Lightroom on two computers

New Here ,
Aug 23, 2012 Aug 23, 2012

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I have Lightroom 4 on an IMac and store all my photo files on an external HD.

I recently purchased a Mac Book Pro and have installed lightroom and my main catalogue on it.  I have the actual images on a portable hard drive.

How can I work on images on my desktop and then import the changes to the images on the laptop.  I also wish to be able to work in lightroom on the laptop and update the changes on my desktop and main HD.

Have googled this but very confused.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 23, 2012 Aug 23, 2012

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The simplest solution is to put the catalog on the external hard drive, and then you can easily plug it in and use it from either machine.  There are alternatives, including using import and export to/from catalog, but they then require you to keep track of which you last used.

-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of the Lightroom Missing FAQ & Edit Like a Pro books.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 23, 2012 Aug 23, 2012

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One important reprequisite for working seamlessly across both computers by means of an external drive, will presumably be - to ensure that the external drive appears under the same drive reference when connected to each computer.

This doesn't matter for the catalog itself; but it does matter for the validity of the image paths information that it contains.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 24, 2012 Sep 24, 2012

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Richard this works differently with MacOS where drives have actual names that are retained.

richardplondon wrote:

One important reprequisite for working seamlessly across both computers by means of an external drive, will presumably be - to ensure that the external drive appears under the same drive reference when connected to each computer.

This doesn't matter for the catalog itself; but it does matter for the validity of the image paths information that it contains.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 24, 2012 Sep 24, 2012

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Geoff the kiwi wrote:

Richard this works differently with MacOS where drives have actual names that are retained.

Yes, thanks, I thought that was the case. Altering the drive reference (by which, I include naming) meanwhile, will presumably break the file paths concerned?

Windows also uses an (optional) assigned name that the drive stores, and reports to a different computer when first connected. This all navigates and works perfectly fine in normal circumstances, where file paths are not critical. But in Windows this is only ever an alias for an assigned drive letter which will not (IIRC) port automatically in the same way as the name does. My own experience is that it is better to also force this drive letter the same, because Windows applications tend to use either kind of addressing more or less at whim (it often seems).

If Mac applications are written to always respect the name only, consistently, so much the simpler and better.

I haven't tested whether LR will still respect paths using the same drive name, even when associated with a differing Windows/DOS drive letter, but would not have expected it to do so. One also has to consider other utilities, backup, etc.

This has become IMO worse with later versions of Windows, where even the exact same (physical) folder may present itself under slightly different (library) names in different circumstances - for example, "Documents", "My Documents", "(Username)'s Documents". Yet another layer of uncertainty; just to confuse longbeards who are more accustomed to the explicit and straightforward file systems of yesteryear (grin).

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Participant ,
Sep 01, 2012 Sep 01, 2012

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Victoria Bampton wrote:

The simplest solution is to put the catalog on the external hard drive, and then you can easily plug it in and use it from either machine.

I use Lightroom on 2 computers, one in England and one in France. I have all my images, catalogs, keywords etc on a USB3 portable disk and I just up sticks and plug it in where I am.

I use a Windows 7 64 bit machine in both places and have the disk designated as W: on both machines.

It works seamlessly but obviously for it to work all manipulation of images must be from within Lightroom and within the portable disk.

One question, maybe Victoria would know the answer - naturally, Lightroom is installed on my C: system disk. If I were to upgrade to the new RC on my London machine, how would that affect things when I first plug it in on my France machine which would still have LR 4.1 installed? Any steps I should take to take account of the fact that my registry and so on will of necessity be different on my 2 machines?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 03, 2012 Sep 03, 2012

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glugglug wrote:

One question, maybe Victoria would know the answer - naturally, Lightroom is installed on my C: system disk. If I were to upgrade to the new RC on my London machine, how would that affect things when I first plug it in on my France machine which would still have LR 4.1 installed? Any steps I should take to take account of the fact that my registry and so on will of necessity be different on my 2 machines?

There are no catalog changes that I know of, so it should be fine.

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The Lightroom Queen - Author of the Lightroom Missing FAQ & Edit Like a Pro books.

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Participant ,
Sep 03, 2012 Sep 03, 2012

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Thanks!

I caused myself some problems when I upgarded from LR3 to 4 in England and then took the disk to France where I had LR3 running. I'm not sure what would have been the best way to handle that but I'm sure going to have to find find out before LR4 morphs into LR5.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 03, 2012 Sep 03, 2012

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That makes sense glugglug.  Full version upgrades (i.e. 3>4, 4>5) generally upgrade the catalogs, but dot releases don't.  It's always worth doing major upgrades on all of your machines at the same time, but if you're ever caught in the wrong country without your installer, just download the trial version and put your serial number into that, as it's the same download.

-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of the Lightroom Missing FAQ & Edit Like a Pro books.

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Explorer ,
Sep 18, 2012 Sep 18, 2012

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I thought I could move my catalog to my NAS but this is the error I got:

erreur lightroom.jpg

Is there a way around that or is it that it just cannot be done?

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Explorer ,
Sep 18, 2012 Sep 18, 2012

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I moved back my catalog to my C: drive and got that error:

catalog loading error lightroom.jpg

Waited an hour and was able to start LR with that same catalog in the same folder.

Weird.

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2015 Nov 28, 2015

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Victoria,

I just recently purchased a MacBook Pro for travel and for sitting on the couch and working in Lightroom while watching football. I'm trying the dropbox approach for syncing my catalog and previews. My images remain on my iMac. I'm trying to create the same Lightroom environment on the MBP as I have on the iMac but seem to be having issues with collections, loss of label colors etc. If I were to put it all on a external drive, thinking of the Samsung T1, what specific Lightroom files should I put on the external drive? Should I also copy the camera raw and lightroom folder to the external drive?

Thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2015 Nov 28, 2015

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On the external drive, you need the following files:

the images

the LR catalog (*.LrCat)

the preview folders

If you use develop presets, you will want to copy them to the other computer.

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New Here ,
Nov 28, 2015 Nov 28, 2015

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Thanks, ManiacJoe. What about the collection information? In my current setup, the catalog on the laptop shows the collections I set up on the iMac but on the laptop most have zero photos in them. is that because I don't have the original images, just the previews and smart previews on the laptop?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2015 Nov 28, 2015

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On your new computer, how did you populate that catalog?

The easy thing to do would be to just copy the catalog from the old computer. Importing the old photos into a new catalog is usually a bad idea.

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New Here ,
Nov 29, 2015 Nov 29, 2015

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I put the catalog and smart previews files into dropbox and opened the catalog from Dropbox on the new computer. I also copied the preset file from the iMac and replaced the present file on the lap book pro (after keeping the original file with Original added to the file name)

So my question is, why does the collections and color label  information not show up on the laptop? Is there another file I should be syncing or putting on an external drive if I go that route??|

Thanks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 29, 2015 Nov 29, 2015

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All that info should be in the catalog.

You might try syncing the catalog from DropBox again. Try using the catalog NOT in the DropBox sync folder; some versions of this type of service don't like random access files like database/catalogs getting updated randomly.

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New Here ,
Nov 29, 2015 Nov 29, 2015

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Thank you, that seems to have worked

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New Here ,
Mar 31, 2016 Mar 31, 2016

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The simplest solution is to put the catalog on the external hard drive, and then you can easily plug it in and use it from either machine.  There are alternatives, including using import and export to/from catalog, but they then require you to keep track of which you last used.

I agree, and I don't see why this isn't the answer the OP is looking for.

Like Victoria suggested, I keep all of my photos and the active catalog on my removable external drive. (I also keep two backups of this drive.)  I have LR5 installed on both desktop and laptop (which Adobe let's you do) so I can work on the photos on either machine simply by plugging the external drive into the machine.  Any changes (on either machine) are reflected in the active catalog on the external drive so nothing has to be copied over from one machine to the other.  This also allows me to designate each machine for catalog backups when using that machine.  Thus I have multiple recent catalog backups on different drives (important) and I don't have to keep track of which catalog I'm using. From painful personal experience I can verify that you do NOT want to get confused about which catalog you are using.

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Guest
Feb 08, 2017 Feb 08, 2017

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I get how to use an external drive with LR to keep pictures and catalogs sync'd between one computer and another.  My question is how do I actually make an exact duplicate of Lightroom, including all of the presets, plug-ins, etc., so that I have the same tools and options available on both computers.   When I add a new preset, for instance, on computer 1, how do I sync that change to LR on computer 2?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 08, 2017 Feb 08, 2017

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LATEST

When adding files (presets, plug-ins, etc) to one computer, you will need to manually add them to the second computer. Basically you will be installing the new files twice, once on each computer.

As far as presets go, this might be one case where turning on the option of "store presets with the catalog" MIGHT come in handy. Maybe, maybe not.

Keep in mind that Lightroom is designed as a single-user single-computer product. All the suggestions here are just workarounds to that limitation.

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Explorer ,
Aug 31, 2012 Aug 31, 2012

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I am in a similar situation.

In my case, I store my pictures on a network drive and access them from a desktop, and a laptop.  I would have to move the catalog to the network drive if I understand correctly and that's not a big deal.  How about the pictures only present on one of the two computers though, would they be just greyed out in the catalog?  For example if I want to work on some pictures off-line outside of the house.  Could I move pictures from the network drive to the laptop, work off-line, and move them back when I come back? Or would the catalog get all corrupted depending if I use the other computer?

I am a bit worried about the process since LR has a bug in the "update folder location" and will duplicate my entire network drive when I use the function to "catch" pictures that would have been moved/copied/imported outside of LR.  (I think Victoria already helped me out with that problem actually)

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 01, 2012 Sep 01, 2012

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It is my understanding that Lightroom won't let you open a catalog that's located on a network drive. Al least, I get an error message when I try that.  If anyone has a work around to that, I'd love to hear it.

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LEGEND ,
Sep 18, 2012 Sep 18, 2012

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drisi wrote:

It is my understanding that Lightroom won't let you open a catalog that's located on a network drive. Al least, I get an error message when I try that.  If anyone has a work around to that, I'd love to hear it.

The simplest workaround is what Victoria suggested: don't put it on the network (use external drive instead).

If you absolutely must keep it on the network, then you'll "have to" copy it to local host before using, and make sure it's copied back to network afterward. consider LightroomStartupScript if you decide to go that route.

One can fool Lightroom into using it from the network, but it's:

* slow

* unreliable (may corrupt your catalog)

Those should be good enough reasons not to do it.

Rob

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Explorer ,
Sep 23, 2012 Sep 23, 2012

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Rob Cole wrote:

drisi wrote:

It is my understanding that Lightroom won't let you open a catalog that's located on a network drive. Al least, I get an error message when I try that.  If anyone has a work around to that, I'd love to hear it.

The simplest workaround is what Victoria suggested: don't put it on the network (use external drive instead).

If you absolutely must keep it on the network, then you'll "have to" copy it to local host before using, and make sure it's copied back to network afterward. consider LightroomStartupScript if you decide to go that route.

One can fool Lightroom into using it from the network, but it's:

* slow

* unreliable (may corrupt your catalog)

Those should be good enough reasons not to do it.

Rob

Yes Rob, agreed.  I thought that since my NAS is connected to my main computer with a 1GB wired connection, it would work well.  I guess LR detects the network connection and won't allow it regardless

I find the catalog limitation more and more annoying, I wish we had the option of having editing information in "cart files".  That way, I could temporarily move things to my laptop, do the editing on the road (let's say) and move the files back upon return.    Carrying an external drive is not really an option...

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