Lightroom Classic and CC: Allow Catalog to be stored on a networked drive.

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I'd love to make LR more multi-computer friendly. I have no doubt that there's probably database architecture issues and a host of other barriers... But I have to believe that the need for either multi-user or at at lease multi-computer use is widely desired. And yes, I know you can do the catalog import export thing but I find this less than ideal.
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Posted 9 years ago

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Arend Schot

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Sync between a desktop and a laptop.

Would be great to get on your second catalog (on my macbook in my case) a collection named Mobile Sync where i can find all my synced files like on my iPad. There are certain things i would like to change that are not possible on the web app.
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Tommaso D'Angelo

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I have a photographic studio with 3 positions for the postproduction. I have two subscriptions to the plane Photography Creative Cloud for several years and I find it absurd that I can not work with Lightroom catalogs on the net with my nas. I honestly imagined the Lightroom software as a professional solution for managing the many photo shoots but the limit of having to use only one computer discourages me from using it. Why until now I have been using alternative solutions for my workflow with my Mac. I hope that Adobe added the ability to work with catalogs in the local network as soon as possible.
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James Sowers

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Dropbox and Network Drives.

Please update Lightbox to allow for catalogs to work on Dropbox and other cloud type storage. Unplugging and plugging in a hard drive is not only asinine but completely outdated. Hard drives are not reliable and are on their way out the door. Carrying a hard drive around with you where ever you go is just asking for disaster. I honestly can't even believe it's not already available, I find it hard to believe my iOS apps & games are more advanced than Lightbox.
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled NAS access.

Lightroom catalog cannot be opened and managed when stored on NAS. I really wish Adobe would allow the use of Network Assigned Storage as on option.
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Mirek Kašpar

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Hello I have solved this problem by creating symbolic links to my NAS drive. You can read how to create it here

Just put path to your photos and catalogue files into a batch file and run as administrator - here is mine

mklink /D C:\Pictures\Lightroom \\your nas adress\pictures\Lightroom
mklink /D C:\Pictures\Autoimport \\your nas adress\pictures\Autoimport
mklink /D C:\Pictures\2016 \\your nas adress\pictures\2016
mklink /D C:\Pictures\2017 \\your nas adress\pictures\2017

Works great on 1Gbps network same as from local drive!

You cannot use windows picture folder in your user folder - if you open in on another pc the path will be different, you have to move it directly to c:\ or other drive.

Hope it helps
Regards from Czech rep
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Bert Ram

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How does symbolic link work with mac?
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Anthony Elie

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Work Remotely using a Network Drive.

A feature many people would like to have is the ability to work from a Network drive. 

Presently, Lightroom can read and write files on a network drive (for example, network attached storage). Although, we cannot save the catalog file to the NAS and work remotely from a different computer.
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Joe Ziha

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Allow the Lightroom catalog to usable from a network share.

I can see that this type of request has been floating out here for about 6+ years already.  Ideally I'd like for Lightroom catalog to be simultaneously shared and multi-user, however as a developer I understand the complications of that sort of implementation.

Alternatively, I would just like to be able to store a Lightroom catalog on a network share that allows only one user at a time to access it.  This could be implemented through a locking mechanism that allows only one instance of LR to access the catalog at a time.

This would be a vast improvement over the current implementation and would likely satisfy many, many of the requests for some sort of a shared catalog concept.
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Paddy Boocock

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic 7.2: Import Stalls and also fails to get all Images.

When importing large numbers of images (4000+)  from a folder structure on Synology NAS, Lightroom import stalls at somewhere past 90% on the progress bar. Same thing happens on Windows 10 and OSX High Sierra. Lightroom still appears active and is using 100%+ CPU on Macbook, 30%+ CPU on Windows 10

 Have disabled spindump and tailspind on Mac to avoid deadly embrace when Lightroom uses a lot of CPU, so it's not that.

If I stop the import and try either import again or synchronize folder, it may add a few more images before stalling again. I don't think it is a particular image, because it happens on more than one source folder structure.

By way of example - I have a folder with multiple subfolders and around 7k images.

The screenshot shows the Lightroom data for the folder after import and for Adobe Bridge.

The Adobe Bridge data matches the output of a shell script query to find the numbers of each type of files. Lightroom thinks there are 1035 RAW files and 4369 JPEGs - adding the 1483 shown in the Lightroom Synchronise dialogue above would give 5852, which is close to the (correct) Bridge JPG count. However, if I click Synchronise, Lightroom shows a wait cursor for a while and then shows 0 files to import.

 "Ignore suspect duplicates" in import is disabled and "treat JPEGs next to Raw Files as separate photos" is ticked in Lightroom preferences. (I get the same result if I try an Import/Add as I do if I try the synchronise.)

I get this on both Windows 10 PC and on Mac, although the import numbers on the PC differ slightly from the Mac, (PC finds 5508 images on the same folder structure as opposed to 5511, but also shows 1483 to be imported to synchronise).

I get this behaviour on a range of folder structures on the Synology.

I have tried selecting images, dragging and dropping from Bridge on the Lightroom import dialog and provided you do it a folder at a time, selecting images, Lightroom gets all the images. If you drag and drop a folder it goes back to the Lightroom image retrieval behaviour with stalling and missed images. This use of Bridge, may seem to offer a short-term workaround, but when working with many tens of thousands of images, as I am, in complex folder structures, it's not really a workable proposition.
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Harm Huinink

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: won't open NAS server when in administrator mode..

On my Windows 10 Laptop Photoshop does not work properly unless i run it in administrator mode. Since i regulary load pictures there from Lightroom, i had to put lightroom in administrator mode as well. When in administrator mode, Lightroom won't acces the pictures on my NAS server. It shows the server as offline. There are no error messages and Lightroom does show the pictures, but only the previeuws. When i open Lightroom normally it works fine. Only then i have problems loading them in photoshop. Is there something i can do so i can acces my NAS when i am in administration mode?
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Jon Stephenson

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled ed network access..

I have what seems to me to be a simple request. I am a photographer. I maintain an on-line shop, through which I sell prints of my images and some specialty products using my images. I use two (2) computers - a 27" iMac and a 15" MacBook Pro. I work on content for my website primarily from the iMac, but there are times when I would like to do work via my laptop from another room. This involves the expenditure of considerable time spent copying catalogs back and forth so as to be working on the correct version of the catalog (s). My catalogs are stored on an external hard drive. It would be far simpler and far less time consuming were I able to simply access my external drive via wifi with my laptop. But LR Classic refuses to do this. Can you please write the software to allow network access?
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This seems to have been a request that's been out there for some time and technologies have changed in the meantime.  Can I put a suggestion out there?

Synology NAS drives now have a capability called Synology Drive, which lets you set up a local drive on your computer that background syncs to your NAS.  You have a complete local copy of the files and should therefore be able to use that in the regular way.

But, you can sync that NAS content to another Synology Drive location an a different computer.  So you have three copies on computers and the NAS, and The Drive software keeps them all in sync, and has versioning.  You could add a third and a ......

I haven't tried this with LR but I have other apps that function this way
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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This is similar to how people use Dropbox and similar services to sync catalogs between computers. With any of these approaches, you must be careful to have LR open only one copy of the catalog at a time, or else corruption could occur.
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Davide C

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One thing I don't understand is why LR cannot open a catalog stored on a network share. I use to work locally for the current set of picture, then move all the pictured and related catalog files to a NAS. But if I have to open the catalog again, I have to move it back to the local storage. I understand working from the NAS would be slower, but it would be ok if I have to work on a single picture.
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Bert Ram

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I have Lightroom installed on my mac mini. Now I want to use it as well on my Win10 Laptop. Without having the catalog on my QNAP NAS, this is not possible.
Anyway, if QNAP continues developing that quick and Adobe provides no solutions for local installation anymore, I won't use Lightroom anymore.
Cloud service does not provide GigaBit network traffic for affordable prices!
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David Rye

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Allow me to keep my catalog / previews on a much faster SSD ne....

"Lightroom Catalogs can not be opened on network volumes, removable storage, or read only volumes."  Why not?

After buying my new SSD to pop into my drive dock, and copying my catalog/previews files from Lightroom over to it to improve the system performance, I'm advised "NOPE!"  Adobe needs to fix it.  If I am going to continue to lease this software for $120/year then they should make my system handle my 150,000 + images much faster.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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How is the new drive connected to your computer -- via network (NAS) or a cable (USB, SATA, Thunderbolt)?

As others have pointed out, you can't store LR catalogs on network drives -- that's a fundamental limitation of LR's implementation.

But if the drive is local (internal or attached externally by a cable), then you should absolutely be able to store a catalog on it, regardless of whether it's internal or external.  The operating system (Mac / Windows) may be reporting to LR that the drive is read-only or removable (like a USB stick) -- that happens infrequently for various reasons.

If you copy here the first ten lines of Help > System Info, we can start troubleshooting.
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David Rye

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Lightroom Classic version: 8.1 [ 1200465 ]
License: Creative Cloud
Language setting: en
Operating system: Windows 10 - Home Premium Edition
Version: 10.0.17134
Application architecture: x64
System architecture: x64
Logical processor count: 4
Processor speed: 3.4 GHz
Built-in memory: 12235.6 MB

The 4 bay drive dock is connected via network cable to the back of my desktop system that is the only computer here I'm using.  The other computers here in my house don't get my stuff.  I don't want to share the catalog.  I store the picture files just fine on another physical HD in the drive dock using a different drive letter.  I use M: for the memory/SSD drive, and P: for the physical HD.

This is a different topic because I'm not interested in sharing the catalog on more than one computer and I don't want to use an external drive squeezing through a USB port.  My pictures work just fine on the external HD through the same networked dock because I seldom do anything to the source files themselves.  I would love to be able to keep my previews on the SSD because it would be the rough equivalent of keeping them in memory.  It would let me speed through looking at large numbers of my #150K+ photo collection and weeding out stuff that I only need backups of and not actually hanging around in my catalog and slowing things down.

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"The 4 bay drive dock is connected via network cable"

A USB 3.1 connection, if your computer supports it, would be more than fast enough for a fast SSD and twice as fast as a 5 Gbps Ethernet network cable (a USB 3.0 connection would be about as fast).

Barring that, you could put the catalog on an internal or external drive and everything else, including previews, on network drives.  Many people report success in locating the previews subfolder on a different drive from the catalog folder using symbolic links and junctions:

The .lrcat catalog file itself takes relatively little space -- about 1 GB for 32K photos -- so it is more feasible to keep it on an internal drive.  

The received wisdom is that the catalog file should be on a very fast drive for the best performance. But in my own testing, I've observed that the .lrcat file, being relatively small, gets cached in memory by the operating system, so the speed of its disk is relatively unimportant (as long as you have enough memory -- your system has only 12 GB, so Windows may not cache a 5 GB .lrcat file in its entirety).

Previews are much smaller than their corresponding masters, so even slower disks have more than enough bandwidth to transfer previews faster than you can view them.  What matters perhaps more is the latency (how fast they can access a new file), and here direct-attached drives almost always outperform network-attached drives, which usually has much higher latency.

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"This is a different topic because I'm not interested in sharing the catalog on more than one computer"

Your use-case is different than most of the other requests here, but I think your post got moved to this topic because it requires the same technical ability, placing a catalog on a network drive.  Even with just one user, the underlying SQLite database technology used by LR doesn't work on many network-attached storage devices (because of bugs in the locking implementations on the NAS devices).
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Keith Gorlen

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I've been running LR with catalogs on a NAS for years without problems.  I've posted the scripts I use to manage this here: GitHub - kgorlen/lightroom: Windows bat and documentation for storing lightroom catalogs on NAS

According to SMB and SQLite specs, this is intended to work, so problems are the result of hardware failures and/or software bugs.  Since accessing a network drive involves more of both than when accessing an internal or external drive, the risk of catalog corruption is a bit greater, but that's why making backups is important.

Adobe could improve LR by (1) providing/hosting a list of compatible NAS products, and (2) allowing previews to be stored separately from catalogs so they could reside on a local drive with catalogs on a network drive.
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Getting ever more fed up with Adobe products.. So I just bought a Synology NAS and was looking forward to taking every bit of data off my laptop. Instead of focusing on learning to use Lightroom I now have to fiddle about with my Catalogues and data. Like other users have commented before me, I would like to keep catalogues and photos on my NAS. With the amount of money we are all paying , this feature should have been up and running within 6 months - and I am being generous. Hello guys, this is 2019 coming on 2020! if necessary re-write your blooming database using another engine, ideally one that works and is flexible enough to accommodate a NAS. Failing that, ask someone to get off his chair and contact Synology and QNAS and ask them to do something at their end to make it work. Or ideally , do both things at once! As it is, I am on the verge of abandoning this leaky ship.
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Stas Ushomirsky

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I have over a 100,000 student portraits and there are 5 people at our company that need access to the Lightroom catalog. We are missing a seamless way to collaborate on a shared company-wide catalog that we can store on our NAS.
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David Converse

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You should be using a true client-server package. Lightroom isn't designed for multiple users.
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Marco Salino

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Can't believe in 2019 I can't use a catalog on a nas with 2 computers...not concurrently of course. I have to use synctoy and stuff like that with an external ssd to sync the catalogs and this has created way more problems and data loss than the risk of working live on a local nas or file server.
I wonder if CaptureOne allows that, other than being much faster on 4k screens
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NINE years on, we're still waiting for Adobe to allow us to use lrcat files over a LAN on a NAS box.  Beyond ridiculous!
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Phil Burton

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I wish that Adobe would publish a list of "Feature requests we don't intend to implement" or some such. Instead they leave us hanging.  Too bad Lightroom is the 900 pound gorilla in this market.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Phil, this is already available to you via this very forum. You can search any product on this forum by Idea and Not-planned using the pull downs at the top of each of the category pages. 

Here is an example from Lightroom Classic.[settings][status]=rejected&topic-list[settings][type]=idea

Realize that because an Idea is marked as Not-planned, that does not mean it cannot possibly ever be considered. Changes in customer needs, software architectures and many other factors could cause a resurrection of any idea. 

Notice that of the 3922 feature requests made here only 26 are marked as Not-planned. 
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I'm dismayed, but honestly not surprised, that this hasn't had any traction or even a mention from Adobe Dev's in the 9 years since it's been requested.

The excuse I've always heard from the beginning was that this isn't/wasn't currently possible because Lightroom is built on top of SQLite. While I don't know if that's still the case, it was implied that it would require much more than a simple feature update and possibly a complete rebuild from the ground up.

I thought that the new Lightroom (not Classic) was going to be a start in that direction, but honestly I'm not enthusiastic about a library existing solely in the cloud or having to "sync" libraries and catalogues across different computers via the cloud.

What I want, and I think many people want, is a solution that has now existed in the Video Editing space for years at this point. Including Adobe's own Premiere Pro!

I would like the ability to host a catalogue and library of images (or libraries and catalogues) on a central, networked location (Server, NAS etc.) and a multi-user workflow that allows for multiple editors to be in the same catalogue and even working on the same images via Virtual Copies/Versions or image level locking.

The fact that this is the second highest "Me Too" requested Idea (1st highest if you note that the #1 is filed as "Not Planned") should give some indication to Adobe that "this is what we want above all else! We want this more than we want support for Centered Crop Overlay and ISO Adaptive Presets! We want this more than we want support for new cameras and lenses! We want this more than we want improvements to panorama editing and library filtering!"

The least Adobe could do would be to give some indication that it's Under Consideration, Planned or even Not Planned. Leaving such a popular request ambiguous is mean-spirited and disingenuous. Given the number of users who have sworn up and down (on this forum and others) that they would jump ship to the first editing platform to implement shared, network access; this feels more like a crowd-control measure. "If we tell you it's planned, we actually have to follow through! If we say it's not planned, we'll lose you all! So we're just going to leave it unanswered in the hopes that we'll be able to string you along as long as we can until we absolutely have to implement this feature."

And no, I'm not surprised that there hasn't been another company to implement this yet but I don't see it as a result of lack of interest. Adobe has been, and for a very long time will be, a market leader in this area. Many companies look to Adobe to see what to implement and what not to. The fact that Adobe is on top of the market further cements the idea that they won't implement this until they absolutely have to.

I would suggest that everyone who wants this feature push it to all the Capture One, Luminar, ON1, DxO etc. forums, community boards and feature request platforms that they can. Maybe the scent of a competitor working on this will be the spark that lights a fire under Adobe's butt.

One can only hope.

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"or even a mention from Adobe Dev's in the 9 years since it's been requested."

Adobe engineer Dan Tull did give a fair amount of technical insight behind the SQLite issue early on in this topic, starting here (you have to read through many messages in the the thread):[se...

But I agree that there hasn't been any substantive feedback here from Adobe since then.

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Geoff Faulkner

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I've been using OneDrive to keep my catalog and previews in sync between computers. The issue I find is that opening Lightroom causes some high CPU activity for OneDrive as it tries to sync files that are in use. I think that is a OneDrive issue. After I exit there is again high CPU as it picks through my 6GB Lightroom catalog looking for the changed bits and added preview files. 

Recent upgrades to OneDrive sync engine will only send the changed bits. Before this change, it was sending the entire 6GB file back up to the cloud every time I opened Lightroom.

So far it works pretty well. Every once in a while OneDrive gets confused and makes a second copy of the Lightroom database, as it thinks the cloud version and the local version have both changed. That would happen if I edited from a different computer and my laptop, which I am not doing. Right now, only editing on my laptop and using OneDrive to keep a backup of my critical files. When this happens I just delete the older catalog file, and rename the copy back to the original name.
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Rosemary Coldstream

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Classic: Shared team library.

When will Adobe, make Lightroom available for multi-users? Now that my team work remotely (Covid-19 rules) they cannot access our extensive photo library catalogue through lightroom. Is there a work around for this? Everyone needs to be able to access the photos and the catalog for work.  We use Lightroom Classic.