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It’s “Delete Your Outdated Lightroom Catalog Backups” Monday!

Just a quickie, but it’s kinda important — especially if you’re working on a laptop or a desktop computer where you’re constantly running out of free space.

I am officially declaring today ‘Delete Your Outdated Lightroom Catalog Backups” Monday!

Simply put: Check to see if you’re accumulating a bunch of useless outdated backup catalogs, and throw the ones away you don’t need anymore to free up space

You see that dialog above — the one that appears when you quit Lightroom Classic, asking if you want to make a backup copy of your catalog? Each time you see it, it asks you to make a COPY of your entire catalog. Each time you hit that ‘Back up,’ it makes yet another backup copy. Sure, it compresses that backup quite a bit, but still…those backups can get really big in file size. But worse yet, after a couple of weeks, they’re so outdated that those older ones become useless anyway.

So, go see how many backups you have (you really only need one or two very recent ones).

Look inside your Lightroom folder (the one where your catalog(s) are stored (mine was inside my Pictures folder on my Mac), and look for a folder named ‘Backups.” and inside that folder, see if you don’t have a whole bunch of backups that are way out of date (as seen above), just eating up hard drive space for no reason.

If you don’t see a folder named ‘Backups,’ that’s because you don’t have any backups (ack!), so if disaster strikes (your catalog gets corrupted), you will be starting over from scratch in Lightroom. For more on backing up your catalog, check out this article we did on backing up your catalog (why you should and how to do it), hit this link. 

I still had some old backups hanging around from 2020. If somehow my catalog got corrupted, I would want to use a backup from December of 2023 — not one from April of 2020, and so on, so those outdated backups are doing just one thing — eating up space. Now’s the time to pitch them, seeing as it’s ‘Dump Your Outdated Catalog Backups” Monday!

Hope at the very least it frees up some space for you, and if you looked in your Lightroom folder and didn’t even see a folder named ‘Backups’ maybe it made you go and hit that ‘Make Backup’ button so you at least have one on hand in case disaster strikes.

What a great football weekend! Alabama gets into the National Football Playoffs; The Bucs actually won a game (and the Saints lost, which we needed). It was a rockin’ great weekend. Hope your Monday is just as good. 🙂




  1. Gerry Mulligan 7 January, 2024 at 17:17 Reply

    I guess I’ve been very lazy about this. I took a look and I’ve never deleted a backup. There were more than 400 dating back to 2011. I’ve now deleted most except for the last 3 or 4. I agree, Adobe should automate this

  2. worktime 6 December, 2023 at 09:58 Reply

    Absolutely agree with CS Chua. In 2023, we were expecting more cutting-edge features in Lightroom, especially in the task management and data organization department. I reckon Adobe needs to focus on updating features like automatic import, smart collections, and enhancing the filter system. And yeah, cleaning up outdated files from previous versions that are no longer necessary would be handy too. Looking forward to some upgrades!

  3. CS Chua 4 December, 2023 at 20:31 Reply

    It is 2023. Why do we need to be reminded of this task? Adobe is way overdue to implement a action task manager to perform this with a delete on meeting a specific condition. Adobe is neglecting the most important competitive advantage of Lightroom which is DAM. Adobe had not made any enhancements in this area for years. Features like expanding auto import functionality, smart collections and the sql filters, expanding the list of selectable metadata to the Library Filters, housekeeping task manager to schedule cleaning “All sync photos” images no longer needed to be in the cloud, auto-refreshing previews, smart previews, optimising catalog and etc. Clean up the present arcane collections schema and bake in a similar smart-collection sync methodology by Jeffery Friedl. The present implementation of the collections is a mess without any thought of maintainability.

  4. John H 4 December, 2023 at 09:46 Reply

    Is it okay to go ahead and delete the older “associated” files to the previous versions that are left behind? Like the catalog files, helper data files etc that belonged to those previous versions? They’re not huge files, but they are there.

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