File Management Issues

I have a library of trees (xfrog) in obj format, and for each one I’m creating a blend file to make sure textures are assigned properly and to use to append models to other blend files.

The blend files that I actually create scenes in I work on on a couple of different computers, a linux workstation and a Windows laptop.

I use an external 6TB hard drive to store all my resources, which I can attach to whatever computer I’m currently working on.

My question is basically about packing texture files. Quite often I open a blend file and everything is pink, despite the textures being in the same directory as the blend. My current strategy is to not pack textures into the library blend files, but to pack them in files that I’m actually working on. I don’t actually like working on them on the external HDD because it’s a bit slow, so I’m often copying files to a different drive to work on it, hence the packing. Usually using Find files fixes my issues, but I don’t want to bloat out my library files when the textures are right there, so to speak, and I don’t want to rely on an external HDD when I’m working on an image. I guess I’m not sure, when I append, exactly what goes where. Advice welcome.