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LrC Disk Bound on Opening, is there any hope?

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Active Member
Apr 13, 2020
Lightroom Version Number
Lightroom Classic version: 10.4 [ 202108071231-af9219b9 ]
Operating System
  1. macOS 10.15 Catalina
Hi, I know I need a new iMac, I am just waiting (and waiting) for the new 27" to be announced, in the meantime, I am finding that LrC is disk bound (I can hear the disk and have to watch the spinning beachball) for quite a long time every time I open it. I do wonder if it is macOS doing clever things with the fusion drive, like moving things off and on the SSD, if so I will have to live with it.

Are there any obvious things to check I've got setup correctly, to squeeze the last bit out of my very loyal late 2012 iMac?

Thank you for your help
It sounds like your "MacIntosh HD". has run out of space and the Mac is struggling to accommodate the Swapfile and any temporary files (working storage) in the remaining free space on that volume.

You can use an external harddisk drive (EHD) and move some of the data files off the primary disk to free up space on the primary volume. You can even move all or part of your image files that are referenced in your Lightroom Classic catalog. A very large (> 1TB) EHD is around $100USD.
Hi, I perhaps should have added that my 3.1Tb Fusion drive has 1.43Tb free, of the 32Gb of RAM, Memory pressure is Green, Memory Used is 21.72Gb, Cached Files is 10.26Gb and Swap Used is 0 bytes. LrC is open.

Thank you for your help.

Hi, I perhaps should have added that my 3.1Tb Fusion drive has 1.43Tb free, of the 32Gb of RAM, Memory pressure is Green, Memory Used is 21.72Gb, Cached Files is 10.26Gb and Swap Used is 0 bytes. LrC is open.

Thank you for your help.


Then I don’t think “disk bound” is the problem. A 9 year old spinning disk is probably long beyond the typical 6 year life. I hope you have a good current TimeMachine back up handy. That noise that you hear is probably the bearings failing in the Hard Drive. If you can’t replace the iMac, then consider replacing the primary drive.

FWIW, with the advent of the new M1 chip and 24”iMac, Apple discontinued the 21” iMac. There is no indication that a 27” M1 iMac is being considered as 24” sits between 21” & 27”. Apple could produce an M1 iMac larger than 27” but there are no indications that this is being planned.

I got the 24” M1 iMac to replace my 21” iMac. My 21” iMac had replaced my 27” iMac. There have been so many improvements in the iMac since 2012 that you would certainly be happy with a 24” M1 iMac.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Thank you, there is no indication the disk is failing, all rotational disks make a noise and I would never described it as noisy, just that I can hear it. Also, it is not the actual original as it was changed under an Apple replacement program in 2015, though admittedly that still makes it quite old. Let's hope it is not about to fail. As for backups I've two disks alternating continuously with TimeMachine, Backblaze running and I take regular clones using Carbon Copy Cloner onto a third disk.

Whatever it is that LrC is doing is taking it ages to do and I am just trying to work out if there is anything obvious I can check or change.

Thank you for your support.
Yes, as a rule, though it depends what I am doing. If I just open LrC and leave it tends to sound less frantic after 3-4 minutes. I've been watching the disk activity and quite often see LrC reading between 800 & 900 Mb during these first few minutes.

Thank you for your help.

In response to concerns raised previously about the state of the rotational part of my Fusion drive I decided to start in recovery mode and run First Aid - I was pleased that no errors were reported.
Sorry for delay, but just getting to my office now.

This suggestion may not work .... but if we are in last chance territory ... it may do the trick ... This process will not damage your current catalog.

Possible problem. Your catalog database may have a build-up of debris and orphaned indices, references, etc accumulated over a long period. This may give rise to poor performance.

Basically, we want to build a brand new catalog, using your existing catalog as the source.... but NOT moving any of your images. I am also suggesting that you do not bring forward any existing (and maybe corrupt) previews or smart previews. Let Lr rebuild these naturally.

The instructions are on the attached pdf. I will watch out for any queries or feedback. I am around to-day but travelling most of tomorrow.

What time zone are you in. I am in Dublin, Ireland.


  • MoB_LrExportAsCatalog.pdf
    192.6 KB · Views: 169
Hi, I've done that the new catalog does feel a lot quicker and opens without the disk activity, I do have some questions though, if I may?

The Catalog Settings are not the same, for example the backup setting has changed, I assume to the default. Are there other LrC Preferences and Catalog Settings that I might need to double check?

I notice that sync is off, the new catalog is not syncing. What do I expect it to do should I turn sync on, there are a number of things it could do. Will it turn on the Collections that were syncing or remove all the image from the Cloud as the Collections are not set to sync?

On syncing the settings that download images from Lr to LrC are not set, I will have to set this up again.

What should I be doing with Smart Previews? All my images are on my disk, so the new catalog is not creating any Smart Previews, it is just showing me the originals.

Creating a new Catalog by exporting makes a lot of sense and I can see how it might improve performance but I do think there are a number of follow on actions that need to be considered to make the exercise complete.

Thank you for your help.
To be honest, I had not considered the follow up actions.

This is a brand new catalog (but populated with your most recent working catalog), so I am not surprised you may need to re specify Synch and Backup options. I cannot give you a list of other things to consider. I no longer use the synch features and have a dedicated backup regime, so that might be why I did not run into the points raised.

I know there are catalog specific settings, some of the other experts may be able to make a list of these. Also, maybe plug-ins and other stuff might need to be considered.

It is great that the main issue seems to have been addressed and also good that you pointed out that some other housekeeping is needed to get back to your base operating settings.

I welcome any feedback from others on other settings to consider. I will review in a few days time and add any useful bits to the pdf.

Alternatively, Victoria may wish to accumulate the basic points here into a blog / document of her own.

I do believe this should be a built in maintenance function of Lr, maybe with additional settings for uses to confirm Sync, BackUp, Plug-in or other settings, or built in such a way that the settings will be transferred as well.
So, I've not done anything further with the new catalog, I will note\share all the steps I do and how I do them and what I find, if it helps.
Thanks. It will benefit others. I will update the pdf, post the updated version here and send it to Victoria in case she finds it useful.

i am hopeful we might get some other useful comments from the various experts here.
There is an app, that checks everything about a disk or disks connected: it is called DriveDx.
It gives an analysis of the status and quality of all disk(s) used/connected. Try it.
Although it installs a separate driver, it works very well.
Thanks. It will benefit others. I will update the pdf, post the updated version here and send it to Victoria in case she finds it useful.

i am hopeful we might get some other useful comments from the various experts here.
So I typed up my thoughts and actions that were required after I created a new Catalog from my existing Catalog. It is not particularly refined, neither is it a set of comprehensive instructions. I will continue to refine and may update any share worthy revisions going forward.


  • After Creating a new Lightroom Catalog.pdf
    43.5 KB · Views: 154
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