A friend and customer recently spend “muchos dinaros” on a top of the line laptop. iCore 7, a real ATI video card… By the time it was all said and done with Microsoft Office 2010… $2,000+ Whew! Lots of money. Andrei asked me how he could move his Lightroom/Photoshop and his data from his computer to the laptop.

  1. Backups, backups and backups
  2. Install Photoshop
  3. Install Lightroom
  4. Restore the photos
  5. Restore the catalog (without the previews)
  6. Install the many plugins

And that’s where the problems really started. Andrei said that he couldn’t start Lightroom. Lightroom claimed that it was a pirated copy and aborted. Then Andrei asked me if I could come over to fix it? I told him that I couldn’t, but he could bring the laptop and his old computer over that evening.

I started Lightroom and yes, Adobe claimed that this was a pirated version. Andrei is a pretty straight guy and said it’s legit. So I started looking in the preferences (after making a separate copy) and deleting the plugins to find out what’s happening. And, no, Adobe → pirated …

After a couple of hours of trials and many more errors, I asked the “dumb” question of Andrei about Lightroom’s serial number. He entered one, or Lightroom would be in trial mode. He gave me his serial number. The serial number was right. So what was the problem?

The serial number! It turn out that:

  1. Andrei has 2 different serial numbers
  2. Andrei is a “crappy” typist, he said that it took him 3 tries to enter the serial number correctly.

Eventually, I checked Lightroom serial number in the registration file on the laptop and compared it with the one on his computer. The UID was different. I copied the registration file from his computer to the laptop. Problem fixed! After that, Andrei was able to install his many plugins.

The UID is a Unique Identification Number. The serial number is the seed used to generate the UID number. What went wrong? I don’t know, but when was the last time you backed up your Lightroom registration?

What should you backup?

  • The catalog (of course)
  • The presets (they are a sub-directory) of the catalog
  • The photos
  • The preferences:

    Mac: in the directory: [user name]/Library/Preferences and is called: com.adobe.Lightroom3.plist
    Windows: in the directory: Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Preferences and is called: Lightroom 3 Preferences.agprefs

  • The serial number/registration:

    Mac: in the directory: Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom and is called: Lightroom 3.0 Registration.lrreg
    Windows: in the directory: C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Lightroom and is called: Lightroom 3.0 Registration.lrreg