Great Tips That Will Help to Fix a Crashing Lightroom



As with any other program, with Lightroom sometimes also happen some troubles. The program can stop launching, start running slow, return an error or some enigmatic messages.

Remember, you should always have a backup of catalogs. Perhaps, you have noticed that Lightroom from time to time asks you to back up the catalogs. Do you close the window or do what you are recommended? May be it's high time to follow the advice, until it's too late?

Ideally, apart from the catalogs backups, you should also back up your source images, however, if you have a great amount of shots it can be problematic.

But having made backups of your catalogs and sources you can relax. Whatever happens, you won't lose your images.

Now lets examine the list of the most common problems, that may happen to Lightroom, and what should be done in these cases.


1. Lightroom doesn’t open

Possible solutions. First of all, you should simply restart you PC. It may sound funny, but sometimes it helps.

If it doesn't work, first of all delete the file with the .lock extension, which blocks the catalog, while you are working with it.

Commonly, the file is deleted automatically after closing Lightroom. However, sometimes, if the work has not been completed correctly, it can remain and prevent launching.

The main file is located with all other files of the current catalog. By default it is:

  • Windows: \Users\[user name]\Pictures\Lightroom

  • Mac OS: /Users/[user name]/Pictures/Lightroom

In Windows you should look for files with .agprefs extension, in Mac — .plist

If the catalog still doesn't work and you have a backup, try to open it instead of the current catalog.

Finally, if nothing of the above mentioned helps, try to uninstall the Lightroom completely and install it again. Moreover, it's desirable to install the latest version.


2. Lightroom is running slow

Optimizing Lightroom for maximum performance is a separate topic. But the main tips are the following.

First of all try to optimize a catalog File -> Optimize Catalog. Increase the cache size for Lightroom. Moreover, make sure that there is enough space on the disk, where the cache file is located.

You can learn where the cache is located and change it's size in menu Edit->Preferences (Lightroom->Preferences on Mac) in the tab (bookmark) File Handling.

Lightroom is rather demanding to the computer resources. That is why to make it work faster – close all unnecessary programs, update Lightroom to the latest version and also be sure, that everything is all right with the computer data storage.


3. Lightroom displays an error message when exporting

The simplest you can do is to try to restart Lightroom. If you use any plug-ins that were applied during the post-processing, make sure they work correctly.


4. Lightroom doesn't show previews of the photo or the photo itself

First of all try to delete the folder with the previews of your images. It is located with all other catalog files. In Windows that folder contains the name of the catalog with .lrdata at the end, in Mac - a file with the same name. Try to update your video card drivers and monitor profile.

Moreover, sometimes it happens because you have moved your source files to another place and Lightroom “lost” them.
In this case when you try to use this image you will see a message similar to - «The file named mybestphoto.jpg is offline or missing».


5. Lightroom behaves in a strange way

Here you can face a large amount of “irregularities”, but they can be “cured” with the help of some nontraditional methods. Make sure there is enough place for Lightroom cache, update video card drivers and monitor profile, also make sure everything is all right with HDD and computer data storage.


6. One-size-fits-all problem solving method

Don't forget to update Lightroom. Usually updates include not only new cameras, as it's often mentioned in official press releases, but also a lot of detected and fixed program bugs. Therefor, it is very likely that in the latest update of Lightroom your problem will be already solved.

User mistakes that can happen when working with Lightroom.


1. Don't move your photos bypassing Lightroom

This is one of the most frequent troubles that may happen if you decide to reorder a pile of scattered images and copy them bypassing Lightroom. As it's well known, Lightroom works with its previews, but always keeps references to the location of the original images. If the original image has been moved, this link will be broken. For sure, this can be fixed, but it will cost you time and nerves. To avoid this, move your folders directly from Lightroom. In this case you will preserve the link and will be able to organize everything on hard disk.


2. Reimport of export files

Sounds scary, but actually everything is easy. You have processed the photos, exported them from Lightroom, and then imported them back to the Lightroom. As a result your catalog will be turning into a dump. There are a plenty of reasons, why this can happen. Starting with haphazard and carelessness and ending with the cases when you want to change an exported photo fast and don't have time look for it in the Lightroom.

If you have an intention to make so – think twice, as it will cause the clutter.

It can also happen if you exported files into a catalog (or sub-catalog), that was already imported into Lightroom. In this case if you synchronize the original catalog, Lightroom will detect new files and sub-catalogs (exported earlier) and “catch them up”. As a result you will get the duplicates of your images, and will have to select originals from reimported images.


3. Reset the image setting to start from the beginning

As odd it may seem, it happens quite often. A user processes the photo and then decides to see what will happen if I simply turn it into black and white. The user resets all changes and transfer it to black and white. If everything is OK, then all right. And if not, it turns out that all the meticulous work is irretrievably lost.

If you want to try an alternative processing of your image, don't reset the settings! Make a copy and change it the way you want! Thus your work won't be lost.


4. Use collections

When you import files, actually Lightroom just import you catalogs on the disk, maintaining their structure. This way isn't the most convenient one, if you want to organize your images and work with them. Use collections instead. This method is more convenient and will help you to organize your photos better and find them faster.


5. Changing the color space

Color space in Lightroom is ProPhoto RGB. And that's all. You can't change it. You will be able to change the color space during the post-processing work only in photoshop or when exporting an image.


6. Storing backup

If you auto-back up images, sooner or later you will get a thousands of backups. Don't forget to delete the old ones from time to time, thus you will save some space on a hard disk.


7. Final tip: Learn and use Lightroom hotkeys

Lightroom interface is rather complicated and multilevel. Therefor using a mouse or a track-pad can significantly slow down your work. Use hotkeys instead to move quickly between the required instruments and increase the tempo of work.

In order to display the list of hotkeys of the module, which you use, go to menu Help > Lightroom Module Shortcuts or use keys combinations CTRL + / for Windows and CMD + / for Mac.

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