Lightroom Catalog Troubleshooting

I’ve been using Adobe Lightroom since version 2 and I’ve had it crash on me maybe a hundred times over the years. Most of the time it is some kind of glitch and I pickup where I left off. On rarer occasions, Lightroom locks up while in the middle of opening a catalog. I’ve been able to troubleshoot those problems with a little bit of Google-fu. Today’s crash was the most frustrating one to date. None of the usual tricks worked and I was about to give up and pull out a backup catalog. Except that the backup catalog wouldn’t load either. Neither would the previous backup, nor the one before that.

So, obviously there is a whole lot wrong. Here’s how I ultimately fixed it.

1. Delete the Preferences file (*.agprefs) that is stored in %APPDATA%\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Preferences. You could simply rename the .agprefs file, but I’ve never come back to a corrupted one. The .agprefs file contains some Preferences info and most importantly it contains the location of the most recently used catalog. If you run Lightroom like most people, LIghtroom will open the most recent catalog you’ve previously opened. You need to get Lightroom to start in a blank state where it does not try to open a catalog automatically. Deleting the .agprefs file will do this. And don’t worry, a fresh and clean .agprefs file will be created once you’ve gotten Lightroom working again.

2. Delete the ***Previews.lrdata folder and find a backup catalog to restore. I use Crashplan as my general safety net that saves my bacon when a hard drive crashes (and that’s happened once already). But I find that Crashplan is not always the easiest to use when I just want to restore a single file or folder. So, I store my catalog file in my Dropbox folder, as do the current batch of photos I’m working on. When Lightroom craps out, I restore a previous version of the catalog file thru Dropbox’s version history. Usually the version from the day before the crash is good enough. Hopefully, you have some sort of continuous backup solution protecting your catalog and photos too. If I had to rely on Lightroom’s built-in weekly backup feature, I’d be screwed. Deleting the Previews.lrdata folder was the key to recovering from my latest Lightroom mess. And I suppose it would be a best practice to delete those preview files anyway since eliminating the previews makes a catalog load faster. The previews will be regenerated after the catalog has been restored.

3. Launch Lightroom. It should prompt you for a catalog to load.

Lightroom prompts you to select a catalog after you've deleted the Preferences file
Lightroom prompts you to select a catalog after you’ve deleted the Preferences file

4. Select the backup catalog and verify its integrity.

Lightroom catalog selection
Make sure the integrity check option is on.

5. Lightroom should now open the catalog without any problems, assuming that the catalog passes the integrity check.

Here’s the setting under Edit –> Preferences where you can make Lightroom open without loading the most recent catalog.

Lightroom configuration that allows you to pick which catalog to open on each launch of Lightroom
Lightroom configuration that allows you to pick which catalog to open on each launch of Lightroom

Oh, and one more thing you might want to consider. If you save your RAW images in DNG format, you can save your Lightroom edits and tagging directly in the DNG file. The function is under Metadata –> Update DNG Preview & Metadata. This way, even if the catalog file is totally unrecoverable, you can still salvage all of your editing and metadata. You can simply import the photos into a new catalog and pickup where you left off from there.

Save edits and metadata directly to the DNG file
Save edits and metadata directly to the DNG file

Google Street View Announcement

Google announced a big improvement of their Street View program today. This includes panoramic vistas of popular places inaccessible by car. It will help tourist take a virtual walking thru Waikiki in addition to driving down Kalakaua Avenue.

Unconferenz 2010

After a little delay due to the tsunami warning, Unconferenz 2010 was held at KCC on March 20th. This was the third annual Unconferenz and I was quite impressed with this year’s discussions. I think either the participants’ interests are maturing or they’ve all figured out that social media cannot be used to make a quick buck. Either way, there was no talk about monetizing audiences in the sessions I attended. But, there was interesting insights into how businesses are using social media (blogs, chat, and social networking) for internal communication within the company; and using the big social networks for recruiting and market research.

Thanks again to Burt Lum for organizing the Unconferenz.


Palm Pre pics

So I couldn’t sleep the other night and I someone added a comment to one of my Flickr pics and I didn’t have any sheep to count so I figured it would be a great time to sort through all 150 or so pics on my phone and e-mail them one by one to Flickr.

All in all, the camera on the Pre is quite good for a point and shoot and has been very convenient to whip out at a moment’s notice. I ain’t giving up the D90 for this though.

My Palm Pre Set on Flickr

Pool party w/ @lauriecicotello @angelakeen @mistahkeen @bubabox @alohabruce @susielin @alohayaling

Maunakea marketplace.  #WWPW.

At #firstfriday on the lawn at Hawaii State Art Museum

More thoughts on the Pre

Well it’s been a bit more than a week and my first impression fascination should be out of my system. I still think the Pre is a keeper, but here are things that others will find useful.

Keyboard is small but workable. I have a iPod touch that I keep in a pocket at the same time as I carry my Pre in my belt holster. I have used the Apple touch screen keyboard heavily when I was trying to use the Touch for my mobile e-mail. It just didn’t work for me, because of all the reasons others have complained about already. The Pre’s keyboard is one notch better than the Touch’s keyboard. The little keys are just enough for me to focus my attention on while I type with my thumbs. However, I must concentrate to find the keys with my thumbs. I would not call this touch typing. That said, it is a workable solution and I find myself reaching for my Pre rather than my touch when I want to type a quick message. The keyboard on my old Treo 700p was not any larger but it is easier to find keys because the gap between keys are more pronounced. The Pre’s keys are too level, when you run your thumb across them, you can’t quite tell where the edges of the keys are.

The camera is a bit better than average in both image quality and ease of use. Low light situations are improved by the flash, but the effective range is 2 – 3 feet. Macro photography is out of the question, minimum focus distance is nine inches by my guess. E-mailing the photo to Flickr for uploading is a snap, as is Twitpic.

Lunch at Aloha Tower for Flickr Friday

Aloha Tower - Flickr Friday meetup

Flickr Friday - one more pic

More thoughts about the apps and music player later. It’s after midnight already.

I got my Pre

Marv's Palm Pre

So a couple weeks ago my e-mail client on my Treo 700p died. It would send the Treo into reboot hell whenever I launched. In the four years or so prior to that, it was probably the best mobile e-mail program I could ask for. But, there no point to naming names now, since the makers of that software sold out to Palm and are no longer selling new licenses.

Anyway, I got in line just in the nick of time on Saturday. Turns out the Sprint store had 25 units in stock, I was the 24th in line and one of the guys ahead of me bought two.

After my first 36 or so hours with the Pre, I feel comfortable enough that I will keep it. The only really big concern of mine was the battery life. On Saturday, I ran the battery down from 90-ish percent down to below 50% in two hours while I was setting it up and trying out everything. This morning, I intended to buy a spare battery and another charger. However, I decided that I would try to get through one day one a single charge just to see if the battery could be coaxed into making it through the day.

I charged the Pre overnight and unplugged it from the wall around 7 a.m. As I write this it is now around 11:30 p.m. and the battery is at 57%. Admittedly, I used the Pre rather lightly today because I expected the battery life to suck. However, I am now confident that the Pre will survive my normal work day.

I configured my Pre to extend battery life without too many tradeoffs.

  • I disabled wi-fi and bluetooth.
  • I left location services and GPS enabled. But only because I forgot to disable them. I will likely leave these enabled in the future, it doesn’t seem to be too much of a drain.
  • I set e-mail to only check for new mail once per hour

During the course of the day, I checked e-mail about a half dozen times and I left Tweed (the only WebOS twitter client so far) on in the background. Although Tweed was running in the background, I don’t think it queries Twitter’s API unless it is in the foreground.

So bottom line, battery is suitable for every day use if the above caveats are acceptable to you. I’ll probably get another battery just for those rare occasions when I use the phone a lot. Well, that’s a lot to say just about battery life. It is 11:30 so I’ll leave the rest for another day.


Zapatag is a site for reporting cars who have cut you off, parked illegally, or have Darwin award envy. Mind you, no action will be taken because of your report. Zapatag is just a outlet for you to vent your frustration.

Zapatag - Report bad drivers

Zapatag has the pre-requisite mashup of web services to be part of the Web 2.0 crowd including Twitter integration, avatar pics, and a Google map for every license plate. There are a couple hundred license plates listed so far, mostly from Hawaii but a few others scattered around the mainland U.S.

Unsurprisingly, I haven’t used Zapatag as it was intended. I don’t really care enough to warn the Internet of bad drivers. So, I’ve been Zapping interesting license plates or notable vehicles. I include a pic whenever I can. I’m kind of anxious to see if any license plate will become a repeat offender on this site. As of now there hasn’t been a single plate listed by more than one person. There are no names to connect plates with drivers and usually no pics of either the cars or drivers.

One interesting thing I’ve found is that none of the license plates on Zapatag will show up in a search engine unless you type the contents of a license plate in a comment or description field. CORRECTION: Sometimes a plate will picked up in search engines through the Zapatag Twitter feed. I’ve tried searching for plates I’ve zapped in Google, Yahoo, MS Live and Altavista. I’m not sure if this should be called a bug or a feature, but I’m leaning towards “feature”. I bet you’ve never tried Googling your own license plate…but you will now. I’m a bit relieved that my license plates don’t return anything of interest.

All in all, Zapatag looks like a promising toy to add to your collection of wacky websites. If anything, I’ll bet that Tweeting about cars you see on the road will become more entertaining.

Troublesome Google hijacking – redirects results through

So a user at the office tells me that his Google is messed up. And by messed up, I mean the results appear to be legitimate at first glance. If you look closer, the descriptions are accurate, but they link to useless, if not blatantly spammy sites. See screencap below.


This happened around mid-December and all of the usual AV tricks I tried could not find the source of the infection. The search hijacking affected multiple browsers and search engines.

Both IE and Firefox were compromised, but not Google Chrome. It also hijacked search results from Google, Yahoo, and I think MSN Live. Luckily OpenDNS’s search was clean. I made the user use these workarounds up until this afternoon.

Today I noticed that this search hijacking was running a bit slower than usual and I saw that search results were waiting on something from IP address I searched for malware originating from that IP and came across this blog entry.

Deleting C:\windows\system32\wdmaud.sys has worked so far. The user’s search results are now clean. I recommend uploading any suspect file in the C:\windows\* through Virus Total before deleting it though. Better to be safe than sorry, especially when fiddling with the Windows system folder.

I’m now running more malware scans on the infected computer. This time using Malwarebytes in addition to SuperAntiSpyware. Superantispyware didn’t catch anything the last time I ran it, but Malwarebytes found a similar piece of malware in C:\WINDOWS\system32\sysaudio.sys, and Virustotal confirmed it.

This piece of malware was harder than usual to diagnose because searching for “Google hijack” didn’t return any useful results. Hopefully this little post will push this Google Hijacking description a little higher up in the ranking. And kudos to the Podnutz Podcast for turning me on to Malwarebytes.

It’s the Great Server, Chuck and Kreg! – A Friends in Tech Halloween Special

Slated for release on October 24th, it’s the annual Technology-themed Halloween Special presented by Friends in Tech.

“It’s the Great Server Chuck and Kreg!”

Convinced that the Great Server will be making its yearly appearance, Kreg refuses to go Trick-or-Treating with the rest of the FiT gang and instead pulls an all-nighter waiting for the Great Server to “…rise up out of the server farm and brings technology to all the good geeks around the world.”

Written by Douglas E. Welch and the Members of Friends in Tech

Child Safety Online Flier

FiT Child Safety Online Flier

A friend of mine has put together an educational flier on resources parents and caregivers can use to ensure that their children use the Internet safely. Topics range from cyber-bullying, blogging and street smarts for web surfing. There are also links to the popular free security software packages and office suites. And, last but not least, there are links to a couple of family friendly podcasts.

Link to flier