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Copying a catalog to another computer (sort of)

Jul 26, 2012 8:51 AM

I have a situation that is enough different to the ones explained in Martin Evening’s book and by Julieanne , in her “The Complete Picture” series, that I thought I might ask the question here.


I use my laptop (mostly) for my Lr work (fun).  My master catalog is on its C drive.  Almost all of my images are on a home network drive (Z).  I am going out of town for a while and will be taking my laptop.  I want to take copies of my Z drive images with me (on a portable drive I have yet to purchase), and  I plan to take pictures on the trip that will be added to the catalog (during the trip).  When I get home, I want to get all the new image files back to my Z drive and for my master catalog to know where everything is including all the xmp data, virtual images, snapshots, collections…  I want nothing left on the new portable drive.


  1. Should I move my master catalog to the Z drive and then do an export (with all the negatives) to the new portable drive and then export back to the Z drive when I return?    Will I be taking copies of the Z drive image files or will they be moved to the new portable drive (don’t want to do that)?  Can I add image files back to the Z drive when I do the export/import  routine?
  2. Should I create a new catalog for my new portable drive and then do a merge back to the master catalog when I return?
  3. Is there a better way (must be) that I haven’t thought of?


Looking forward for some expert advice.  Thanks.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 26, 2012 9:15 AM   in reply to WDKlein1000

    I wouldn't do any of those.


    Leave your catalog file right where it is. Don't move it.


    With the new external HD plugged in, open LR and use Lightroom to move the desired photos from the Z drive to the external HD. You do this via drag and drop in the Folder Panel. (Alternatively, move the photos using your operating system and then re-link in LR)


    Go on your trip, take all the photos you want, import them into LR and have the photos copied from the camera card to the external HD.


    When you get home, reverse the move. WIthin LR, move the photos from the external HD to the Z: drive, using drag and drop in the Folder Panel. (Alternatively, move all the photos in your operating system and re-link in LR)


    And please, before you do any of this, make sure you have backups of all of your photos and backup of your catalog file. Don't skip this step. I don't want to see you in here after the trip saying something went wrong and you've lost all of your photos and you have no backup.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2012 6:25 AM   in reply to WDKlein1000

    "Elegant" means different things to different people. To me it means simple and straightforward. To other people it means making a clever use of a feature in a way that most people would never think of. To tell you the truth, what I have suggested fits my criteria of "simple and straightforward", and I wouldn't ever look for anything else.

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