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How to Transfer Lightroom Work from One Computer to Another

Transfer Lightroom Work from One Computer to AnotherYou traveled with a laptop and used Lightroom on this laptop to import and work on your photos while you were on the road. Now you’re back home and you’re wondering how to get the photos along with your work (flags, stars, keywords, editing, etc) into your main Lightroom catalog on your desktop computer.

In this video tutorial from my Lightroom CC/6 and 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond video series I show you how to transfer your Lightroom work and your photos.

(For best quality, after clicking on Play, click on the sprocket wheel in the bottom right and choose HD. Quality is better in the actual Lightroom CC/6 and 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond videos.)

Note that this technique isn’t the one to use if you have purchased a new computer and want to get everything transferred over from your old one – read instead Victoria Bampton’s article on moving to a new computer. It’s also not the best technique if you regularly use two computers and don’t mind carrying an external drive – in this case, put your catalog and your photos on the external drive.  (Here’s an article on this approach, but it’s covered more in depth in my Lightroom CC/6 and 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond video series.)

2017-09-03T14:54:02+00:00October 6th, 2016|5 Comments


  1. Liam November 27, 2016 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Great Thanks for the tip Laura! very usefil information! I just changed computers and this comes very handy!


  2. Annie April 3, 2018 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Recently started using Lightroom Classic. I have a travel lap top and just moved all the photo files from a recent vacation to my PC at home…worked perfectly! I had been fretting this and it was so nice to have the process work so smoothly! Thank you!

    • Laura Shoe April 4, 2018 at 9:39 am - Reply

      I’m happy to hear it, Annie!

  3. Stephanie Banks October 11, 2018 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Thank you for a very simple and straight forward process – just what I needed to move my travel photo’s from laptop to pc. I have encountered a problem at the final step though that I wondered if you could help with. I have imported the temporary folder as described but when I go to move the folders from the temporary folder into the location I want it to it comes up with a message that the images could not be moved. It does create a folder on my hard drive (where I keep all of my images) but it is empty and it doesn’t create a corresponding folder in Lightroom. Any help with this will be much appreciated.

    • Laura Shoe October 13, 2018 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Hi Stephanie, I don’t know offhand why that would be, unless on your laptop those photos were already missing (folders had question marks and/or thumbnails had !). If that’s not the case, then I’d suggest posting on Lightroom Queen forums, where you can engage in more of a back and forth and post screenshots as needed.

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