Lightroom CC/Classic CC Most Common Issues (and how to fix them)

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  By Pia Lopez
Lightroom CC/Classic CC Most Common Issues (and how to fix them)

We saw the latest upgrade of Adobe Lightroom happening last October, with the CC 2021 version release. Although, as many of you should know by now, those releases come with a series of bugs that will be slowly fixed in upcoming updates by Adobe. In this article, we’re going to describe the Lightroom CC most common issues reported by users this far and how to fix them for proper reliability. Let’s get started.

1. What should you do if Lightroom keeps crashing?

Sudden crash issues in Lightroom are often related to graphic cards drivers not being optimized to run with the latest software upgrade. For that very reason, we recommend you to follow these steps.

Mac Users: Lightroom Classic > Preferences > Performance
Window Users: Edit > Preferences > Performance

Since I’m a Windows user, I’m going to screenshot the exact section you should turn off.

For Mac, it goes like this

Lightroom Classic GPU preference

Screenshot courtesy of Adobe

One simple explanation of why does this happen is because your graphics card may be too outdated for optimal usage in Lightroom. Another common issue is triggered when PC builds have more than 1 graphics card – usually seen in gamers’ pcs or those who work in the 3D modelling industry. Lightroom doesn’t require a graphics card to enhance its performance, much rather it needs a fast SSD drive and plenty of RAM to perform on peak level.

Disabling the graphics card is one quick fix. Adobe does recommend to switch to the Studio Drivers if you work with Nvidia Cards. Do keep in mind that Studio Drivers are intended for those who work in the graphics industry. Using Studio Drivers in mixed-use computers (graphic design + gaming) will decrease the performance of the card in non-technical working environments and seriously compromise reliability when using them for gaming.

You can check all the recommendations related to GPUs at Adobe’s article here.

2. Cursor experiencing lag or freezing when using the Adjustment Brush Tool

Okay, this is one odd issue I found in the most unexpected way you can imagine. Since I work with many files (emphasis in many, 3 external hard drives required), device management tends to get messy. For that very reason, I opted for a USB hub to keep my lack of USB ports at bay. Everything seemed to be great, right?

Well, not that much. First I noticed the issue when working with Photoshop, and I initially blamed the issue on being somewhat short on RAM because of the file size (and the amount of other apps running on background). Then, with some Lightroom edits, I finally noticed it. The cursor kept freezing and freezing randomly, and no extra apps were running at the same time. Opting to switch the USB dongle for my mouse didn’t solve the issue either, so it wasn’t the mouse fault. But guess what happened when I removed the USB hub? Issue solved.

This odd performance liability is related to the amount of energy required for the USB hub to work. If you work with a USB hub with external power supply, then you shouldn’t face the issue at all. My mistake was to get a USB-powered USB Hub, which meant the laptop had to compensate for that extra energy demand, and that implied slowing my pc.

If you can spare using a USB hub when running Lightroom, it may even work better. If not, also consider closing unneeded apps running on the background. You have no idea how much resource-demanding Google Chrome can be if you have multiple tabs opened.

3. Lightroom doesn’t let you open the Catalog

This bug is often seen after a crash, especially a power-related crash when your computer didn’t have time to properly shut down. As Lightroom stores its database on the hard drive, there’s a safety measure to prevent multiple users editing the catalog at the same time: Lightroom creates a lrcat.lock file on the same folder the catalog file is stored.

In case Lightroom crashes or unexpectedly shuts down, one issue that can happen is that the lrcat.lock file remains there – instead of being flushed as it usually happens once you close Lightroom. So, what can you do to access your data? First, don’t panic. Locate your Lightroom’s Catalog folder next.

For Windows users, this is by default on:


For Mac users, this is the by default location:

Macintosh HD/Users/(user-name)/Pictures/Lightroom

The (name).lrcat file is the file you DON’T want to delete – as that’s your catalog. I’m using (name) as catalogs can be custom named, by default is Lightroom Catalog.lrcat

Instead, search for a file with your same catalog name with the extension .lrcat.lock. Click on that file and delete it. Then, launch Lightroom again. Your LR Catalog should be intact.

For Windows users: If the filename extension is hidden, the lrcat.lock file still displays its extension, and the Lightroom Catalog.lrcat will show the Lightroom app logo as the icon (whereas the lrcat.lock file will show an empty white icon)

4. Radial Filter inverted by default

Another annoying issue Lightroom is often prone to show is tools not behaving as they should. Let’s take the Radial Filter as an example. Say I want to apply a Radial filter to a large sky area; after placing the settings for my Radial Filter and dragging the area I want to work on, I find that the filter is acting in the exact opposite area to where I want the effect to be seen. This is due to a checkbox right below the Feather slider named Invert.

By unclicking the Invert checkbox, the effect of the radial filter gets applied everywhere but inside your radial filter area – which is the default config of Lightroom these days. Knowing your way around with this option is handy to create effects on a layered method, say for adding fake sun effects as an example.

Once the checkbox is checked or unchecked, that will be the default value the next time you open Lightroom or launch the Radial Filter tool.

5. Lightroom using your preset name as part of the exported photo file name

This error is often seen on batch export. In 80% of the cases, it’s related to the renaming options set in the Export panel, but it can also be triggered by unknown bugs that you should report to Adobe.

A good practice to avoid these issues is to always create a new folder for exporting your sessions. Check the option “Put in Subfolder”, give a name to your subfolder (good naming practices are usually: CLIENT_DATE or LOCATION_DATE), and then place that subfolder inside your main catalog folder for your edited photos. By doing that, you wouldn’t have to worry about overwriting existing photos or the original files. If you don’t feel confident, you can set the option “Ask what to do”.

Lightroom also allows us to rename the edited photos during export, but you should be very clear in your criteria to avoid having duplicates of the same filename all over your hard drive.

6. Error while adding photo to the Catalog: ‘error: ?:0: attempt to compare two nil values’

This bug has been reported by many users online. It gets triggered when users that work under the Custom Order for their LR Catalog try to add new photos. As the bug is acknowledged in Adobe Forums, we can expect this will get fixed in the next revision. Meanwhile, you can do this.

Go to View > Sort and select any other option rather than Custom Order. And that’s how easily you can fix this to keep working.

More common issues can be seen, with their respective solution, by this article on Adobe’s official help site. We also recommend this brilliant article by blog that explains how to fix the “File not Found” error in Lightroom, with many different and detailed solutions. (Original article is in Japanese, Google Translate offers a reliable translation of the entire post).

Hope this article can help you fix these common issues and see you next time!

Rating: 4.00 based on 2 Ratings
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Pia Lopez

Pia Lopez is a self-taught photographer, graphic designer and ArchViz artist. As Content Director of, her work is driven by her two biggest passions: technology and art.

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