I have just started using Lightroom 3 after hearing a lot of recommendation from others. I have imported by originals (some RAW, some jpeg) into the Lightroom catalog and it all works fine.

However, since my laptop's harddisk space is about to run out I want to move those originals into an external harddisk while not changing my Lightroom catalog. Can I do it? Will I still be able to work with the images without having to connect this external harddisk?

I just need to know how this works and how do I do it safely so that I don't accidentally lose all the changes I made into the images in Lightroom.


1 Answer 1


Move the files from within Lightroom. It supports this operations and will update its database automatically to reflect the change.

You can also move the files outside of Lightroom and when you start Lightroom again there will be an icon next to each missing file in the Grid View. Clicking there will let you specify the directory where the file was moved. Lightroom will also prompt you if it should update all the missing files in the same folder at the same time. If you did not move too many folders you can do it this way but it will take longer than doing it in Lightroom. Beware that Lightroom will not find the moved images unless the name remains the same.

When the external drive is not connected, the images on it will be findable and you will be able to assign them keywords and they will appear in filtered results. You will not be able to 'develop' them though since the data is not there.

  • \$\begingroup\$ when you say move them from within Lightroom, what exactly do you mean? \$\endgroup\$
    – BBischof
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe @Itai means perform the drag-n-drop type operation in the folder pane \$\endgroup\$
    – Wayne
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 23:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I assumed it was obvious. Drag-n-drop moves files while in the Library module, to the left between where it says 'Folders' and 'Collections'. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Dec 19, 2010 at 0:14

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