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Lightroom Classic images stored on NAS - OFFICIAL Yes or No?

Participant ,
Mar 19, 2024 Mar 19, 2024

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Hey Folks, 

 

I'm trying to determine the official line on whether you can store photos on a NAS and import them to your Lightroom CC catalog. You'd think this would be a simple enough question, but no...

 

Some users say you can, while others appear to have constant issues. If you contact Adobe support, they will tell you the answer is NO; you cannot store images on a NAS and import them to your LR Classic catalog. 

 

However, the LR Classic FAQ (here) states, "Can I store or share a catalog on a network? No, you can't store catalogs on a network, but you can store or share your photos on a network."

 

If you point this FAQ out to Adobe support, their response is a frankly ridiculous claim that by "network," they actually mean "cloud."

 

Now, I ask you, what company that runs a gigantic cloud storage service would suddenly decide to refer to it as a "network" instead of a cloud in a support FAQ?

 

There's no way this FAQ was ever written to mean that. Additionally, while you can store LR Classic images in the cloud, they have to be synced from the catalog in the first place, so that excuse doesn't even make sense in a real-world workflow scenario.

 

To add more confusion to this topic, you have Adobe Evangalist Terry White writing on his website about how he stores all his Lightroom photos on a NAS. You know... the thing Adobe support says is not possible or supported...

 

Once and for all, I'd like to get to the bottom of this. I understand that a NAS can be a complex thing, and it can introduce many variables to a computer system that makes troubleshooting difficult. At the moment, it seems as though Adobe support simply falls back on the notion that "it's not possible" when they cannot troubleshoot the issue.

 

I also note that if you explain you are having an issue with accessing NAS-stored images, they will gladly book a time slot with you to take control of your computer and take a look. When they can't figure it out, they fall back on the idea that you cannot store LR Classic images on a NAS. In which case, if they knew NAS image access was the original issue raised, why did they even escalate the ticket to book a call, and then waste time poking around and screen sharing?

 

I fully expect to get replies from people saying it works fine for them, and others who say it has issues. I'd be particularly interested if anyone has ever gotten any straight answers from Adobe about this issue, or can point to any other online sources (like the FAQ I pointed to) that say it should work.

 

Thanks all!

 

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Community Expert ,
Mar 19, 2024 Mar 19, 2024

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The LrC catalog cannot be on a network drive, NAS, call it what you will. The photos can be.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 19, 2024 Mar 19, 2024

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Cloud storage is not a "place" so far as the LR Classic Catalog importing something with a known file and folder location.

 

Lightroom (non-Classic) does not report, or rely on, any actual file and folder location - reflecting only virtual forms of organisation - so that is a very different matter. 

 

Either a locally mounted drive volume (internal or external) or else a fileshare presented over the local network, are considered persistent "places" for importing. As already commented, further restrictions apply to a Catalog.

 

If you have a sync arrangement in place so photos primarily in cloud storage also have secondary local copies maintained, then the Catalog can import these local copies - no different than any other files present in local storage. But this can prove problematic in practice for various reasons, and subject to specific syncing settings.

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Participant ,
Apr 01, 2024 Apr 01, 2024

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Thanks. Yeah, that is how I understand it. Unfortunately, if you ever have any Lightroom issues and happen to use your NAS for storage, it seems that Lightroom support will just use that as a get-out clause. They will tell you that is the root cause of the issue because a NAS cannot be used for photo storage.

 

More than anything, and as another commentor pointed out, this is just an indication of how little use Adobe support technicians are. Sure would be nice if Adobe invested some of their growing profits into training useful tech support, eh?

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Community Expert ,
Apr 01, 2024 Apr 01, 2024

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@Yukon Dan 

NAS is one of those things that should work, but sometimes doesn't. Network configuration can be a moving target. Read this for some background: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/networks-removable-media-photoshop.html 

 

There's quite a few threads about problems with NAS storage, from slow performance to corruption and lost files. So you can either blame Adobe, as many like to do, or you can err on the cautious side.

 

 

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LEGEND ,
Apr 01, 2024 Apr 01, 2024

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"Network configuration can be a moving target..."

 

Fully agree about this. But Adobe Support should not say that Lightroom Classic won't work with NAS, and they should be more careful in what they say about "support".  A better canned answer:

 

"Lightroom Classic allows photos to be stored on correctly operating NAS volumes. However, we are unable to provide customer technical support for particular NAS installations. We recommend contacting your NAS manufacturer for troubleshooting problems."

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LEGEND ,
Mar 20, 2024 Mar 20, 2024

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Adobe Support isn't to be trusted for anything but the most routine and basic questions. They have a longstanding reputation for saying anything to close out a call.

 

Based on long experience, I think it's less likely Adobe would provide an official comment. But here are some more facts:

 

* The Lightroom Classic system requirements don't exclude NAS for photo storage:

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/system-requirements.html 

 

though it does prohibit the installation of the app on case-sensitive file systems and removable media.

 

* The Lightroom Classic Help says:

 

"Lightroom Classic offers flexibility in managing, organizing, and editing photos because your photos can be anywhere — on the same computer with the Lightroom Classic application, on an external hard disk, or perhaps on a network drive." [Emphasis added]

 

* LR explicitly checks the location chosen for a catalog and won't let you store them on NAS volumes. If Adobe didn't intended LR to access photos on NAS, it would have been trivial for them to implement the same check for Import.

 

Lightroom Classic: The Missing FAQ by Victoria Bampton says (page 23):

 

"Lightroom doesn’t mind where you choose to store the photos. They can be on an internal drive, an external drive, a network drive, or even a mix of different drives."

 

The Missing FAQ is the most authoritative third-party book for using LR. Bampton works very closely with Adobe to make sure the book is accurate and complete.

 

* Adobe has fixed bugs in LR triggered by storing photos on NAS, e.g.

 

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/whats-new-lightroom-2019-04/ 

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/whats-new-in-lightroom-classic-10-1/

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/whats-new-in-lightroom-cc-2015-6-and-lightroom-6-6/ 

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