Moving your Lightroom catalog from one location to another

Where you have your Lightroom catalog file located at can be an important decision. I always suggest having it on an internal drive for added speed and if you can get a SSD drive for your internal. SSD drives are amazing when it comes to speed and once you get used to running your computer on a SSD its hard to go back to a normal drive. I’ve had a SSD drive as my main boot up drive (and love having my computer come up in a few quick seconds) and also as my Lightroom working drive for the past year and absolutely love it. But sometimes you might have setup your Lightroom catalog on an external or a drive that is running out of space and need to move it. Today i’ll cover how to move your Lightroom catalog file in a snap, just follow these few steps:

  • First to locate the folder that contains the catalog go to Edit –> Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom –> Catalog Settings (Mac). By default with Mac your files are located in your User –> Pictures folder.
  • In the general panel, click Show to go to the catalog in a finder window.
  • Now simply drag and drop the catalog.lrcat and Previews.lrdata files to the new location.
  • Double-click the .lrcat file in the new location to open it in Lightroom, all done 🙂
  • What do you want to learn with Lightroom? Let me know in the comments below and i’ll add your questions to a future article.

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    Author: Mark

    Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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    1. You don’t have to copy the Previews.lrdata files. Lightroom will rebuild them when you open the catalog.

    2. I have an external drive as my main drive where I copy my Lr photos to. It is 1TB … I then back up to 2 3tb HDD’s…. How do I make one of the 2 backup drives my main Lr drive ?

    3. moving over your catalog file to the new drive and then restarting should do the trick 🙂

    4. Thank you. Your tip was straight forward and worked first time around!


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