Copy, don’t move

Let me follow up a bit on my previous blog about “lost files” in Lightroom.

A possible problem with moving files and folders, whether by dragging and dropping in Lightroom, or by using the Move command in Explorer or the Finder, is that Move deletes the file or folder from the previous location after completing the move.  Call me paranoid, but what if something happens as the files are being moved?  The deleted version of the file or folder is not in the trash; it’s just gone.  While I’ve never had any problem, I do know one person who, while moving several large folders of images, accidentally bumped a bus-powered USB drive and disconnected it.  The folders — and all the images — were gone, never to be found again.  For relocating folders, I use the Copy command outside of Lightroom, and then re-link the missing folders inside Lightroom as described in my earlier blog.


  1. Kuryan Thomas October 5, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    This is great advice when dealing with USB sticks, SD cards, and other “attached” drives, which typically use a pretty old disk format from the 1980s, called FAT-32 (File Allocation Table, 32 bit).

    However, note that it is not necessary when dealing with the “native” filesystems of all modern operating systems, such as Apple OS X, Windows 7, or Linux. The hard disks and solid state disks of such operating systems are formatted with so-called “transactional” file systems, which guarantee that moving a file from one hard disk to another will never lose a file in transit.

    And moving a file from one folder of a hard disk to another folder on the same hard disk does not even actually move a file at all – pointers to the file are updated with a new location.

    • Kuryan Thomas October 5, 2012 at 5:28 am #

      Oops, I meant to write FAT 16 (File Allocation Table, 16 bit). Sorry about that.