Lightroom in VirtualBox

I run Ubuntu on my home desktop and it is perfect for what the machine is used for 90% of the time: surfing, watching movies, skype, etc.

The other 10% involves working with photos and for that, Linux isn’t very good. While there are several capable photo organizing, viewing & editing applications that run on Linux, there simply isn’t anything in the same league as Adobe’s Lightroom. I even bought LightZone couple of years ago and used it for a while. But after seeing Lightroom, it pales in comparison.

So I’ve taken to running Lightroom in a Windows XP virtual machine using VirtualBox. The experience has been great save for one minor hiccup.

My photos are saved on the host operating system’s partition and I’ve to make it accessible to Lightroom within the virtual machine. VirtualBox’s standard way of sharing files between host & guest operating systems is to make a host directory available as a network share inside the Windows guest. Thus, I simply pick my Pictures directory and mount it as a mapped network drive within Windows. Then tell Lightroom to use that mapped drive as a catalog location.

Alas, Lightroom doesn’t support saving catalogs on a network drive!

The fix, it turns out, is quite simple. Instead of creating a mapped network drive, just run the following in a command shell:


This creates a kind of alias from L: to the network share \\VBOXSVR\Pictures. I don’t quite know why, but Lightroom treats this alias as a local disk and has no problems using it as a catalog location!

Hope someone out there finds this helpful!