My laptop is almost dead. I have moved all of my photo files from within lightroom to the external hard drive, but can't see the .lrcat on the external. It must be still on the internal hard drive. How do I move it safely and not lose all my images? AND When I have moved it across, can I hook the external up to another computer with lightroom and find all my photos, including unexported edits?
Your actual image file are completely different from the LR Catalog file. That file has a .lrcat extension. So search your drive for *.lrcat, that is LR not ir. Once you find it copy it over to your external.
Please check that you have actually MOVED and or COPIED your original images to that external by opening the fold or folders they are stored in and see if they are actually there.