• Welcome to the Lightroom Queen Forums! We're a friendly bunch, so please feel free to register and join in the conversation. If you're not familiar with forums, you'll find step by step instructions on how to post your first thread under Help at the bottom of the page. You're also welcome to download our free Lightroom Quick Start eBooks and explore our other FAQ resources.
  • Stop struggling with Lightroom! There's no need to spend hours hunting for the answers to your Lightroom Classic questions. All the information you need is in Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ!

    To help you get started, there's a series of easy tutorials to guide you through a simple workflow. As you grow in confidence, the book switches to a conversational FAQ format, so you can quickly find answers to advanced questions. And better still, the eBooks are updated for every release, so it's always up to date.

Lightroom doesn't always open

Not open for further replies.


New Member
Premium Classic Member
Jun 24, 2017
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Operating System: High Sierra
Exact Lightroom Version (Help menu > System Info):Lightroom Classic CC

I mostly use Lightroom on my iMac and my catalog and photos sit on a portable external drive.

Sometimes, not always, Lightroom won't open and gives me a message saying: Lightroom cannot open the catalog named "cat-name" located on volume "drive-name" because Lightroom cannot save changes to this location. Lightroom Catalogs can not be opened on network volumes, removable storage, or read only volumes.

This has been going on for some months and usually restarting my iMac solves the problem - for a while. I have recently been away for a 4 week trip and I used my MacBook Pro with the portable hard drive while away. I took and uploaded around 4000 photos and did not have a problem when opening Lightroom.

On my return I have plugged in the portable drive to my iMac and within a few days the problem returned. I have upgraded to Lightroom Classic CC in the hope that the bug might have been resolved. However, today, even restarting the iMac has not worked.

Has anybody else had a problem like this? Can anyone give me some advice as to what might be wrong?
I think that might be a MacOS X problem, not a Lightroom problem. MacOS X tells Lightroom what the external volume is. Have you tried a different cable and/or a different port?
Thank you Johan,

I was plugged in through a USB hub. I have now plugged directly in to iMac and all seems well. I will let you know if further problems arise.
No. Its happening again. One day on and I can't access Lightroom. Not the hub then.

If its a MacOS X problem, and no-one else is experiencing it, what action can I take?
Yes, a different cable worked for a while until there was an update MacOS 10.13.1 on 1st Dec. then I just couldn't open Lightroom even with restarts - until I unplugged the cable and then plugged it back in again to the same slot. Must be a feature!

What I don't understand is that I don't get any such problems when I use my MacBook
I have an iMac and a MacBook Pro too. I have my main catalog on the internal disk of the iMac and my images on a separate disk. When I travel, I use Lightroom on the MBP with a special 'travel catalog', which is located on the internal disk. I copy this travel catalog and the images to an external disk (also as backup) and import this catalog into the main catalog on return. I never had any problems using this method. The only trick you have to use for this is that you should store the travel images in a folder inside the travel catalog folder. That ensures that Lightroom does not lose the connection to the images when the catalog and the images are copied to the external disk.
Different issue. I have both my catalog and my images on an external drive so I can connect it to either my iMac (at home) or my MacBook Pro (travelling). I backup my catalog to the computer hard drive (whichever is connected) and my images to another external drive using Time Machine. Seems the simplest solution to me and I haven't found any problems with Lightroom not being able to find images.

So, what I am saying is that the problem under discussion only happens when the external drive is attached to the iMac and never (yet?) when attached to the MacBook Pro.
Different issue. I have both my catalog and my images on an external drive so I can connect it to either my iMac (at home) or my MacBook Pro (travelling).
I know that, so what I wrote is a suggestion how you could still do it and not have those problems.
OK. Thanks for your input Johan. I have now found that all I need to do is unplug and reconnect the USB cable to the portable drive and all is fine. There is obviously some problem with MacOS and I am also having problems with my connection to iCloud which often requires a Restart when using Pages and Numbers. Not an LR problem though.
Not open for further replies.