Import from ext drive - "add w/o moving" vs "copy ext drive"

I want to import some folders with photos in them, which are on an external drive attached to my laptop.

I want the external drive NOT to become a device. It is fine for it to only operate when attached to this particular laptop.

At some point in the future I want to be able to delete the original folders, knowing that the copies of them inside Mylio can be relied on, from then on, as the new “originals”.

I read through the documentation, and helpful posts from @jimre and @Mylio_Deon in response to my earlier questions (see " Can the Mylio Catalog be stored in vault on external drive?.

I decided “copy ext drive” was the right choice, because “add w/o moving” seemed like it would require using Source Folders and that seems at odds with what I seek.

The result is that the external drive was turned in to a device. Maybe I should have used “add w/o moving” after all? Or, maybe now that the photos are inside Mylio, I just need to go and remove the external drive as a device?

Am not understanding things I guess, because I thought “copy ext drive” would not make the external drive a device.

Advice please?

1 Like

But looking over your previous thread, you wrote:

The reason to put all the source folders and/or Library files on the external drive is that the laptop’s local drive doesn’t have enough space on it.

So if the laptop doesn’t have enough internal drive space to hold a copy of all the photos on the external drive - then why would you choose “Copy” rather than “Add Without Moving”? You can’t copy them all to the laptop if there isn’t enough room! It seems that Add Device -> External Drive -> Add Without Moving is exactly what you’re asking for, isn’t it? Or maybe I’m just not understanding what you want to do.

As @Mylio_Deon pointed out in your other thread, a Mylio Device that’s just an external hard disk doesn’t count toward your subscription device limits. So why would you not want it to be treated as a “Device” in Mylio?

OK, re-reading your original thread again - did you actually go ahead and Relocate your laptop’s Mylio library folder to the external hard drive? So you’re NOT having Mylio use the laptop’s internal drive for storing photos at all? If so, maybe that’s what I was missing that didn’t make sense.

Hi @jimre it is great having you look over my shoulder through all this. Thank you.

I have been accused of being really good at making things more complicated than they need to be… :slight_smile: Still, I am finding that understanding how Mylio works is quite challenging.

Some of the stuff in the old thread that I mentioned to is still useful but I decided that for me it is probably best to make a fresh take on things and stop referring to that-- simply because I was mis-using a lot of terms (for example vault and library) over there. So I started this new thread-- hoping to maybe limit the focus more narrowly, use the terminology more accurately, etc.

In the new post I made here, I also neglected to explain (apologies!) that for now I am just doing a test import, to get to the point where I understand what is going on. So I am not importing all of my photos, which would be too much to store on the laptop-- just a small subset of them.

Also, for this test, I am focusing only on the laptop and its external drive. No other devices. Given my current level of understanding (which clearly has its limits!) I think my first goal here is solely to get the subset of photos in to Mylio, from where they currently are on the external drive, but leave the external drive as not a device.

So the aim is to have the laptop be the device, with quality settings as vault, and it’s fine for now that the Mylio database and content files are all right on the laptop hard drive (they aren’t too big, during this initial test; later I plan to relocate them to the external drive, but that is not the topic of this thread-- am trying to separate that issue).

Now, I thought I learned at some point that the external drive can be configured not to be a device, i.e. I would just be importing the photos from it but the originals would not become part of Mylio (not source folders etc)-- so in principle I could then remove the external drive and Mylio would not care. So that’s what I am trying to do, if it’s possible. Based on that, I decided Add Without Moving seemed like the wrong choice.

I think that effectively what I want is the functionality of “Import with Copy” (not using an external drive), but the ability to do that from the external drive. But I saw a warning in the documentation, something about how importing from an external drive without using “External Drive Import” is not supported and causes unexpected behavior, so I steered clear from trying “Import with Copy”, and instead tried “External Drive Import / Copy external drive”.

But that turned my external drive in to a device. I wasn’t expecting that.

Maybe the problem is with my use of the term “device”. Maybe what I just did (copy ext drive) has actually accomplished what I wanted, and I should be content with the external drive being a device, because it is a “device that won’t count against the device limits of my subscription”?

1 Like

Still not sure why you’re trying to avoid your external hard drive being a “device”.

You have the classic “skinny laptop” scenario, with insufficient space to hold your entire photo collection. Normally you’d set the laptop to be a “Thumbs-only” device (or “Auto-optimized”, both Thumbs + some Previews) and then have an external HD to be your “vault” device. You could unplug the external HD and Mylio will keep working on the laptop, albeit with just Thumbs and/or Previews.

But you have an additional complication - the bulk of your photos already exist on an external drive. Unlike normal small-batch camera imports - you dont have room on the laptop to import them all in one go. You could consider breaking the existing photos into small import batches (that will fit on the laptop, at least temporarily cached there until they are synced to the external HD device). Or you could use the “Add Without Moving” option when creating the external HD device.

Based on what you’ve written, what you DON’T want to do is Relocate your laptop’s Mylio library folders to the external HD. In that case if you unplugged the HD, Mylio will simply stop working. Or at best, give you all blank squares with every photo reported missing.

Okay. Great explanation. I think you are correct in that I don’t really want or need to insist that the external drive is not a device after all-- as long as when it becomes a device it will not count against the number of devices included in my subscription (and as you noted, I have been pointed to the documentation stating that it will not).

I don’t know when or why I somehow mistakenly got it in my head that I wanted the external drive not to be a device. My bad. Easily confused I guess, but also working on this stuff only a few minutes each time, spread out with a day or more between each session generally.

Also I had been thinking that in fact I did want to “relocate” the Mylio files from the laptop hard drive to the external drive, which I was going to do next after my imports were done, but now I realize that’s not the case either. Thank you for pointing that out.

Finally, and this is pretty embarrassing, I noticed just now that my external drive is a device BUT that it was added back in May, not during the test I ran last night! I also don’t see any Mylio files on it.

What I was expecting to happen during the “copy ext drive” test I did last night was that no files would be put on the external drive (this seems to have happened as expected) and the external drive would not be made in to a vault (which possibly is what happened; it is a vault but that might only be due to tests I did back in May!).

So I am going to try to wipe my slate clean by unregistering the external drive and trying another test “copy ext drive”, to see if I can understand better what is going on.

Thank you so much. Not my brightest & best work on all this, kind of a comedy of errors, but I’m slowly making progress.

When you say “copy ext drive” are you referring to one of the options in the File -> Import menu, or in the File -> Add Device menu? (Note, the latter is the same as Dashboard -> Devices -> Add )

Under File–> Import → External Drive, after selecting the external drive I am using, I see two options: “Add without moving” and “Copy”.

In the online documentation, the latter (“Copy”) seems to be referred to as “Copy external drive”, and in my post here I have been ~abbreviating it to “Copy ext drive”.

Also, to report back and try to close the loop on this post overall: I did unregister the external drive so that it is no longer a device. Then I did another test of “Copy ext drive” and it worked just the way I expected it would:

  • no new files were put on the external drive
  • the external drive was not made in to a device

So at this point nearly all the topics I raised in the original post for this thread have been resolved. To summarize:

  • “Copy ext drive” behaves the way I expected it to, based on the documentation (it does not put any files on the external drive, nor make it a device). It seems equivalent to importing photos from the local hard drive using “Import with Copy”.
  • The confusion I had, and reason for the post, was due the fact that my external drive had already been registered as a device during some testing I did a couple months ago, and had forgotten about! I mistakenly thought that my “Copy ext drive” was what caused it to become a device.
  • So I was correct to think that I wanted to use “Copy ext drive” and not “Add without moving”.

In addition

  • I learned that in fact I don’t need or want to force my external drive from becoming a device. Actually I will want it to be a device, as a vault. This will not count against the devices included in my subscription. And I will want my laptop to also be a device, but auto-optimized (because it doesn’t have sufficient storage space to be a vault). This way, the laptop will be functional even when the hard drive is disconnected.
  • I learned that I don’t want to “relocate” my Mylio files from my laptop hard drive to the external drive.
  • About my comment “it is fine for (my ext drive) to only operate when attached to this particular laptop”-- that is unrelated to the question this post is focused on, and also poorly stated, so it’s best to just ignore it.

Thanks very much @jimre!