I moved my photos and Lightroom catalog files to a different partition on my hard drive and then opened Lightroom expecting to have point Lightroom to the new location of the image files and catalog.

However on first open Lightroom has already found all the files in their new location, there is nothing missing.

Everything I have read says that after moving the files I would have to find the missing files in Lightroom , so how did Lightroom find them automatically?

Before the move they were in the Windows 'My photos' folder and I instructed Windows that the 'my photos' folder is now on the partition, but the file path is still completely different from before so interested how Lightroom found the location.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "My photos" had two paths - one real and one as a ssymlinc. So I think that Lightroom is using the symbolic link path. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zenit
    Aug 14, 2016 at 17:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, this sounds likely. \$\endgroup\$
    – moobot
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alex.S your comment sounds more likely than my answer. I would create an answer to that effect \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2016 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


It sounds like Lightroom uses a relative path to the files in order to retrieve them. The path will be relative to the catalogue location. Eg, if the catalogue is in a catalogues folder, and alongside the catalogues folder are dated pictures folders (eg 2016-08-15), then it knows that to get to a picture on a particular date, from the location of the active catalogue, it has to go up one level, and then down a level into the appropriate folder.

This path is still the same, as long as the folder containing catalogues and the dated image folders is moved in its entirety

  • \$\begingroup\$ The old location was: C:\Users\Max\Pictures The new locations is: D:\Max\Pictures Although I didn't tell Lighroom where the catalog had moved to either (same folder above), it just found everything on start up. \$\endgroup\$
    – moobot
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ When you use the default Windows 'Pictures' folder, does it point to the pictures folder on the D: drive (and doesn't just have it as a search location)? In which case, it's probably using the symbolic link as per @Alex.S comment to your question. When you open the catalogue though, do you open the Lightroom application as opposed to double clicking on the Catalogue file? Note also that in Windows, if you're using a shortcut to the actual catalogue file, if the catalogue file gets moved, I think Windows will update the destination path of the shortcut \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2016 at 15:05

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