How do I share a library across computers?

Do you want to access your PhotoStructure library on two or more desktops or servers?

First read this article:

There are several ways to set things up.

  1. You can run PhotoStructure on a central computer or NAS, push new files to that computer (either via network shares, software like Resilio Sync, or built-in backup software), and then set up remote access

  2. You can put your library on an external drive, install PhotoStructure on each computer, copy new, unique files (via automatic organization onto the external drive, and once the import is compete, move the drive to the next computer and import from there.

There’s really only one caveat to be aware of: a single PhotoStructure library can’t be opened by multiple computers simultaneously.

I have created my photostructure library on an external drive. I now want to hook that drive up to my second pc. So far I have installed photostructure on the second pc but not sure what steps to take now. when i start photostructure on the second pc i am met with the " Where are your photos and videos?" …So the question I have is what to click on now? The only part I understood from step 2 of your post was “install PS on each computer”…dont understand anything after that. John.

Welcome to PhotoStructure, @jukos !

Let’s say you’ve got two PCs, “A” and “B”, and PhotoStructure is running on A. You didn’t tell me what OS you’re running, but let’s assume Windows 10, and for this example, the external drive was mounted to E:\ and the library is in E:\Photos.

  1. Shut down PhotoStructure on A.

  2. Install the same version of PhotoStructure on B. If you’re running v1.0.0-beta.2, make sure you’re running it on both A and B.

  3. Unmount the external drive from A, and mount it on B. For this example, let’s say Windows gave it drive F:\

  4. Start PhotoStructure. When asked, pick the same PhotoStructure library that was open on A, so in this case, it’ll be in F:\Photos.

  5. The prior library contents should show up. If they don’t, please reply, and we’ll get it sorted.

One thing to remember: a PhotoStructure library can only be opened by one computer at any given time due to the way SQLite works: so import everything from A, then move the drive to B, slurp up everything from B, rinse and repeat.

Note that A and B can even be different OSes, and different editions of PhotoStructure: it all should “just work.”

(It’d be great if you could reply if it works, or doesn’t, or if I still didn’t explain things sufficiently!)

Hi Matthew, its step 4 that I’m unsure about. When I start photostructure on computer “B” the page with 3 questions opens…
Where are your photos and videos?
Where would you like your library stored?
May PhotoStructure organize your photos and videos?.
I would think I …

  1. add the path to the Photostructure library folder on the external drive (created on computer “A”). next…
    I am tentative about doing that since I don’t want to screw up the database.

Thanks, John

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PS … running Windows 10 on both.

This is also referred to as your “scan paths”: it’s where PhotoStructure looks for your photos and videos.

Note that your PhotoStructure library directory is always scanned for photos and videos.

This is the library directory that I was referencing, where you’d pick your portable external drive.

The “worst case” I can think of is that you just pick a different directory on your external drive: if you do that, just go back to the settings page via the system tray, the menu bar, or the nav menu, and pick the correct directory: no harm done!

PhotoStructure is pretty resilient: even if the database gets corrupted (due to ungraceful shutdowns or disk errors), it’ll dump-and-restore the db automatically, and even if it can’t, you can manually restore from automatic database backups.

Most importantly: do you have backups of everything? I’ve only needed backups when I don’t have them. This article may be of interest:

Hi Matthew, sorry to be so granular… what do I answer on the question “May PhotoStructure organize your photos and videos?”. Since I already answered that question on computer A I presume the library has been organized. So I am unclear if I say yes or no. Thank you for your time!


No problem!

In this case, the “automatic organization” setting means on that computer, when a photo or video is found outside the library that isn’t already in the library, should PhotoStructure copy it into the library. This is explained in depth here:

If you want your external drive to contain a de-duped set of your photos and videos, say “yes” to this on both computer A and B.

If you subsequently turn automatic organization off later, know that it won’t change the prior contents of your library.

Ok, that went well. Took a few minutes to scan the first time hooking up to computer B. I disconnected and reconnected on computer B and it was instant the second time around.

Thanks for the hand holding!