11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 12, 2016 11:10 AM by ssprengel

    PC and MAC incompatibility issue

    PtomB1949 Level 1

      I  work on a    PC with windows 10 at home and I use Mac's at school in the photo department. My problem is that when I work at home and then get to school the files I worked on at home are showing up as missing. This is a common problem with all PC/Mac users. No one has been able to figure out what is going on and why Lr is doing this. I store my catalog and my pictures on an external drive and always launch Lr from the catalog file on the same external drive. I haven't seen this as an issue on the forums but it is driving us to distraction. Does anyone else have this problem or suggestions why our class is? Even better does anyone have a solution or a work around so that we can work at home and school without losing hours of editing? All thoughts are welcome as we have run out of ideas and patience.

        • 1. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
          99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You need an external drive that can be formatted for both Windows & Mac. I use a G Technology G Drive which comes with both USB3 and thunderbolt cables.  It’s formatted as exFAT and I can use it interchangeably on both systems. If you have a drive that can be re-formatted, make sure you backup everything first as formatting will wipe the drive.

          • 2. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
            Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

            I think the main problem is the way the external drive is addressed by the 2 different operating systems.

            Windows addresses the drives by a Drive Letter

            OS X addresses the drive by the Drive NAME.

            The LR catalog uses the PATH to where both the catalog file is and where the images are stored.

            On Windows that would be DriveLetter:\FolderName\FolderName\Catalog File Name.lrcat and DriveLetter:\FolderName\FolderName\ then the images file names.

            On OS X it would be DriveNAME/FolderName/FolderName/Catalog File Name.lrcat and then the same as above but with the Drive Name (Not a Letter) and the forward slash instead of a backslash and no colon.


            There is no way around that each OS addresses the PATH differently. It doesn't matter how the external is formatted as long as both Windows and OS X can read and write to the drive. It could be formatted either FAT32 or exFAT and you would have the same problem.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
              PtomB1949 Level 1

              My guess is that a translation routine could be developed to overcome this and that is my frustration with Adobe who sells Lr as a program for both worlds. I like the Lr development  module but the Database struggles to reach the level of clunky. I have heard that Adobe is planning to phase out Bridge and force everyone Lr for file management. If so they better fix the Database or they leave the window wide open for a smart developer to take the market.


              Anyway enough on the rant. Thank you for your answer. And that leads me to the next question: Is there a work around where the work I do in Lr on one platform can be imported into Lr running on the other platform?


              In particular Lr instructions that were not baked into an RGB file; virtual copies, and other things, as I understand it, are not included in the meta data and are lost in the import/export process. Is this also true if I did the work in Camera Raw?


              If no solution exists in Adobe is there another developer that allows work across platforms?

              • 4. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                PtomB1949 Level 1

                How does this work? Does the drive have software that translates the path?

                I don't understand why Ms Office for PC or Mac can find and operate on files without a problem while Adobe Lr can't.

                • 5. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                  99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I use the portable Gdrive with my Macbook Pro. So essentially it’s a temporary catalog used to edit the new Photos I shoot. It’s not a shared catalog. When I get back home I import as a catalog into my master catalog on the Windows PC. Importing as a catalog brings in all the photos and all the editing and metadata contained in the temporary catalog. It could be a workaround but not if you are constantly re-editing the same images over and over between home and school.

                  • 6. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                    PtomB1949 Level 1

                    Thanks for the feedback. It is helpful. My plan now is to take it a step further with some planned testing to see how complete the import is and how long it takes.

                    I generally do homework on the PC and then am printing on a Mac network at school. Sometimes I have print ready files done at home but often even those need tweaking at school. So I do some round trips both at home and at school between Lr and PSCC. In case anyone is interested I will post my findings here.


                    If anyone knows of any literature that addresses this issue I would be grateful to hear about it.

                    • 7. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                      dk5875a Level 1

                      Does this mean you need to have an external for the PC and an external for Mac? I am currently switching from PC to Mac and am just signing up for the creative cloud (used LR and PS for about 5 years with software) and my new Mac is not reading my LR catalog from my external. How do I transfer these? I have 2 externals that are mirrored. Do I now need to make a Mac version? I'm so confused. Thank you!

                      • 8. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                        JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        I believe what is necessary is that the EHD needs to be formatted as FAT32 rather than NTFS. Then both computers should be able to read it.

                        • 9. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                          ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          However, FAT32 has a limit of 4GB for filesizes so if you have large video files it won't work. 

                          • 10. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                            PtomB1949 Level 1

                            I think exFAT also works and it handles larger files than FAT32 if I remember correctly. Perhaps someone can confirm or deny this.

                            • 11. Re: PC and MAC incompatibility issue
                              ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              I think it does, too; however, when I had a flash-drive formatted as ExFAT so I could use it in both a Mac and a PC, then the problem was I couldn't use it on my BluRay to play the movie I'd put on it.