my master catalog and I export each one and save it on my archive disk when I'm done with the project. Helps make lightroom run faster too!

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I have 10x the catalog size with no issues. If the user has 40GB of backup files and only at 10k image catalog, I would say they just have way too many backups. Ten thousand images in a database like lightroom is really a non issue. –  dpollitt Aug 3 '12 at 23:41
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