Fixing Unexplained Problems

If Lightroom starts behaving weirdly, and you can’t find a logical explanation, there’s a few things you can try.

1. Restart Lightroom

2. Restart the computer

3. Optimize the catalog.

To do so…

Go to the File menu and choose Catalog Settings.

Press Relaunch and Optimize and wait for it to tell you it’s completed.

4. Create a New Catalog to see if catalog corruption is causing the problems.

To do so…

Go to the File menu and choose New Catalog. Try importing some of your photographs into this new test catalog to see if the problem remains.

5. Delete the preferences

To do so…

Close Lightroom, and find the preferences files.

For Mac OS X that can be found at [username]/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Lightroom.plist and for Windows it’s Documents and Settings/[username]/Application Data/Adobe/Lightroom/Preferences/Lightroom Preferences.agprefs.

Back them up to another location in case you want to restore them later, and then delete the preference file from the above location.

Restart Lightroom.

If the problem still isn’t fixed, try visiting some of the Forums listed in the sidebar, and you’ll get some of the best brains in the business puzzling over your problem. 😉


18 Responses to Fixing Unexplained Problems

  1. IceBurn says:

    Thank you so much!!

    Deleting the preferences solved my problem! 🙂

    In Windows Vista the preferences file is located at:
    C:\Users\(Your Username)\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Preferences

    Or you can:
    Start > Run and type %AppData% Than navigate to the Lightroom folder

  2. Colin says:

    Lightroom runs on my “Windows” machine. I also have two mac machines which have a better screen and are faster. This is where my problems start.

    I’m running an iBook G4 mac, 1 gig of memory.
    Bought a brand new copy of Adobe Lightroom version 1.1 (I think) Installed the program and arrived at the window “License or Try” Opted for “I have a serial number” and went through the process of entering “Country”, “First Name”, “Second Name” and “Email Address” (twice) then entered the 24 serial numbers. Hit finish and the first window indicated everything went well.

    As I was still connected to the net I got a message “A later version is available” so I downloaded 1.4.1(I think thats the version).
    Closed down the program and later restarted. The first thing that came up was the window “License or Try” Went through the whole process again and when I restarted the program again I got the the same window “License or Try” Something is wrong but I don’t know what preferences to delete or where to find them.
    If I have to activate the program could you give me a link as to where I can go. I went to Adobe once and the phone call indicated I should have a number other then the serial number. I was told it would flash up when I installed. It didn’t. Can you help?

    But thats not all.

    I also have a 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 gig of memory Mac.
    When I load up Lightroom on that machine I get a message “error changing modules” Reinstalled a few times but always get the same message. Didn’t even get to the “License or Try” page.

    Can you help?

  3. Colin, drop by and we’ll sort it out for you. It’s easier than trying to chat via blog post. – VB

  4. living remote says:

    Hi, I am quite frustrated with Lightroom ! I HAVE A LAPTOP WITH XP version, service pack 3. I cannot register my Lightroom 1.1. I cannot use Lightroom.
    It took me almost a day to solve that problem, including 2 hours on the phone with some guy in India I had a really hard time to understand. He ended the conversation (and an unsolved problem) by saying he will look into it and phone me back the next day (which of course never happened). I am not a computer freak and avoid changing any settings. However, getting nowhere with Adobe;s help I had to “play” around with settings. Somehow I managed to get my Lightroom registered, but don’t ask me HOW.
    now my the harddrive on my laptop is finished. I bought another laptop with Vista version hoping it would be a piece of cake to install LR on this machine. Same problem. And I am stuck again.
    I am so disappointed that I am considering to forget about LR and look for another program to work with my RAW images.

  5. Same advice as I gave to Colin, Living Remote… drop by and we’ve got a whole team of people on hand who will be pleased to help. – VB

  6. Mark Heller says:

    Hi Victoria,

    I’ve been having a lot of problems with LR v2.3, which I installed over v1.4. I can usually find an answer to my problem on the net, but with this one, all roads seem to lead back to you, and your suggestion to delete the Preferences files.

    However, when I do this, I lose every single imported photo I’ve ever loaded into LR (c.2000) plus all the associated edits (many 100s of hours of work)… This is not good!

    Do you have any suggestions?

    If it helps, here is what happened in detail:

    1. I installed v2.3 over v1.4 – it asked me if I wanted to upgrade (my catalog I think?) to v2 files. I said yes, and everything seemed to update OK. I spent about 2 hours editing photos in v2.3, and all seemed to be working fine.

    2. Next time (and every subsequent time) I went into LR, it opened up, but then crashed.

    3. Removing the Preference files (v1 & v2) fixes the problem of LR not opening, but as I said, my whole catalog of photos disappears. And interestingly enough, when I do this, LR says it’s running v1.4, not 2.3…

    I have kept backup copies of my catalog, and the Preference files, but I’m unclear what to do now…

    I could uninstall v2.3 and go back to v1.4, but I like 2.3, and really want to find a way to use it.

    I’d be grateful for any advice you could give me.



  7. tdavisimages says:

    I exported my photos from the camera straight into Lighroom and now I can’t develop them. It says they are “missing or offline” How can I retrieve them. I started to delete from my camera, which I never do but had filled all my cards and needed more space. I only lost 40 photos but would like to get them back. I never load them into Lightroom I put them into Zoom Browser first then export to LR.


  8. Mary says:

    I downloaded a trial of Lightroom 2. I have a Mac. After opening Lightroom I get the error message Error occurred while changing modules. I am not able to do anything. Each time I try to open anything I get that same error message. After reading number 5 at the top of this site regarding deleting preferences, I checked the Library preferences on my computer and there were no preferences for Lightroom to delete. I’m wondering if this could be part of the problem. Iwonder why there are no Lightroom preferences. I have installed and ininstalled and reinstalled 3 times with the same outcome. Help!

    [Hi mary. That’s an installation problem that I haven’t seen for a while, where the installation doesn’t complete properly. Drop by and we’ll talk you through the solution. – VB]

  9. John Miller says:

    I have been using lightroom for the last 2-3 years , with not too many problems.
    Recently with LR 2.5 i have upon opening LR had an error message saying folder offline or not found, if i close the program and open again the same thing happens.
    But if i shut down the computor and reopen LR it sometimes opens ok.
    All of my images , about 31000 are on two seperate external drives and the catalog saved on my main C drive.
    Any ideas as to what to do ? . John

    [Most likely the drive letters are changing when you restart, which is why they appear online again. You can relink the missing files at any time, or if this is happening regularly, you might find it easier to manually fix the drive letters in Windows Drive Management so they always remain the same. If you need a hand to do that, drop by – VB]

  10. Danny says:

    I have been using Lightroom since 1 came out.
    A couple of days ago I imported some new RAW images into Lightroom, and as it converted them to the standard thumnail it also converted them to Black & White. What cased this? and How do I change it?

    [Sounds like you’ve either applied a preset in the Import dialog, or you’ve changed the LR defaults. Press the Reset button in Develop – if they go back to colour, it was a preset. If they don’t, go to Develop module > Develop Menu > Set Default Settings and press the Adobe Defaults button to switch back to Adobe’s Defaults and then press Reset button. – VB]

  11. Danny says:

    Thanks so much, the reset button worked great.

  12. Steve says:

    Been using Lightroom2.3 for some time with no problems. Now I have a major one- all my files are still fine, raw and jpg, but now none of them show in lightroom. If I import new files they also don’t show, all I have is a grey screen, and no pictures. Any ideas? I’ve tried all suggested above.

    [Ah, yes, that’ll be one of two things – either a corrupted monitor profile or a graphics driver problem, and 99% of the time is the profile. Try recalibrating your monitor, and read this blog post on my newer blog: – VB]

  13. […] restore preferences copy the ~/Library/Preferences/com.adobe.Lightroom.plist file from a file level system backup (I use Mike Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner, so I could mount my […]

  14. Lizzie says:

    I am having a weird problem. After I edit in the Develop mode, I come back and my photos are overly edited — not the way I left them. They are overly saturated, too bright, sometimes cropped…and I didn’t to that to the photos. Can you give me a clue as to why they suddenly look so different??
    [Sounds odd. Drop by and we’ll help you investigate. – VB]

  15. Leo says:

    I’m having issues with exporting from lightroom. Once I’ve completed the needed changes on my image. I go to file:Export….and no image is exported. Have some advice?
    [Any error messages or anything like that? What does actually happen? – VB]

  16. Dear Victoria:

    Just to thank you very very very much for this short advice here in your web. I had a great problem with lightroom as it was importing my photos and I saw them twisted to sepia when in LR and not when seen in the import dialog and when exporting them.
    I was crazy and the forum helpers did the best, but didn’t understand me and kept telling me to calibrate my monitor.

    What I did? Deleted the preferences files under the LR directory.

    THAT was all.

    Why did I do that? I said: my last chance (never believing it could solve the problem) follow her advice.

    So thank you VERY much.

    Leonel Dolara.
    Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  17. Dear Victoria,

    I am going to try the things you have mentioned, but i wanted to ask you as well.

    As many of the people writing in, I have used Lr since Lr1 and been amazing. TODAY! I have been adding some photo’s to a ‘Portfolio collection. ‘Drag n drop’ when i am going through my library of of many photo’s scrolling through the filmstrip. Lr is rotating the photographs for no reason, even the ones i took in Portrait is going to landscape. It is doing it to all of the ones i have been going through. I am choosing my selection at random and it never has done this before.

    Hope you can Help

    Charles Martin
    Tyne & Wear UK

    [Hi Charles. So is it rotating them as you scroll, or when you click? I’m wondering whether you’re clicking on the rotation button by mistake, although if you’ve been using LR for that long, that’s probably unlikely. You may have hit this bug though or there’s a related issue with photos that have been edited in certain external programs, particular Capture NX is reported regularly. What file type are they? – VB]

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