Collection Management

As time goes by, and as you add images to your collection, you will need to do some basic care and maintenance of your Lightroom catalogue and to the images themselves. This lesson outlines some of those tasks, and how to accomplish them.

Check for missing items
Drive migration
DNG Verification


You want to be able to have access to your image files indefinitely. That means that you will need to do some periodic work to your image collection. In this lesson, I will outline some of the common tasks that can help you preserve your photos as long as you want. 

Check for missing items

If you have been following the recommendations outlined here, you should be putting your images away and then leaving them alone. By doing this, images are unlikely to get lost by Lightroom and go missing. Nevertheless, as they say, stuff happens. It is good practice every now and then to ask Lightroom if any photos are missing. 

  1. Make sure all drives are connected to the computer
  2. Open Lightroom and select all images while in Library
  3. Find Missing Photos
  4. You should be notified that there are no missing items. If some photos are missing, you will want to figure out what happened to them


FIGURE 1 Search for missing files periodically to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be

Drive migration

Eventually you will outgrow the hard drive that holds your image collection. At that point, you could buy an additional drive and simply have a multiple-drive library. I like to 'migrate' the files to a new larger drive instead. Here is why:

  • Drive capacities continue to rise, and drives continue to get cheaper per megabyte - cutting the price in half roughly every 18 months or so
  • Newer drives will generally be faster
  • Newer drives should, on average, be more reliable than older ones
  • It is simpler to store and keep track of a smaller number of drives

Use a Validated Transfer

While it is possible to copy the files from one drive to another, I like to do the data migration process with a tool that can give me reassurance that everything came across fine. Backup software can provide this data verification.  

Validated Transfer on PC

On Windows, I use a free piece of software called Syncback Freeware to manage the process. Figure 2 is a movie created for class trademark™ that shows how to use SyncBack for validated transfer.


FIGURE 2 Use SyncBack to perform a validated transfer during a drive migration

Validated Transfer on Mac

On the Mac platform, I use a programme called Chronosync to perform a validated transfer. The class trademark™ movie in Figure 3 shows how to accomplish this.


Figure 3 Performing a Validated Transfer on Mac using Chronosync

DNG Verification

We generally assume that stuff saved to our computers is safely stored. Generally that is true, but there can be errors that crop up. Hard drives can go bad, your computer's RAM can make errors, there can be problems in transfer, and of course viruses can damage files. Fortunately, there is a way to check for all of these problems in a very automated way.

If you are saving your raw files as DNG, you can do some occasional verification of the files to confirm that everything is being stored without error. The DNG includes a file integrity verification tool that can tell you if even one bit in the file has changed. Lightroom checks this each time a file is loaded into the Develop module, but that is a one-at-a-time operation. You can use the DNG converter to do this on an automated basis, for a large group of files.

You will need a 'landing zone' for the new DNGs that is as large as the group of files you want to test.  If you do not have suffiicient extra drive space, you can run the process on smaller batches. The class trademark ™ movie in Figure 4 shows how to accomplish this.


FIGURE 4 Use the free Adobe DNG converter to check up on the health of a whole collection of DNG files