Lightroom: Basic troubleshooting to fix most issues

lr5_totemHere is a set of basic troubleshooting steps that should resolve most problems encountered while using Lightroom.

For a localized, translated version of this document, see: Basic troubleshooting steps to fix most issues in Lightroom

If you encounter a crash, be sure to submit all crash reports and include your email address with the crash report.
If you submit a crash report for a known issue, we will be able to offer you a solution for correcting the problem.

Please try all the steps below prior to reporting a problem, posting on the forums or contacting support for Lightroom specific issues.

For mostly non-technical questions like How-to’s or What’s New, please see the Lightroom FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

If your issue is with getting up and running, please see the following document: Help with Downloading, Installing or Activating


Table of Contents:

  1. Get the Latest Camera Support
  2. Install the Latest Lightroom Updates
  3. Install Operating System Updates
  4. Install Video Card (GPU) Driver Updates
  5. Optimize Lightroom Performance
  6. Calibrate your monitor
  7. Restore Preferences
  8. Troubleshoot Plug-ins
  9. Troubleshoot User Permissions
  10. Boot in “Safe Mode” to Troubleshoot System Add-Ons and Utilities
  11. Additional Information

Get the latest camera support

Far and away, the most commonly asked support question is how to get raw file support for the latest cameras.

Please see this article for additional details and answers to common questions regarding camera support in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop.

Install the latest Lightroom updates

Many problems are fixed simply by making sure your Adobe software is up-to-date.

Install Operating System updates

Make sure the operating system is up-to-date:

Install Graphics Card (GPU) Driver Updates

See our Lightroom GPU FAQ for more troubleshooting steps and information on Lightroom utilization of the graphics card’s GPU (Graphics Processing Unit):

On Windows, GPU driver crashes, screen/document redraw, Blue or X’d out images, or color display issues can be avoided by using the latest video drivers provided directly from the card manufacturer’s website (nVidia, ATI/AMD, or Intel).

Note: Simply running “Windows Update” doesn’t ensure that you have the most recent video driver. You must go directly to your card manufacturers website to check for driver updates.

Here are directions to determine what video card you have and download/install the most current driver:

On Mac, your video drivers are included with your operating system updates. Make sure you have installed all of the latest OS updates by choosing the Apple menu > Software Update…

Optimize Lightroom’s Performance

Here are two articles that can help you optimize Lightroom on your computer.

Calibrate your monitor

Lightroom’s performance and color reproduction are both known to be affected by corrupted monitor profiles.
Calibrate your monitor either by using the Operating System’s calibration feature or a hardware colorimeter to create a good color profile for your monitor.

Here is an article that explains how to calibrate your monitor:

Restore Preferences

Resetting the Lightroom preferences to their factory fresh state can solve many abnormal and intermittent behavior issues.

To reset Lightroom’s preferences easily, Quit Lightroom, then start Lightroom while holding the Shift + Option (Mac) or Shift + Alt keys (Win). If timed correctly, you’ll get a dialog asking if you want to Reset Lightroom’s Preferences or Start Normally. Choose Reset Preferences.


Directions for resetting Lightroom’s Preferences and reselecting your catalog

Troubleshoot Plug-ins

If you have installed many third-party plug-ins into Lightroom and are experiencing odd behavior, troubleshooting the Plug-ins can be the next step in pinpointing the cause.

  1. Make sure your third-party plug-ins are up to date.
    1. Check with the plug-in manufacturer to see if there is an update to the plug-ins you use with Lightroom.
    2. Disable problematic plug-ins using Lightroom’s Plug-in Manager*
      1. In Lightroom, click File > Plug-in Manager
      2. Click through the plug-ins and click the Disable button for each plug-in

[click image to enlarge]


*Start by disabling all of the plug-ins in the list and see if that resolves the trouble being experienced. If the trouble is resolved, then go back in the Plug-in Manager and selectively turn the plug-ins back on while testing the behavior to narrow down the cause of the incorrect behavior.

Troubleshoot User Account Permissions

If none of the troubleshooting steps above solve your problem, it may be user permissions related. It’s a good idea to verify that the issue is related to user permissions before using the Repair Permissions utility.  To do so, first set up a new user account with Administrator rights and test in this new account.

Instructions for creating a new Administrator user account:

Note: When creating a new user account, to ensure the safety of the information on your computer, set a strong password that others will not be able to guess. When you complete user permissions troubleshooting, you can remove the extra user account.

Once the Admin user account is created, log into the new Admin account and run Lightroom to see if the problem goes away.

On Mac, if you still experience trouble, try repairing the permissions on the disk.

Boot in Safe Mode to troubleshoot system add-ons and utilities

Sometimes, 3rd party extensions and other utilities can interfere with Lightroom’s successful functioning. On Mac, Safe Mode disables all third party extensions and startup items and only runs required kernel extensions & Apple-installed startup items. On Windows, Safe Mode starts Windows with a limited set of files and drivers.

To boot your computer in Safe Mode:

Additional Information

Please see the following documents for additional general troubleshooting:

31 Responses to Lightroom: Basic troubleshooting to fix most issues

  1. Lauren says:

    Glad I was able to find it. I wish it was available in video online.

  2. Michael Wiseman says:

    Lightroom 5:
    Photos cannot be moved to a collection.
    I installed LR5. LR4 files were displayed correctly, but it was not possible to move either a single photo or a group of photos in Library mode from the filmstrip or grid display to a collection.

    Please help.

  3. RickC says:

    I have installed Lightroom 5 via Adobe Cloud; I also have Lightroom 4 installed. When I plug my camera into my mac, Lightroom 4 continues to open, even if I have Lightroom 5 already open. I have already deselected any options in prefs in v4 that might be making this happen. Short of uninstalling v4, is there any way to stop v4 from opening? Thank you.

    • Pete Green says:

      In the General Preferences in LR4, uncheck the “Show import dialog box when memory card is detected”

    • EdwinvdK says:

      Here is my solution: plugin your camera onto the PC or Mac. Open the little program; Photoloader (search it in ” Programs”) Within the program beneath the left site you can change the progam into Lightroom 5 instead of Lightroom 4. After that: close the programs ” Photoloader, LR 4 en LR5 en unplug your camera. Than: plugin again your camera and voila LR v5 started up.

  4. bruce jackson says:

    I just loaded LR5. When i try to start it, I get a box saying it is upgrading my LR catalog. The process never completes, it just locks up after a while. I’ve tried this four times now. I wasn’t having any problems in LR4

    • Pete Green says:

      How many images do you have in your catalog? If you have a lot it can take a bit of time to perform the catalog conversion.
      Have you left the conversion to go for a while or do you keep quitting it out?

  5. Frank Roesner says:

    Adding to the comment of Bruce Jackson: I am currently updating a large LR 4 catalog to LR 5 (30.000 + pictures) and it takes already more than 2 hours. It appears that “Preparing new searchable data” is the part of the overall process which causes the hold-up. In contrast to what Bruce is experiencing I do not see a lock-up – it is just extremely slow.

    • Frank Roesner says:

      Just to add to above comment: the upgrade is done. Needed about 3 hours to complete. To add to the performance issues of LR 5 in comparison to LR 4, it took about 45 minutes to import another catalog (6.000 images) into above mentioned catalog.

  6. Gary says:

    When setting up the External Editor in LR5 Preferences, when selecting the “Choose” button, LR5 crashes.

  7. Megan says:

    when i try to install adobe lightroom 5, i get this message: “adobe photoshop lightroom requires that your computer is running windows 7 or later”. i also tried lightroom 4 and still asks the same. i have a windows 7 pc. can anyone help me?

  8. When loading images from card to Lightroom 4.4 , some appear to be corrupt, with bright lines running through them, some have as much as 3/4 of the image covered with this bright color over the image. Have been using Lightroom without issue for more than a year. It started when I used a different card rather than the one that came with my Canon 5D Mark III , I did format the card before using it on that camera. My Mac is 10.7.5 and is updated regularly. I will insert the card, thumbnails appear to be fine for the most part, maybe a couple out of 50 have that corrupt look, so I select the ones that look normal and copy as DNG. Then I reinstall the card and select those that were corrupt the first time and repeat the process. Sometimes I’m ok at that point, but I have had to do it 10 times before succeeding.
    Last night I was on the phone with Adobe, she wanted me to turn off the calibration I was using and switch to adobe 98 rgb. I did so but the same thing occurred again. Our phone call was cutoff and she never called back so I could not explain that it was still doing it. Here is another thing, the thumbnails appear normal on the camera while shooting always. I can download using Image Browser EX that came with the camera and all is fine, this program does not do all that I need so I bought Lightroom 4.4. Please help, this is very frustrating!!!

    • Keri says:

      I am having this same issue. I get the bright colors either green or pink, but only with the thumbnails. I was thinking it was an issue with the files on the hard drive. I import both raw and jpeg so maybe one is corrupt and the other isn’t?
      Have you found any solution for this?

      Thanks in advance.

  9. Joe Schmitt says:

    When trying to email from lr5, I’m receiving an error message “can’t launch default email client”. This message started appearing today, worked previously.

  10. Jim Dove says:

    I have this message and can not use photoshop msvcp110.dll is missing from computer. try reinstallling the program to fix this problem.

    i have reinstalled the program and had no results.

    i look forward for your fix than k you

  11. Jim Wyllie says:

    Have similar problem to above comment. I have recently purchased lightroom 5 and updated to 5.2. I am encountering a problem emailing photos. Have a provider not listed in drop down but consulted with them about completing account manager. Validation not happening. Have tried on two different computers, one with windows 7 and one with windows 8. Even turned off Norton but to no avail. Any suggestions…..puzzled!

  12. Kim Neal says:

    Whenever I use brushes, the selection shown (red masking display) is blotchy, inconsistent and pixelated. The worst part is, so is the effect I am applying. So if I am enhancing an iris, it is full of little specks that were not showing up red when the masking was displayed. Any ideas? Thanks!

  13. Kim Neal says:

    Whoops, an addendum to the issue mentioned above…I should have specified, I am using LR4.

  14. WH says:

    A few days ago I installed the trial version of Lightroom 5.2 and it crashes several times an hour. It is the only program I have this problem with. I couldn’t find any solution so I tried the newest version (5.3) and it is even worse. It crashes every few minutes. Please help!

  15. JB says:

    Just updated from LR4 to 5 on a Mac Pro and it keeps crashing when I export Catalogues. Every time. LR4 never had any problems. Those are not large catalogues, they might be only 8-10 images each. Oh, it also crashes on converting NEF to dng. Seriously? My 4 was awesome, fast, and never crashed once. Not even once.

  16. Conte Gildo says:

    Yesterday, I’ve purchased and update to 5.4 and I installed it.
    But now Lightroom 5 won’t start properly. I get to the screen but many menu option are missing and the sidebar panel are totally missing. It looks like it didn’t load properly.
    I’ve try re-installing but no lock, I’ve try 5.3 no luck either.
    Then I logged out of my user account and went on another user account i created for testing purpose and found out that it’s working alright with that account.
    I can I trouble shoot and fix my main account?
    Uninstalling using Appzapper didn’t work either.
    Anyone else face that kind of trouble before?

  17. Conte Gildo says:

    Os 10.8.5

  18. Conte Gildo says:

    I’ve found the problem and I’m sharing this in case any other person encounter the same trouble.
    My problem was cause by a replicate of the in the preference on another drive.
    I had this copy from a backup on another drive. This was very useful to copy all my old Develop setting over the new install.
    The backup folder on the backup drive had a different name then my main drive user folder but still Lightroom was able to find the preference plist file over there and it was corrupted Lightroom 5.
    Once I deleted the preference file from that drive, Lightroom start normally.
    Hope this info can help someone.

  19. Aga says:

    I have just upgraded from lightroom 5.3 to lightroom 5.4. It seems the new version cannot read any of my RAW CR2 files rom the hard drive. As if they did not exist. No problems with jpegs.