Lightroom 4 may hang when a catalog backup is due

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  • Updated 6 years ago
Lightroom 4 can get confused when it decides that a catalog backup is due. This seems to be dependent on the contents of the catalog. For one of my two catalogs, if I attempt to exit Lightroom on my Mac using the red button and a catalog backup is due, Lightroom becomes unresponsive and I have to use "Force Quit" to kill it. The only way to get to the backup dialog is to use "Quit Lightroom" in the "Lightroom" menu. After I've successfully done a backup, the red button works fine until another backup is due the following week.
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Griffith Smith

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Posted 6 years ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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At what stage does it become unresponsive? What's on the screen when that happens?
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Griffith Smith

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When I try to quit by clicking the red button on my Mac, the Lightroom screen goes away, but Lightroom is still the current application. If I open the dock menu and select "Quit", nothing happens. If I open the "Lightroom" menu, "Quit Lightroom" is disabled. The only way I can exit is with the "force quit" utility. After I restart Lightroom and use "Quit Lightroom" from the "Lightroom" menu, the catalog backup screen appears. After I do a backup, everything is fine until the next backup is due. With any luck, I've added a screen dump of "LR_glitch.jpg" to this reply.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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So if you don't touch the red button, and just go to Lightroom menu > Quit Lightroom straight away, that works ok?

What OS version? I can't replicate it here so far so there must be a clue I'm missing.
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Griffith Smith

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The os version is 10.6.8, and I'd be surprised if you can replicate it without using a copy of my catalog (and maybe not even then, given the whims of the software gods). I use Lightroom for two accounts on my Mac; the catalog for one of the accounts is fine, the one for the other account shows the fault. The problem is completely reproducible on the faulting account. The catalog consistency check during catalog backup does not clear the problem. The Lightroom 3 catalog that the current catalog was derived from had no issues.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Oh, that could be a good clue Griffith. So if you use the good catalog in the bad account, does it show the error or not?

Have you tried trashing LR's preferences in the faulting account?
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Griffith Smith

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What I did instead was to copy a backup of the catalog into the guest account, which is a good approximation of what you would have to do to test it. I also blocked access to almost all the files referenced by the catalog. Unfortunately, the bug didn't appear when I forced a catalog backup.

Next, after copying com.adobe.Lightroom4.plist into a safe place in the faulting account, I deleted it from Library/Preferences and started Lightroom from the failing account. I confirmed that it regenerated a preference file and displayed images properly, then forced a catalog backup. Same problem; the disk rattled for a few tenths of a second, then the Lightroom window disappeared, but the dock still showed that Lightroom was the active application. I had to force quit to make it die. Then I restored the original preferences files and confirmed that Lightroom still behaved as expected. The only thing I haven't tried is to delete the preview folder.

This looks like a mess for you to debug; you won't be able to reproduce it with a copy of my catalog, and I have no idea how to trace it from my side (probably can't anyway; the account doesn't have admin privileges).
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Yeah, it does sound like some kind of user-specific issue, although goodness knows what. You could try the previews (again, just rename), and perhaps check folder permissions, but I'd probably just create a new user account and transfer the contents of your current user into it, as you'll spend more time trying to track it than you will transferring stuff.
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Griffith Smith

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Progress; now I understand what's happening, but I don't understand why the behavior using the red "quit" button is different from the "Quit Lightroom" menu item. It turns out that the catalog backup window was on my other display, which is a HiDef TV that is usually off when I'm using the Mac. There is also an alternative Lightroom window on the TV, and I don't know how it got there. More to the point, I don't know how to turn it off to see whether the "Quit" problem is associated with the presence of the second Lightroom window. My suggestion to the developers is to make sure that the catalog backup window is always displayed on the primary display, and find out why the display location differs depending on the way you exit.
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Griffith Smith

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I assume this is the end of this thread. I confirmed that the problem goes away if I disable the second screen, so this is either a bug introduced in Lightroom 4, or a new feature. Even if I had two displays active and visible I would consider it inconvenient, as well as strange, to click on an exit request in one display and then have to move the mouse over to the other display to continue the dialogue. I hope this feature is changed soon.