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Something Acting Weird? Try Resetting Lightroom CC’s Preferences

This is something we do on a regular basis in Photoshop as soon as things start acting wonky, we replace Photoshop’s preferences file and about 90% of the time, that fixes the problem. Luckily, there’s a keyboard shortcut that use to replace Photoshop’s prefs on launch, and as of Lightroom CC 2015 (this also works for Lightroom Classic) Adobe added that functionality to Lightroom.

To replace Lightroom’s prefs, first quit Lightroom. Now just hold Shift-Option (on Windows it’s Shift-Alt thanks Rob Sylvan) and restart Lightroom. Keep holding them down and the dialog below will appear.

Click “Reset Preferences” and it installs a factory fresh set of preferences for you, and the problems you were having right along with it.

Hope you find that helpful (and hope you never even have to use it).






  1. Michael West 12 November, 2021 at 22:50 Reply

    I hadnt thought of doimg something so simple as relaunching with new….uncorrupted preferences

    Thank you so much.


  2. Ronny 7 April, 2019 at 18:46 Reply

    Recently acquired Lightroom CC and successfully downloaded on to my IMac.
    Followed tutorials but cannot see the module toolbar it describes that includes Library. This is crucial to the functioning of the whole app.
    Please help me to find it?

  3. Dawn Repetto 24 January, 2019 at 09:05 Reply

    I am digitising some documents using Lightroom 6. My camera will only let me take photos to Lightroom using manual focus. When I put it on automatic focus it wont take any photos. What am I doing wrong?

  4. Amber 19 October, 2018 at 19:23 Reply

    When I try the reset, the window in this tutorial does not show. Instead, the Adobe Lightroom Properties window shows up. How can I reset my preferences?

  5. Lenny Hartley 7 February, 2017 at 19:19 Reply

    LR 5.7.1 my mouse on my mac battery were running low and it went haywire one night and starting tracking all over the screen when I was was using LR since then in the develop module the exposure/contrast/highlights do not change when I move the sliders, the numbers change on the slider but the picture doesn’t change. I have deleted the preferences file and catalogue file to no avail. any idea how I can get back to factory defaults without reinstalling the whole program?

  6. Mike ONeill 15 October, 2016 at 20:25 Reply

    I don’t see it mentioned above, but when I’m working in Lightroom and move an image to Photoshop, depending how long i’m in PS, sometimes I will loose some functions of my Apple wireless keyboard, I still have mouse functions, and when I go back into LR my keyboard will not work at all. I have to restart to get my keyboard back. Ideas or Suggestions?

  7. Alexander Glucina 13 October, 2016 at 20:50 Reply

    When I make a power window there is somehow presets built in, so when I make it the exposure is all the way down. Anyone know how to change this?

  8. Cher 8 August, 2016 at 09:00 Reply

    I have reset preferences a couple times. I am still having issues with LR CC with radial filter, gradient filter amd the brush as well.
    When I attempt to use the brush to lighten a face…..it will expose the entire picture instead.
    The Gradient filter wants to go vertical instead of horizontal and I can’t change it…..This started with the last update. How do I remove the update?

  9. Linda Artley 2 April, 2016 at 10:38 Reply

    I am currently having a weird problem in LR CC. I use Windows 10. Everything was working wonderfully in LR and Topaz. As I finished an edit and clicked ok in Topaz to return my edit back to LR it does not show up there. If I click on “Show in Explorer” the photo is there but I need it to come to LR so I can finish it and also save it as a jpeg. It is a tiff in explorer. I reset the preferences to no avail. Could anyone help me with this problem…PLEASE!

  10. art 10 June, 2015 at 15:58 Reply

    I’m having similar issues with the whole window or image ‘flashing’ on and off as I make edits with brushes and other tools. Very annoying. Never happened until I moved to CC. Sure hope Adobe fixes this soon.

  11. Sue 10 June, 2015 at 08:27 Reply

    Hi Tyle

    I will try what you suggested.

    Nfore As I do not have any of my hundreds of photos in Dng I am not keen to convert some photos I am working on to DNG – on that score hopefully Adobe shoots the bug sooner than later


  12. Colin 9 June, 2015 at 13:47 Reply

    Lots of people suggest this sort of thing as if there’s no downside: Delete all your cookies! Kill your preferences! Reinstall your browser! But of course you’re gambling with your time, at least.

    How much work do you guys have to go through to recreate your prefs the way you like? Do you keep a list written somewhere to make it easier to reconfigure them?

    Thanks for this resource!

  13. Joe Schmidt 9 June, 2015 at 09:31 Reply

    I have Lightroom on a few systems with no problems. One system has the problem that when I click on FILL in the upper left of Lightroom the image goes out of focus. Could resetting it fix the problem? Or is it something else?

  14. Skeptic 9 June, 2015 at 07:03 Reply

    “Wonky”. That’s a technical term for “I’m staying with 5.7 until they get things unwonked.”

  15. Sue 9 June, 2015 at 06:47 Reply

    i have Lightrom CC . Whenever I use external editors e.g Nik software, Macphun software and then return to Lightroom to continue editing Lightrrom becomes very weird. Every time I begin new edits Lightroom flashes during the new edits. these edits are either removed when using the masking brush or the gradient filter or lost And I have to start again on the edit.

    from the forums in Photoshop there share quite a few people with the same issues.

    Would love some assistance.


    • lyle 9 June, 2015 at 08:56 Reply

      This is a acknowledged problem at Adobe. If you bring your image back from whatever processed it, exit LR and come back in your edits will then stick. It’s about editing in the same session as the external file was created. I sent files as part of debugging it, but have not received a date on a release. I’m expecting a dot release soon to contain it, because it is a pain to get out and back in all the time. After starting LR again – you won’t have the issue, nor if you just turn of automatic writes to the XMP in the Edit | Library Catalog manual.

    • nfore 9 June, 2015 at 14:12 Reply

      Re Sue’s comment: It’s a nasty bug. Try converting the problem photo to DNG. Worked for me. Adobe says to turn off “write changes to XML” but that is not working for everyone. At least they are aware of the issue and are working on a fix. None too soon!

      • Dennis Zito 9 June, 2015 at 19:14 Reply

        I’ve had this problem that Sue has since version 3! No fix yet!!! I won’t hold my breath that a fix is coming soon. I’ve done all the so called work arounds, with no success. My wacom tablet acts weird also … still waiting for that fix. I think I’m done with LR for now. I don’t have these problems with PS-CC14 so I’ll start using ACR and move right into PS. Works better for my workflow anyway.


    • fixisin 16 June, 2015 at 14:04 Reply

      This issue with losing edits to TIFF files returned by Nik et al – It’s fixed in the release of 6/16. You can turn on xml files and it all behaves as before – at least in my case. (I’m actually Lyle – I’m getting caught in a spam filter so I’m using a different name).

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