8 Steps to Transfer Your Lightroom Presets to a New Computer

If you are new to photo editing, you will most definitely consider moving lightroom to a new computer a daunting task. This is true to some extend considering that you will be moving cross-platform. But this process doesn’t have to be complicated.

There are 8 easy steps you can follow to have your lightroom presets moved to a new computer. And since this is a straightforward process, it doesn’t have to take much of your time. Here is how to go about it.

Step 1: Prepare

You first need to prepare by setting up your folder hierarchy. The lightroom’s folder panel should display a tidy hierarchy before you start backing up the catalog.

Step 2: Check the backups

Before you start the transfer, it is always important to ensure that all of your essentials are backed up.

You should not miss anything when backing up especially if you are wiping the hard drive in the process.

Step 3: Install lightroom on the new machine

Once you have secured everything you need, you now have to set up lightroom on the new computer. If you are a user of lightroom 6 or the earlier version, you can download the installer from Adobe’s website.

Step 4: Transfer the files

You can either use Finder for Mac or Explorer in Windows to transfer the files. It is advisable to place your files in the same location they were on the old computer. You can either use a wired network connection or a hard drive for the transfer.


Moving your catalog cross-platform is a process quite similar to moving to a new machine of the same platform. It is important that you set lightroom to show the hierarchy of the folder as shown in step one if your are transferring between platforms.

Step 5: Open the catalog

Open the catalog on the new computer by double-clicking on the *.lrcat catalog file. If you are using Windows, you can hold Ctrl or Opt in the case of a Mac to show the select Catalog dialog.

Step 6: Relink any missing files

There are times when you will have missing files. This is normally shown by question marks or you may find icons in the corners of the thumbnails. This normally shows if the original photos cannot be found at the previous location.


Do not remove the missing photos and re-import or synchronize a folder. You shouldn’t also click on a thumbnail icon as you try to relocate individual files. You only need to reset the drive letter assuming that Window drive letter changed the photos that were stored on the external drive.

Step 7: Check preferences and presets

All the presets and templates should appear correctly so ensure you double check that before you finish up. For instance, ensure that all the Develop presets are available in the Develop module. You simply have to confirm that all the files were copied correctly.

Step 8: Reload disabled plug-ins

You may have to reload the plugins that disabled during the move. You may also find plug-ins that are incorrectly loaded or some missing. You can add them again at their new locations.