Lightroom creates a folder to store previews next to each catalog. This folder is named <CATALOG> Previews.lrdata so when a new version of Lightoom Classic is installed and migrates the catalog, it generates previews again for all the same images. This folder takes much more space than the new catalog.

Can the preview folder be shared between version of Lightroom? A link would be required to make it accessible via the names of the original and migrated catalog.

The Lightroom Classic Catalog FAQ mentions that certain catalog versions are compatible but I could not find anywhere that has a similar table for previews. Could they be all incompatible?


1 Answer 1


If I understand your question correctly, yes, as you upgrade Lightroom to new versions the previews should be compatible, in my experience. Before CC Lightroom, I even recall using the previews successfully with two versions of Lighroom, as I was installing the new version - the new version generated its own catalog though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! Is there a compatibility list somewhere? Not sure if it will create issues if I just repoint the preview folder of any version to another. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you just create a link or what it an automated process when Lightroom recognized it was possible? Since by default they are stored in different folders. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m confused. Are you experiencing a problem you’re trying to fix, or are you tinkering? You mentioned that when a new version of Lightroom is installed that it migrates the catalog... that never happens for me. It asks to upgrade the catalog, and I save a new version next to the old version. I don’t change its location. \$\endgroup\$
    – emmit
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Everything is working luckily but I am trying to save space. When I installed Lightroom 10, it asked to migrate my old catalog (called Everything.lrcat) and created a new one called Everything10.lrcat. In the same folder, the previews for the original catalog are in a subfolder called Everything Previews.lrdat but it now created another one called Everything10 Previews.lrdat. The older one takes 24GB and the new one 26GB but those are previews for exactly the same images! Well, minus a handful of ones I experimented with in Lightroom 10 \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Continuing, I'm hoping to see if I can replace one these folders with a link, so that the same previews can be used. I won't run both versions of Lightroom simultaneously obviously but I want to know if this cause issues/corruption if the previews are repeatedly used by different Lightroom versions. Is that any clearer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 19:16

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