I have written about moving your Lightroom work from your laptop to your desktop (or any two computers) here. This involves exporting your work on the laptop as a catalog, then importing it into your desktop catalog.

Sometimes though you may want to simply move your catalog. Mine was initially on an external hard drive; I then decided to move it to my internal C: drive because it would read and write faster.

The first step in doing this is finding out where it is stored currently.

  • In Lightroom go to Edit>Catalog Settings on the PC, or Lightroom>Catalog Settings on the Mac.
  • In the General Tab, the location of your catalog is shown.
  • Click on the Show button to open up a Mac Finder or Windows Explorer window with this catalog folder highlighted.

Finding Your Catalog Using the Catalog Settings Dialog

  • Close Lightroom.
  • Next, open up a second Windows Explorer or Finder window (Mac: File>New Finder Window; Windows 7: right-click on the folder icon in your task bar, choose Windows Explorer) ; navigate to where you want to put your catalog folder, and then drag the Lightroom Catalog folder from its current location in the first window to its new location in the second window.
  • Double-click on the .lrcat file within this catalog folder, to launch Lightroom with this catalog.
  • Lightroom will open, recognizing the new location of your catalog.
  • Go to Edit (Lightroom on the Mac)>Preferences, General tab, and where it says “When starting up use this catalog”, choose this specific catalog (not Load Most Recent).
  • If you dragged your catalog folder to a different hard drive, that copied your catalog, it didn’t move it. Once you have opened Lightroom with the copied catalog and confirmed that all is well – your photos and work are there – delete the original one.