18 Replies Latest reply on May 31, 2017 10:38 PM by ironmountainfilms

    Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.

    gib39 Level 1

      I have seen many people state that they use dropbox to store their catalogue to use across multiple machines for use when travelling etc.

       

      I have tried and failed and now lightroom says my catalogue is unreadable? could this be a sync issue if i did not allow dropbox to fully sync?

       

      Does anyone have a step by step guide on how this can be easily achieved?

       

      I store all my photos on hard drive of windows machine using CC.

       

      The idea is to only work on the few photos I transfer to my laptop while I am away, work on these photos then when I get home transfer these photos onto my main PC maintaining the catalogue links.

       

      Hope that makes sense.

       

      Thanks

       

      Paul

        • 1. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
          Chetna Srivastava Adobe Employee

          Hi Paul,

           

          This seems to be related to permissions at the location where your catalog is stored.

          It is not suggested to store the catalog on network drive.

          If you want to work on the same catalog on two machines, you can store the catalog and original images on an external drive and plugin that external drive on the machine on which you want to work.

           

          Regards

          Chetna

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
            gib39 Level 1

            Thanks for the reply.

             

            I am probably mistaken but I am sure a number of people have had success this way.

             

            I am linking the catalogue to my drop box folder located on each machine.

             

            Surely there must be an easier way to work on two machines without the need of carrying around an external drive in this day and age.

             

            Adobe needs to sort this out.

            • 3. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
              Abambo Level 4

              Dropbox or equivalent is probably the only possibility to store your catalog file in a networked manner, but this makes sense only if you access the same pictures on the same (local NAS) disk. The problem with this is naturally that nobody can ensure the integrity of the data base if, by mischance, you access the database with 2 computers at the same time. Lightroom is not multi-user ready. And that is why Chetna reminds not to store the catalog on a network drive.

               

              I have the following hardware:

              • NAS - for Backups (9Tb)
              • 6 TB Photo disk on my Workstation and
              • 2 TB USB3 disk for my Laptop.

              My workflow is, that most of the time, I import and develop on my Laptop. For that reason, I have a catalog database on my external disk. When I'm at my base office, I import that catalog database (import from catalog) into my workstation's catalog database. The story here is, that I have a first backup of my most recent data and I can continue working the pictures on my workstation. A backup is then scheduled from my workstation disk to my NAS.

               

              My current pictures database (2015+2016) is currently around 1TB, my overall database of pictures dating 10 years back (to the beginning of my digital area) is around 2 TB. Additionally, I have an additional TB of scanned data from my analogue life.

               

              This works best for me at the moment.

               

              For the corrupt data problem: You may try to recover from a backup catalog. Best practice would be anyway to store those somewhere else in your disk space.

              2 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                Abambo Level 4

                The drawback of my method is avoiding to edit pictures on the workstation and later on my Laptop, as I do not copy back the data to my external disk. If it is necessary to do so, I can import Laptop modified files as a clone. Works fine for me.

                • 5. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                  Michael J. Hoffman Adobe Community Professional

                  Hi Gib39,

                   

                  I have been managing my main Lightroom catalog using Dropbox to sync from my Windows desktop to my Macbook and back, since LR5. It's not without a little fuss from time to time, but it has worked well for me for quite a few years.

                   

                  I've created a video tutorial explaining how I do this. In the text of the article are links to earlier tutorials I made about Smart Previews, which are the key to really going portable (i.e. without lugging the external drive along). Make sure to check out those tutorials as well to learn about Smart Previews, if you're not familiar with them.

                   

                  Here's the tutorial on creating a portable LR catalog using Dropbox (works with any sync system like Box, Google Drive, etc):

                  A Portable Lightroom Catalog - Mike Hoffman

                   

                  I hope this helps!

                   

                  Mike

                  3 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                    ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                    Dropbox and the similar services do not like files to be randomly updated as parts, which is exactly what happens in the LR catalog/database.

                     

                    The more foolproof method is to do the following:

                    Sync the catalog to the local drive.

                    Copy the catalog out of the Dropox sync folder.

                    Use the catalog outside of Dropbox.

                    Close LR.

                    Copy the catalog back into the Dropbox sync folder.

                    Sync the catalog back into the cloud.

                    • 7. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                      gib39 Level 1

                      Hi mike thanks.

                       

                      I appear to be getting somewhere.

                       

                      I can see my desktop catalogue on my laptop but i have a couple of questions.

                       

                      Do i need to continually update the smart previews or is this automatic?

                       

                      I use desktop pc for main editing and it holds all my photos in DRIVE D. My laptop DRIVE C is my editing tool when away from home.

                       

                      Should both drives me named the same?

                       

                      Can i add photos temporarily on laptop to edit then transfer these photos to desktop once home.

                       

                      If i go to further edit on laptop an already edited photo done on the desktop then the folder cannot be found on laptop for only previously edited photos?

                       

                      Its not quite working right at the moment but i can see potential.

                       

                      Thanks

                      • 8. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                        Abambo Level 4

                        This is not quite true (but not entirely false). The problem is data integrety when accessing the data at the same time from 2 sides. And this happens, when synchronizing of the data is slow. Your method makes Dropbox practically ununsable, as the catalog may use some space.

                        • 9. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                          Abambo Level 4

                          You canot assume to edit safely the same database (Lightroom catalog) with a different set of data (pictures). This gets easily unmanagable.

                           

                          You can only use dropbox if and only if you are editing the same picture set (on an external disk or NAS) on 2 different machines, poroviding, that you do not use both systems at the same time.

                           

                          For mobile to workstation work, I strongly recommend my work pattern.

                          • 10. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                            gib39 Level 1

                            You may be right. I think the issues i was having was due to issues with syncing to dropbox. In a normal situation i wouldnt be jumping from one machine to another in quick succession but in this instance i was trying to get to grips with its functionality which looks to have have been my down fall.

                             

                            I think the sync function is too temperamental so in now looking to go external drive option. How do i transfer existing photos and catalogues correctly to external drive without losing any work?

                             

                            You also earlier said "If it is necessary to do so, I can import Laptop modified files as a clone" what do you mean exactly.

                             

                            Thanks for your valid points.

                             

                            Much appreciated.

                            • 11. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                              ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                              At no time can you allow the catalog to be in use a two different places, regardless of the sync tech being used.

                              • 12. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                                Abambo Level 4

                                That's what I say: Lightroom is not designed to be multi-user on the same catalog. You will corrupt your data or if you are lucky, you will be able to see only modifications from one side. It's a pity, but it's as designed.

                                • 13. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                                  thomasr39953720 Level 1

                                  I have the opposite problem from most of the comments on this thread. Here is my question: Lightroom catalogs appear in my Dropbox folders even though I never specified they should be copied there. They are eating up my storage allowance and I want to remove them from Dropbox, but I don't know how to do that. I never had this problem after years of using Lightroom until I started using LR mobile this past year. I have looked for the right preferences or settings, but cannot find how to separate Lightroom and Dropbox.

                                  • 14. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                                    Abambo Level 4

                                    I doubt that LR does something behind your back. It just opens by default the latest catalog opened.

                                     

                                    But this is your solution: Move the catalog directory with all the file to an other location. Then open LR and open the .lrcat file. After that LR will use that catalog as default.

                                    • 15. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                                      trumanders Level 1

                                      Hi!

                                       

                                      I use Dropbox to sync the entire database between PC at home and my Macbook, and I thought I was really smart doing so. Sometimes though, an image that I edited suddenly loses all the changes, and this is because of this:

                                       

                                      Let's say I am working on my PC and my macbook is switched off. I do a lot of editing, changes and stuff. I close Lightroom. Dropbox starts to upload the new version of the database file, right. I switch off my PC before the upload is done/finished. (OH NO!)

                                       

                                      Next day I open up my macbook, and see that none of the changes is there, because the new version of the database file with all of the changes I made didn't upload. Now, with Lightroom open on the macbook, which has the OLD database version, dropbox starts to upload and "update" the version that's on the macbook.

                                       

                                      I start my PC...and dropbox starts to download the old "updated" version without the initial changes that was copied from the macbook. And boom...the changes are GONE.

                                       

                                      The way I understand it, I have to close Lightroom, let dropbox upload the whole file and not until this is done AND the new version is downloaded onto the macbook, I can open lightroom on the macbook and see the changes. Do some work. Let dropbox upload the entire file again. The problem here is that I often close my laptop after I'm done and take it elsewhere, not continuously connected to the internet, so the changes that I made doesn't upload completely.

                                       

                                      It can bee confusing.

                                       

                                      /Anders Johansson, Sweden

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 16. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                                        ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                                        You need to wait for Dropbox to upload the catalog to the Dropbox server before closing the laptop and before turning off the PC.

                                         

                                        Alternatively, if you put the catalog on an external drive, you can move the drive from computer to computer as needed with no wait time. If you put the images on the external drive with the catalog, you have everything in one place.

                                        • 17. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                                          ironmountainfilms Level 1

                                          That's exactly right, ManiacJoe.  Dropbox if you're syncing it from cloud to your local drive will behave no differently than keeping the catalog in your Pictures folder (default location) at least theoretically. The problem is being unaware of what Dropbox is doing.  Keep your eye on the box icon and make sure it finishes twirling (syncing) before closing your computer down. Likewise when you open your other machine you need to let it sync the updated catalog before opening it.  Hoping it works this way!  Have been using Dbox for years and if you're aware of how it works, it's a gem. Obviously, you also can't have someone opening the same file on both computers simultaneously!

                                          • 18. Re: Sync Lightroom Catalogue to Dropbox for use on 2 PC.
                                            ironmountainfilms Level 1

                                            Mike Hoffman's tutorial is great. Just remember to let Dropbox finish syncing on both ends before opening. Depending on your internet connection and the size of your catalog/smart previews that could take awhile!