Disable automatic virtual copies after upgrading from PL2 to PL3.

I upgraded from PL2 to PL3 and now, virtual copies are automatically be created for my existing files when I open a folder.

  1. Is there any way to disable this behavior?
  2. Is there an easy way to clean up this mess? I have never used virtual copies and have no desire to.

Thanks for any guidance.

I haven’t seen this after my upgrade to PL3: I only see virtual copies when I had created them in PL1 or PL2, although I sometimes get more copies than I should. (Presumably because of issues with virtual copies and sidecars in PL1/PL2.)

macOS Mojave in my case.


  • Use the Sort option to order your images by Virtual Copy Number
  • Click on one end of the list of images with a numbered suffix … and Shift-Click on the other end, and then you will have selected all copies … but, be sure you haven’t selected the "M"aster copies as well !
  • Press Shift-Delete to delete them all.

John M


Your current issue aside for a moment, I’m curious why you don’t use virtual copies. A few people seem to feel as you do and I don’t understand why. I find it an incredibly useful tool and use it very often to try different sets of edits and crops for the same image, or when I want both a color and monochrome version.



Thank you, John. Worked perfectly.

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In my case, I have both the original .nef, .xmp, and .dop files in the folder. After upgrading to PL3 Elite, I am suddenly getting virtual copies as well, so every file looks duplicate (i get that it isn’t literally). I have never used virtual copies, so not sure why they are suddenly self generating.

Hi Mark,
Thanks for the response. They may very well be a good thing, but it isn’t something that I have invested time into learning or found a need for yet in my particular workflow. I should take some time to learn about this feature and I understand your point. It is very easy to get in a rut and not invest the time to learn new processes.

I just don’t feel that they should auto generate when I have never used them in the past.

There is virtually (pun intended) no learning curve. You could learn all you need to know about virtual copies in just a few minutes.


I guess your images were working on (at least) 2 machines or removable disks …
Why virtual copy is generated each time?
Because each image is loaded in PL, it will have an Universally Unique IDentifier (UUID) and this UUID is saved in the database and sidecar (.dop file)
Sometime this image is present already in another database (on the second machine i.e.) --> different UUID, when we reload this image on the second machine, PL will compare the UUID between database and sidecar, if they are not the same, PL will create a virtual copy + corrections for this difference to avoid losing data

How we solve it?
Remove .dop files from the impacted folder

What we can do better?
In our backlog, we have a ticket to solve this specific case, PL will be added one more comparison step to avoid add unnecessary virtual copies



Thank you for the update. Yes, I do have a backup /mirror…

I don’t see why a backup would produce different sidebars or data base unless it’s not a bsck up but being used as a working folder. If it’s a backup the information in the sidebars will be from the original location, it would only have a different location if it was edited from the backup location when it would no longer be just a backup. But if any of us had to do a restore to a new drive after a failure this would be a pain if your problem were the result. I have moved backups onto s new laptop but not had this but that was a few years ago.