Please Backup Your Lightroom Catalog
April 20, 2011
The other day, it was early morning around 7 am, after opening lightroom and loading my catalog, the not so reliable Windows 7 crash. I wasn’t surprised or anything, because you know Windows there are those times that he just want’s to crash whenever it wants to. Anyway, it’s done it before while I while working in lightroom, and the next time I load my Catalog, everything is fine, but this time, it’s different and it’s also the first time to see the message below (Err Mess. 1):
It didn’t bother me at first, I figured, I’ll just click on Repair Catalog and everything will be fine. Then after a minute of waiting the second message (Err Mess. 2) popped up. Now this is serious, I tried to repair it again, twice, but it didn’t work. The catalog was totally corrupted and unusable. Good thing I have a backup of my Catalog, which only this year did I religiously made a point of doing a backup every time I exit Lightroom. Making a backup of our Lightroom Catalog file is a must not just our photos because if a catalog is corrupted like what happen to me, all the work, enhancements that we’ve done to our photos are gone. The Catalog is a database that contains all those and must be safeguard.
Making a regular Catalog is easy and can be automated. Here is a step by step guide on how to create a backup of a Lightroom Catalog, from the Adobe.Com website:
Backing up your catalog is an important safety precaution in case of corruption. Lightroom automates the process by allowing you to schedule regular catalog backups when you start the software.
Performing frequent, regular catalog backups is only part of what should be a more comprehensive backup strategy. Lightroom allows you to make a one-time backup of your original photos when you import them, but thereafter you must manually back up your edited photos, previews, and sidecar files in addition to your catalog. When formulating a backup strategy:
- Remember that the more frequently you back up your catalog and photos, the less data you stand to lose when a crash or corruption occurs.
- If possible, store the backup copies of your photos and catalog on a separate hard disk from your working files.
- Consider using dedicated backup software to automate the process and synchronize changes between your working and backup files.
- If you’re worried that your backup files might be accidentally erased, create redundant backups on additional disks, or on read-only media such as DVDs.
- For greater security, store your backup disk in a separate location from your working disk, preferably off site or in a fire-proof safe.
Specify catalog backup frequency
- Choose Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac OS).
- In the Backup area of the General panel, choose an option from the Back Up Catalog pop-up menu: (Refer to the first Photo Above)
- Next Time Lightroom Starts Only
- Backs up the catalog the next time you start Lightroom, and then the Back Up Catalog option switches to Never.
- Backs up the catalog every time you start Lightroom, so changes from every working session are always backed up.
- Backs up the catalog the first time you start Lightroom each day. If you start Lightroom more than once a day, additional changes are not backed up until the next day.
- Backs up the catalog once a week. If you start Lightroom more frequently, additional changes are not backed up until the next week.
- Backs up the catalog once a month. If you start Lightroom more frequently, additional changes are not backed up until the next month.
- No backups are performed. (Not recommended.)
Every Time Lightroom Starts
Once A Day, Upon Starting Lightroom
Once A Week, Upon Starting Lightroom
Once A Month, Upon Starting Lightroom
Choose the catalog backup location
By default, catalog backup files are stored in the Backups folder in the Lightroom data folder. Backup files are in a folder named by the date and time the backup was performed:
- Mac OS: /User home/Pictures/Lightroom/Backups/YYYY-MM-DD HRMN/
- Windows: C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Pictures\Lightroom\Backups\YYYY-MM-DD HRMN\
You can change the location of the backup files, however.
- Start Lightroom when a catalog backup is scheduled.
- In the Back Up Catalog dialog box, click Choose next to the Backup Directory path, and then navigate to the new location.(See Photo 2 below.)
Check catalog integrity
Lightroom lets you check for catalog corruption when you open or back up a catalog. Checking catalog integrity increases the time it takes to open or back up a catalog, but reduces the risk of data loss.
To check for catalog corruption, do one of the following:
- Start Lightroom when a catalog backup is scheduled. In the Back Up Catalog dialog box, select Test Integrity Of This Catalog, and then click Backup.
- In the General panel of the Preferences dialog box, select When Starting Up Use This Catalog > Prompt Me When Starting Lightroom. Start Lightroom. In the Select Catalog dialog box, select Test Integrity Of This Catalog, and then click Continue.
Perform a catalog backup
- Start Lightroom when a catalog backup is scheduled.
- In the Back Up Catalog dialog box, choose one of the following:
- Back up the current catalog.
- Postpone the backup until the next time you start Lightroom.
- When you’ve opted to back up your catalog once a day, you can choose to postpone the operation for a day.
- When you’ve opted to back up your catalog once a week, you can choose to postpone the operation for a week.
- Backup In One Month
- When you’ve opted to back up your catalog once a month, you can choose to postpone the operation for a month.
Backup In One Week
Restore a backup catalog
- Choose File > Open Catalog.
- Navigate to the location of your backed up catalog file.
- Select the backed up .lrcat file and click Open.
- (Optional) Copy the backed up catalog to the location of the original catalog to replace it.