When I am backing up my Lightroom Catalog it freezes on "Optimizing previews catalog." I even let it sit over night and no progress. When I press "Cancel" I have to Force Quit out of Lightroom to get it to finish.

Is something corrupt in my install? Has anyone heard of this before?

I don't know where to start... Removing backups (if so where are they)? Moving the entire library (and recreating all of my collections) to a fresh install?

Is there any way to see what is causing this?


This doesn't sound like an issue with LightRoom itself.

  1. It seems every time you perform a particular operation related to disk operation it freezes.
  2. In particular it stops with your catalog (I assume you are using a single catalog)

I have encountered issues with other programs which exhibit a similar issue (get stuck indefinitely) when the disk itself has issues. When I say issues I mean the disk is showing signs of failing (bad sectors .... etc).

What you can do to rule this possibility out is to:

  1. Check the event logs (in Windows) to see if anything of note pops up (if you're on a Mac you'll need to figure that one out).
  2. Run a S.M.A.R.T tool to see if the disk is reporting errors. An example would be one like this. When run it should report all metrics as green. Most recent drives should support S.M.A.R.T

Make sure you have the most recent version of Lightroom 5. If you do, uninstall and re install Lightroom. Is it the "backup" that is freezing or the "optimize"? Try doing these separately, i.e. just optimize and just backup(with optimize as required). What are your results?

  • I tried doing "Optimize Catalog" separately per your recommendation. It appears its getting stuck there. It has been saying "This may take several minutes" for about 2 hours now.
    – Michele
    Jan 4 '14 at 22:11

Do you have enough RAM? Excessive swapping can create resource starvation for HDD itself. Check your processor, RAM, and paging file utilization over time, and please post the results in a comment.

Also, if your HDD is severely fragmented, it can really cause this slowdown. You should have 30% of free HDD, and you should defragment regularly - maybe this is the reason.

(And, swapping and fragmented HDD - now, that is a major slowdown...)


You could try selecting all the images and "Export to Catalogue", thereby creating a brand new LR catalogue. I don't think (?) you lose your image mods if you do this. Then you can remove the old catalogue that was causing issues. If it works, great. If not, you haven't lost anything.


See my answer here on how to fix catalogue file corruption issue (which drives to frozen backups): https://forums.adobe.com/message/9036459#9036459


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