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Thread: How to give external hard drive permanent name - so Lightroom finds it every time?

  1. #1
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    How to give external hard drive permanent name - so Lightroom finds it every time?

    I have all my photos and Lightroom catalog stored on an external hard drive.
    I often need to move between different platforms - at home I use a pc and at school I use a Mac.
    The hard drive is formatted to FAT so it works fine between both platforms.
    The only problem is this:
    When plugging in the hard drive to my PC, Windows assigns a letter to the drive. Furthermore, it's not always the same letter.
    When plugging the hard drive to the Mac, there is no letter. It's just a label - the name of the hard drive. In my specific case it's called "G-Mobile".

    So each time I migrate from Mac to Windows, or even between sessions just with Windows, I always need to relocate the hard drive, since the name changes and Lightroom doesn't recognize it.

    Is there anyway to solve this? Can I just somehow give the hard drive a permanent name or label that will stay fixed regardless of which platform and/or which other devices are plugged into the machine?

    (using Windows 7 by the way)

    Thanks!

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    Here is the link to explain hoe to permanently assign a drive letter to an external volume http://www.lightroomforums.net/showt...P-Vista-and-7)

    As you have discovered, Windows requires drive letters and OSX does not use them at all

    I have used two adjustments to make the same catalog on an EHD work with Windows and OSX. The catalog maintains two path variables to the master image locations One is called the "absolutePath" and the other is "relativePathFrom Catalog". If either of these is correct, LR can find your master image files.

    In Windows the "absolutePath" contains something like C:\users\...." In OSX that would be "/users/...." However if the catalog and the master images are on the same drive (i.e. the EHD) the "relativePathFrom Catalog" becomes something like "..\..\Pictures\" (Windows) or "../../Pictures/" (OSX). If you export as catalog and include Negative files, you create a package the contains everything (almost), So, if you have a folder named "A:\Lightroom\" with a catalog file and images in a sub folder "A:\Lightroom\Pictures\" the "relativePathFrom Catalog" value is always "Pictures/" or "Pictures\". If you store the Presets with catalog, they get stored in a folder named "A:\Lightroom\Lightroom Settings\" With everything associated with a catalog on the EHD you have an almost bullet proof Lightroom setup.
    Last edited by clee01l; 6 Mar 2012 at 10:08 pm.

  3. #3
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    Hi Cletus, thanks for your quick reply!
    My setup is actually like you describe.
    In my EHD I have three folders:
    1. Lightroom (which contains: catalog, catalog backups, catalog previews and Lightroom settings)
    2. My Pictures (all original images)
    3. Work folder (all edited copies of images that are being worked on in Photoshop)

    Yet, even when only in Windows - if the drive is assigned the letter F: and then next time it is assigned the letter G: it will have question marks on the folder structure in Lightroom and I will need to locate the F: folder (now called G: folder) for it to recognize everything. So there seems to be only the absolute path in my case and not the relative path.

    About the link you sent explaining how to change the letter of the drive - I have already done exactly that. I also have tried using a disk partition manager to assign a letter. I also gave the drive a unique name ("G-Mobile"), but Windows still occasionally decides to give it a different letter. This just happened today. I assigned the letter G and next time I plugged in the drive it got the letter F. So it seems this fix is not permanent.... unless I'm doing something wrong.

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    Also...
    I understand then from your explanation - that when moving from Windows to OSX or vice versa - there is no solution. In this case I will always have to help Lightroom identify the drive. Is that correct?

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    Quote Originally Posted by adifrank View Post
    Also...
    I understand then from your explanation - that when moving from Windows to OSX or vice versa - there is no solution. In this case I will always have to help Lightroom identify the drive. Is that correct?
    If you assign the drive a volume name and assigne it a drive letter (G:\) Windows will always assign the EHD as Drive (G:\) unless Letter G:\ has already been assigned to another drive. D:\, E:\, F:\, & G:\ are commonly used as the 'next available' for removable devices like DVDs, SD Cards and Thumb drives making them not good candidates for important semi-permanently attached data drives. Drive letters A:\ and B:\ are never assigned by Windows unless you should have a floppy attached. I assign Drive A:\ and B:\ to important data EHDs for this reason. Another option is to start at the other end of the alphabet X:\, Y:\ & Z:\ as these are less likely to show up on Windows 'next available' drive letter list.

    I recently migrated from Win7 to OSX I created a 'package' in windows consisting of a Parent folder containing a catalog, a previews folder, a Lightroom Settings folder and a folder tree for master image files. I had no difficulty opening this 'package' created as a Windows package on my new OSX install. I have not needed to revese the process back to windows, but I see no reason why it would not work since I have created Windows "Export As catalog" Packages and successfully imported them into other Windows computers with different drive letters. LR was always able to find my included images when packaged this way.

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    ok thanks. i just gave it the letter M and i'll see if that helps any.
    regarding the windows-mac transfer - is there any reason why packaging would be preferable to just right clicking the "missing" drive in Lightroom, selecting Find missing folder... and indicating the EHD as it appears on current platform?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by adifrank View Post
    ok thanks. i just gave it the letter M and i'll see if that helps any.
    regarding the windows-mac transfer - is there any reason why packaging would be preferable to just right clicking the "missing" drive in Lightroom, selecting Find missing folder... and indicating the EHD as it appears on current platform?
    With a package as I described, there is no need (at least going from Windows to OSX) to "Find Missing Folder".

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