Programming + Design

HowTo Use Your Adobe Lightroom Catalog Over a Network PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brett Brewer   
Sunday, 09 August 2009

I've been using Adobe Lightroom 2 for a while and mostly like the program, but I recently ran up against a massive oversight by Adobe. You can't open a lightroom catalog that is stored on a network drive. What a nightmare! According to Adobe this is a "feature" they added in version 2 to prevent people from corrupting their catalogs by trying to use them in a multi-user environment. Well, I don't call that a feature, I call that a bug, and forcing me to keep multiple versions of my Lightroom catalog just to use it from different machines is unacceptable. My LR catalog is huge and I can't constantly be exporting and resyncing it. Fortunately, there's an easy workaround. Don't blame me if it corrupts your Lightroom catalog.

  • Map a network drive to the location you want to use for your Lightroom catalog (for example I use "P:" for my Photos) 
  • Open a command prompt by going to "Start--->Run" and then type "cmd" for a command prompt.
  • Type the following
subst Q: P:\ 
  • The first drive letter above is the new drive letter you want to use and the second is the name of the mapped network drive you already created.
  • You should now be able to access the networked lightroom catalog at drive letter Q:

To make this happen automagically when you boot your computer,  you can put something like following line in your AUTOEXEC.NT file in the Windows/system32 folder on your boot drive

 %windir%\system32\subst.exe Q: P:\

You could also make a shortcut with the above line as the target and put it in your "Startup" folder. 

Adobe should really reactivate the ability to save to networked drives and if they can't solve the DB corruption probs, just display a warning to be sure nobody else is using the file before proceeding. It would be way better than crippling the product for power users.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 09 August 2009 )
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