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If by "catalog" you mean the LR database is on F, just double click the catalog to invoke LR and that catalog will become the active one. Or, if LR is already open, use the file menu to open a different catalog and then point to the one on F.
If it's the image files that you have moved, then in LR, when you click on a photo that is not found you can then point to it in its new location. Other photos will then be properly linked. I'll let others provide more details on this, since I think all photos in subfolders will be found, but not others (?). You may need to perform a find several times - not really sure.
"...since I think all photos in subfolders will be found, but not others (?). You may need to perform a find several times - not really sure."
I've had to do this, and can't really figure out why it should be so convoluted. My personal experience has been that FILE handling (as opposed to image) is really pretty cludgey in LR. I agree with another of others who have posted their desire to see some of the file handling/browsing capabilities from Bridge incorporated in LR.
I like many of the features in LR but, perhaps due to habit/routine, still find Bridge to be a more efficient workflow for processing large groups of images. Really too bad...I keep wanting to integrate LR more into my work, but have so far found it a bit to cumbersome.
I think the BIG question is how did you move the photos? If you just moved them using the OS, then you will have to open LR and then point LR to the photos on the external HDD, probably one file at a time. I haven't done this. It is difficult because the system LR is designed to work with Catalogs when moving lots of files rather than just relocating them on a new HDD.
If you exported the catalog to the HDD, then you can point to the moved catalog at startup. In the Preferences/General, you can tell LR to ask you for the catalog to open.
If none of these work, you need to tell us more about exactly how you got to where you are.
Thank you to all who replied to this thread. You were all helpful.
What I did was move all my photos, and the Lightroom folder that is under My Pictures onto the external hard drive. When I double-click the Catalog file on the external hard drive, LR opens and finds the photos on that hard drive-most of the time. I do have some dngs that seem not to be attached to any photo. I get a "Cannot Open File" message. I tried Importing some of the photo folders from the new location and that seemed to help for most of them.
I did a fresh Import for my latest trip to San Diego, so that they would be copied onto the external drive. And for some reason, some of the thumbnails dont work. I cant figure out why, but when this happens, there always seem to be a working copy that does work.
At any rate, now I can use external hard drives, and will just make sure I import to the correct drive and use the catalog from that drive to fire up LR when working on those photos.
I agree with those who said that LR handles images well, but file management could use a lot of improvement. Hopefully well see improvement in future upgrades. I really, really love LR for image organization and all of the development tools, and the ease of working within PS CS3. I also like it that I dont have to have a PSD file for every photo I improve through LR tools.