Lightroom: Storing The Catalog On A Network Drive

category: Lightroom • 2 min read

I bought a new computer, a small powerhouse for around a $1000. It’s an Intel i7, 4 core CPU with hyper-threading, almost the equivalent to 8 CPUs, 12Gb of RAM plus a couple of terabyte drives. Wow! A speed monster. The problem is that I want the catalog on the network drive. I need to save my Lightroom catalogs to a network drive. Adobe doesn’t like it. It’s because Lightroom uses a small database owned by Oracle Corp. SQLite. It’s a very good, small and fast single-user database.

I need the network drives, not because of the multi-users but because of the backups. Regular backups are already scheduled for the network drives and I’m also short of disk space on the windows drive.

  1. This is not a recommended procedure by Adobe.
  2. Lightroom is not supposed to run over a network.
  3. This procedure only work for Windows, it DOESN’T work for Macs.A friend of mine, with OSx 10.4, tried a similar thing with links and it didn’t work.
  4. Lightroom is still a single user application, and cannot be shared.
  5. I did move my catalog to the network to:

    1. Do backups.
    2. To save space on the Windows drive.

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, it’s fairly simple. It relies on the SUBST command. It works with Windows 98, XP, Vista and Windows 7.

  1. Start > Accessories > Command Prompt:
  2. Type: net use and you should see your existing network connections in the way Windows understand them.
    Status       Local     Remote                    Network
                 z:        \\vmware-host\Shared Folders
                                                    VMware Shared Folders
  1. Type: subst Y: "\\vmware-host\Shared Folders" The quotes are there because of the space in the directory name.
  2. Type: subst and it should show:
    Y:\: => UNC\vmware-host\Shared Folders
  1. I’m adding the “local drive” Y to be the same as the actual network drive. The string after the Y: must be the same as one of your network drive, then you can create your own sub-directory/folder.
  2. Then, you can create the catalog anywhere on the “fake Y” drive.
  • The subst command needs to be done after each reboot.
  • You can save the command in a batch file and save it in the start-up folder.