Jul 202015
 

Lightroom won’t import ANYTHING

What if the tools fail © Adam Marelli

What if the tools fail?  Simon from our workshop shoot at violin makers Hayn & Hayn in Berlin.  © Adam Marelli

Before the last workshops in Berlin and London, I needed to buy a new laptop, download Lightroom 6, and pray to the photo-gods that all would be well abroad.  Half way through the Berlin Workshop there was a problem.  Lightroom would not see any images when I tried to import.  I could bring up the import window, see my SD card, external drive and pictures on my computer, but EVERYTHING was grayed out.  Oh dear god what do I do?

Lightroom Import  when it is working properly looks like this.

Lightroom Import when it is working properly looks like this.

THE PROBLEM
If you have the same problem as I did, the issue is that you:

  1. Click the Import button
  2. The Import screen comes up
  3. All of your files, drives, or SD cards are grayed out and zero images show up in the center panel
  4. You start hyperventilating

I did what you are supposed to do in that situation. I rolled up on the floor and commenced crying. : ) Just kidding…David Farkas and I searched the Net first because many Lightroom glitches are known and documented online.  Chances are someone else has already been through the problem and published the answer.  This is one of the upsides of the Internet.  There are entire communities of people who would like to help you avoid the problems they encountered.  But what happens when the problem you are having is not coming up online?  If you have ever called Adobe Support, you already know that a third colonoscopy, a trip to the DMV, or a 12 hour flight next to a screaming baby sounds like more fun than calling Adobe.

Stepping outside for a second to clear my head, I noticed that the meeting room next to ours read “Welcome Adobe.”  As luck would have it, there was an Adobe meeting next door to the workshop.  Now, Adobe is a huge company, I thought, “What are the odds that this is the Lightroom team?”  When a guy in a tan sport coat walked towards the room, I asked him, “You don’t happen to do anything with Lightroom do you?”

He said,”Depends, what’s the issue?”

Standing next to me was the head of the Adobe Creative Suite.  There is not a better guy in all of Adobe I could have bumped into.  We showed him the problem, asked if he had seen it before, and with the BEST customer service response I’ve ever heard, he said,”Why don’t you give us the computer and we will work on it.”  Talk about hands on quality control.  He took the computer into the other room and went to work.

NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE
They had not seen the issue I was having before and they tried a number of fixes, more than I can list here.  They fired a few emails back to the team on the West Coast of the US, so we needed to wait overnight.  Fortunately we were all staying at the same hotel, so we could reconnect over breakfast.  In the morning, they had an answer and a list of instructions to follow.

Praying for Solutions © Adam Marelli

Praying for Solutions © Adam Marelli

THE SOLUTION
After re-installing Lightroom and a few other attempts did not fix the issue, they recommended we try the following:

STEP 1
Start Lightroom CC 2015 with clean user preference:
  1. Press and hold the Shift+Option keys when double-clicking on the Lightroom application icon to launch it.
  2. Lightroom will show you a dialog asking whether you want to “Start Normally” or “Reset Preferences”. Click “Reset Preferences” to start Lightroom with a clean user preferences.
 STEP 2
Start Lightroom CC 2015 with clean presets:
  1. Launch Lightroom CC 2015.
  2. Go to Menu Lightroom>Preferences to bring up the user preference dialog.
  3. Go to the Presets tab, under Location, click on “Show Lightroom Preset Folder…” button.
  4. In the Mac OSX Finder, rename the highlighted “Lightroom” Lightroom preset folder to “Lightroom.original”.
  5. Relaunch Lightroom.

STEP 3

Smile, because all is well with the world and Lightroom works again.

Hopefully you do not encounter this issue, but if you do, I hope this article helps or that you bump into Adobe like I did.  And if you are in NYC I look forward to seeing you at my seminar on Saturday “How to make a photo series.”

AM_LOGO-Lightroom-Small

 

  26 Responses to “Lightroom won’t import ANYTHING”

  1. Man! These set of coincidences could send ‘Fargo’ to a disco ( I am still shaking my head in disbelief). Life is strange and wonderful.

  2. You are THE MAN!
    I owe you a beer…or twenty.
    You just gained another subscriber.

  3. When you reset the presences what did you loose catalogs, images, presets? Thanks for the information!

  4. With this reset did you loose your catalogs, images or presets?

    • Michelle,

      Everything in the catalog was fine. I dont use presets so there was nothing to use there. Had to change the name template at the top. All in all not bad, just frustrating.

      Best-AM

  5. Thank you. Saved my night.

  6. Worked fine apart from losing Publish Services to Smugmug. Nameplate was OK !

    Then a few days later it happens again !

    Been using LR since the start & never had this issue before.

    Start again.

    Thanks for the tip though it was frustrating to say the least.

    Regards

    Terry

  7. Thanks for posting this. Had it happen tonight, and your solution was perfect. Got me running again. Thanks again!

  8. Hello, any way someone knows how to do all these steps on a PC?
    Thanks

    • Dear Carmen,

      I am not sure what to do for PC’s.

      But if you send this article to Adobe Support, they might be able to advise you.

      Best-AM

  9. As all these people have previously stated, YOU’RE THE MAN.

  10. It’s important that you tell everyone that lightroom will ask you for a serial number after performing all these steps -___-

  11. Thank you so much! For some reason, my Lightroom keeps having this problem every now and then. I’ve used your method multiple times!

  12. Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!!!

  13. Another Satisfied Customer…YOU ROCK!!!!!

  14. The problem I am having is still present. As soon as I try to import or sync and folders lightroom crashes. has anyone seen this before and know of a solution..

  15. By the way I am running
    Lightroom version: 5.7.1
    Operating system: Windows 8.1 Home Premium Edition
    Version: 6.3 [9600]
    Application architecture: x64
    System architecture: x64
    Logical processor count: 8
    Processor speed: 2.3 GHz
    Built-in memory: 16275.5 MB

  16. I had the same problem. It was because it suspected duplicates. All you have to do is uncheck “don’t import suspected duplicates” under file handling on the right and BOOM it works! You can now import.

  17. See my solution below….

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