PC Lightroom catalogue not behaving on Mac

Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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I sometimes need to open my PC created Lightroom catalogue (stored on an external USB drive) on a Mac. All the images in the Library and in various Collections are on that one external USB drive. When I open the Lightroom catalogue on the Mac I find the thumbnails displayed with the small "!" mark in the corner saying that the original files cannot be found.

I know that Mac's use a different way of identifying a HD and use the volume name vs the PC which uses a drive letter. Is this what might be causing LrC to no longer know where the original images are on that same external drive? Or should I look for something else that might be causing the problem?

Thanks for any advice 🙂

 

Russell

 

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LEGEND , Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022
The "!" indicates that the photos aren't at the exact locations recorded in the catalog. This is because, as you surmised, the two operating systems use a different name for the drive. To work around this on the Mac: In the Folders panel, repeatedly right-click one of the top-level folders and do Show Parent until the name of the volume is showing as the top-level folder. Right-click that folder and do Find Missing Folder, then navigate to that volume and select it. You'll have to do a similar p...

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Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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Just to add ... both the Mac and PC are running the latest version of LrC. The external USB drive is ExFat formatted.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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The "!" indicates that the photos aren't at the exact locations recorded in the catalog. This is because, as you surmised, the two operating systems use a different name for the drive.

 

To work around this on the Mac: In the Folders panel, repeatedly right-click one of the top-level folders and do Show Parent until the name of the volume is showing as the top-level folder. Right-click that folder and do Find Missing Folder, then navigate to that volume and select it.

 

You'll have to do a similar procedure when you move the drive back to Windows.

 

Alternatively, make a folder "Pictures" in your catalog folder.  In LR's Folders panel, move all the cataloged folders under the "Pictures" folder.  In this special case, LR doesn't record the volume name in the catalog -- rather, it records that the photo folders are relative to the location of the catalog folder.  So you won't need to do Find Missing Folder each time you switch machines.

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Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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Alternatively, make a folder "Pictures" in your catalog folder.  In LR's Folders panel, move all the cataloged folders under the "Pictures" folder. 

 

WOW !!  If that works as easily as it sounds then it completely solves it. I'll be using LrC with that drive again tomorow night (in front of a room full of people) and it will be GREAT if it works as it should. I was planning on waiting until I was on the Mac before importing the images I'm presenting, but this sounds like it'll fix it once and for all.  I'll return on Wednesday with my report of its success (fingers crossed...).

 

Thank you, John :-)))

 

Russell

 

 

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Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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Just wondering ... is it because both Mac's and PC's have a "Pictures" system folder in their Library/User Folders that this workaround works?

 

Seems like a very elegant soluiton (if it indeed works ...).

 

Russell

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LEGEND ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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I tested this with a small catalog with LR 11.3 on Mac and Windows. I don't think it has anything to do with the special nature of the /Users/john/Pictures folders. You can name the subfolder of the catalog folder anything you want (e.g. "photos").  What triggers the behavior is that the photos are in subfolders of the catalog folder.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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Its because if you have the Pictures folder in the catalog folder then LrC uses "Relative" references

 

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Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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I see. So any folder in the root of the drive would work. As long as all image folders and Lightroom files live within that sub-folder then it should work seamlessly between platforms. I'm looking forward to seeing it work tomorrow evening.

 

Russell

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LEGEND ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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No, the folder with your photos must be IN the catalog folder next to (at the same level) of the LRCAT file.

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Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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I think that's what I understood:

Drive root

/ Folder {any name}

Containing:

      Lightroom Catalog Helper.lrdata
      Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrdata
      Lightroom Catalog.lrcat-data
      Lightroom Catalog.lrcat
      Image FOLDERS

 

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LEGEND ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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It doesn't have to be in the root

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Explorer ,
Apr 18, 2022 Apr 18, 2022

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It doesn't have to be in the root

 

Understood. As long as they all live in the same folder then it should behave.

 

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Explorer ,
Apr 20, 2022 Apr 20, 2022

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Everything works perfectly. Moving all the Lightroom and photo files into a subfolder on the external HD solves to problem. LrC now works properly when moving between a PC and a Mac.

 

Thank you John and Bob :-))

 

Russell

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