Learning tips on how to transfer Lightroom to a brand new pc may sound like a scary proposition to many photographers. But, since we alter computer systems each three to 5 years, it’s unavoidable. That is why I deal with it as a part of my pictures workflow.
First, I don’t deal with my Lightroom setup as a monolith set up; it’s extra like a multi-piece entity with its components scattered throughout completely different corners of my pc.
Let me clarify.
I preserve my Lightroom set up with the grasp catalog, configuration recordsdata, and previews on my main SSD (strong state drive) laborious drive. It is extraordinarily quick however comparatively small at solely 500 GB. This signifies that I can’t retailer my whole photograph library (a complete of 5 TB) subsequent to my grasp catalog.
I’ve a standard laborious drive (8 TB) devoted to my photograph library.
Finally, I preserve my Lightroom catalog backups on a separate laborious drive the place I retailer all my archived recordsdata and the assets I don’t use frequently.
I deal with the method of migrating Lightroom to a brand new pc as a multistep course of the place I deal with the completely different components of the Lightroom setup individually.
How to Move Lightroom to a New Computer
The strategy of migrating Lightroom to a brand new pc might be damaged down into seven steps, two of that are optionally available.
- Step 1 – Install Lightroom
- Step 2 – Transfer the Photo Library to a brand new pc
- Step 3 – Move Lightroom Catalog from outdated pc
- Step 4 – Port Configuration and Settings
- Step 5 – Re-link the lacking folders
- Step 6 – Bring Preview Files (optionally available)
- Step 7 – Bring Catalog Backups (optionally available)
When you deal with every part individually, the entire course of turns into very logical and uncomplicated.
Step 1: Install Lightroom
Before putting in Lightroom, you need to set up the Creative Cloud utility in your new pc.
After putting in the Creative Cloud app, you need to authenticate it utilizing your Creative Cloud credentials.
Next, deploy Lightroom by triggering the set up from the Creative Cloud app.
As you most likely know, Creative Cloud lets you set up Lightroom on two completely different computer systems (Mac and PC). If you will have already put in and activated Lightroom on two computer systems, you need to go to the Creative Cloud net portal (Plans & Products tab) and disconnect certainly one of your installations.
TIP: Make positive that you don’t disconnect the pc from which you’re at the moment performing the migration. You might want to entry it a number of occasions all through the migration course of.
In my case, I’ve Lightroom activated on my desktop and on my journey laptop computer. When I begin the migration course of, I deactivate my laptop computer set up in order that I can use Lightroom on my outdated and new computer systems through the migration.
Step 2: Migrate Your Photo Library
Before you begin transferring your photograph library to a brand new pc, be sure that it’s properly organized.
This organizational fashion makes it extremely easy to again up your photographs. It additionally makes it straightforward to maneuver your whole library from one location to a different.
You can have issue managing your library in case your photographs are scattered throughout completely different drives and directories.
Before beginning the migration, I strongly suggest you conform your photograph library to a one-directory construction.
TIP: Make positive to arrange your library from inside Lightroom utilizing the Folders Panel within the Library Module. If you employ Explorer (Win) or Finder (Mac) to maneuver your picture recordsdata round, Lightroom won’t be able to trace these adjustments.
Once your library is so as, use an exterior laborious drive to repeat your whole library to your new pc.
Step 3: Migrate the Lightroom Catalog
The subsequent step is to maneuver the catalog file to a brand new pc. The Lightroom Catalog is a database the place the applying shops details about the photographs and their group.
It is just not all the time straightforward to find a catalog file as a result of, generally, it’s buried deep inside your pc’s set up folders. Fortunately, Lightroom offers us with a shortcut to an energetic catalog location.
How to Find Lightroom Catalog Location
Here are the steps to pinpoint the Lightroom catalog location:
From the highest menu, choose EDIT (Lightroom on Mac) > Catalog Settings… Go to the General tab and click on the SHOW button. This will take you to the listing the place the Lightroom catalog resides.
The Lightroom catalog has an .lrcat extension.
You might want to copy the catalog file to your new pc.
I extremely suggest that you just preserve your catalog file in your quickest drive, ideally on a solid-state drive (SSD).
Step 4: Copy Configuration, Settings, and Presets
Lightroom combines all of the settings, configuration recordsdata, and presets beneath the Lightroom Settings listing.
The listing incorporates an enormous quantity of knowledge associated to your Lightroom Catalog. It shops all of the develop presets, import and export presets, metadata presets, key phrase units, and so forth. If you don’t import all of the configuration info to your new set up, it will possibly take weeks and even months to recreate it. Importing the listing is an important step of the migrating course of.
Depending in your preferences, the Lightroom Settings listing might be positioned within the catalog listing or within the Lightroom set up folder.
In my case, I take advantage of one catalog group and like to retailer all my configuration recordsdata and presets subsequent to my catalog file. This helps me localize all catalog associated knowledge in a single location, however it additionally signifies that the settings and presets can’t be shared throughout a number of catalogs.
You should copy all the Lightroom Settings folder to a brand new pc and place them in a brand new catalog folder or a brand new Lightroom set up listing.
Step 5: Re-link the New Catalog with the Photo Library
When you will have accomplished the 4 earlier steps, you’re able to launch your imported Lightroom Catalog on a brand new pc.
The probability that the file construction in your new machine is similar to your outdated one may be very slim. This signifies that Lightroom received’t be capable to discover your photographs as a result of they’re saved in a distinct location.
When you see a query mark subsequent to a folder contained in the Lightroom Library module, which means it has no concept the place to search out them and that it’s worthwhile to re-link the lacking folders to level them to a brand new picture location.
The excellent news is that you just wouldn’t have to do that for each folder. All it’s important to do is right-click on the prime of the mum or dad folder and level to the brand new location the place you positioned the photograph library in Step 2. Lightroom will do the remaining by mapping all of the folders to their new areas.
Step 6: Migrate Previews (Optional)
I do know that many photographers copy their unique preview recordsdata to a brand new pc, however I by no means do.
In Lightroom Preferences, you’ll be able to specify how lengthy you wish to preserve full-size previews earlier than they’re discarded. Because of the restricted disk area on my main SSD drive, I take advantage of the 30-day choice. This signifies that if I don’t use a specific picture for longer than 30 days, Lightroom discards its preview. But, I discover that Lightroom doesn’t handle this feature very properly. Over a interval of months, the preview folder measurement grows uncontrolled and I’ve to manually delete the previews to get well worthwhile disk area.
The migration course of provides me a possibility to start out the preview era course of from scratch with out importing any pointless recordsdata.
When I’m completed with the migration, I can start recreating preview recordsdata as I want them by utilizing the handbook methodology in Library Module.
TIP: Combine Steps 3, 4 and 5 into one
SinceLightroom shops the Catalog, Settings andPreviews contained in the catalog folder, it is sensible to mix steps 3, 4 and 5 right into a single transfer by copying all the catalog folder with all its content material to a brand new pc.
Step 7: Move Catalog Backups (Optional)
Lightroom has built-in performance to again up the catalog recordsdata in case the grasp catalog is corrupt. This is important as a result of the catalog recordsdata comprise years of collected info. If you lose it, it is going to be a catastrophe.
In my case, the backup course of is ready to a weekly schedule. However, you’ll be able to configure it to a distinct frequency.
By default, Lightroom shops catalog backup recordsdata contained in the Catalog folder.
But, it’s extremely really helpful that you just use a distinct location out of your grasp drive the place the catalog resides. The logic right here is that in case your grasp drive fails, you’ll have an intact backup on one other drive.
While importing backup recordsdata to a brand new set up is really helpful, it’s not important.
In the 12 years that I’ve used Lightroom, I’ve by no means had any points with catalog recordsdata so I’m not very paranoid on this regard.
When I full the migration course of and all the pieces appears to be like good, I create the primary backup on a brand new pc, which is greater than sufficient for me. Plus, I all the time have a couple of variations of the catalog backup saved on my Backblaze cloud.
Update: Migrating Lightroom Preset Library
After Adobe modified the format of Lightroom presets in 2018 from .lrtemplate to .xmp, the situation of preset recordsdata on a pc laborious drive is just not all the time apparent.
Since XMP presets are shared between Lightroom and Photoshop, by default, presets are imported to Adobe Creative RAW (ACR) utility. It is sensible as a result of the presets might be accessed by Lightroom and Photoshop from a single location.
But in case you change the Lightroom settings and examine the field Store presets with this catalog (what I do), the imported presets might be saved subsequent to the Lightroom catalog.
What it means is that Lightroom presets might be saved elsewhere in your laborious drive. Sometimes, particular person presets from the identical group might be saved in varied areas. It doesn’t have an effect on your workflow whenever you use preset-based modifying however will trigger a headache when it’s worthwhile to migrate your whole preset library to a different pc.
Here is my resolution.
Use the brand new Lightroom performance ‘Export Group’ to export all the preset group. Lightroom collects presets, even when they’re positioned in varied areas, and zip them into one single file.
When you import them to Lightroom on a distinct pc, all of the presets from the identical group might be saved in a single location.
It is a good way to scrub up your preset group.
How to Move Lightroom to a New Computer | Conclusion
Moving the Lightroom Catalog to a brand new location is a critical enterprise and could be a disastrous expertise if executed mistaken. But in case you observe the outlined steps, the method might be painless and might be accomplished very quickly in any respect!