Changing the root directory of Lightroom catalog

New Here ,
Jul 07, 2010 Jul 07, 2010

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Hi,

When I originally set up Lightroom on my computer, my photos were being stored in the My Pictures directory on my PC. So I currently have pictures on the same drive as my system files. I am going to upgrade my computer and upgrade to Lightroom 3 at the same time. in my new setup I will be moving the folder that contains my photos so that it is no longer on the same hard drive as my system files.So I am going to need to get Lightroom 3 to import the LIghtroom 2 folder which will now be on a new computer and in a different location.

Can anyone tell me what the easiest way is to accomplish this task. I have tens of thousands of photos at this point and I am hoping that I don't have to re-import them again.

Thanks.

John

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People's Champ ,
Jul 07, 2010 Jul 07, 2010

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John,

DO NOT RE-IMPORT, you will be losing some (if not all, depending on your procedure) metadata information on the photos.

There are two things to keep mentally apart:

  • The Lightroom Catalog
  • Your photos, which are registered in the catalog

I would suggest the following procedure for what you want to achieve:

  • On your "old" system, organize your photos so that they are all contained in one top-level folder (subfolders within that are OK). You should do this from within LR, to keep the links correct.
  • Copy the folder containing your photos from the old system (My Pictures) to the new system (some other drive)
  • Copy the LR2 catalog from your old system to your new system (any location is OK)
  • Maybe copy your presets from the old system to the new system (location can be obtained under "Show Lightroom Presets Folder" in Preferences/Presets tab)
  • Install LR3 on your new system (you might have to provide the LR2  Serial-No. also because it's a upgrade license)
  • Start LR3 on your new system, and open the LR2 catalog copied before
    (this will start the catalog conversion)
  • Your folders will show a question mark, because they point to the path that was used on the old system
  • Use "Find Missing Folder ..." (right-click on top-level folder) to update the folder location to the new location on the other drive

Beat Gossweiler

Switzerland

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New Here ,
Jul 07, 2010 Jul 07, 2010

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Thanks Beat. That all makes sense to me.

John

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LEGEND ,
Jul 07, 2010 Jul 07, 2010

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When I originally set up Lightroom on my computer, my photos were being stored in the My Pictures directory on my PC. So I currently have pictures on the same drive as my system files. I am going to upgrade my computer and upgrade to Lightroom 3 at the same time. in my new setup I will be moving the folder that contains my photos so that it is no longer on the same hard drive as my system files.So I am going to need to get Lightroom 3 to import the LIghtroom 2 folder ..

Wrong. You don't import anything. Never ever ever re-import stuff that is already in Lightroom.

What you need to do is to move the catalog file and (optionally) the previews to the new computer. Put them anywhere you want. Move the photos to the new computer; put them anywhere you want, as long as the folder hierarchy remains unchanged.

Launch Lightroom 3, then File->Open Catalog, point it to whereever you put the LR2 catalog file, and this will convert your LR2 catalog to a LR3 catalog. (Is the correct grammar "a LR3 catalog" or "an LR3 catalog"?)

Then, in the folder panel, right-click, select show parent folder, right-click on the parent folder and select Update folder location and point it to the new location of your photos.

Now, repeat after me ... never re-import. NEVER RE-IMPORT. I can't hear you ...

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Enthusiast ,
Jul 07, 2010 Jul 07, 2010

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a LR3 catalog

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New Here ,
Jul 07, 2010 Jul 07, 2010

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dj_paige wrote:

What you need to do is to move the catalog file and (optionally) the previews to the new computer. Put them anywhere you want. Move the photos to the new computer; put them anywhere you want, as long as the folder hierarchy remains unchanged.

Launch Lightroom 3, then File->Open Catalog, point it to whereever you put the LR2 catalog file, and this will convert your LR2 catalog to a LR3 catalog. (Is the correct grammar "a LR3 catalog" or "an LR3 catalog"?)

Then, in the folder panel, right-click, select show parent folder, right-click on the parent folder and select Update folder location and point it to the new location of your photos.

Now, repeat after me ... never re-import. NEVER RE-IMPORT. I can't hear you ...

When you say "as long as the folder hierachy remains unchanged" I think I know what you mean but want to make sure. If I move my "pictures" folder over to the new drive and don't change the contents of that folder in any way, I am good. Correct? The reason I ask is because the folder hierachy will have changed in that My Pictures was part of My Documents which was part of Documents and Settings, etc., etc. But I am assuming that's OK as long as all the folders in my pictures remain intact when I copy it to it's location on the new drive. Does that make sense?

Thanks again.

John

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People's Champ ,
Jul 07, 2010 Jul 07, 2010

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John,

Yes, that's correct.

What I suggested is that you move all your picture folders first under ONE top-level folder, because this enables you to re-connect only one folder on the new system which takes care of everything below it.

Example:

If your current structure looks like this:

  • Documents and Settings
    • My Documents
      • My Pictures
        • Folder1
          • Folder1-1
          • Folder1-2
        • Folder2
          • Folder2-1
          • Folder2-2
        • ....

It would make sense to make it look like this:

  • Documents and Settings
    • My Documents
      • My Pictures
        • Photos
          • Folder1
            • Folder1-1
            • Folder1-2
          • Folder2
            • Folder2-1
            • Folder2-2
          • ....

On the new system, it might look like this:

  • Photos
    • Folder1
      • Folder1-1
      • Folder1-2
    • Folder2
      • Folder2-1
      • Folder2-2
    • ....

By doing this, you can just re-connect the folder "Photos" and you're all set. If you move without having the folders "Photos", you'd have to reconnect "Folder1" and "Folder2" (and any other top-level folders) seperately.

Beat Gossweiler

Switzerland

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New Here ,
Jul 08, 2010 Jul 08, 2010

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Thanks again Beat for the thorough explanantion. So in other words even though my Photos folder resided in the Documents and Settings, My Documents folder hierarchy, it doesn't need to exist within that heirarchy on the new drive. If I want I can just put the Photos folder right on the root directory of the other drive as long as the contents of the Photos folder and it's subfolders don't change. That's what I hear you saying. Correct?

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People's Champ ,
Jul 08, 2010 Jul 08, 2010

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Correct

Beat

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New Here ,
Aug 15, 2017 Aug 15, 2017

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Worked perfectly well.

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New Here ,
Mar 16, 2015 Mar 16, 2015

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Help me!  On my new Dell computer, when I installed Lightroom 5 it put my destination as "My Pictures".  Is there anyway I can change that to "My Dell Computer".  I have thousands of photos in my pictures file stored on my computer.  Is it ok if I continue to put them in the destiation of "My Pictures"?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 16, 2015 Mar 16, 2015

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You can move things around, as long as you keep the folder structure underneath the top folder the same; however, you cannot put photos directly under My Dell Computer, because that is where drives and devices go, not files. You can put them under a specific drive letter, like c:\Photos” rather than under your Users\username\My Pictures folder.

If you want to re-ask your question or restate your situation using drive-letter-specific paths then it’d be easier to give a yes or a no and specific instructions how.

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