Hi - I have a standalone version of Lightroom, Version 5.7.1. This has served me extremely well for the past 5 years. I now own two cameras that cannot directly import to this version, and now I would like to upgrade to the Lightroom Classic subscription plan.
A couple of years ago I made a silly decision to purchase a Lightroom CD (I think it was the last standalone that could be updated) from someone on EBay. I tried loading it and it wiped out my catalog and ALL of the develop settings for thousands of photos. I know it was the wrong thing to do, but it was motivated by trying to save money.
I now want to go to the subscription plan, but I am deathly afraid of once again wiping out my catalogs and all develop settings. I need someone to set me straight, set my mind at ease, and give me some tips on how to avoid ever having that happen if I choose to make this upgrade.
You will have no issue upgrading to the subscription version of Lightroom Classic.
But you should already be backing up your image files and the catalog file. The two are separate things.
You need to know where your present V5 catalog file is and which one is the current one in use if you have more than one catalog file.
When you start the latest version of Lightroom Classic, it will ask you to upgrade your present V5 catalog for use with V10. Make sure it upgrades the catalog file you are currently using with V5. This upgrade process will only read the V5 file and will leave it unchanged.
Note: a small number of Mac users are having issues with Lightroom Classic V10.x. If that issue affects you, in the Adobe Creative Cloud app next to the right hand end of the Lightroom Classic line there are three dots. You can click on those three dots to see a choice to install earlier versions. Install V9. When V9.x starts, it will also upgrade the V5 catalog.
I'm using a Windows 10 computer, and based on my experience there really is no reason for you to be "deathly afraid" to upgrade to Lightroom Classic. I have never had any problems with any upgrades. When you first install Lightroom Classic and run it, it will recognize the catalog you have been using and notify you that it needs to be upgraded. You should agree to let this happen, and this will trigger Lightroom Classic to create a completely new copy of your catalog, same name as the previous catalog but it will have a 10 added to the end of the name. All of the previous adjustments will be included, and when it opens you should be able to begin right up where you left off in the previous version. Lightroom Classic will be using the old process version because that is what your images have been processed with. That means you won't see all of the new controls that have been added to Lightroom Classic. You will have to manually switch the process version on your older images. Any new images that you import to Lightroom Classic will be imported automatically using the current process version. If you have multiple catalogs that you want to keep using then it will be necessary to upgrade each of those old catalogs. I have never had any problems upgrading my catalogs. I use three or four different catalogs, and the upgrade process has always proceeded flawlessly.