Lightroom 6.x version has improved tremendously, especially in the areas of functionality and features.   However, before I did some hardware changes, it frequently crashed causing lots of frustration, pain and time wasted.  It got to the point that I had to look around at other RAW converter software to use.  I did try to use these:

  • Adobe Bridge: Fast, but doesn’t allow me to do some basic tweaking of the images and decide if I would want to invest more time to fine tune it in Photoshop.  Lack of ability to merge images into panos, in which case, I had to leave it and got into another software to do that.
  • Capture One:  A terrific software!  Talking about a great raw converter software!  The ability to tweak, fine-tune your images are top-notch, not to mention its raw converter is the best, a bit better than LightRoom, in my experience.  However, again, when I want to use other plug-ins, the interface to the other external software are limited, albeit that it has improved drastically with the latest version, but compared to Lightroom 6.3, it is not as good.  But the most important to me, probably not to you, is the ability to merge images into pano’s and HDR.  To be frank, the Lightroom 6.3 HDR merging is still not desirable.  The really good HDR software now that I can say is, HDR Expose 3.  I used to use Photomatix, but lately, after using HDR Expose 3, I think it gives me a much more natural looking HDR images, without much of the dreaded HDR looks, and also faster and simpler to use.

Unless Capture One can improve it to the point that I would be able to fill some of the gaps that LightRoom provides, I will continue to use LightRoom as my first choice in raw conversion, and interface to different plug-ins and Photoshop.  The difference in the raw conversion quality between it and LightRoom is not enough for me to switch.

Let’s talk about LightRoom and how to improve it.  I’m gonna point to specific steps, and components that you’d need to acquire in order to see the drastic and noticeable improvement, especially, to fix its issue of crashing or hanging during of your activity!  Of course some of these things have been talked about all over the web, if you Google it, however, here, I will give specific steps to do so, understand that not all of us are well versed in these PC technology.  Ah, I just mentioned PC!  Yes, this is specific to PC/Windows 10, but I believe the basics here can be applicable to Mac as well, if you understand these steps.

First:

Buy 2 SSD drives, one for the OS, in this case, Windows 10.  I highly recommended Windows 10 above all other previous Windows versions.  I think Microsoft has come out with one of the best Windows version ever!  I love using this Windows 10!  Very stable and the interface is much better than 8 or 7.  Forget 8, it was a pretty bad release and it is rightly so that MS decided to dump it.

The second SSD drive should be used to store your currently working project images.  I know that it does involve some work, but I also believe that during the time that you’re working on your current projects, that is all you’re gonna working on.  If you’re working on multiple projects, all you need to do is to buy a bigger SSD drive.  Currently this second drive I bought was only 480G drive.  The costs of these drives are pretty inexpensive now a day, there  is no excuse not to buy them, especially when you’re wasting time waiting and restarting LightRoom all the time.

The first drive I bought was this drive, from Samsung, and it is only 240G drive.  I bought this from Samsung because they do have a better review and rating than other brands.  Plus, I’m gonna use this for the OS, therefore I want to ensure that I have a good, reputable drive to put the heart of the system on.

The second drive, is this model, from OCZ, and it is a 480GB drive.  OCZ, as I understand, is using Toshiba components, and I have very good luck with one of their external disk that I feel safe to buy.

Remember all the steps and components that I’m showing here are working IN MY SETUP. In your setups, they should work, but if they don’t, please don’t sue me!

DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!  

I’m trying to share what I think is a neat solution to a common issue that most people, including myself, were blaming Adobe for software issues, which wasn’t true, now that I know.  Since I’ve bought these drives and installed, configured them into my system, I have no issue with LightRoom crapping out…yet! And the performance speed is fast and very smooth, and best of all quiet.  I used to hear the hard disks churning and chucking forever, when I used one of these resource intensive features, like the merge Pano or HDR and then, BOOM!!!, crashed!

After obtaining these 2 SSD drives, you can hook up them into your machine, assuming that you know how to do that.  Wait!!! Before buying these drives, make sure that you have enough SATA 3 connections on your motherboard to connect them to, and also equally as important, you need to check and see if your power supply has extra power connections for these 2 new drives.  In my setup, I had to reuse the SATA and power connection to my DVD drive, which I don’t use anymore, since I’ve at least 7 devices already installed.

MAKE SURE THAT YOU POWER OFF AND DISCONNECT YOUR POWER CORD FIRST BEFORE TOUCHING YOUR MACHINE!  IF YOU”RE NOT SURE HOW TO DO THIS, HIRE A QUALIFIED PERSON TO DO IT FOR YOU!

After that power up and logon to your Windows 10 session.  You will need to buy this software to transfer the current OS, from your slow hard disk to the new Samsung Drive.

Trust me, you’ll need this software to transfer your current OS setup to the new SSD.  However, before doing the migration, you will and should back up all of your important data on the migrated drive, or current OS drive.  This is basically pretty painless.  Just tell it to migrate current OS from the current hard disk to the new destination drive, which is the new Samsung SSD 240GB.  It will do its job, and when it is completed, it will reboot or shutdown for you.  Just tell it to shutdown when it is done because you’ll need to modify your BIOS to specify the boot order, that is to your new SSD drive, not the old drive, otherwise it will boot back to the old hard disk.

After you boot up with the new SSD, then:

  • Make sure that everything is working and the data is migrated to the new drive intact.
  • And nothing should still be pointing to the old hard disk drive.
  • Rename the old hard disk drive Windows directory to something else like, Windows_OLD, so the OS on the new drive won’t reference it anymore, before you can delete that Windows directory.  I would leave everything there for few weeks to make sure that I won’t need anything there anymore before cleaning up the old disk drive.
  • Now, you can start up Lightroom, then go to: Edit –> Reference –> File Handling tab –>  Camera Raw Cache Settings –> Choose  –>  YOUR NEW SSD DRIVE  (in this case the 450GB SSD drive)
  • I specified in my setup, Maximum size = 30G
  • Purge Cache
  • Restart Lightroom
  • Enjoy the new speedy and stable performance of LightRoom 6.3

Do the same for Photoshop:

  • Open Photoshop
  • File –>  Preferences –> Scratch Disks
  • Uncheck the existing scratched disks that you pointed to before for those old hard disk drives
  • Check the new 480GB SSD drive(s).   In this case I use both drives, the 240GB and 480GB with the 480GB as the first drive.  Remember that Photoshop can only list the first 7 drives in order, from A-Z, so if you setup your SSD drives as drives 8 or later in the list of drives you have in your machine, you WON’T see them!  In that case, you would need to rename/reorder your drive letters so these new SSD drives are ahead of the older drives.
  • Restart Photoshop and you’ll in business.

For my setup, I copy all of the images for the current projects onto the new 480GB SSD.  I created a directory “My Pictures” –> project name.  The copy the images into this directory and work from there.  Otherwise, say if I have to use LightRoom to merge a large pano, I would have to access the old nonSSD drive, and that would defeat the purpose of having these fast SSD drives.

Also, my current hardware is an I7 Quad Core Intel  processor and it has 32G of RAM.  I highly recommend 32G since most of the time, I’ve approached 25G-28G utilization and had to restart Photoshop to clean out the used memory.   Also, everyone so often, go to C:\users\Your LOGON Name\App Data\Local\Temp and delete all of the temporary files after you’ve shutdown all of your running applications.  Do the same for the scratch disks for PhotoShop.  You’ll be amazed of how much temporary files that Photoshop is littering around, especially if your PhotoShop sessions terminated abnormally.

For example, this image pano merge of about 20 images was error-free and completed successfully, albeit that I had to wait a bit for it to merge, not because of the disk access speed problem, but because LightRoom has to work, in this case the loads of the work is on the CPU’s to process the merging of these images.  Since it used to be the bottleneck on the old disk drives (the images, the scratch disks, the swap space, etc…), now that is no longer an issue.   And most importantly, LightRoom works perfectly without any hitch, the result was this huge, 22Kx6K pixel image! Click on the image to see larger size.

This image below was created using the Zeiss 50mm F2 ZF.2 Makro lens.

Sunrise Rovinj, Croatia (Zeiss 50mm Makro F2)

Sunrise Rovinj, Croatia (Zeiss 50mm Makro F2)

You’ll be amazed how fast the boot up of your machine.  It takes mine a few seconds to see the logon screen to Windows 10. Then after I get in to the system, another 10 seconds, then I can start Photoshop or Lightroom.  For Photoshop, it takes about 3-5 seconds to be able to open a large image.   For LightRoom it is pretty much the same.

Hope this helps, and enjoy the new speed and stability that you’ve expected from these awesome software from Adobe.

Hope this helps, and enjoy the new speed and stability that you’ve expected from these awesome software from Adobe, and if you have any question, let me know.

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