Make LR recognize external drive.

Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Just got a new computer (Macbook), loaded up LR Classic. I keep and edit photos on an external SSD. Plugged in the drive. LR doesn't recognize the drive. How do I make LR recognize/find the drive? Help appreciated with this.

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Correct answer by JohanElzenga | Adobe Community Professional

If you run Lightroom when the external disk is unplugged, Lightroom will create (or fall back to) a local catalog. That is why I already said that you should always first connect the external disk, and then start Lighroom. So connect the disk, and double click the catalog file on that disk once again to let Lightroom know this is the catalog to use.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Hi Raymond,

 

In the images below I'm showing Adobe Bridge but the same issue is for Lightroom. 

 

Go to your System Preferences and select Security and Privacy (found in the top section). Now click on the Privacy setting (last tab). Now click on the lock on the bottom left and provide your Administrator code. Now select the Full Disk Access option and click on the "+" symbol. This will bring up the standard Mac Open window and let you add any application you want or need to have full access. Look for Bridge, select it, it will now appear in that window and make sure it's checked. Next go to the Files and Folders option and do the same thing as above (although there's nothing to check, just add. Close everything down and see if that makes it all work.

 

Please let me know if this doesn't work or if it does work! ;>)

gary_sc_0-1596741109220.png

 

 

gary_sc_1-1596741109221.png

 

 

 

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Thanks for this, Garry. Sorry to say I still see nothing in the Folders or any drive to click on. I have everything set up (some time ago) on my main office computer (iMac) and it works fine. I'm also guessing I'd need to sync the catalogue somehow? But I assumed (wrongly?) that LR would just see whatever drives were available on the new MacBook. Nothing at all shows up in the left panel.

 

Incidentally, I found I could import new photos and it would show those, but not anything else.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Oh, wait a minute. I just re-read your message and realized another question: are your images already ON this drive or not. 

 

When you startup LR, it cannot see a folder on a drive that it doesn't know about. See this video from Terry White. I do not think this is your specific issue but it should give you some ideas.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9B0lq6GJZc

Adobe Evangelist Terry White is here to show you how to safely move your photos to another hard drive in Lightroom Classic CC. This method will always ensure...

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Yes, all my images are on this external SSD. I want to be able to travel with the external drive that has all my images.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Where is the catelog?

 

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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The original catalogue(s) are on the iMac.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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This could be a bit tricky since you can't open this Cataloge but do a search for the suffix ".lrdata" with Apple's Spotlight. THAT's the catalog.

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Yes, I know where those are on the office iMac. I guess I need the same on the new MacBook. But how to keep those synced?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Lightroom is a catalog app, not a browser. It will not show any drives that do not contain any photos that are imported. So in order to let Lightroom 'recognise' a drive, you simply need to import at least one photo from that drive.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Thank you. I imported one file and now see my "Lightroom Masters" under folders and that one file. How do I get it to see the rest of my folders/files?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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I repeat: Lightroom is not a browser. It will only see those folders that contain imported images.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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And of course it will only see those images that have been imported.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Please excuse my inexperience. I know that a lot of people store their photos on external drives so that they can travel and move between computers. That's what I'm tring to do. I've tried for 2 days to figure out how to set up the new computer/drive so I can accomplsh that. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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See the reference below.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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I get the feeling that you created a new catalog, and so Lightroom does not see any photos you previous had. You should copy your old catalog to the new computer and use that. Read this: 

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/how-move-lightroom-to-new-computer/

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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I don't want to move photos to the new computer; I want to use the same external SSD to store/edit on both machines. I have all my photos on external drive.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Read the link. It is not about moving photos to a new computer, it is about moving (or copying) Lightroom to another computer. That is exactly what you are trying to do.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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If you want to keep using Lightroom on both computers, then you should store the catalog on the external SSD too and run Lightroom on both computers with this catalog.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Yes, I guessed that -- followed some tutorial when I first moved all my photos to external drive a while back. I'm guessing I need to go back to square one. Feeling overwhelmed. FCPX was a breeze (no brain cells affected).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Hi Raymond,

 

I know exactly what you are trying to do so no problem.

 

First close LR.

 

You need to move all of the catalog files from your computer over to your external hard drive. There will be several of them .lrdata, .lrcat, .Helper.lrdata, ..lrcat.lock. Simply any of these should be moved over.

 

Then, once you have them all over, double click on the .lrcat file. 

 

However, there's going to be mess at the very beginning as Lightroom will not know where any of the files are. As such you will have to click on the little "!" on one or more images to locate them on the hard drive. Just be very methodical in this process. 

 

Good luck

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Thank you, Gary. Is there any particular place I put those on the external drive? I've used the "find missing photos" a few times (especially when LR decides to randomly revert to putting imports on the iMac drive) so that shouldn't be a problem. I notice there's a few catalogues (again, a LR thing I don't understand), so I'll move them all. How about backups?

 

Really appreciate the help.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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No, that is not true. Lightroom should know where the images are. They are still on the external SSD drive. Nothing changed, so you should not get any missing images.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Thanks, Johan. Should I move the whole LR folder which includes catalogues and backups from Pictures? Also there's a seperate Library file. Should that be moved too?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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John, 

 

As far as lightroom goes, it knows the path to be picture folder/user/hard drive/ external drive/ folder/ (more sub-folders??) images.

 

After the move it will be / folder/ (more sub-folders??) 

 

Yes, it will need to be taught where the images are.

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Getting lost. Should I presume that I need to move anything associated with LR left on my iMac to the external drive -- as above, the Lightroom folder with a backups folder/backups, several catalogues, several Lightroom catalogue previews (.irdata) a Lightroom Catalogue-2 Helper.irdata, a Lightroom Catalogue-2-2 Previews.irdata, and a seperate Lightroom Library.lrlibrary file from my Pictures folder?

 

Then a matter of telling LR on both computers where those a re now stored?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Sorry Gary, but the path you mention is totally wrong. That is not how a Mac (and so how Lightroom) keeps track of an external disk. External disks are mounted in the invisible 'Volumes' folder, so the path to an external drive is 'Macintosh/Volumes/DiskName'.

 

The OP said in his first message: "I keep and edit photos on an external SSD." That means that nothing will change in that respect. The images will still be where they used to be and so the image path will still be what it used to be. The images will not show as missing after the catalog has been moved. 

 

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Thanks, Johan. Should I move the whole LR folder which includes catalogues and backups from Pictures? Also there's a seperate Library file. Should that be moved too?

 

Yes, move the whole folder. You should not move a file called Lightroom Library.lrlibrary if that's what you mean. That is not anything from Lightroom Classic, but the library created by Lightroom (cloud). You cannot move that to a different place.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Johan,

 

Fair enough. Maybe something has changed because years ago I did something similar and that's what I went through. Let's see what Raymond finds. Thank you for the info.

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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OK, I did all that. 

 

I opened the catalogue (on both computers). However, the new MacBook still doesn't see the rest of my files. The only thing I have in the left hand column is the master and 1 photo I imported. Nothing else. Is there something else I need to open or link?

 

Note that ? on screenshot is there because I didn't have the external drive plugged in when I made it -- the file I imported is there in fact -- but as I said, nothing else is visible

 

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Screen Shot 2020-08-06 at 4.57.47 PM.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2020

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If you run Lightroom when the external disk is unplugged, Lightroom will create (or fall back to) a local catalog. That is why I already said that you should always first connect the external disk, and then start Lighroom. So connect the disk, and double click the catalog file on that disk once again to let Lightroom know this is the catalog to use.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2020

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After that, in the Lightroom Preferences, check that Lightroom is either set to use the correct catalog, or to use the most recent catalog. Otherwise it may keep falling back to the wrong catalog.

 

1 2020-08-07 10-36-56.jpg

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Aug 07, 2020

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That did it, Johan! I can't thank you enough. I had to navigate to the preferred catalogue.

One more question: In that folder, there are 3 catalogues -- Lightroom Catalog.ircat, Lightroom Catalog-2.ircat, Lightroom Catalog-2-2.ircat (as well as some others, including something called Lightroom Catalog-2-2.ircat.lock). I didn't make any of these files myself .... Anyway, I chose to link Lightroom Catalog-2-2.ircat, since it seemed to be the one that worked.

 

Are there any other things I should do as far as deletions (scary thought) or any other "clean up" actions?

 

Thanks again to all involved in helping out. Now I can hit the road.

Cheers,

Ray

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2020

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Ech time that Lightroom needs to upgrade the catalog (often the case when there is a major upgrade of the application), Lightroom will make a copy of the catalog and upgrade that. It will add '-2' to the name of the upgraded catalog. That means that Lightroom Catalog.lrcat and Lightroom Catalog-2.lrcat are older copies, and Lightroom Catalog-2-2.lrcat is the latest one (note that the extension is .lrcat, form LightRoom CATalog, not .ircat). You can trash the older copies.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Explorer ,
Aug 07, 2020

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Thanks again.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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OK, an update because I initially missed the fact that you want to keep using both computers. You need to move the catalog folder from the old Mac to the SSD. The default location of the catalog folder is your Pictures folder. Once you moved the catalog folder to the SSD, you need to tell Lightroom (just once) where the new location of the catalog is. The easiest way to do that is to double click the catalog file inside that folder. That's the file with the .lrcat extension. You need to do this only once, but you need to do this for each computer. From that moment onwards Lightroom will start with the catalog on the SSD, so all the edits you made on one computer will be available on the other computer too. Just make sure you connect the SSD before you start Lightroom.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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LEGEND ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Perhaps I overlooked, but one thing not mentioned above.

 

If MACOS Catalina, consider the following

 

Outside of LrC, in the MACOS bring up System Preferences, select Security and Privacy, select the Privacy tab, scroll down to Files and Folders, for Lightroom Classic, and while you are at it, for Photoshop, make sure all media types are checked, tyicaly Removable Volumes is not checked if the  user error.

 

3271CD3B-D0AA-481A-8241-7153AD576CFD.png

Just another Adobe customer; My Sys; APP: LRC 9.4, PS 21.2.1; CMP: WIN WS 16GB OS 10 v1909 (18363), mid 2015 MBPr 15” 16GB MACOS 10.15.6; 4K EXT DSPY; CAM: Canon 5D Mk III, Fuji X-T3

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Explorer ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Thanks. Yes, that's taken care of. My Privacy/files and folders looks a bit different, maybe because I gave those apps full disk access, so when I got to Files and Folders the apps are there but there's nothing to check. It just says "Full Disk Access" below the app title.

 

Assuming this is correct.

 

Still can't access all my photos through LR. 😞

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