There are 2 key issues that have been encountered running Lightroom and Photoshop on Windows 10 photographers need to know about.Microsoft unleashed Windows 10 on the world the last week of July in 2015. As of the end of August 2015 the new operating system has been installed on 75 million PCs throughout the world, putting it on pace to be one of the most successful launches of Windows in history. Although off to a great start, at this point my advice for photographers is to wait on installing Windows 10 on the PC so important to your business. I have personally installed Windows 10 on 4 of my 5 PCs and think that Microsoft has something really good here. But I haven't yet upgraded my PC where I do my photo editing because there are some issues running Lightroom and Photoshop.
Hence, this article isn't my review of how Lightroom and Photoshop run on Windows 10. Stay tuned to the website and podcasts on the Improve Photography network to get that information sometime in the next few months. Instead, I thought I would make sure some helpful information from the technical community that may provide solutions to any of the photographers out there who have taken the leap and installed the upgrade.
Issue 1: AMD Graphics Cards
For some time now, my recommendation for photographers is to avoid AMD (formerly ATI) graphics cards. To be clear, I don't have anything against AMD cards. My recommendation to avoid them is not because AMD cards are poorly manufactured or are technically inferior to NVIDIA. Rather, the issue for photographers (and videographers) has to do with how poorly Adobe products support AMD graphics cards. Things go more smoothly if you use NVIDIA graphics cards with Adobe products – specifically Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere. I expect this to change over time because AMD is a big player in the market and can't be ignored.
Adobe in 2015 finally started to pay attention to leveraging the power of graphics cards in Lightroom. Thank goodness they also included a switch in the preferences of Lightroom to disable it because as of the date of this article for most PCs (and even Mac) it causes problems. So I also currently recommend you do that very thing and disable the graphics processing in Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC 2015 (even 2015.1.1). In fact, this is a CRITICAL thing to do if you have an AMD graphics card and you want to upgrade to Windows 10.
Adobe has stated in this technical forum: “Customers have reported issues with graphics acceleration in Lightroom CC/Lightroom 6 & Camera Raw 9.0 with a specific range of AMD graphics cards on Windows (64-bit only).” The specific range of cards that have the issue Adobe believes is limited to AMD Radeon HD 5xxx to 8xxx Series running driver versions 14.501.1003 & 14.502.1014.
However, based on other posts in the forums it seems this is a much worse problem in Windows 10 and may not be limited to just these AMD graphics cards. Customers are reporting that with things working fine in Windows 7 and Windows 8, when they upgrade to Windows 10 they can no longer open Lightroom without having it crash. It isn't just slow, it crashes. In many cases it crashes so fast that they can't actually go into the preference settings and disable the graphics acceleration. Adobe believes it is due to the latest version of the graphics driver being installed when Windows 10 is installed and the real fix has to come from AMD providing new graphics drivers. That is supported by the fact that I have seen issues with non-photographers who are running Windows 10 with AMD cards – meaning they aren't even trying to use Lightroom or Photoshop and they are having issues. AMD did release new drivers on 8/5/2015 that has been reported to improve but not fix things.
OK, so if you have and AMD graphics card in your computer you may have a problem, so what can you do about it. In the same technical forum post Adobe has provided the following on how to “fix” the problem:
- Uncheck “Use Graphics Processor” in the Preferences… > Performance tab (Lightroom) or Preferences dialog (Camera Raw). This will disable graphics acceleration when adjusting images in Camera Raw and in Lightroom’s Develop Module
- Manually disable the graphics processor
- Install the older AMD ”14.4” driver from April 2014
Once gain, my recommendation for everyone running Lightroom CC/6 (PC or Mac) is to disable graphics acceleration regardless of which graphics card in your computer because it just isn't fully baked into the software yet. But this is an especially important thing to do BEFORE you upgrade to Windows 10 if you have an AMD graphics card. What if you have done the upgrade and didn't disable the checkbox first? Some customers have said that if they get out of the develop module as soon as Lr starts and quickly rush in to uncheck the box before it crashes and then things improve. But some can't even do that. If you run into that situation there is another thing to try:
- Navigate to %appdata%\Adobe\Lightroom\Preferences\Lightroom 6 Preferences.agprefs
- Open the file Lightroom 6 Preferences.agprefs in some kind of a text editor (e.g. notepad.exe)
- Change the following line: “useAutoBahn = true” to “useAutoBahn = false”
- Save and close the file Lightroom 6 Preferences.agprefs
- Launch Lightroom CC/6 again
Issue 2: Can't Open Lightroom Catalog
Can you imagine how scared you would be if when you go to fire up Lightroom after upgrading to Windows 10 you get an error message that says “Unexpected error opening catalog. The catalog could not be opened due to an unexpected error.” Even worse, you try to open up some of the backups Lightroom automatically made of your catalog and get the same error! Well, don't panic. This one is totally fixable!
The problem here is that in some cases depending on your settings before the upgrade, when you upgrade Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10 the permissions of the files in your home directory got changed. There are two possible ways to fix this problem if you run into it. The first is to run Lightroom as an Administrator:
- Open the Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Lightroom folder.
- Right-click on the Lightroom.exe file.
- Choose Run as administrator.
I don't recommend fixing the issue this way because it is not addressing the root problem. I think you should change the permissions on the files so that your normal user account on the computer can use them appropriately:
- Open Windows Explorer (Windows+e is keyboard shortcut) and select the folder your catalog is in (by default, this is your Pictures/Lightroom folder).
- Right-click on the folder containing your catalog files.
- Choose Properties > Security > Edit.
- Select your user name in the Group or user names section. and click Full Control under Permissions.
- Click Apply, then click OK out of all the dialog boxes.
After you give your user full permissions to the files in that folder you should be able to launch Lightroom without the error.
Warning: Wacom Tablets
I am seeing a lot of mention in forums that people are seeing issues with Wacom tablets in Windows 10. It isn't reliable information so far, so I didn't want to include it as a known issue, but if you use a Wacom tablet there is enough chatter going on you will want to avoid upgrading right now. I think all photographers should hold off so far, but especially if you use a Wacom device.
Same Old Problem: MSVCR110.dll Missing
I didn't want to include this as a significant issue specific to Windows 10 because this has been a common issue running a lot of software on Windows over the years. Although it does seem to be something that crops up related to and upgrade to Windows 10 where it wasn't problem before and has become a problem after. The error you get is:
“The program can't start because MSVCR110.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.”
Microsoft has long offered a solution to this problem, which is not specific to running Lightroom and Photoshop:
“This error appears when you want to run a software which requires the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable 2012. The redistributable can easily be downloaded on the Microsoft website as x86 or x64 edition. Depending on the software you want to install, you need to install either the 32 bit or the 64-bit version.”
You can get that at https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/download/details.aspx?id=30679
Just so you don't have to wait on my to write articles on the topics, the place you should go and search for solutions to issues is https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family. This is one of the primary resources I use to get my information. It is also a place to provide feedback to Adobe on these products. Adobe employees follow the forums and use it for input in what issues they need to address in future updates. So if you have a big problem with something, search for solutions there and if you can't find one share the details of your problem with Adobe so we can all benefit.
Bonus Tip: Performance and Bandwidth Improvement
As I mentioned above, with the 4 PCs I have upgraded to Windows 10 I am a fan. Microsoft has to hit a home run with Windows 10, and early indication is that they are well on their way to doing just that. I think it performs better than Windows 8 (although I am still gather metrics and can't say definitively) and the UI is MUCH better for the average user. I think the end result of the upgrade is better than any upgrade of Windows I have ever done in the past. Meaning that I don't feel like I need to blow away the installation of Windows after the upgrade and do a fresh install just to make things run as they should. However, the upgrade process itself wasn't seamless on two of my PCs, which I will detail more in my official review once I actually upgrade my photo editing machine.
The reason I bring up the upgrade process here is that Microsoft has done something with Windows 10 that they have never done before. If you “reserved” your copy of Windows 10 it all of the bits needed to do an upgrade were “trickled” down to your PC slowly over time until it had it all. Once it was all there the upgrade app notifies you it is ready to do the upgrade. This is the point where on 2 of my PCs it didn't go well and I had to manually download the ISO from Microsoft and install from there. Anyway, if the process works like Microsoft designed it to, after the upgrade those bits you downloaded are then used to slowly provide them to other people who want the upgrade over the Internet. It is something called peer-to-peer sharing, similar to how BitTorrent works. The good news is it is configurable. The bad news is that it is on by default! I wish Microsoft hadn't turned it on by default, but I can see that they really didn't have a lot of choice here because default is king and if people had to enable it nobody would.
Nothing else on your PC is being shared over the Internet by default, and it really isn't going to consume much of your computer resources, but I personally want to make sure Lightroom and Photoshop have everything I can give them. More likely there could be an impact to your upload bandwidth that ISPs are so stingy with, and this will take some of that so here is how you can disable this “feature:”
- Search for “Check for updates” in the Start menu.
- Under “Windows Update” choose “Advanced options.”
- Under “Choose how updates are installed” click “Choose how updates are delivered.”
- Disable the toggle under “Updated from more than one place.”
About the Author
Jeff Harmon is the hobbyist editor of this site and the technology geek of the Improve Photography network. He writes and edits articles that apply to hobbyist photography along with all kinds of nerdy topics. He frequently joins the Improve Photography Roundtable podcast and hosts the Photo Taco podcast on the Improve Photography network. He is a hobbyist photographer himself, living in Herriman, Utah (suburb of Salt Lake City). He loves landscape photography and does family photo shoots as well. You can check out his portfolio at https://jhpics.zenfolio.com.