12 Replies Latest reply on Jun 15, 2014 9:05 AM by Cathellen

    Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC

    Gary Wornell Level 1

      I have Mac 10.9.1 OS and Windows 7. I have Lightroom 5 Calatogue on external firewire drive currently running from the Mac. I want to open the catalogue from my Windows 7 Lightroom 5. I can open the catalogue, but cannot see the file structure in the left pane.

       

      Should I reformat the drive to be compatible with both platforms (after backing up of course)? What format options should I select? Is this done on the Mac or PC? Am I likely to run into any problems?

       

      For the last few years I ran the catalogue from the PC and Mac using a firewire external drive, but this has been replaced by a smaller physical drive which is better for my travels. I used Windows XP in those days and Snow Leopard.

       

      Thanks in advance. Gary Wornell

        • 1. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
          trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          ExFat drive format appears to be compatible with OSX and Windows 7:

           

          http://lifehacker.com/5927185/use-the-exfat-file-system-and-never-format-your-external-dri ve-again

           

          OS X 10.9 or Windows 7 should be able to format the drive to ExFat.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
            Gary Wornell Level 1

            Thanks

            I had seen and read about this but was hoping to get some solid confirmation before going down that road.

            Gary

             

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            • 3. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
              john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Also look up a couple of apps. On Mac Tuxera makes NTFS discs writable, and on PC I think there's something called Paragon which does the same for HFS drives.

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              • 4. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                RKo618

                Gary Wornell wrote:

                 

                I want to open the catalogue from my Windows 7 Lightroom 5. I can open the catalogue, but cannot see the file structure in the left pane.

                 

                It is surprising to me that you were able to get this far. If the drive is formated in HFS+ then you would not be able to view the files on the drive from Windows.

                 

                 

                Should I reformat the drive to be compatible with both platforms (after backing up of course)? What format options should I select? Is this done on the Mac or PC? Am I likely to run into any problems?

                 

                Yes this is most likely the problem and the fix. Use Disk Utility on the Mac to confirm that the drive is currently formated with HFS+ which would be why it doesn't work in Windows.

                 

                When reformatting you should use FAT or exFAT, either one will work. You can format the drive from Windows or Mac as both OSes can do it.

                 

                If you want to avoid the headache of reformating you can do what johnbeardy said and purchase 3rd party software to add HFS+ support to Windows. Your options are Paragon or MacDrive. Normally I would be wary of this since file systems are something important that you don't want to use unreliable software for but Paragon and MacDrive both look reputable.

                 

                Am I likely to run into any problems?

                 

                I would be slightly concerned about sharing a Lightroom catalog between Windows and Mac. Hopefully Adobe does not do anything stupid to introduce incompabilities between the two platforms. Make sure to keep the version numbers of Lightroom close on the two machines.

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                • 5. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                  Gary Wornell Level 1

                  Before I switched from Windows XP to Windows 7 I was running external WD MyBook Studio 1TB drives - I dont have the drives with me right now, but after purchasing MacDrive I was able to Read and Write to those drives between platforms with no problems. I worked 3 years with that arrangement no problems at all.

                   

                  My main concern with the exFAT format is the fact that this is not journaled. It is my understanding that Journaled volumes are much more stable than un-journaled because of the nature of the former in keeping a record of the data before it is written.

                   

                  I'm not overy concerned, but it seems to me that a corrupt Lightroom catalogue would be a real waste of time and energy. I back up my catalogue about once every 3 or 5 days as it takes a while to write the file.

                  • 6. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                    trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    exFat was designed by MS specifcally for formatting large capacity flash memory devices (i.e. memory cards). In fact the only way to access the full-capacity of a 64GB memory card is with exFAT format. The lack of Journaling makes exFAT less desirable for use with permanent storage devices like hard drives versus use on "temporary" storage devices such as flash memory cards.

                     

                    Regardless of the format used you should backup your image files and catalog to a 2nd drive (or Cloud backup) when adding new  camera files and after a major editing session. If the Mac and PC systems are at different locations (work and home) use two  backup drives with one at each location. You should be doing this anyhow for backup of ALL your digital assests on each system, including documents, music, videos, pictures, email (Outlook PST file), etc.

                     

                    External hard drives are cheap insurance with the tiny 2TB WD My Passport drive costing ~$100 and larger 4TB drives ~$150. I use and can recommend FreeFileSync, which syncronizes all assest  folders on my Windows 7 system.

                    • 7. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                      Gary Wornell Level 1

                      I decided to go with Paragon for both Windows 7 and Mac OSX. I wanted to keep a journaled option in my Lightroom catalog and with the Freecom drive formatted HFS+. So far no problems and all volumes are mirrored on two seperate external drives stored in different physical locations.

                       

                      In both cases I have access to read/write from both operating systems.

                       

                      This has been my workflow before with Windows XP, but with Windows 7 and 64 bit there were a few challenges. Thanks for your help.

                      Gary

                      • 8. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                        Ben McEntire

                        Gary I work from both Windows 7 (desktop) and OSX (Macbook Pro) .. would love to hear more about your set up..   I am currently working 2 catologs on 2 machines older stuff on PC and recent work on the Macbook..   not the ideal set up but what I am working with now until I can get the Macbook upgraded to a much larger drive ...    My future setup will be all external and raid for back ups ... but your last post intrested me on your mirroring and setups .. so would love to hear more ... thank you

                        • 9. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                          Gary Wornell Level 1

                          Hello Ben,

                          Well I have been working with this set5up for about a month now. No problems at all. My Lightroom catalogues open on both systems - I just had to put the image files in their respective year folders into a main folder called Originals. Now Lightroom looks for that when the catalogue is opened and instantly the folders appear. I can work on a file for 10 minutes in one system, close Lightroom and unmount the volume in Windows 7, mount to the MacBook Pro (2009 late) and open lightroom - with no delay.

                          I guess this is what I was looking for and there are no performance issues so far.

                          Hope that helps. Gary

                          • 10. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                            XplodingPancakes

                            I'm trying to attempt this as well. I created the libraries in Windows and the files load fine there off my external. When I load up my Mac, plug in the harddrive, and load the Catalog, my folders all have question marks. I think it is looking for a "E:\" directory, but OSX works in Volumes. If I Manually find all the files the problem is fixed. Was wondering if you were having this issue at all? Wondering if you have to create the catalog in OSX then open it in Windows for it to work seemlesly. Hate to do that as I have a lot of editied photos in this catalog already.

                            • 11. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                              Gary Wornell Level 1

                              Hello X,

                              As I mentioned in my earlier statement here, the issues of file paths were cleared up when I created a directory inside the External drive Volume titles Lightroom CAT> Originals. The Lightroom Catalogue folder is beside this one. Inside the Lightroom catalogue folder is the Catalogue, settings previews, etc. Inside the Originals folder is folders 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 etc. Between PC Windows 7 and Mac Mavericks the catalogue opens without asking anything and this is the case when opening with Windows 7.

                              Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 09.31.49.png

                              • 12. Re: Lightroom Catalogue external drive to be accessed by Mac and PC
                                Cathellen

                                We are trying to use the same lightroom catalog on a macbook pro and on windows. We installed the paragon driver on wndows so we can access the hfs+ formatted drive on windows. As a test, we took a working version of the catalog and the pictures on windows and made a copy of all the files onto the external mac formatted drive and took it over to the Mac. We had to tell it where the top level directory is and everything seemed ok. But when we took the disk back to windows, we got errors. One time, lightroom said that the catalog file could not be opened because it was corrupted. Another time, we could open the lightroom catalog, but many of the pictures have exclamation marks on them and when we open them, an error is reported "There was an error working with the photo."

                                 

                                We are using Lightroom 5.4 downloaded from Creative Cloud on both systems.

                                 

                                Does anyone have any ideas about what is going wrong? Have other people been able to go back and forth successfully?