Lightroom Tips

Tip – The Volume Browser

Happy Friday everyone. I figured I’d close out the week with a quick tip. One of the new features in Lightroom 2 is the volume browser. I absolutely love it! I use external hard drives all the time and the volume browser finally let’s me manage them in an easier with Lightroom. It’s in the Folders panel in the Library module on the left hand side. The volume browser displays what volume (A.K.A. hard drive) you have your photos stored on so if you ever disconnect the drive you’ll be able to see which one to connect to get to your photos. Here’s an example of what I mean.

One of the things that’s cool is that the volume browser displays how much hard drive space you have total and how much is left. But if you right click on it, you’ll see there’s a few other choices like photo count, status, or even none (which I can’t figure out why you’d choose none). It’s a really neat feature so if you haven’t imported any photos from an external drive yet make sure you give it a try. It’s a lot easier now. Have a great weekend!



  1. Chris 11 October, 2009 at 17:07 Reply

    Ends up the best way around this was to copy the files to the NAS, turn off the old drive, and right click on the Folder in LR and choose “Update Folder Location” and then navigate to the NAS directory.


  2. Chris 11 October, 2009 at 09:43 Reply

    I just got a NAS, which I can connect to using afp:, but I can’t figure out any way to access it from with-in LR.

    Is there some trick to it seeing NAS devices or other network drives?


  3. Geoff 13 October, 2008 at 14:41 Reply

    I’m having serious frustrating problems with the importing and cataloging in LR2 which I didn’t in LR1.

    I have a ‘work’ folder on a disc, when I import to that folder on that disc it imports it but in does not appear in that folder – it does appear however in the ‘Volume’ of the same name.

    If anyone understands this please help because it’s just a mess

  4. Casey Karbowksi 3 September, 2008 at 04:15 Reply

    Hey Matt, is there any way to move existing files to external hard drives and keep them in the catalog? I shoot weddings and would LOVE it if I could just have one catalog with all of my stuff rather than having to move everything off my hard drive every few weddings…Plus then I could have all my weddings on one catalog….

  5. Sophia 19 August, 2008 at 08:29 Reply

    I’ve a related question of sorts. Say I filter in my gallery all the pictures taken in 2008 and wish to export them to DVD, is there a way to know the size (in megs) of these pictures before exporting to DVD?

    It would be nice, for example, if the smart catalogs would show size or some other way.

    Thank you

  6. Martc 17 August, 2008 at 17:24 Reply

    Matt — thanks for these great tips. I think this Volume browser is a fantastic and extremely useful feature, but have you noticed some issues with the custom properties it displays if you have multiple volumes? It appears there is a serious bug here, it displays the exact same info for all volumes if you choose disk space, and does some wierd and incorrect stuff with photo counts too. I can’t get the photo count to add up to the sum of the folders underneath it!

    Has anyone else seen this?

  7. Karen 12 August, 2008 at 10:46 Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I just finished watching your Lightroom In Depth videos on KelbyTraining and loved them. I have some questions about LR and PSE 6.0. Do you know where I might find some answers. Thanks.

  8. Arno 12 August, 2008 at 05:09 Reply

    I like this feature very much, it now enables me to put most of my images on a usb disk, and only keep the most receent shoots on my laptop, thus saving the much needed disk space

  9. Rob 11 August, 2008 at 15:45 Reply

    I think its a nice feature, but I would also like to be able to suppress it.

    I have images across two drives, but in keeping with Lightroom’s more virtual nature, I would rather just see all of the directories together (and have volume information there only if i chose to turn it off).

    I set the option to NONE for volume information, because when I am in LR I don’t need that information. I don’t think in terms of volumes. I would rather have less data on the screen. LESS is MORE!

  10. Florian 11 August, 2008 at 09:45 Reply

    The feature is nice…
    But LR 1.4 is not working without the external hard drives. I´ve got a Buffalo Terrastation NAS and my Laptop. If I disconnect the LAN-Cable and Start Lightroom it takes a couple times to start and when it´s up and I try to scroll in the Library LR hangs totally.
    So for me the feature is not very useful 🙂

    Maybe somebody knows why…


  11. Dean Whitling 10 August, 2008 at 22:27 Reply

    I actually have the volume browser display set to none.
    I’m running xp pro locally but archive everything to a MS Homserver. For some reason, xp only “sees” the first drive on the homeserver (130gb for op system only) even though I have over 2TB in there.
    The problem occurs when the display is turned on, LR2 thinks the drive is full and wont let me use it anymore. By turning the display off it bypasses this and lets me use the drive.

    Cheers, Dean

  12. ElliR 10 August, 2008 at 10:33 Reply

    You obviously haven’t popped across to the Lightroom forum in a while Matt because the nice little feature you mention is causing all sorts of problems, especially for Windows users. Basically, if your using 5 EHD’s your going to end up with 5 more ‘Ghost’ EHD’s and waste a good deal of time trying to get your edited image(s) back to where they are supposed to be.

  13. rene 10 August, 2008 at 05:21 Reply

    Hi all,

    I thought this is a comment board for the tip and not a forum to solve problems. Why you are writing 600+ word comments here? There are so many LR2 forums.

  14. Michael Fisher 9 August, 2008 at 09:37 Reply

    Something very infuriating is happening with Lightroom, and I am sure that I am not the only one running into this.

    In a nutshell, if you edit an image in LR, even using the sRGB color space, the image will not look anywhere near as good when viewed on a browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer, especially with regard to color quality and saturation.

    In other words, if you shoot in sRGB, edit in sRGB, and export in sRGB … the image will look great in LR, will look great in Safari, will look great in iPhoto, will look great in Preview … but will dramatically diminish in color quality if viewed in Firefox or Internet Explorer.

    If I set my color space to “Monitor RGB – iMac” in PhotoShop, then I get exactly what I see on-screen if I export a JPG and view it in web browsers or any other software.

    This makes sense, because I guess I’m telling it, “Use the same color
    space that my monitor uses.” So if I do my Photoshop work in
    that color space, my exported JPG’s will look like they did to my eye
    when I created them.

    The first catch: LightRoom has no such option. It only has:
    Adobe RGB

    The closest of those is sRGB, but we’ve seen how that loses saturation
    and warmth when exported, compared to the monitor. So as far as I can
    tell, there is no way to adjust something in LR and have it come out
    looking in a web browser like it does on-screen during editing. This
    is infuriating.

    The second catch: If I did my work in Monitor RGB, and then later
    wanted to make a print of the image, I may have sacrified some of the
    potential quality by working in Monitor RGB which has less color range
    apparently than Adobe or Prophoto. I could still convert it to one
    of those and make a nice print (I’m assuming), but perhaps not quite
    as nice as I could have made if I worked in one of those modes all
    along. On the other hand, if I worked in one of those modes, my web
    JPG’s would suck and that’s what I do with 99% of my images. But this
    is a minor issue for me compared to the other.

    I’m starting to conclude: There is no way to work on an image that is
    destined for both web and print without basically doing the work
    twice. Once adjusted for the web, and once adjusted for print.

    And if I am working on an image for the web, I can get a very accurate
    appearance in PhotoShop by using the Monitor color space. But in LR I
    have no way of doing that. That’s the kicker. The best I can do in LR
    is sRGB, then export to PhotoShop and adjust it some more until I get
    the look I want. Which kind of defeats the purpose of being able to
    do all this editing in LR!

    I would love to hear from anyone who has an idea for how to fix this, or would love for Scott to work his magic with Adobe and get them to release an update that corrects this problem.

  15. timofej 8 August, 2008 at 16:30 Reply

    I think that it’s still awkward to move files in LR. If I for example have a folder on my local hard drive and want to move it to a network drive I have to create a folder with the same name on the network drive first, then mark all photos in my original folder, move them to the new one and then delete the original (now empty) folder. Why can’t they just let us drag and drop folders between the drives? Or is there an easier way to move stuff between the drives?

  16. Jeremy Nathan 8 August, 2008 at 14:58 Reply


    I don’t know if it’s a limitation of the trial version but I backup my catalogue to a secondary and external drive. I do this because if the computer crashes it is most likely going to take the drive that has the original catalogue with it. So having the backup on the same drive really makes no sense.

    As far as I know, the trial is the full version without locked limitations that expires or locks down completely after a 30 day period. Entering a serial number just lifts the trial period.

    Set you backup schedule to “every time Lr loads”. then shut down the application and restart it. When the backup dialog opens, click the browse button and assign the backups to be saved on the secondary or external drive that you want them to. Then backup the Catalogue. When it opens go back into your backup preferences and reset it to the frequency you want. Lr will now backup on the schedule you’ve chosen to the location you’ve picked.

  17. Mike Paterson 8 August, 2008 at 12:57 Reply

    The new features just continue to amaze me. Lightroom has been such a revolutionary tool for photographers and it just keeps getting better and better.

    With the talk of multiple hard drives, it reminded me of some questions I have with catalogs. Mostly I’m curious what your “workflow” (for lack of a better word) is in regards to catalogs. I know David Ziser says that he does a new catalog for every shoot. With weddings I’m doing the same thing, but with portrait stuff I tend to keep quite a few shoots in one catalog. So my question is: how big is too big for a catalog? How many photos can be in a catalog before things start slowing down significantly (or even slightly)? Is it worth having one “master” catalog just so that there is a place where everything is in one place? but then work in the individual ones?

    I’d love to hear thoughts on this and have some help flushing it out.

    Thanks so much!

  18. Seim Effects 8 August, 2008 at 11:50 Reply

    Ya this is a neat feature Matt. Simple and clean. There’s a lot of nice touches in LR2.

    I do wish you’d do a post to address things running slow, crashing etc. I know there’s a lot of us who are having a somewhat less than happy experience with LR2. I’ve been getting frequent crashed. Browsing has load laggs even with 1:1 previews etc. I wounder if you have any thoughts of tips on the performance.


  19. Dave Latour 8 August, 2008 at 11:05 Reply

    As long as the external hard drive is brought up, can anyone tell me why Lightroom will not let me back up my stuff on the external hard drive? I have the trial version right now and am going to upgrade my 1.4 to 2.0. Is that the reason why? Please advise.

  20. Jeremy Nathan 8 August, 2008 at 10:32 Reply

    With the way my network is set up, this new feature is invaluable. I have my applications & catalogues loaded to my computer and all my images and media files on a NAS box which is shared by multiple computers. The files are stored there because the NAS box is set up in RAID and is eternally backing itself up. If the first drive crashes then I can quickly move to the hidden backup copy and move along.

    Lightroom allows for it and with a gigabit connection there is no lag or slow down in accessing or processing images. However in Lr 1.4 the downside was I would have to go in and out of other browsers to do admin work and check the status of the folders.

    The new volume browser allows me to view it’s status and resources without having to open a finder or browswer window to check. It’s all done inside of Lr. I can also use it to move folders around on the actual secondary drive.

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