I have installed a new harddrive and restored picture files and LR catalogs to it.
When I click on 3 most recent catalogs I get "unexpected error opening LR" with no options
If I do it on the external drive it gives me the option to update catalog and it works.
Should I just copy this new version directly to new hard drive?
Yes if you are happy with the catalog launched from the external drive copy it to a more regular location like the Pictures folder. Or Make a Catalog sub folder in picturs and put it inside that. Then double-click on the named catalog ending .lrcat to launch it from Pictures and it should open from there in the future.
I did in fact copy a .lrcat file to my new internal drive 'photo' file.
While this catalog worked when located on the external drive, when I
attempt to open on my internal drive (directly or thru files in LR) I still
get the error message "unexpected error opening catalog". I.E. it
works externally but does not work internally.. ???
It should work if the location on the internal drive has read & write permissions.