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Is there a way to transfer a Lightroom catalog into a Lightroom Classic catalog?

New Here ,
Mar 15, 2024 Mar 15, 2024

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I had a 2018 Macbook up until October 2023 when the motherboard overheated and melted.  This lost all of my data stored locally including my Lightroom Classic catalog.  Luckily, I had about 50% of the albums synced to Lightroom Mobile, which preserved the edits and allows me to go back as needed. I also have a backup hard drive with all of the raw image files.

I'm now trying to rebuild that Lightroom Classic catalog using what was saved in my Lightroom CC synced files. However, this option doesn't seem to exist.


To clarify, I have 11,000 edited photos synced Lightroom CC from an existing Lightroom Classic catalog; How do I restore those into a new Lightroom Classic catalog and relink to the locally stored RAW image files.  Why is this function not possible?

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Community Expert ,
Mar 15, 2024 Mar 15, 2024

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There might be a way.

 

You can try enabling sync from a new catalog. The following alert will appear:

 

Lightroom-Classic-Sync-This-Catalog-Instead.jpg

 

Unfortunately the dialog box design did not anticipate my long catalog names, so it cut off the end of the message. The rest of the words are “…this catalog.” The “Click here for more information” link goes to this web page, which you probably want to review:

Sync a different desktop catalog with Lightroom for mobile

 

On that page is a note that seems critical for what you’re trying to do:

 

Note: Since Lightroom syncs only Smart Previews to Lightroom for mobile, for those images that were synced from Lightroom desktop app, Smart previews are downloaded and Originals are mapped if located at the same location from where the photo was first synced.

 

Notice that last line: “…originals are mapped if located at the same location from where the photo was first synced.” If that means what we hope it does, it might be the relinking that you want, if your originals are still in exactly the same folder hierarchy that they were in when the old Mac died. But I’m not sure because I have never gone through this. (I clicked Cancel when I made the alert above appear.)

 

A caution is that document is old enough that it was written before Adobe switched to the Lightroom Classic name. And so the way the note is written is somewhat ambiguous, because it’s talking about “images synced from the Lightroom desktop app.” The context suggests that it really means the Lightroom software we know today as Lightroom Classic, not today’s cloud-based Lightroom desktop app.

 

To guard against unanticipated sync issues like replacing or removing files I wasn’t expecting. I would only go ahead with this after making complete backups of all volumes that need to be mounted during this process.

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