Lightroom displays gray thumbnails or the error: "Lightroom encountered an error when reading from its preview cache and needs to quit. Lightroom will attempt to fix this problem the next time it launches."

If restarting Lightroom does not fix the issue, remove the preview folder (Windows) or preview file (Mac OS).

In Windows:

  1. Exit out of Lightroom.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contains your Lightroom catalog. The default location is in the My Pictures/Lightroom folder under your user folder.
  3. Locate and open the [Catalog-name] Previews.lrdata folder. 
  4. Drag the previews.db and root-pixels.db files to the trash.
  5. Restart Lightroom. If you continue to have the same issue. return to the folder you opened in step 2. 
  6. Drag the entire [Catalog-name] Previews.lrdata folder to the trash.
  7. Restart Lightroom.

Note: You do not need to delete the [Catalog-name] Smart Preview.lrdata folder, if one exists. This folder contains smart previews, which are different from previews.

In Mac OS:

  1. Quit out of Lightroom.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contains your Lightroom catalog. The default location is in the Pictures/Lightroom folder under your user folder. 
  3. Locate and drag the [Catalog-name] Previews.lrdata file to the trash.
  4. Restart Lightroom.
Note: You do not need to delete the [Catalog-name] Smart Preview.lrdata folder, if one exists. This folder contains smart previews, which are different from previews.

Note: After you delete the previews, your folders might reopen more slowly while previews are being rebuilt.

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