Please upload a screen shot of the full window of the Library module with folder panel expanded.
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Does the external drive have the same name on the Mac Mini as it did on whatever other Mac you had it attached to.
OS X references drives by Name, LR on OS X uses the drive names as a reference to where the images are stored on the iMac.
So no matter what system you used, Basic Copy and Paste, some drive sync program (Even one specifically made to Clone Mac drives from one to another) if the drive Name on the drive you connect to the other Mac isn't the same as what the LR Catalog file is looking for all your images will show as Missing (Even though all the images are on that drive).
You have 2 options.
1) Rename that external connected to the mini to the same name as the drive used on the iMac.
2) Use the File Missing files feature to Re-Reference the images to the new drive name.
I think you're right, but would like to lay out what I did to be sure.
My iMac image and catalog files are on a Drobo drive (16 TB on 5 separate drives in a black box).
Droboworking/ALL LR files in folders/1 pics Architecture new
Droboworking/1 LR catalogs/Architecture new
I copied image and LR folders to a 2nd external drive—of a different name: "9. 4TB"—though the file and folder structure was the same.
9. 4TB/ALL LR files in folders/1 pics Architecture new
9. 4TB/1 LR catalogs/Architecture new
Am I correct in assuming, from what you said, that the change of disk name is enough to cause the problem?
If so, should I just connect LR on both computers to the 9. 4TB disk, and use the Droboworking as a backup of all images and catalogs? Then I just move the 4TB drive back and forth.
Please advise, and many thanks for the quick response.
Am I correct in assuming, from what you said, that the change of disk name is enough to cause the problem? - Yes the change of disk name will cause a problem. Lightroom has written the original name of the drive in the database and won't recognize a different name unless you update the association.
If so, should I just connect LR on both computers to the 9. 4TB disk, and use the Droboworking as a backup of all images and catalogs? Then I just move the 4TB drive back and forth. - Yes. This will work.
Thanks to cmgap and Just Shoot Me for aiming me in right direction.