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Life is never easy, but that does sound a good compromise :-)

In passing, while experimenting with this I find that on my notebook only the area under the drop down menu changes to the new setting until something else is done to the image (such as zoom). Further experimentation shows this applies to all changes made via drop down menus, for example View>Boost Shadows. Also, if the image size is greater than the screen and I drag it around in this situation, only the area where the menu was moves.

This is not a problem on my desktop and no doubt relates to the graphics card used by the notebook (AMD Radion HD 6310). I have the most up to date drivers and DX9 so there is not much more I can do, and it is not too much of a problem as I rarely make adjustments this way. I don't know how many other computers might behave like this but it may be worth adding an extra screen refresh after clearing drop down menus, if that is simple to do.

A further suggestion, now the rating system is sorted out is, having been through and applied ratings (going backwards and forwards a few times), is it practical to carry out batch processes based on those ratings. In particular I am thinking of moving the pictures into different folders. I appreciate this would be a fairly slow process of looking at each XMP, checking the value of the rating and moving the image or not, then proceeding to the next, but this would be much faster than going through and moving them manually, or importing them all into Lightroom and applying filters there. I envisage this being used either at the bottom end to remove, say, all the two star or less images before importing them, in effect discarding them, or moving all the 5 star pictures to be imported preferentially to enable the fastest processing of the very best, again by reducing the time taken to import them to Lightroom.