Hi, I'm a longtime Photoshop user but new to Lightroom and am using the all new Lightroom CC. I want to edit my images, but I'm not interested in the organization or storage features. I have tens of thousands of photos on my hard drive, all perfectly organized by year and subjects and I can find any instantly. I want to be able to access a folder on my hard drive, browse through the images and select one to edit and move on to the next. I also would love to be able to batch rename all the files in a single folder. I'm not interested in the cloud backup as my drive is already backed up regularly by a cloud service backup.
How can I use Lightroom to browse to a folder, view those contents, choose images and edit them without having to import or anything?
The short answer is you can't, it's not built like that. If you want a file browser with editing tools, Bridge with Camera Raw is the right tool for you.
The new Lightroom CC can be used without uploading photos to the cloud (although you'd miss some benefits), but it does import the photos into its own storage.
Lightroom Classic does allow you to add photos at their existing location and batch rename, although it's still based on a catalog.