15 Replies Latest reply: Feb 3, 2011 3:37 PM by JimBudrakey RSS

    Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?

    Mahombi Community Member

      Lightroom by default, places the Lightroom Catalog in the Pictures folder on my PC. My image library though, is located on an external hard drive. I've read that it is better to have the Catalog at the same location to avoid disconnected images, which sounds reasonable. Is it feasable to move the Catalog over to the same drive as my image library, or will that cause a problem? In other words would I need to start over again and create a new Catalog on the external drive? I know this sounds like a dumb question, but I've learnt to my cost that the obvious solution isn't necessary the correct one. 

        • 1. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
          b_gossweiler Community Member

          Mahombi,

           

          Moving a catalog to another location (also to an external drive as long as it's not a network drive) is no problem at all. Just move the *.lrcat file as well as the *.lrdata folder and double-click it from the new location to open it. Moving the *.lrcata folder also makes a new build up of the previews unnecessary at the new location.

           

          Whether you really want to have your catalog on an external drive is another question. External drives might have a slower speed than internal drives, which affects your work in LR somewhat. Also, having the catalog in the same location as the images themselves is not necessary at all and actually does not help not having disconnected images. If you handle them correctly, your images stay connected, if you don't, having the catalog in the same location will not help a lot.

           

          It is of utmost importance to backup the catalog on a regular basis, and doing this if possible to a different volume than where the catalog itself resides on (e.g. external drive).

           

          Beat Gossweiler

          Switzerland

          • 2. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
            DdeGannes Community Member

            For better performance it is preferable to have the catalog located on an internal hard drive. By default the catalog and the preview files have to be located in the same folder since there is continual read/write taking place while working in Lightroom. Lightroom does not make any changes to the original files so its fine for them to be located on another hard drive internal or external. Lightroom loves lots of hard disk space to operate so if your catalog is on an internal drive make sure it not starved for disk space.

             

            However its ok for your catalog/previews files to reside on an external HDD with your original photo files.

             

            Your photo files can reside on a HDD conected to a network but your catalog and preview files cannot be located on a network.

             

            e.g I have my catalog / previews on the main HDD with my operating system with over 50% free disk space. My Photo files are on a secondary internal HDD with over 75% free disk space. I back up to external HDD.

            • 3. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
              dj_paige Community Member

              I've read that it is better to have the Catalog at the same location to avoid disconnected images, which sounds reasonable.

              You may have read this somewhere, but it is completely untrue. Moving your catalog to the same location as your images does nothing to help you avoid disconnected images. Therefore, in my opinion, this is not a good reason for you to move the catalog file. It is simply unnecessary work.

               

              One way to avoid disconnected images is to use Lightroom (not Windows or Mac Finder) when you want to move or rename your photos or folders.

              • 4. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                Mahombi Community Member

                I did indeed read that in one of my books on the subject. Since my initial question however, I have read the opposite recommendation in at least two other books, which confirms your view.

                 

                Than you each, for your answers.

                • 5. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                  dj_paige Community Member

                  Just out of curiosity, what book said that moving your catalog to the same folder as your photos is a way to avoid disconnected photos (and what page was it on)?

                  • 6. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                    Mahombi Community Member

                    I've been delving in a few books on the subject of late and I'm not sure which one it was at the moment. I will get back to you when I relocate it.


                    On the same subject though, I have just discovered that at some point in the past,  I created a new catalog which for some reason known only to another part of my personality, I placed in my Documents folder. All the edits I have made over the last week have ended up in that catalog rather than in the original one in my Pictures folder. I want to move that catalog into the Pictures folder, if only for tidiness. Am I right in thinking that I should carry out this move when in Lightroom, rather than simply dragging the folder over from Documents to Pictures?

                    • 7. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                      dj_paige Community Member

                      You cannot move catalogs from within Lightroom.

                       

                      If you want to "merge" this catalog into another catalog, you can do so by opening the larger catalog, then use the command File->Import as catalog, and then point to the smaller catalog.

                      • 8. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                        dj_paige Community Member

                        I've been delving in a few books on the subject of late and I'm not sure which one it was at the moment. I will get back to you when I relocate it.

                        If you have a book that really said that, showing a horrible lack of understanding of how Lightroom works, I would suggest you chuck the book in the trash, as I wouldn't trust anything else it has to say.

                        • 9. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                          JimBudrakey Community Member

                          I am a Lightroom Newbie so please be gentle :-).

                           

                          What is the problem with moving the catalog to a networked drive?

                           

                          Presently all of my photos (>100,000 of 'em) reside on a networked storage machine (othrewise known as the Big Honkin' Server) which is backed up (both locally and off site) daily. Because my photographic workflow is performed on a workstation, I use a gigabit network (measured throughput of ~650 Mbps) and even though I am working on photos over the network, I find the performance is quite snappy. While my workstation is robust in terms of processors and ram, it only has a small hard drive and the hard drive is only backed up when the configuration changes. All data and user settings are stored on the server.

                           

                          Because Lightroom 3 will not let me move the catalog to a network machine, it does not seem to play nicely with my existing system. The only thing I can think of doing is to back up the catalog to the server at least daily. This seems to be a clunky workaround.

                           

                          Does anyone know how large the catalog file gets to be? This is another concern because of the small drive on my workstation. I have asked this question of several people (including a call to Lightroom support) and I can't seem to get an answer.

                           

                          How do folks use Lightroom on the same catalog of photos with both desktop machines and laptops?

                           

                          I would appreciate any advice the community can give me.

                           

                          Jim

                          • 10. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                            Ian Lyons CommunityMVP

                            JimBudrakey wrote:

                             

                            I am a Lightroom Newbie so please be gentle :-).

                             

                            What is the problem with moving the catalog to a networked drive?

                             

                             

                             

                            Jim,

                             

                            Lightroom does not support placing the catalog on a network server. Likewise, it does not support shared access to the catalog. While the former may change at some point (don't know one way or other) the latter restriction is unlikely to change while Lr continues to use SQLite database.

                            • 11. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                              ChuckTribolet Community Member

                              Lightroom will automatically do a backup at intervals you specifiy, and I think you can specify where to backup it to.  You could tell it to backup daily to the BHS.

                               

                              I know of two approaches for multiple computers.

                               

                              - The first is to use a USB drive.

                               

                              - The second is more applicable when you take a laptop in the field and do some early edits there.  You can then import

                                 the laptop catalog to your work station when you get home.

                              • 12. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                                JimBudrakey Community Member

                                Chuck,

                                 

                                Thank you for your quick response. It looks like I will have to add a

                                large external drive to my workstation (as Dave Marks recommends) and

                                back that up to my server. It looks like Lightroom will be able to do

                                that for me.

                                 

                                With respect to my laptop: When I import the catalog on the laptop, will

                                Lightroom be smart enough to ignore the photos which were imported in

                                previous sessions?

                                 

                                Thanks,

                                 

                                Jim

                                • 13. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                                  ChuckTribolet Community Member

                                  Somebody else is going to have to answer that question.  My primary machine is a bad-boy "lap top" (Lenovo W700), so

                                  it goes with me, and there's no second machine involved.  I do have a friend who does what I was talking about, and he cleans

                                  off the laptop after he imports the laptop catalog.

                                  • 14. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                                    JimBudrakey Community Member

                                    Ian,

                                     

                                    Thanks for the quick response. It looks like I will have to add a larger

                                    drive to my workstation and back it up frequently to the server.

                                     

                                    Jim

                                    • 15. Re: Can I move the Lightroom Catalog from one location to another?
                                      JimBudrakey Community Member

                                      Thanks Chuck. With all you folks helping, I'm sure I can master this thing.

                                       

                                      Jim