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February 25, 2009

How to make Nikon Capture NX2 run faster.

Filed under: Photography,Software — Manish Bansal @ 10:14 am
Tags: , ,

To say that Nikon Capture NX (or Capture Nx2) is slow would be an understatement. The reason for its slowness is that it ships with older versions of certain Windows files which it uses. So all we need to do to make it run faster is to install the latest and greatest versions of these files. It really is that simple and it makes a significant difference. But why Nikon doesn’t document it or doesn’t do it by default is beyond me.

Here are the steps (Please read the whole post before proceeding with the install):

1. Download and install Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 with Service Pack 1 from this page on Microsoft’s site. Capture NX2 installer specifies that it needs .NET framework 2.0 but if you install .NET framework 3.5, you do not need .NET Framework 2.0 or any other earlier version.

Note: If you do not want to install .NET Framework 3.5 for any reason and want to use version 2.0 itself, download the latest version of 2.0 with SP1 from this page.

Install updates, if any, through Windows Update (in Internet Explorer). If you already have .NET framework installed (2.0 or later), use Windows Update to get the latest version. Reboot if prompted.

2. Download and install Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package from this page on Microsoft’s site. It’s a very small download (only 4 MB). If you install this, you do not need Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package or any other earlier version. Capture NX2 ships with a very old version of this file (from 2005 or earlier) which is the main reason it runs slow.

3. Reboot your computer.

4. Install Nikon Capture NX (or NX2). If you have already installed it, you do not have to install it again. But if you are doing a fresh install, it’s better if you install it in the end.

5. Enjoy editing.



  1. Dear Manish Bansal

    Your page was very useful for me. I bought a new computer whith XP 64 and i could not install Nikon Capture NX. After installing Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 the problem was solved.
    Thank you for the help.


    Comment by Peter — February 27, 2009 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  2. Hello!
    I had the same extremely (minutes per photo of 15 MB) s-l-o-w NX-2 experience and was about to remove the (officially bought….yes) program from my PC.
    Then when I had my last photoshoot with some models, I just had to adjust the NEF pictures and needed NX-2. With a 300 or more photo’s I could see my retirement running in on me and probably loose a contract as well.
    I frantically looked fo a solution and had a good feeling with your suggestions.
    After following your steps, the program is runnig like Photoshop, Lightroom and the like.
    Many THANKS for this advice. You saved an unhappy man from a nervous breakdown….;-)

    Comment by D.Barends — May 25, 2009 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  3. Manish –

    I was “thisclose” to pitching Nikon Capture NX2 because I couldn’t take the unbelievable slowness of the program. I had recently purchased a Nikon D700 (my “dream camera”) and this software was turning every RAW .NEF photo I took into a nightmare. Thank God your weblog had the answers I needed to make Nikon Capture NX2 a more manageable program. All the best.

    Comment by Chuck Miller — July 18, 2009 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  4. I have tried your fix but still have the problems:

    -can’t see all the thumbnails
    -can’t close it, i need to use task manager,

    any suggestions??


    Comment by david — September 1, 2009 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  5. David,
    Few more details about your system would be very helpful like version of Capture NX, version of Windows etc.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — September 2, 2009 @ 9:49 am | Reply

  6. You can get nikon capture nx2 really cheap from for $119.95

    Comment by Mike t — September 2, 2009 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  7. Manisha, I have tried all the steps you mentioned and it still runs slow. I have a Vista x64 bit OS. I even downloaded Capture NX2.2.2. I am in the trial period and have a month left. I like capture NX2 over say LightRoom 2. But speed is a killer to me. There are things you could do in NX2 is quite unique and very good. LR2 can get you there but it is difficult. Any thoughts on how to speed up the load time of thumbnails, and edited images to appear quickly. Also when you project image on a full screen and zoom, it is incredibly slow as it sharpens blocks by blocks and takes several seconds if not minutes. My laptop has Intel Core2 Duo T6400 processor with 4G RAM. I don’t think power processor is an issue. My other applications are running very well, like LR2. Any thoughts and suggestion?

    Comment by BP — November 7, 2009 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  8. @BP:
    Nikon has not yet certified Capture NX2 to run on Vista x64 or Windows x64. They recently issued an advisory saying that they would be issuing a new version soon which will be officially supported on 64-bit OSes. Until then, it’s best to stick with 32-bit OSes.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — November 9, 2009 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  9. Thanks Manish! NX2 is such an amazing program but can be so frustratingly slow, sometimes. We all appreciate the help.

    Comment by Mike Hendren — December 30, 2009 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

  10. Any ideas on speeding up NX2 on a mac? I so want to utilize NX2, but my goodness, it’s slow and freezes up so often while crunching away…
    I got pretty excited about a potential fix, but seems to only apply to windows based machines.

    Comment by RA — January 14, 2010 @ 9:05 am | Reply

    • @RA:
      Sorry. I can not help you with that as I don’t have a mac.

      Comment by Manish Bansal — January 14, 2010 @ 9:30 am | Reply

  11. Thanks for the great work Manish. Unfortunately in my case it hasn’t solved anything – View NX is awfully slow, almost unusable. I noticed I have a host of older file versions still installed after the upgrade:

    Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1
    Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 French Language pack
    Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2
    Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2 – Language Pack FRA
    Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 2
    Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 2 – Language Pack FRA

    Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

    Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 ATL Update kb973923 – x86 8.0.50727.4053
    Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable

    Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable – x86 9.0.30729.17

    Can the older version now be removed safely without impacting any other applications?

    Comment by Uli — March 11, 2010 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  12. @Uli:
    I do not know whether View NX is affected by this setup or not but you can certainly delete all the older versions. There are some applications which look for a specific version even though a new version may be present. If you delete the older version, those applications will start using the new versions. So yes, you can safely remove the older versions. It’s worth a try.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — March 11, 2010 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  13. Thanks for the tip Manish. In your experience – is there any improvement in performance if you install NX2 on a OS drive and keep images on a physically different data drive? Or should the program and data be on the same drive for best performance?

    Comment by Jaco — March 16, 2010 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  14. @Jaco:
    It definitely helps to have your cache folder on a different physical drive as long as that other drive itself is fast enough. It doesn’t matter where you keep your images to be edited.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — March 16, 2010 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  15. Thanks, that helps. It is an ASATA drive, and I try to regularly clear the cache. Also re-installed dotNet3.5 as per your instructions, and it seems marginally faster. I suspect though that my machine is in serious need of a total flush and Windows re-install.

    Comment by Jaco — March 16, 2010 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  16. By the way, should one uninstall Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package if 2008 is installed?

    Comment by Jaco — March 16, 2010 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

    • I checked my installed programs and noticed Visual C++ 2005 WAS still installed side by side with 2008. I created a restore point, uninstalled 2005, and restarted the machine. Unfortunately, NX then crashes each time you open an image. I reverted to the earlier restore point, and everything was back to normal. And slow again.

      Comment by Anonymous — May 10, 2010 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  17. Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package is not required if 2008 version is installed so you can safely remove that. I am not sure though whether it’ll pick the later version by default if both are present. In any case, you don’t need the 2005 version. In my experience, the usage of VC++ 2008 instead of 2005 makes a bigger impact than dotnet upgrade.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — March 16, 2010 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  18. After updating to .Net 3.5 sp1 had no problems, I installed a portable HDD on my rig, this also installed Picasa 3, then NX2 slowed to a crawl. After uninstalling Picasa3 I am back to speed.Hope this is of help to someone. Think your blog is great

    Comment by Stu Preston — March 21, 2010 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  19. Here’s a really strange one – I uninstalled NX2, uninstalled Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package, restarted and checked – only Visual C++2008. Then reinstalled NX2, and on checking the installed programmes, guess who was back? Visual C++ 2005. Seems NX installs it.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 17, 2010 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  20. Hi, Manish
    I’m Japanese NX2 nut.
    I’m looking for a way to run faster NX2 for a long time.
    Finaly I find your advise. It has effect for may case & Japanese NX2 users.
    Thank you!!

    Comment by Kaz — June 27, 2010 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  21. Thanks Kaz. I am glad that this post was helpful to you.

    Comment by Manish Bansal — June 27, 2010 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  22. G’day Manish,
    Thank you for your work it has certainly helped me.
    I’m about to buy/build a computer and use it exclusively for photography, editing work with Nikon Capture NX2. Have you any recommmendations in regards to which CPU, RAM & how much and any recomendations for a Graphics card. My present laptop is an Asus M50 with a T9300 (2.5GHz) dual core processor 4 Gb of RAM 1 Gb dedicated to the ATI Radeon HD3650 graphics card running 32 bit Windows7.
    I am intenting to have an under desk tower running Windows7. Does NX2 work any faster/ better under a 64 bit operating system or should you stay with 32bits?
    All the Best

    Comment by Bernie Woodhouse — September 3, 2010 @ 4:35 am | Reply

    • Hi Bernie,
      Your current laptop feels powerful enough to run Capture NX2. Anything more powerful than this may or may not help. The problem is that Nikon doesn’t seem much interested in improving its software to keep up with the latest technologies. See Thom’s comments about NX2 here:


      Comment by Manish Bansal — September 3, 2010 @ 10:21 am | Reply

  23. Thanks Manish
    I’ve read the article and I suppose we wait for NX3 or go elsewhere.
    My problems are two fold;
    1)my laptop is close to being worn out, it has all manner of silly little foibles / crashes & peculiarities.
    2)I don’t feel like learning and paying for another program.
    So a cheap AMD athlon11 processor on a motherboard with intergrated graphics and say 4 Gb of DDR3 RAM for about $400 would work as well as anything?

    Comment by Bernie Woodhouse — September 3, 2010 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  24. You pretty much nailed it with your hardware comments, Bernie. I have been battling for a while with this issue. Then, recently, I uninstalled something on my machine that had a major influence on the speed of NX2. I still don’t know what it was, could be anything from a Photoshop plugin to a different anti-virus. I suspect it came about when I uninstalled Spyhunter. I also installed the upgrade to 2.2.4, and still have to do the 2.2.6 upgrade. But certainly my machine is running more efficiently – a Core Duo 2.7Ghz with 4Gb or ram, XP Pro SP3. I’d suggest you try uninstalling your AV programs progressively, and testing to see if you can spot a difference.

    Comment by Jaco Wolmarans — September 3, 2010 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

  25. Hi Everybody
    I’ve now bought a ASUS 1001PX netbook to replace my laptop 1.66Gz Atom n450 & 1 Gb of Ram XP SP3 (under $400 AUD with a usb hub & a ASUS bluetooth dongle). When away from home; I only need to download photos & transfer to external Hard Drives, being able to access the net & email is a bonus + emailing jpegs. As Nikon View can convert NEF to JPG I installed that plus Nikon Transfer. The netbook did all of the above efficiently. So I thought lets give Capture NX2 a go. I installed a trial version and intrestingly it installed / updated visual c & net 3.5 as per Manish’s recommendations. It runs, slower than on the laptop, but it is usable.I suspect it would run better with 2Gb of RAM, which I may try. The size of the screen whilst producing an aceptable image (color, contrast resolution) limits serious work. At home I have linked it to my 26″ monitor but there are resolution issues I haven’t looked into it in any depth but I suspect the graphics chip doesn’t have the resolution. So my laptop is now on the desk permanently and hopefully that will extend its life by not being bumped, being cooled by a fan and not exposed to dusty enviroments. When its hard drive or whatever dies I have a backup until I sort something out and I can travel several Kilos lighter. The netbook came with trend AV trial version installed seems OK I also have a AVG license and a free copy of CA antivirus was included with the package so I’ll play & compare.
    End result a slow program has probably saved me a lot of $ and lightened my camera kit.
    So thank you all


    Comment by Bernie Woodhouse — September 8, 2010 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  26. Hi,
    I have all the updated packages installed on my machine what you’ve stated above.
    But CNX2 is still horribly slow… What could be the problem..
    Win 7 HP x64,
    4 GB DDR3,
    660 GB HDD
    ATI Radeon 4650 1-GB Graphics
    CNX2 v2.3.2

    Please help

    Comment by Anonymous — March 18, 2012 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

  27. Full Piece of writing

    How to make Nikon Capture NX2 run faster. | This is my cyberhome!

    Trackback by Full Piece of writing — January 17, 2015 @ 1:49 am | Reply

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