Lightroom 5: Will not open on a new External Hard Drive (EHD).

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My Lightroom 5 will not open on a new External Hard Drive (EHD). I have thousands of photos on an old EHD with all photos in different folders named according to place and date. Each of these folders has its own Lightroom catalogue (the idea was to be able to take the photos in one folder with its own catalogue on a USB stick and work on my Mac without having to carry the EHD everywhere). As my old EHD is now full, I bought a much larger EHD (to serve me for many years to come) and copied all my photos in their own folders with each folder having its own catalogues into the new larger EHD. But Lightroom 5 will not open when I click on any Lightroom catalogue on the new larger EHD. It says it will not work with an external HD (even though it works with the old one) or it says it does not work with a network drive or it does not work with an ethernet connection (the new larger EHD has ethernet connections). Can some kind soul help me to get Lightroom 5 to open with each of the catalogues on my new larger EHD. The Ethernet connection can be converted to a USB with an adapter if needed, but having done that Lightroom 5 still does not work on the new EHD. So please HEEELP!
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r sah

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Posted 7 months ago

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David Converse

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What version of macOS? If you have Catalina, you can't use Lightroom 5 at all.
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Laura Shoe, Champion

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Is this a networked drive? Catalogs can't reside on networked drives (or rather they can't be opened).

@David, I believe that  LR 5 can be used on Catalina, but it can't be reinstalled.
As a side note, if your main computer is a laptop, a more efficient way to be able to work on your photos without the EHD with you is to store the (one) catalog on your internal drive and build smart previews for the photos.
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r sah

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Hi thanks for replying

I am using Sierra 10.12.6 on a laptop. My old drive was 4TB Seagate USB drive. That had all the catalogues and LR worked fine with all catalogues.

The new EHD is a Synology NAS with 40TB space. (Should last me a few years!!). If I have a LR catalogue in my laptop's Library file, LR will see the NAS, its file & will import photos into LR. But all my old Catalogues are in folders next to each set of photos (a set contains photos of that shoot with its individual catalogue). LR will not open any catalogues from the NAS.

I read yesterday LR will not read the NAS catalogues because the data transfer speeds on an ethernet cable are slow (NAS has ethernet) and LR recognises ethernet connections. But the fact is my ethernet transfer speeds are faster than the Seagagte drive's USB 3 speeds.

Also I have used an adapter that converts ethernet connection to USB3 connection and my laptop sees the NAS as a USB device. But LR still refuses to open the catalogues on the NAS.

The plan was to have everything safely RAID duplicated on a NAS and be able to access the NAS and work from anywhere (either when directly connected to the NAS at my offices, or from abroad via internet). Is there any way I can get LR to open the catalogues on the Synology NAS?

I am not too keen to store all my LR catalogues on my laptop; obvious dangers of theft, crashes, breakdowns, etc. and having to store all the catalogues will presumably take lots of space. Plus if I have to regularly back up my LR catalogues on yet another drive, it defeats trying to make life simpler/ easier.
(Edited)
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Laura Shoe, Champion

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The issue with catalogs on a NAS isn't data transfer speed, it is thatthey are explicitly blocked from opening because they aren't supported. Photos on a NAS on the other hand are fine. Here's a LightroomQueen forum post for the technically minded - there are several LR experts on that thread.  I don't know though whether plugging the drive in via USB cable makes it a local drive from LR's perspective, but it certainly couldn't hurt to try.
Side note - one catalog or many, where it/they are stored:

Regarding storing catalogs on your laptop - how many images are you talking about? Catalogs are generally pretty small, particularly if previews are managed appropriately.  The idea is to consolidate all catalogs into one and eliminate the USB workflow - surely that would make life simpler? You'd also eliminate the headeache having to go into various catalogs to pull images together for a project that spans catalogs, and you'd just be able to enjoy seeing all your photos at once rather than a narrow slice. Yes, you'd have to be sure to back up your internal drive - hopefully you're already doing that.   Here's a video tutorial on how the smart preview workflow would work - seamlessly. Alternatively, if your (hopefully one) catalog is on an external drive, rather than maintaining multiple catalogs, you can export a small catalog from your one main one to take a slice with you when you travel, then import it back into your main catalog when you get back home. Here's my video tutorial on this workflow. (I realize that this wasn't your question, but it's hard to resist advocating for streamlined workflows. ;-)
(Edited)
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r sah

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Hi Laura,

Thanks for your kind help. Your 1st thread is very detailed and interesting. In all it suggests Adobe simply won't allow LR to do this. A USB cable did not do the job. My PC sees the NAS with a USB cable, connects to it and opens all files but LR still recognises the catalogues as being on a NAS and refuses to open.

So far I have approx 40,000 RAW images and the number is growing fast. Hence the need for a NAS. If I was to consolidate all photos into 1 catalogue, that catalogue would become very large and I presume would make it difficult to track a few photos down from the whole. It tends to become slow. Hence the need to make a number of smaller catalogues, one for for each set of photos / shoots ( filed on the EHD according to date and place / subject). That way if I need to work on a theme I can just use that catalogue.

Thanks also for the 2nd link which I will consider. Even though as you say the smart preview takes approx 5% of space, that would start adding up to a fair amount on a PC and then would I not have to go back to the originals to do the final refinements. Perhaps too much to remember to do at a later stage and too much hassle. I am just a hoby-ist with a rather simple brain.
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David Converse

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You cannot store catalogs on the NAS. They must be on a locally connected hard drive. I've seen a lot of people have problems with Synology boxes, FWIW. Have you talked to their support?
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r sah

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The NAS does store the catalogues, but LR does not open them from the NAS.

I wonder if when I have to use LR I could transfer the relevant catalogue to my PC, work on the photos (which can stay on the NAS) and then transfer the updated catalogue back to the NAS over-writing the previous catalogue. Do you know if that will work properly even if repeated multiple times? 

I will speak to Synology support about this once I get the NAS to connect properly to my PC. At the moment it does not show DSM window on my PC when connected directly.
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r sah

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Not talked to Synology support yet about this.

At present I have spent 1 month trying to get Synology support to give me the DSM page (i.e. full access to all admin, configuration & control panels) when directly connected to the NAS without a router!! Have to solve this 1st, before I give them more problems.

I thought the problem would be with the set-up in LR & I could get a LR expert to help me --- hopefully by getting LR to see the NAS as a usb device (hence the adapter) rather than an ethernet device.

The catalogues are already on the NAS ---- I just can't open them on the NAS with LR. (Copies of the same catalogues on the seagate USB drive can be opened by LR).




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Edmund Gall

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What types of external ports does your EHD have? Or let us know which Synology model you have (so we can look up the specs). Does it have a USB port - if yes, have you tried connecting it directly to that port instead of using an Ethernet to USB adapter?..
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r sah

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Hi. The NAS has both USB and ethernet ports. Using either type of port LR still sees the NAS as a "non-local" drive and refuses to open catalogues kept on the NAS. The model is DS1618+.

I have also tried an adapter that converts the ethernet cable into a USB. LR also sees that as a NAS. 

So it seems its not the type of cables but that LR recognises a NAS (& is programmed to refuse NASs) and cannot be fooled into thinking it is dealing with a smaller EHD. 

Any ideas welcomed.

Of course all I want is to be able to use a very large & safe EHD to process all my photos with minimum steps to enjoy my hobby. Don't want to make it into a lengthy task.
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Edmund Gall

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I don't have experience of using a NAS. I'm wondering, though, when you connected the NAS via USB, did you disconnect/disable the network connection on the NAS (i.e. if you disconnected the USB cable from the Mac, did the Mac still show the NAS as being connected)? If the NAS is connected by USB, I can't understand why LR would think it is connected via the network (unless it actually is).

That said, are you sure you don't want to just put the catalog on your Mac and leave the image files & folders on the NAS? I have about 55,000 photos managed by LR, and the associated catalog is under 4GB, the Smart Previews file is 9GB and the standard Previews file is 163GB. Moving the catalog to the NAS will save some space on your Mac, but at a cost to LR performance (accessing the catalog & preview files from the NAS will be slower than from your internal drive)...
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Ivan Hurst

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I have my photos stored on a NAS and the catalogue on the Laptop with a sync to Dropbox. This may help.