How do I duplicate and sync my catalog between two computers?

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#1
LR6. My guess is that this is a question previously encountered but I can't find it. I did a search and found a somewhat similar thread here but not exactly. I've also perused The LR6 FAQ book Chapter 21 "multiple computers or catalogs". What I want to do is:

  1. duplicate (not move) all my photos from my desktop to my laptop.
  2. duplicate all my catalog settings (desktop->laptop) to include metadata, facial recognition, keywords, etc)
  3. have the ability to sync between laptop and desktop (desktop <-> laptop)
I'll be happy if I can only do 1&2 without the sync option. I can sync manually (exporting/importing photos and remembering keywords) if necessary.

I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel. Only trying to find the wheels that I need. Feel free to reference a post here or to reference topics in the FAQ book.

Teaks for your help.
 
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tspear

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Ibeck,

No real sync exists like you mention exists.
The closest solution is what I and a few others do. Using a cloud replication service, such as Micorosft OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox....
You put the catalog, all pictures, and make sure to include preferences and plugins in the same base folder, in the replication service. Now, everything will be replicated between the computers. However, and this is a big one, you CANNOT open Lr on the second computer until replication has finished between both computers. Otherwise, your catalog can become corrupted and/or end up with duplicate conflicts.
 

Hoggy

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#3
I'd second what Tim says. The only other option being to have catalog and images on a separate external hard drive.

And with either option, you may want to check the option in Preferences to 'store presets with this catalog'. That will put most settings within your catalog folder.
 
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Thanks to you both. I'm not a big fan of the cloud for large storage like I would need. Probably ~60 GB for the photos alone. OneDrive charges $70/year for this. Not sure about Dropbox.

In any event, I prefer to have storage with my own hardware. I have several large USB drives, and I may need to store Lr catalogs and photos there. It only seems that there would be a mechanism to duplicate what's on my desktop to my laptop.
 

Hoggy

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#5
Thanks to you both. I'm not a big fan of the cloud for large storage like I would need. Probably ~60 GB for the photos alone. OneDrive charges $70/year for this. Not sure about Dropbox.

In any event, I prefer to have storage with my own hardware. I have several large USB drives, and I may need to store Lr catalogs and photos there. It only seems that there would be a mechanism to duplicate what's on my desktop to my laptop.

Yep, same here.. I use a 15GB free Google Drive just for the catalog backups (and other system-wide documents) - and I backup at every LR exit (but skip if no changes were made).

There is one other possibility, but I'd be a little fuzzy on the specifics... That is by using smart previews, and maybe storing just THOSE in the cloud. Although setting that up is likely to be pretty convoluted. ... Depends on how strongly you might feel about it. :)
 

Tony Jay

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#6
I think that to try and duplicate images and catalog for the purposes mentioned is actually just a ticket to disaster.
Trying to keep things in sync would be a nightmare.

The solution to avoid this has already been provided - one catalog and one copy of the image library on (preferably) one external hard drive).
That external hard drive can be plugged into either machine - no problem.

Even if the two machines run different OS's the problem with incompatible file format systems is easily overcome.

Tony Jay
 
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one catalog and one copy of the image library on (preferably) one external hard drive).
That external hard drive can be plugged into either machine - no problem.
Yeah, I think I'm headed in that direction. There's pretty good instructions on how to do that in the Lr FAQ book.
 

PhilBurton

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#9
I think that to try and duplicate images and catalog for the purposes mentioned is actually just a ticket to disaster.
Trying to keep things in sync would be a nightmare.

The solution to avoid this has already been provided - one catalog and one copy of the image library on (preferably) one external hard drive).
That external hard drive can be plugged into either machine - no problem.

Even if the two machines run different OS's the problem with incompatible file format systems is easily overcome.

Tony Jay
I have only Windows 10 systems, desktop and laptop. It's early days for me, since I haven't scanned all my slides yet, and I'm still on the learning curve with DEVELOP. However, I travel a lot for my job, and these trips afford me some free time in the evenings for Lightroom work.

So aside from the actual Lightroom software, there are three components to synchronize. i do direct sync system-to-system using FreeFileSync, www.freefilesync.org. My approach works only because I use exactly the same drive/folder names on both systems. This approach can't "merge" results. Only one system can be "active" at a time, but that works well for me as a business traveler.

1. All my Lightroom preferences and plug-ins. I install my plug-ins as a subfolder of the main Lightroom configuration path.
C:\Users\phil\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom

By the way, using my approach I need to install a plug-in only once and after synchronization, it shows up on both systems.

2. My Lightroom catalog, "production" and various tests. All in folder D:\Photo\Lightroom catalogs. Backups are in E:\LightroomBackups

3. My actual photos already imported into Lightroom. E:\Photo Also photos that have not yet been imported into Lightroom E:\PhotoToImport.

With my old laptop, I had a room for a second hard drive, so E: was built into my lapop. My new laptop does not have that option, so drive E:\ is now in an external drive case. The laptop's internal drive, which is an SSD, has C: and D: partitions for programs and data, respectively.

My desktop system also contains one SSD, partitions C: and D: and three mechanical HDDs for E: photo partitions and lots else.

Phil
 

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#11
Thanks to you both. I'm not a big fan of the cloud for large storage like I would need. Probably ~60 GB for the photos alone. OneDrive charges $70/year for this. Not sure about Dropbox.

In any event, I prefer to have storage with my own hardware. I have several large USB drives, and I may need to store Lr catalogs and photos there. It only seems that there would be a mechanism to duplicate what's on my desktop to my laptop.
I have almost 1TB on OneDrive. Since I also need to "purchase" Microsoft Office, this was an obvious choice for me.
I expect in the next few years I will have to become more aggressive on pruning/deleting stuff or get more space :)

If you have the room locally, and do not want to pay Microsoft or Google; you can setup your own version. There are a few solutions available, but the one I have used previously is called OwnCloud. Worked fairly well.
 

Paul B

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@lbeck

I do like Phil's approach. Although it's duplication, if the sync process is comprehensive and automated it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Though it also requires the user to be very disciplined; forgetting to sync after a trip and then working on the un-synced catalog isn't going to be good.

It's worth re-emphasising Phil's point about plugins. You can add them to Lightroom from anywhere, but it absolutely makes sense to store them under the Lightroom config folder structure and add them from there; a) everything's in a logical place and b) it's easier to sync or back up. IMHO it's worth moving your plugins there whatever setup you have. (For Mac users try adding a sub-folder under /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom).

I think if I was switching between machines I'd do something similar, not least because I'd want the better performance from having the catalog and previews locally, not on an EHD. The only difference would be that unless I wanted to Export from the laptop I'd probably use Smart Previews on there rather than copy the actual photos.

But I do also take on board that this is a riskier approach than storing everything on an EHD.
 
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PhilBurton

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@lbeck

I do like Phil's approach. Although it's duplication, if the sync process is comprehensive and automated it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Though it also requires the user to be very disciplined; forgetting to sync after a trip and then working on the un-synced catalog isn't going to be good.

It's worth re-emphasising Phil's point about plugins. You can add them to Lightroom from anywhere, but it absolutely makes sense to store them under the Lightroom config folder structure and add them from there; a) everything's in a logical place and b) it's easier to sync or back up. IMHO it's worth moving your plugins there whatever setup you have. (For Mac users try adding a sub-folder under /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom).

I think if I was switching between machines I'd do something similar, not least because I'd want the better performance from having the catalog and previews locally, not on an EHD. The only difference would be that unless I wanted to Export from the laptop I'd probably use Smart Previews on there rather than copy the actual photos.

But I do also take on board that this is a riskier approach than storing everything on an EHD.
A few more points about my approach:

1. I never used the term "travel catalog." That's because a business trip is not the same as a vacation or holiday trip. On business trips, my only "camera" is my iPhone 6 and what photos I take usually have no long-term value, and get discarded in short order.

2. I'm still in the process of importing, culling, and keywording, etc. about 15,000 digital photos. I can do that sort of work on an airplane or in a hotel room.

3. This system-to-system duplication is something I do for all my MS Office files, accounting software, etc, using FreeFileSync. So it's part of my normal pre-trip and post-trip workflow.
 
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Thanks to you all. You're great!

While beginning to clean out an EHD for the Tony Jay approach it occurred to me that one of my main objectives is redundancy. More important to me than portability. Loss of 39K photos and all of the associated metadata in Lr is too much for me to risk. I can (and have) archived all except my most recent photos to blu ray discs and I suspect that I could archive some lrcat files also.

So I'm now leaning towards Phil's approach, though I've never used FreeFileSync. Also there are reports here that ver. 8.8 may be infected with viruses. Ver. 8.9 was released yesterday and hopefully it is clean.

I mentioned in my beginning post that syncing is a tertiary objective, but I really want to have redundancy. If I lose a HDD in one computer, I can recover to the other with a little work. But if I have most everything on an EHD I'll be more despondent if I lose it.
 
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tspear

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iBeck,

Do some search on backups on the forum. You find plenty of discussions on methods and ways to do it. In addition, Victoria has a blog bost on Lightroomqueen which details everything that needs to be backed up for a successful restore.
 

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As for file syncing, there is also a program called Goodync ( File Sync & Backup Software | GoodSync ). It has an added ability to also sync things to the cloud (in case you ever find a good deal on any of the cloud services it supports).. Including multiple Google Drives, Onedrives, etc.. It's not free, but it's pretty cheap - about $30 IIRC.
 

PhilBurton

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Thanks to you all. You're great!

While beginning to clean out an EHD for the Tony Jay approach it occurred to me that one of my main objectives is redundancy. More important to me than portability. Loss of 66K photos and all of the associated metadata in Lr is too much for me to risk. I can (and have) archived all except my most recent photos to blu ray discs and I suspect that I could archive some lrcat files also.

So I'm now leaning towards Phil's approach, though I've never used FreeFileSync. Also there are reports here that ver. 8.8 may be infected with viruses. Ver. 8.9 was released yesterday and hopefully it is clean.

I mentioned in my beginning post that syncing is a tertiary objective, but I really want to have redundancy. If I lose a HDD in one computer, I can recover to the other with a little work. But if I have most everything on an EHD I'll be more despondent if I lose it.
Agree that data loss due to drive failure is always a risk. About a year ago, the SSD in my wife's system failed.:eek2: Suddenly! No warning, just complete failure. :mad:

Fortunately I back up the DATA and MEDIA (Photos and music) partitions on all my systems using disk-to-disk backup onto a separate drive in my desktop. I use backup software that does automatic versioning, which a simply copy-replace utility can't do. I use the PROFESSIONAL version of Retrospect, www.retrospect.com. Once a year, I change out the backup HDD and store the old backup HDD in a closet on the other side of my house.
 

Tony Jay

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#18
It is pretty simple to back-up the whole of a single drive to another drive of the same capacity.
This is how I do my back-ups and archiving.
I do use a back-up utility that does a verified bit-for-bit back-up.

This is how is assure redundancy.
I directly work off only one drive though.

Tony Jay
 
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Thanks to all again. I'll consider this issue closed for my part. I think I've learned what I need regarding duplicate catalogs, redundancy, and syncing.

I'm thinking now that I need to dedicate one of my spare HDDs to most recent lrcat and photos. Then use a 3rd party sync program to incorporate changes. Or maybe I'll simply re-install lrcat/photos to the EHD from time to time. Sounds simple enough. I only was thinking with my beginning post that I could have all my stuff on 2 computers and that Lr6 would have a way to sync between the 2.

I'll now proceed to clear an EHD or partition one for my redundancy approach.

Thanks again.

Lee
 
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REOPENED

Well, I'm off to vacation (i.e., Holiday) again for a couple of weeks in a few days. Yea!

Here's what I'm going to do. Tell me if I'm doing anything wrong.

I will duplicate all photo libraries onto my EHD - and copy my main (desktop) lrcat file to that drive. I'll then RENAME the lrcat to a different name (e.g., 3-10-2017.lrcat). I'll open the renamed lrcat file on the EHD via my laptop to assure that all is working as expected.

I'll work on my laptop while my wife is shopping by removing bad photos and do facial recognition, assigning keywords, and other metadata stuff.

When I return home, I'll either:
  1. use something like FreeFileSync to sync the files from my vacation catalog to my main computer, or
  2. copy the revised lrcat file to my main computer and use it (renamed) as my main catalog.
I have read Victoria's LR6 FAQ P493

Self-Contained Catalog
Summary: The simplest solution is to place the entire catalog of your photos on a portable external hard drive, which you plug into whichever computer you want to use at the time.
and I think this is the way to go. But I decided to post here in case there are some cautionary considerations.

As always - I appreciate your comments and advice.

Lee
 

PhilBurton

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REOPENED

Well, I'm off to vacation (i.e., Holiday) again for a couple of weeks in a few days. Yea!

Here's what I'm going to do. Tell me if I'm doing anything wrong.

I will duplicate all photo libraries onto my EHD - and copy my main (desktop) lrcat file to that drive. I'll then RENAME the lrcat to a different name (e.g., 3-10-2017.lrcat). I'll open the renamed lrcat file on the EHD via my laptop to assure that all is working as expected.

I'll work on my laptop while my wife is shopping by removing bad photos and do facial recognition, assigning keywords, and other metadata stuff.

When I return home, I'll either:
  1. use something like FreeFileSync to sync the files from my vacation catalog to my main computer, or
  2. copy the revised lrcat file to my main computer and use it (renamed) as my main catalog.
I have read Victoria's LR6 FAQ P493



and I think this is the way to go. But I decided to post here in case there are some cautionary considerations.

As always - I appreciate your comments and advice.

Lee
Lee,

I use FreeFileSync all the time to coordinate between my desktop and my laptop. Works like a charm. Not to Mac users: I think this is a PC-only utility. :(

No need to create a different name for your laptop catalog. Just be sure to duplicate all your Lightroom Appdata folder settings, your plug-ins, etc., as well as your catalog to the exact same drive/folder names as on your desktop system. That's a good approach for any files you share across systems.
 
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I pretty much follow Tony Jay's method. All images live on a portable drive, and are backed up both on a desktop machine and another non-portable external drive. We differ in that my catalogue lives on my working computer and is backed up to my portable drive.

The reason I keep my catalogue on my computer is that LR runs a little faster that way. Having the images on an external drive also slows things down a little, but I've found it's easier to keep everything current and I can easily work between desktop and laptop if the images are always in one place. Because a current backup of my catalogue always exists on my portable drive, I can easily switch computers if I need to. I just launch the most current catalogue from the portable drive.

I avoid the Cloud like the plague. Part of the reason is that I live in the country with only a satellite internet connection and restricted bandwidth. But I also like my images on my own devices, and sometimes I travel to places where there's no internet connection at all.
 
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lbeck,
More directly to your initial question, when I bought a new computer and 2 new external drives, I had to move everything - photos, catalogue, the works, off my old computer. I did it in a very unconventional way: dragging and dropping in small increments. You don't want to do it in huge chunks because you risk data corruption, but over a couple of days everything got transferred to an external drive and backed up.

I had to move the old catalogue, and I did that by dragging and dropping as well. I know exactly where my catalogue lives, what it's called, and how to tell what the "latest" version is. It's just a data file like any other. I didn't export, sync, or do it the way I was "supposed to". I just dragged it to the new computer via an external portable drive. It all worked.

It was that experience that convinced me to keep all my photos, the .xmp's, the whole works, on an external drive and work from that. If I want to work from different computers, I just make sure the most current catalogue lives on both.