Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

Started Jun 27, 2012 | Discussions
Shiner Contributing Member • Posts: 802
Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

Like many, I've found LR 4.1 to be sluggish. This morning, I found a tip to improve performance on:

Basically, you need to hunt down old preference files from earlier LR versions, if these are still in your preferences folder. I found files from LR 3.6, and have moved them off my OS X based machine. As a result, there is a discernible improvement in time taken to move between modules, and also the responsiveness of certain tools.

Hope this works for you.


CameraCarl Veteran Member • Posts: 5,171
Re: Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

I'm a bit confused by the process. It appears you have to follow the process listed in the dialogue two or three times for it to work... or am I missing something?

Otherboss Regular Member • Posts: 162
Re: Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

Thanks Shiner, Works great.

My computer decided to shut down when I tried to get to the temp folder, but when it rebooted, everything went fine. Win7 Ultimate 64.

Does seem faster.
Cheers - Barry

Hope this works for you.


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Mark K W Senior Member • Posts: 1,643
Re: Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

I think there's really 2 aspects to what is described.

Firstly - Check whether it is a preference file corruption that is degrading your LR4.1's performance:
1. quit LR4.1
2. locate and delete system temp files

3. locate and rename all previous LR preference files (so LR thinks they no longer exist)

4. start LR4.1 (it will create new default preference file as per a fresh installation) and check if performance has improved. NB at this stage all previously set user preferences will be lost, though catalog is still there as that is read from elsewhere - just all the user preferences for the look-and-feel, menus, etc., are back to default.

If performance is much better, deduce that there was a preference file problem (which I think likely means one of the config parameters in the prefs file is set out of range or something, rather than a true disk-level file corruption), and so now...

Secondly - Fix & restore the LR4 preference file:
1. quit LR4

2. copy the previous renamed LR4 preferences files back to the correct preferences directory with a "OldLightoom 4 Preferences.agprefs" name
3. Restart LR4.1 again

And LR should now be running OK again, but with your original user preference settings restored.

Now, I am an OS X user, so I just had a call to Adobe about doing this process on OS X, and although it was a confusing - but helpful - call, here is where I think Windows and OS X versions and behaviour differ maybe.

Adobe tells you where to find your preferences files here:

In Windows 7, from the above check and repair steps, it looks like the original preferences can be re-inherited from the "OldLightroom 4 Preferences.agprefs" file as named/created above in the Adobe/Lightroom/Preferences/ directory… or maybe they only come from any LR3 prefs file also there - not sure. My guess is LR4 recreates a new preferences file when started if there is not an up-to-date one, but also sees that other .agprefs file exists in the directory, and presumably reads/imports config settings from that/those also. I asked the Adobe guy this and he just said "yes", and since I am not on Windows thought it was going to get confusing to continue asking exactly how it does things on that platform.

However in OS X there isn't this ability as the LR4 preferences come only from the com.adobe.lightroom4.plist file in the user's OS X overall preferences directory (some are also inherited from the LR3, maybe also LR2, preferences file in the same directory if you had those). So in OS X, after deleting/renaming the current preference files you have to manually re-create your LR4 preferences once you re-start LR - i.e. using the Preferences menu and in all other places (e.g. Export menu) where the preferences are set. This was the clear message from the Adobe customer support guy I spoke to this morning.

(And no you apparently cannot cheat in OS X by renaming your original LR4 preferences file to be called an LR3 preferences file and hoping that LR4 will import from that. Maybe it would also naturally re-import form any LR3 prefs file, but If there's some kind of parameter out-of-range type corruption in there anyway this is not good step to think of anything other than re-creating the prefs from scratch anyways!).

Adobe also got me to re-boot the Mac before second fixing step also - maybe that's the equivalent of the temp file clear above in the Windows 7 case.

I hope I have not made too many under-the-bonnet deductions about LR in relaying above.

Has making a new LR4 preference file made my (extremely slow) LR4 faster? I think so…. not really used it enough yet. Is it back to LR3.6 speed? No… but it does seem to be more usable than before and I love LR4's PV2012 over the PV2010 in LR3.6, so I am happier.

Thanks Shiner for the find.

CameraCarl Veteran Member • Posts: 5,171
Re: Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

Thanks for the detailed instructions. They should help novices like me.

RobBurke Regular Member • Posts: 145
Re: Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

One thing to beware - when I renamed my original Lightroom folder, Lightroom reverted to an old catalog. The same happened when I renamed the preferences file. I was able to select the current catalog manually, but it caused a moment's anxiety because I wasn't expecting it.

In my case the procedure didn't make any difference. Images take 5 to 7 seconds to load into the Develop module, but otherwise performance is fine. I started using Lightroom with LR4 Beta, so I can't say if LR4 is much slower than LR3 would have been on my system.

(I have a Win7 Core2 Quad Q6600, 8GB memory, single hard disk. I.e. good for three years ago but hardly state of the art.)

sarc Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: Lightroom 4.1 performance improvement tip

Thanks - you saved my day!

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