Virtual Copies after archiving folder onto another drive


This is my first post and I have been searching through the existing forum already but can’t seem to find a good answer that helps me understand what is going on.

Key info:

  • Windows 10
  • Dell XPS 8930 PC - RTX2060, SSD C:, Disk Drive D:\
  • Synology NAS Server for archiving
  • PL 4.3.0
  • PL Settings:
    • Save settings in sidecar file - YES
    • Load settings from sidecar file automatically - YES
    • Preserve metadata in XMP sidecars for RAW images - YES

My desired workflow

  • I edit images on my fast SSD in PL
  • Once the project is completed, I want to archive the images onto my Synology and remove them from the SSD
  • All edits and tags get retained in the archive so I can go back to it later if I need to

Issue (specific example)

  • Photo shoot - took 377 images
  • After an initial selection I ended up with 174 picked & 203 rejected images
  • I edit those, export them, all good.
  • Right after I finished the job, I copied the entire directory onto the Synology via the Windows Explorer
  • The original folder is at that point still on the fast SSD C: drive
  • When I open those images with PL in the Synology archive location, I all goes mad:
    • Total of 881 images, 435 picked, 1 untagged, 445 rejected … TOTALLY DIFFERENT NUMBERS
    • REASON: There are loads of Virtual Copies, some images have even 2!!

I just can’t explain what is going on and where these Virtual Copies come from.
Any help is appreciated, thanks!


Hi @cloudiq,

  • as you still have your original folder and content, close PL4 and delete the backup.
    Then, open PL4 again and change a file in that folder, so that PL’s database is engaged.
    Close PL4 and restart to see, if everything works as normal.

  • Now, in PL4 choose this folder and create a new one (context menu).
    Screen Shot 06-10-21 at 02.34 PM

  • Go back to the parent folder and copy (left mouse) / move (shift + left mouse) the content to the new folder. Like this, PL ‘knows’ about your operations and your file manager should show the very same content.
    Maybe you copy the first time within PL and rename (= hide) your original folder with your file manager, leaving it on the SSD.
    When everything works, move folder and content within PL to your archive media.

  • To delete a folder you have to use your file manager
    (I suppose for safety reasons – PL doesn’t show all file types).

BTW, I keep my pics on a big internal HD and copy them with a file manager to external HDs
(no more NAS). :slight_smile:

have fun, Wolfgang

Another tip too …

To make it easier to delete a large number of unwanted virtual copies; use the option to sort by “Virtual copy number” … this makes it easier to delete the entire group (of VCs) in one go.

John M

Hi John

Great way to filter them if you want to get rid of them, thanks very much.


1 Like

Hi Wolfgang

Thanks very much for your great suggestion. I played with your workflow and that help me understand how PL actually works and what the problem was in my case. I then experimented further and simplified things:

  • Close PL4
  • Copy images from C:…folder to my archive location
  • Once copied, change C:\ folder name so PL4 won’t find it anymore
  • Open images in archive location with PL4 to engage the PL database & for a final check to see if everything has been copied successfully
  • Close PL4
  • Delete the original C:…folder

This works like a treat now, happy man :grin: