Consolidating photos after moving project files to external HD

I recently moved my project files to an external HD as my computer had run out of space. Before the move, thousands of photos were regularly automatically uploaded to ICloud to save HD space, and would therefore show up as missing in Tropy.

Although the files on the new external are organized exactly the same as the computer HD, it seems that Tropy is still looking for the files on my computer when I run Consolidate Photo Library, causing the same problem with randomly missing files across my project.

Is the way past that to delete the original folder on my computer? Or is there a way to tell Tropy to find the Photo Library on the external?

Thanks for your help!

As long as your photos are still organized in the same way, it should be relatively easy to consolidate them. There is more info in the user manual here, but basically, what you can try to do is to consolidate a single photo (either consolidate via the context menu in the photo panel, or, if you’re using version 1.10 you can also consolidate an item that only has a single photo). Tropy will prompt you to find the missing photo at its new location; afterwards you will be asked whether Tropy should try to look for similarly missing photos. As long as the photos are still relatively located to each other, Tropy should find them. Depending on the number of photos it can take a long time to consolidate the entire library. If you have more than a few thousand photos we can also fix the paths in the project database manually – this takes only seconds but is a little more advanced.

Thank you for your help!

I think I’ve discovered my problem. My project files are organized into different folders and subfolders.

Although I moved that entire organizational structure into my external HD, when I ask Tropy to search for other similarly missing photos, it only will look for them within the specific subfolder, meaning I’ll have to run “consolidate” for each of these folders across the whole of a very long project (dozens - at least - folders - and about 13,000 files).

Does that seem like a plausible explanation of what’s going on here? If so, is there a way out of the predicament?


Yes, Tropy will only be able to find photos if the necessary change to the path of the missing photo can be deduced, in some way, from the photo path you consolidated. In practice, if you moved all your photos together there will be a common sub-path that needs to be changed in all the paths so Tropy would normally be able to detect them easily. However, since you moved the photos to a different drive, I’m guessing that you’re using Windows and so that paths have a new drive letter. Unfortunately, this means that there is no valid relative path from the old to the new location (Tropy tries to compute this relative path and apply it to other missing photos) and for this reason the auto-consolidation fails.

The best way to move the photos to an external drive on Windows is to first move the project file to the same folder as the photos, open the project, and change the preferences to use paths relative to the project file, close the project and move both project file and photos to the new drive. But it’s too late for that now (you could move the photos back temporarily, but with 13k files this takes a long time) so I think the best solution is to fix the paths manually in your project file.

The project file is a SQLite database, you can open it with the sqlite3 command-line tool; on Windows I’ve also recommended DB Browser in the past. Before you go ahead and inspect your database file, please make a backup copy, in case something goes wrong!

In the database, the paths to your photos are stored under photos.path. So for example, to list all your photo paths you could use the command

  • select path from photos order by path;

To change a common prefix in all your paths instantly, you can use a command like

  • update photos set path = replace(path, 'C:\\OLD PATH', 'E:\\NEW PATH');

If you tell me from where to where you moved your photos I can post the exact command you can use.