Over the last few days, I’ve been rebuilding the MacBook that I use for all my digital photography (which is a pretty risky thing to do immediately before heading off on a photography workshop) and one of the things I was pretty concerned about was backing up and restoring my Adobe Lightroom settings as these are at the heart of my workflow.
I store my images in two places (Lightroom backs them up to one of my Netgear ReadyNAS devices on import) and, on this occasion I’d also made two extra backups (I really should organise one in the cloud too, although syncing 130GB of images could take some time…).
I also backup the Lightroom catalog each time Lightroom runs (unfortunately the only option is to do this at startup, not shutdown), so that handles all of my keywords, develop settings, etc. What I needed to know was how to backup my preferences and presets – and how to restore everything.
It’s actually quite straightforward – this is how it worked for me – of course, I take no responsibility for anyone else’s backups and, as they say, your mileage may vary. Also, PC users will find the process similar, but the file locations change:
- Restoring the catalog was a case of shutting down Lightroom, and then copying the Lightroom 2 Catalog.lrcat file from the most recent backup on my NAS to ~/Pictures/Lightroom (the whole catalog backup and restore process is also described by Adobe).
- To restore preferences copy the ~/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Lightroom.plist file from a file level system backup (I use Mike Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner, so I could mount my backup disk and drag the files across).
- For some reason, the option to store presets with my catalog didn’t seem to have any effect but they are in ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/ and restoring them was just a case of copying them back from my backup disk.
I also made sure that the backups and restores were done at the same release (v2.3) but, once I was sure everything was working, I updated to the latest version (v2.6).