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Thread: LR4 on 2 computers

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    LR4 on 2 computers

    Greetings,

    I am currently using LR4 on two separate computers, with two separate hard drives. When I modify photos on one installation, I copy the changes to a portable drive, carry the drive to the other computer, and then load the changed files into the other installation - obviously not an efficient way to go!

    I have tried connecting the two computers via an ethernet cable using my Airport Extreme network, and this works well for manually transferring small quantities of files. However for larger quantities, catalogs, etc. I would like to be able to transfer files using my SuperDuper! backup software, but it will not copy/write directly to/from a network volume - it requires the creation of a separate Image file.

    Has anyone found a simpler way of coordinating files on two separate storage drives?

    Thanks for any ideas!

    Dave
    Dave

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    After posting the message above, I went Googling and found a program called Goodsync. I downloaded the free demo, and gave it a try with excellent results. With 16451 pictures currently in my catalog, I was able to synchronize and upload/download without a hitch inside of 15 minutes. The price for a Mac version is $39.95, which I would rather avoid, but it certainly solves my problem.

    Has anyone tried this program? Any pro or con comments? As of now, I'm about ready to make a purchase.

    Thanks,
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFinton View Post
    After posting the message above, I went Googling and found a program called Goodsync. I downloaded the free demo, and gave it a try with excellent results. With 16451 pictures currently in my catalog, I was able to synchronize and upload/download without a hitch inside of 15 minutes. The price for a Mac version is $39.95, which I would rather avoid, but it certainly solves my problem.

    Has anyone tried this program? Any pro or con comments? As of now, I'm about ready to make a purchase.

    Thanks,
    I use a program called FreeFileSync to sync to my NAS. I've been using this for a couple of years now with no problems at all. I do also keep a backup on a separate drive (2 actually) but for daily use the NAS is great for me.

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    I use Chronosync on Mac, which does much the same thing. Free updates for life make $40 less painful too!
    Victoria


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    Very cool - thanks to you both!

    I think the Chronosync software would be more appropriate for use with my two Mac computers - I just downloaded it, and will give it a try this morning. The initial price of GoodSync vs Chronosync is the same so that is a wash, but as Victoria mentioned, free updates for life does make a difference.

    Thanks again! The prospect of always having to physically transport an external backup drive between two computers was starting to get to be a real pain, especially as the total size of all my files was increasing. I have a ton of new files to add as I scan more family history pictures, etc., so the size of the backup drive will become an issue in the very near future. My wife is the predominant user of the iMac, so as I revise or add to picture files on my MacPro which is downstairs, we can both view the results much more conveniently.
    Dave

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    Just to make sure: what exactly are you syncing? In the LR world, you normally want to sync the catalog, not the original photos. Well, you want to sync photos also, so you have the same on both computers, but assuming you make changes (metadata, development etc.) to existing photos then all you need to sync is the catalog.

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    Hello Robert,

    I have two computers using Lightroom, in two different locations in my home. After importing picture files into the drive attached to my main computer (MacPro), I process them using LR4 on that computer. Then, in order for the adjusted files to be viewed and/or processed with my other computer (iMac), I make a copy of everything on the MacPro drive and load it into the iMac external drive. That way I can view and work on the same files on either computer. For just a few files, making copies would be simple using file transfer over my wifi network. However, for processing hundreds of picture files at a time, the possibility exists that I would miss some. Therefore, I have gotten in the habit of making a complete backup so that I have identical files at both computers. I also have a third copy on a permanent backup drive for a safety backup. Perhaps this is overkill, and I am being overly cautious. But, for precious family photo memories, I want to ensure that I can always depend upon having a secure backup. After 40+ years working as an electronics engineer, I have witnessed many times that Murphy's Law is alive and well!

    I had thought of trying to set up a network with a single master external drive accessed by either computer, but in my situation that would take more effort than having two separate drives and maintaining them as duplicates of each other.

    Thanks for your thoughtful input.
    Dave

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    The other thing I've done recently is copy my older photos to both computers, and put my catalog and current year's photos set to sync using Dropbox. You have to be careful you don't work on both copies of the catalog at the same time, but it's working great for me.
    Victoria


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    Since you have a network at home, I guess some kind of Dropbox-solution could work? If I remember correctly, Dropbox can sync between two computers on the same network. If not Dropbox, then surely there are some other auto-sync-software that will do it. The point would be to have one folder on each computer that is always kept in sync. In that folder you place LR catalog (and previews), your original photos, presets and anything else you want synced. Of course you can only work at one computer at a time, since LR will create a "lock-file" next to the catalog, and that lock file will also be synced. As you work, LR will update the catalog and the previews, but I guess that will sync fairly quick on a local network. Might be worth trying at least. If I think correctly, you would have a fully automated sync-routine, that would allow you to work at one computer at a time.

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    Great suggestions! Thank you both!

    Now I need to get to work and discover what works the best for me ... This has been bugging me since I attended a Matt Koslowski LR4 seminar in June - hopefully I can implement a workable solution and get back to editing photos!
    Dave

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    Hi All;

    What I don't understand yet is that its easy to backup the images themselves to a second location, but when you back up the LR Catalog on the same different location, it still looks for the images at the original location. Help?

    A

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    Sorry for the confusion ...

    What I have amounts to two identical catalogs, pictures files, backup files, etc. - one at my iMac and the other at my MacPro. What I was looking for is an easy way to keep them identical - if I make changes on one, how do I easily transfer the changes to the other? Easy for just a few files, but difficult after I return from vacation with 1500 photos of the Grand Canyon to be processed via Lightroom. If I add all 1500 photos to location #1 and adjust them with LR #1, I want to be able to view those same newly adjusted files on the other computer at location #2 using LR #2. After transferring the data set to the second location with the use of one of the techniques suggested above, I want to end up with two identical sets of data again so that viewing the files at computer #2 using LR #2 will be the same as viewing the files at computer #1 using LR #1. Using LR #2 will look and find images at the #2 location which are identical to those viewed with LR #1 at the #1 location. Each location has its own catalog, its own Lightroom, its own image files, etc.

    (It all started when my wife wanted to see the files on the #2 computer without having to go downstairs to the #1 computer, where I had adjusted the files. Still wanting to please her after 54+ fantastic years, I came up with this scheme.)
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFinton View Post
    Sorry for the confusion ...

    What I have amounts to two identical catalogs, pictures files, backup files, etc. - one at my iMac and the other at my MacPro. What I was looking for is an easy way to keep them identical - if I make changes on one, how do I easily transfer the changes to the other? Easy for just a few files, but difficult after I return from vacation with 1500 photos of the Grand Canyon to be processed via Lightroom. If I add all 1500 photos to location #1 and adjust them with LR #1, I want to be able to view those same newly adjusted files on the other computer at location #2 using LR #2. After transferring the data set to the second location with the use of one of the techniques suggested above, I want to end up with two identical sets of data again so that viewing the files at computer #2 using LR #2 will be the same as viewing the files at computer #1 using LR #1. Using LR #2 will look and find images at the #2 location which are identical to those viewed with LR #1 at the #1 location. Each location has its own catalog, its own Lightroom, its own image files, etc.

    (It all started when my wife wanted to see the files on the #2 computer without having to go downstairs to the #1 computer, where I had adjusted the files. Still wanting to please her after 54+ fantastic years, I came up with this scheme.)
    I have a slightly similar requirement, as some of the pictures that I take are specifically at my wife's request (relating to her crafts hobby) and there are also others that she likes to see (but certainly not all). I have to be honest and say that I'd never dream of coming up with your solution of, effectively, two 'master' catalogs and sets of original images. To me there can only be one master set, and trying to maintain two would be fraught with danger (it would be so easy to 'sync' the wrong way).

    Instead, I simply use the provided tools of Export and Publish Services to facilitate the occasional wish of others to be able to view my pictures. For my wife's specific requirement to have access to 'her' pictures (for emailing to others), I simply use a Publish Service to put the exports on her directory on our NAS from where she can do with them as she sees fit. Other Publish Services are used to maintain three digital photo frames that I 'maintain', and there are a variety of Publish Services for my Flickr account so that friends and family can view them online. And finally I use Publish Services to feed my iTunes sync library so that I also have them on my iPhone/iPad. As the majority of this is controlled via Smart Collections, adding new pictures into the mix is simply a matter of applying appropriate 'publish' keywords, then hitting the Publish button when ready to update.

    I do wish you well in your attempt to maintain two fully synchronised Lightroom environments, but for goodness sake be careful.
    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlisonTB View Post
    Hi All;

    What I don't understand yet is that its easy to backup the images themselves to a second location, but when you back up the LR Catalog on the same different location, it still looks for the images at the original location. Help?

    A
    Hi, welcome to the forum.

    Am I right in thinking from your post that you expect the Lightroom catalog backup process to update the backup to reflect the location of the separate images backup? If so, then I'm afraid that's currently wishful thinking. Lightroom has no way of tracking file movement outside of Lightroom, so the fact that a user may backup the images to an external drive is totally invisible to Lightroom....it simply has no way of knowing.

    The purpose of the catalog backup is simply to copy the existing catalog (although you additionally get the options to check the integrity of, and optimise, the original catalog first). The idea being that if you have a catalog disaster, you can either restore a backup catalog to the original location or run it from the backup location (provided it's not on a network drive) and everything is as it was. In the event that you have a major drive disaster and you lose BOTH the catalog and the image files, you can either restore the images and the catalog back to a new replacement drive, or you could open the backup catalog and relink the image references to point to the backup location instead.

    But there is no way that Lightroom has the knowledge about your backups of the image files, so any attempt to update Lightroom to use the backup files would have to be done by manual relinking. If one is careful about how the images are structured (whatever folder hierarchy you use, but ideally all under one parent folder), that relinking would only be a couple of seconds work.
    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFinton View Post
    Sorry for the confusion ...

    What I have amounts to two identical catalogs, pictures files, backup files, etc. - one at my iMac and the other at my MacPro. What I was looking for is an easy way to keep them identical - if I make changes on one, how do I easily transfer the changes to the other? Easy for just a few files, but difficult after I return from vacation with 1500 photos of the Grand Canyon to be processed via Lightroom. If I add all 1500 photos to location #1 and adjust them with LR #1, I want to be able to view those same newly adjusted files on the other computer at location #2 using LR #2. After transferring the data set to the second location with the use of one of the techniques suggested above, I want to end up with two identical sets of data again so that viewing the files at computer #2 using LR #2 will be the same as viewing the files at computer #1 using LR #1. Using LR #2 will look and find images at the #2 location which are identical to those viewed with LR #1 at the #1 location. Each location has its own catalog, its own Lightroom, its own image files, etc.

    (It all started when my wife wanted to see the files on the #2 computer without having to go downstairs to the #1 computer, where I had adjusted the files. Still wanting to please her after 54+ fantastic years, I came up with this scheme.)
    Another solution (?) might be to only have one set of original images, but two synced catalogs:

    The original photos can be stored on a network device, for example a NAS. Both computers can access the photos on the NAS, and they should be able to map the NAS so the path to it is identical on both computers I think. The catalog then: there can be only one. But that can be kept in sync, automatically. So there is always only one active master catalog. As I outlined in reply #9 it should be possible to use Dropbox (or similar) and set up a folder on each of the computers that will automatically be kept in sync. Placing the lrcat-file there will make sure that both computers have an identical copy of the same catalog. This catalog can then reference the photos on the NAS, thus only needing one set of actual photos. No matter what computer is using the catalog, the catalog will always have pointers to the original photos that are stored in a location that is identical for both computers. So that would mean no need to keep photos in sync, since there is only one set of photos. The syncing would only be applicable to the catalog and the previews. And since LR will create a lock-file when one computer is using LR, the other computer will not be able to open that catalog at the same time (since the lock-file is synced). When the first computer close the catalog (or close LR) then the lock-file will be removed and the second computer can open the catalog (since the deleted lock-file will be synced). And this will make LR create a new lock-file (that will be synced) so the first computer can now not open the catalog.

    So when you come home after a shoot with 1500 photos, you can go to any computer and import them. No matter what computer, the import will copy the photos to the same location (the NAS), and the Dropbox sync (or whatever) will sync the catalog. And thereby everything will be available at the other computer, automatically.

  16. #16
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    Also, everybody: remember that backup and syncing are to separate things. Even if you keep two computers in sync, you still want to have a backup. A backup is something you can restore in order to get back to a previous state. Syncing will just keep things up to date, but with out the ability to go back.

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    Robert,

    You've got me wondering how to set up an NAS: nitty-gritty details about equipment, software, etc. ...

    Rather than boring everyone with mundane details, I just sent you a PM, although many others might be interested as well.

    Thanks,
    Dave

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    I got your PM but I'll answer here anyway. Maybe some with more knowledge about Mac and NAS can chime in with their views.

    I don't use a NAS myself (yet). I also don't use Mac (yet). Nevertheless, my ideas should work I think.

    A NAS (Network Attached Storage) is basically just a hard disk with a network interface, normally a physical Ethernet interface that you can connect to a router or switch in your network. A NAS can be as simpe as a "normal" external USB-disk with an additional Ethernet interface, or a more advanced "box" where you possibly can add several disks. At the other end of the scale you can have a NAS that is actually a complete computer where you share a disk (or part of a disk) to others on the network.

    In order for a computer to access a NAS you have to tell the computer where the NAS is. This can be done by name or IP-adress.

    You can buy a NAS in many different versions, from many companies such as Synology, Western Digital, Netgear, D-Link, Qnap and so on. Apple also have a NAS in its Time Capsule I believe.

    The idea I presented would give you two computers using their own synced version of one catalog (the same catalog exists in two places, and is always kept the same). For this to work it is important that both computers can access the original photos in exactly the same way, because both computers are using the same catalog and therefor have the same pointers to the photos.

    For photos stored on normal local disks, LR will for example point to C:\photos\2012\08\25\DSC_2866.NEF for a photo taken today, stored in a date based folder under the folder "photos" on my first disk on a Windows computer. In the Mac world, it is basically the same, except that I believe disks are refered to by name rather than disk letter. so that would be MyMacDisk/photos/2012/08/25/DSC_2866.NEF. If we sync this catalog to another computer, it would require that the original photos were also located locally on that computer, in the "photos" folder. My idea with the NAS would be to instead store the photos on a NAS on the network. The path to the photos would then be something like //192.168.0.21/photos/2012/08/25/DSC_2866.NEF. And now, if we sync this catalog to another computer, the path will still be the same, since this other computer access the NAS in exactly the same way as the first computer.

    As to how this is all set up, will depend on what NAS you get. The principle will be the same, but I guess there are small differences.

    Also, this will work in a Mac/Mac situation. Or a Win/Win situation. Both computers being the same type. Having one Mac and one Windows computer will not, I think, be as easy, since they for one thing refer to disks and names and shares in different ways, and use different file sharing protocols. It is doable, but not as easy as with a same-computer scenario.

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    That has not been my experience.

    That has not been my experience; when copying LR1 which points to location 1, I get LR2 pointing at location1, since all i did was copy it...

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFinton View Post
    Sorry for the confusion ...

    What I have amounts to two identical catalogs, pictures files, backup files, etc. - one at my iMac and the other at my MacPro. What I was looking for is an easy way to keep them identical - if I make changes on one, how do I easily transfer the changes to the other? Easy for just a few files, but difficult after I return from vacation with 1500 photos of the Grand Canyon to be processed via Lightroom. If I add all 1500 photos to location #1 and adjust them with LR #1, I want to be able to view those same newly adjusted files on the other computer at location #2 using LR #2. After transferring the data set to the second location with the use of one of the techniques suggested above, I want to end up with two identical sets of data again so that viewing the files at computer #2 using LR #2 will be the same as viewing the files at computer #1 using LR #1. Using LR #2 will look and find images at the #2 location which are identical to those viewed with LR #1 at the #1 location. Each location has its own catalog, its own Lightroom, its own image files, etc.

    (It all started when my wife wanted to see the files on the #2 computer without having to go downstairs to the #1 computer, where I had adjusted the files. Still wanting to please her after 54+ fantastic years, I came up with this scheme.)

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    If copying within one computer, yes.

    But if copying between two computers, it depends on where location #1 and #2 are. If #1 is a local disk for computer 1, then #2 will also be a local disk, but local for computer 2. If #1 is a network disk, then #1 and #2 will be identical, since it is a network disk for both computers. As I explained in reply #18

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