Trying to use Lightroom Classic on 2 separate computers in 2 different locations at different times. Catalog and photos are stored on iMac in location 1. All photos have smart previews and all are synced to the Creative Cloud. When I go to my second location with a PC, I can see and edit all the photo smart previews using Lightroom--no problem. But I cannot see or use any of the smart previews in Lightroom Classic. It says the photo cannot be found even though they are all smart previews. Can I use Lightroom Classic on 2 different computers without copying the catalog to the second computer.
The best way to use Lightroom Classic on two computers, using the same images, is to have the catalog and images on an external hard drive that can be moved between the two computers.
Except the OP said one computer is a PC and the other is a MAC so you have to resolve the drive format issue so you can read and write on both machines.
Typically via exFat, but exFat not a great format.
Alternately NTFS AND a utility to allow MACOS to use it.
So to add a bit:
Yes, you can format a drive that can be read on both platforms and or course must do so.
You need ALL photo's, presets* profiles etc on that drive.
* use the Store Presets with Catalog option so the presets travel with that drive and catalog.
You might consider a DNG workflow where much of this is stored inside the container. If you use custom camera profiles, they will otherwise be 'scattered' on your two boot drives and having them in sync otherwise (outside of DNG) is a bit of a pain.
The location for .dcp camera profiles should be:
Mac: /Users/user/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/CameraProfiles
Is the catalog on the Windows PC a direct copy of the one on the MAC?
And you stated, the catalog and preview files on both have the same file structure, correct?
And original photos are in the cloud, not on a local hard drive, correct?
So, the catalog finding previews works, good
Finding original photos, fails, bad
I suspect the Windows PC and the MAC file managers , Windows File Explorer, MAC Finder, see that cloud storage differently. And LrC uses the file manager. So, missing photos.
You may need to fix in LrC, Folders Panel, the broken folder link, that is update folder location (best at parent folder) or change the way the file manager sees the cloud storage
not into cloud storage for this purpose, so how to do the latter? No clue.
If using one external HD moved from Mac to PC and back:
You can use relative paths to the photo files, and then reconnecting the photos inside of Lightroom CLassic is not necessary when you move from Mac to PC or back. You do this by keeping the photos in subfolders inside the same folder where the catalog file is stored. https://feedback.photoshop.com/conversations/lightroom-classic/lightroom-ability-to-use-relative-pat...