Project 365 and Computer Woes

First, here are a few photos from one of the few photo sessions I had earlier last week. If you’d like to read about my computer woes that are discouraging me from more shooting since October, continue reading below the photos. Otherwise, (I understand), you might want to move on to my Project 365 partner Jude’s blog HERE.

Thanks for reading further! Perhaps you will be able to help. Although it seems like when I have computer problems they stump even the techs. When I went for help in late December, the tech at the Apple Store said she couldn’t find anything wrong with my computer. So I’m supposed to just accept Lightroom catalog corruptions every month?

Some quick background information: I use a mid-2011 iMac to which I almost immediately added two 4GB memory cards because Photoshop and Lightroom take a lot of resources and I like to multi task. As I type this, I have four tabs open in my browser and CreativeLIVE is playing in another window in the corner of my screen. I make good use of my 27″ screen. Usually I have more open, such as Mail and Skype, but I’ve been focusing on some fixes suggested by some people in the Apple Support forum this morning. Anyway, the other thing to know of my computer background is that it has always been prone to crash, both programs and whole computer. The upgraded RAM I installed soon after I bought the computer is therefore suspect, although the people helping me this week are focusing on finding and deleting bad programs or files.

I brought my computer in to the Apple Store a couple of times in the early years. Once it led to replacing my EHD. I don’t remember what the other time was about. But my computer continued to crash a few times a month, very randomly and just infrequently enough for me to tolerate it and carry on with my busy life.

If my computer were evil and out to make my life miserable, it figured out how in October. It took a few tries. First my Lightroom catalog just failed a few integrity tests and repaired itself, but then it became permanently corrupted. I had been backing up my catalog, but before I understood a huge problem was on its way, I deleted all but the most recent 5 backups. This maintenance was suggested in something I read a year or two ago, because it’s not necessary to hold on to all of them and they just take up space on the hard drive. So when my first catalog permanently corrupted for the first time in October, I only had a few back-ups which were nearly corrupted also, having failed integrity tests.

I spent November creating a new catalog. It corrupted in December.

During that time I communicated with Victoria Brampton and others at lightroomforums.net and she sent my corrupted catalog to her connection at Adobe who “works magic with catalogs.” But he sent it back saying he couldn’t find anything wrong. Soon after that was the visit to the Apple Store, where, as I mentioned above, the tech couldn’t find anything wrong with my computer. It began to feel ridiculous with the hardware people seeming to blame the software people and vice versa. And so frustrating, because I just want to practice my photography, process my photos, and participate in my photography projects!

Well, one thing the Apple Store tech said is that my RAM was “unbalanced.” Since I upgraded with those two 4GB memory cards, my computer has run on those cards plus the two original 2GB cards that came with the machine. Apparently this could be a problem.  She mentioned it off-handedly — she actually spent more time talking about how Backblaze can be a problem for computers — but I asked her more about it and she suggested running the computer on just the matching pairs and see what happens. So for two weeks at the end of December I removed the 4GB cards.

On the original 2GB RAM cards only, my computer was excruciatingly slow but for two weeks, it never crashed.

On December 29 we removed the the 2’s and put the 4’s in alone. As if to make a clear point, immediately upon restarting the computer Safari crashed. And it crashed a few more times, upon attempting to open it, until I re-restarted the computer. Then other programs crashed almost every day. Last Monday the whole computer crashed. And Friday, after a few failed integrity tests and catalog self-repairs on previous days, my newest LR catalog became irreparably corrupted.

The lady in the tech store had suggested the Crucial website, and I was suspecting the 4GB memory cards were causing problems, since my computer ran fine, just slow, when I removed them. So over the weekend, I decided to get new RAM from Crucial, using their tool to choose compatible cards.

I also posted about the problem in this thread in the Apple Support forum. That has been an exhausting and fruitless endeavor. Well, maybe not fruitless. It hasn’t ended yet. But I’m exhausted. I need a break from this mess. I’m going for a refreshing walk. And I’m not re-reading or editing this, sorry!

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2 comments

  1. So frustrating when technology fails! I had issues with the RAM in my laptop, it was crashing every day at least once. One of the cards was broken. Been fine since I replaced them though, thankfully. I must admit I never liked the advice to only keep recent backups of LR. I usually try to keep one or two from a couple of months back rather than the new ones – hope you can get it all sorted! xx

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