Hi john, Did you find a 'speed penalty' of having your library on the same external drive as your files? Does your laptop behave as it should now when importing?
I'm sure there's some delay as compared with the hard drive of the laptop itself, but I haven't used either my old computer's or this new laptop's hard drive long enough with LR to compare file behavior. I'm not patient with computers, but I find this setup quite satisfying.
Also, I just don't have a choice, since I'm importing all my existing digital files into LR and neither internal hard drive has enough space for the thousands of files.
The laptop has now imported all files without a problem (into the 500GB hard drive) and it found the images that I had transferred myself to the 500GB from the internal hard drive without a problem as well.
The only strange thing was that it kept indicating 260 files as being present on the hard drive of the laptop, while I couldn't find those files at all on my laptop hard drive. I deleted those files in LR and re-imported them to the 500GB hard drive.
All's well now. The only thing I've been wondering about is why LR doesn't seem to give a choice of backing up its database to another drive than the one its regular database is stored on.