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Workflow Query for those using On1 2022 with NAS and/or external drives



  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    Lightroom and Photo RAW work in completely different ways. You MUST have the photos on a drive that Photo RAW can access whether that is an internal drive, a NAS, or an external drive.

    I keep my photos on an external SSD with my entire Pictures folder is Cataloged along with a couple of its sub-folders just for ease of access and my NAS is used to store my digital video & music collections. I also use it as a backup of my original RAW files. When I import new photos they go to the SSD and a backup goes to the NAS. All edits are made to the SSD which is backed up both hourly with Time Machine and nightly with a full backup using Carbon Copy Cloner. That backup drive is connected to my system only while the backup is running. When it finishes I dismount it and disconnect if from my M1 Mini.

    I store the Perfect Browse Cache on another external SSD which is also used for Photo RAW's Scratch space. Nothing else goes on that drive except scratch spaces for other editing software. It does not get used for my day to day data and no other programs will access it while I'm doing my editing.

    I have no lags when I'm brushing with my Wacom tablet. I find it works very well for my purposes. HTH.

  • Wes Smith

    Thanks Brian. 

    I think I'm the exact opposite to your workflow.   

    I want to keep just the cataloged previews on my fast internal SSD and most of the photos externally.  Either on a Network or External drive.   These photos may/may not be accessible 

    This article suggests it's possible.   I'm looking for someone with experience doing this.


  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    Yes, you can move the previews but you cannot access them yourself. The program accesses them when you select the image the preview was created for. If you want to work with a photo it MUST be on a drive which is mounted and accessible to the program.

    It is the PerfectBrowseCache which holds the previews for your Cataloged images. The other Cache mentioned in that article holds only the most recently accessed image previews and because of its limited size (the PBC will grow to be as large as needed to hold all its preview images) older images (by use, not by date taken) are swapped out as you browse through your photo library.

    Lightroom and Photo RAW do not work in the same manner. You cannot directly apply what you know about Lr to PR. Your workflow has to adapt to how PR does things.

  • Wes Smith

    I don't want to 'move the previews'.  

    I want to browse/search/filter my library when the photos themselves are sometimes disconnected.

    That On1 Article I posted above suggests its supported.   

    I'll have to try it again once 2022.5 is available 

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    I do not know how many times I have to tell you IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO BROWSE IMAGES ON A DRIVE WHICH IS NOT MOUNTED. PERIOD!!!

    You cannot do what you are attempting and 2022.5 is not going to change that. Photo RAW's caches are meant for its internal use.

    I will modify the statement above. You can browse to the PBC location and see the images that are stored there but it won't do you any good. This is what you will see. This screenshot is from the Finder, not PR's Browse module but you will see the exact same thing there.

    All the filenames are encoded and have no relationship we can see to their original photos. Only the FastBrowse.db file knows which preview goes with which photo.

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    This is what the preview looks like:

    It's teeny-tiny and not going to do you any good. BTW, I know that particular image well (it was chosen at random and just happened to be one I'm so familiar with) but because I have it in multiple locations within my library I do not know which copy it came from. The reason I have multiple copies of some of my images is that I keep a folder of "test" images to use when doing support or testing features. I can screw them up all day long and not have to worry about damaging the real photo I use for printing or sharing and I can Reset All on it at any time without loosing the real edits on the other copy.

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    Something else that may help is to know more about the differences in how Lightroom and Photo RAW work. When you import your photos into Lr an entry is placed into its Library that is tied to the original photo's location. All editing is done in the library so the actual file does not have to be mounted until it is time to export or print it.

    Photo RAW does not have a Library. It is a file browser, hence the Browser module. It works directly with the original image file which means that the drive that photo is stored on must be mounted or the program cannot see it. Your edits are stored in both an internal edits database and in an optional .on1 sidecar file. The option to use the sidecars is turned on by default. This allows you to move the photo with its edits to another system by copying both the file and its sidecar to that system.

    Photo RAW's Catalogs are databases of the images and their metadata and are used to make searching for that metadata more efficient. They are different than Lr Libraries. They tie the preview images stored in the PerfectBrowseCache with their UUID identifiers to the physical photo image. They do not contain the edits so you cannot use the preview images to make further edits.

    Back to your original question about constant CPU and disk access, yes, while the Catalog is being built there will be a heavy hit on those resources as the program has to read each photo one by one to add it to the Catalog and to render the preview image. Once the Catalog has been built system utilization drops back to normal. I was working with the engineers earlier this year on fixing bugs related to keeping the catalogs and internal edits database in sync. Those fixes will be in the upcoming 2022.5 release.

  • Wes Smith

    Thanks Guys. 

    I"m well aware of the differences between LR and On1 or other browser.  
    I've had PR2015 thru 2018... Ended up returning them all due to stability issues.

    It was the section on NAS drives in the above linked document that led me to believe off-line viewing was now possible.  

    I will give 2022.5 a try.   It's the integrated NoNoise that is drawing me back.  

    Different topic.. Is On1-Sync a released, stable product now?  
    There was a flurry of emails and videos a year or so back but it's hard to find current info.  
    I may just be looking in the wrong areas.  

  • Brian Lawson Community moderator

    I gave up trying to use it. I was only using it as a portfolio where I could put different images into different synced albums to show to different people. I could never keep things in sync and a lot of photos would not display properly for me. Because I haven't used it for over a year now I can only suggest that you give it a try for yourself and see how it works for your uses.

  • Martin Shaw


    Just put ON1 2022.5 on my Windows laptop (ON1 not on before), and I find you CAN browse a network drive that is not mounted. Go to the ON1 browse window, Favourites, add Favourite. A Windows File Explorer box opens where you can scroll down and browse all network devices. Haven't got much past there yet. 

    I don't know if the above applies to a Mac, but don't see why it shouldn't.

    Personally I think it needs better implementation by ON1, and although the manual mentions networks, there is nothing on how to achieve it. Mapping network drives is not really something that should be done these days.


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