The Lightroom Folder

Some of you have expressed some confusion about the Lightroom Catalog and the folder that is labelled "Lightroom" on your Hard Drive - and it's ok to be confused. Lightroom does not function like the file folders we have been using for years and years and wrapping your head around it can be challenging and frustrating! Just to be clear the main Lightroom Folder and the Catalog are different things. They are only associated by the fact the Catalog is stored, by default, in the main Lightroom Folder.

Now the Catalog was covered in one of the first blog posts for the group and you can read that HERE. But maybe you've read that and are still confused or maybe you understand the concept of the Catalog but still don't quite understand what all the folders in the Lightroom main folder are. Again, it's ok to be confused but let's try to clear this up and talk about the main Lightroom Folder. 

 In the image above you can see the folder labelled "Lightroom" (this folder should be stored on a hard drive that is connected to your computer running Lightroom) and some folks are under the impression that this is where your images that you view in Lightroom are stored - nope. It's not. Your original images are stored in the file, on the hard drive that you chose when you imported your images (you can view that tutorial  HERE ). Ok, so what's in the "Lightroom" Folder?

In the image above you can see the folder labelled "Lightroom" (this folder should be stored on a hard drive that is connected to your computer running Lightroom) and some folks are under the impression that this is where your images that you view in Lightroom are stored - nope. It's not. Your original images are stored in the file, on the hard drive that you chose when you imported your images (you can view that tutorial HERE). Ok, so what's in the "Lightroom" Folder?

 When you open the Lightroom Folder you will see something similar to the image above. You should have a Backups folder, a couple Data folders(the number can be different for everyone), the Lr CAT file - which IS your catalog, the Lightroom CC folder and possibly a couple execution (EXEC) files but these should only be present if you have Lightroom open.

When you open the Lightroom Folder you will see something similar to the image above. You should have a Backups folder, a couple Data folders(the number can be different for everyone), the Lr CAT file - which IS your catalog, the Lightroom CC folder and possibly a couple execution (EXEC) files but these should only be present if you have Lightroom open.

 When you open your Backups folder you will see all the backups that have been created (and hopefully you've been backing up). These backups contain all the information necessary to recover all the information from your catalog and that makes these files rather large. Now, there is no need to have lots and lots of backups of the same catalog, so it's good practice to open the Backups folder every now and then and delete a couple of the older backups. My preference is to usually have 2 or 3 backups. 

When you open your Backups folder you will see all the backups that have been created (and hopefully you've been backing up). These backups contain all the information necessary to recover all the information from your catalog and that makes these files rather large. Now, there is no need to have lots and lots of backups of the same catalog, so it's good practice to open the Backups folder every now and then and delete a couple of the older backups. My preference is to usually have 2 or 3 backups. 

 The files labeled DATA are your Previews, Smart Previews and Mobile Downloads from the Lightroom CC mobile App. Do not delete these DATA files unless you absolutely know what you're doing! It is best practice to just leave these files alone - remember, you can discard 1:1 Previews and Smart Previews directly from Lightroom. The EXEC files should be ignored and only in rare circumstances will you need to delete them. It is quite likely you will go your entire life without even knowing the EXEC files existed as they are automatically created by Lightroom upon opening and automatically delete upon closing Lightroom. The LightroomCC2017 file (if you have it) contains your Lightroom CC (not Classic CC) Previews DATA file and CC Catalog. If you aren't using Lightroom CC  you don't need these files.

The files labeled DATA are your Previews, Smart Previews and Mobile Downloads from the Lightroom CC mobile App. Do not delete these DATA files unless you absolutely know what you're doing! It is best practice to just leave these files alone - remember, you can discard 1:1 Previews and Smart Previews directly from Lightroom. The EXEC files should be ignored and only in rare circumstances will you need to delete them. It is quite likely you will go your entire life without even knowing the EXEC files existed as they are automatically created by Lightroom upon opening and automatically delete upon closing Lightroom. The LightroomCC2017 file (if you have it) contains your Lightroom CC (not Classic CC) Previews DATA file and CC Catalog. If you aren't using Lightroom CC  you don't need these files.

And there ya go! That's what is in the main Lightroom Folder - mostly stuff that should just be ignored. So hopefully that clears up what the folder is and helps you realize that it is quite different from the Catalog. Remember the main folder contains your Catalog but NOT your images. As always, feel free to leave your comments below or leave a question in the Facebook Group!