Lightroom 1.1 – No longer slow

After I updated Lightroom to 1.1, I had mixed reaction. At first I was very pleased with the added features such as spraying meta tags onto photos. Although I was very unhappy with the fact that the update rendered my Lightroom, simply unworkable – it was way too slow.

  • The browsing of photos would stagger once you go from one end of the library to the other
  • Previewing of photos was nearly impossible at full resolution, as it would just sit the with the infamous ‘Loading’ bar at the bottom

I’m using this on my laptop [Core Duo T60 2500, with 1.5GB RAM] – and with nearly 5000 photos, Lightroom 1.0 screamed through any task. You’d imagine that 1.1 would be an improvement.

I was convinced it wasn’t only my problem, even after numerous posts on DPreview, Adobe’s Lightroom Forums – everyone who had a MUCH better machine to play with – reported no problem.

The good news is that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and you can get your speed back.

Two methods [both covered]

  1. Optimize the catalog – doesn’t work for everyone, namely myself.
  2. Re-export your catalog, and let Lightroom rebuild

So here are the steps

  1. File -> Catalog Settings…
  2. Under the General tab – click ‘Relaunch and Optimize’ | for a lot of people, this will do the trick, otherwise continue
  3. After Lightroom opens back up:
    1. Under Library foldout on the left, select ‘All Photographs’, to make sure your whole library catalog is being exported.
    2. File -> Export as Catalog File Dialog
  4. Pick a new directory not far from where your current Lightroom library exists, this will save you time later on moving it.
  5. NOTE: When the dialog opens up, make sure you don’t have ‘Export negative files’ selected, otherwise depending on how many photos you have, it will take a VERY long time, plus it is completely unnecessary
    Lightroom export catalog
  6. Click ‘Save’
  7. Once it has finished exporting the library, the previews and is ‘done’, go and run the new library – you should notice a MUCH snappier response on all actions, and it is now as Lightroom 1.1 should have been.