I’ve seen a bunch of questions about the release of Lightroom 5 and what it means to existing Lightroom users. So I wanted to write a quick post to answer some of the most common questions about upgrading. Here goes:
Q. Can I upgrade from Lightroom version 3 (or 2 or even 1)?
A. Yes. The Lightroom 5 upgrade will work for any version of Lightroom (1 thru 4). As long as you own a previous version of Lightroom the upgrade costs $79.
Q. What happens to my old Lightroom catalog?
A. When you first install and launch Lightroom 5, you should get a message telling you that you need to upgrade your previous Lightroom catalog. It actually makes a copy of the catalog and doesn’t modify or change your existing Lightroom 4 catalog. So you don’t need to do anything really. Your new Lightroom 4 catalog can life side-by-side along with your LR 5 catalog and nothing has to change until you’re ready to delete the old stuff.

The Official Lame Disclaimer: Whenever you install new software or upgrades EVERY software maker suggests you back up your computer and files. Personally, I didn’t back anything up before installing LR5, but hey, that’s just me

Q. I use multiple catalogs. When I installed Lightroom 5, it just upgraded my default catalog. What about the other ones?
A. Lightroom 5 will upgrade your default catalog (the one that opens by default when you launch Lightroom). If you use multiple catalogs (which I don’t think you should btw…), you can upgrade them by going to the top menu and choosing File > Open Catalog (or Open Recent). Lightroom 5 will do the same thing it does the first time you launch it. It’ll make a copy of the catalog and upgrade it for Lightroom 5, while leaving the old Lightroom 4 catalog alone.
Q. Can I delete my old Lightroom 4 catalog?
A. Yes, when you’re all settled with Lightroom 5 you can delete your old Lightroom 4 catalog. You don’t need it anymore. Lightroom 5 won’t look for it and if you’re not using Lightroom 4 anymore then you don’t need the older catalogs.
Q. Can I remove Lightroom 4 from my computer?
A. Sure thing. Again, once you’re settled and up and running with LR5, you can uninstall Lightroom 4 (or whatever earlier version you were using) and everything will still work fine. And if you ever wipe your computer or install Lightroom 5 on a new computer, you can just install Lightroom 5 from scratch without installing the earlier version first. You’ll just need your serial number to active it.
Q. Will my presets carry over to Lightroom 5?
A. Yep. When you install Lightroom 5, all of your presets (Develop module, metadata, print, etc…) will all get moved over to Lightroom 5 automatically.