P: Photoshop won't open because scratch disks are full

New Here ,
Jan 19, 2018 Jan 19, 2018

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I am running Photoshop CC on my MacBook Air with macOS Sierra. Every time I attempt to open Photoshop through any means, the following message appears: "Could not initialize Photoshop because the scratch disks are full", and Photoshop does not open. I tried clearing space from my Mac in general including several GB worth of apps and removing several cache files, but nothing seems to work. I also tried holding down the command and option keys to reveal the Scratch Disk Preferences, and it lets me select the Startup and MacIntosh HD. Again, nothing worked. Anyone know how to fix this message, and/or clear scratch disk space?Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 8.36.51 PM.png

 

{Moderator note: Edited the thread title PS-65057}

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

New Here , Dec 02, 2017 Dec 02, 2017

This is super late, but for anyone else who runs into this issue...Similar thing happened to me. Do you make new files by pixel size or by inches? I usually go by pixels (ex: 2500x3000 or something like that), but I apparently I had accidentally switched to inches and it would only let me max the numbers to 1000. Went back to pixels and it all worked out!

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Adobe Employee , May 05, 2021 May 05, 2021

Hi all,

 

We're sorry for the scratch disk issue. Take a look at the following troubleshooting article which can help you to resolve the "Scratch disk is full" error: Troubleshoot scratch disk full errors in Photoshop

 

Please have a look and let us know if that helps.

 

Thanks,

Mohit

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Explorer ,
Jan 25, 2020 Jan 25, 2020

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I googled "set app to open as administrator by default," and this answer solved my problem:

 

How to Always Run Apps as Administrator
  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. In the All Apps list, scroll down and find the app you want to change (Photoshop).
  3. Right-click on the app's name and go to More > Open file location.
  4. File Explorer will open. ...
  5. Click on Properties and select the Shortcut tab.
  6. Select Advanced.
  7. Finally, mark the checkbox next to Run as administrator.

Now Photoshop runs as administrator by default, and sees all of my drives.

Hope this helps you, too!

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New Here ,
Aug 27, 2020 Aug 27, 2020

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But running the photoshop as an admin prevents me from dragging a picture to photoshop.

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New Here ,
Aug 05, 2022 Aug 05, 2022

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This worked for me, running Photoshop as an administrator gave me the choice to select drives.

 

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New Here ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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Photoshop keeps telling me that my scratch disk is full, I have checked it and I have 56.66gb free on my mac so I am slightly confused as to how much space is actually needed for photoshop to fully function. Can anyone help???

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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What are your Performance and Scratch Disk Preferences settings?

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/optimize-photoshop-cc-performance.html

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Contributor ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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Do You have more than one partition?

Check in scratch disk settings, where You have setted scratch disk, and add maybe second partition (which have that 56,6GB) and then try again.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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And check AT THE TIME OF THE ERROR MESSAGE and before clicking OK whether the free space is actually used. 50GB is not so much.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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Yes you need to check the free space while the message is being displayed.  I have seen Photoshop use over 120GB of scratch space on my machine.  It depends one what you do how much space Photoshop will use. When you close Photoshop down Photoshop will return all scratch space it used back to free space.

JJMack

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New Here ,
Mar 20, 2017 Mar 20, 2017

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Hi,

what should we do in such case?

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Advocate ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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If you work with really large file - it's common to use your disk as additional magazine instead of RAM.

If you see message about Scratch Disk - no way - you will lost your work. It means your machine have not enougth memory to run and savbe your artwork. Sorry - it's true.

But,

If you see this message try to go to Edit menu and choose Purge optin. Purge All can help you to save your work (maybe)

Simply

You have very large image, many layers (Smart objects) and full memory usage

Pawel

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People's Champ ,
Jan 09, 2017 Jan 09, 2017

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Scratch disk is a fixed size on your hard drive. So while you may indicate you have 56 GB free space on your hard drive, there is no correlation to what PS is actually using.

Like others have indicated you are going to have to increase your scratch disc size to compensate for the larger files you are working with.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 10, 2017 Jan 10, 2017

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The original poster does not seem to have a lot more to say on the issue so far.

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LEGEND ,
Mar 20, 2017 Mar 20, 2017

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In such a case look at details. How much space is available? Does it really fill up? Unless you have a file accidentally too large, add disk space or free some. It's your computer, be in charge of it.

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New Here ,
Dec 02, 2017 Dec 02, 2017

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This is super late, but for anyone else who runs into this issue...Similar thing happened to me. Do you make new files by pixel size or by inches? I usually go by pixels (ex: 2500x3000 or something like that), but I apparently I had accidentally switched to inches and it would only let me max the numbers to 1000. Went back to pixels and it all worked out!

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New Here ,
Jul 06, 2018 Jul 06, 2018

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Thank you!! I had done the same thing (cm instead of pixels) and could not figure out why a blank 1920x1080 file would be using 50GB... Silly mistake but did not think to check!

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 13, 2020 Aug 13, 2020

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Saved me, too. Thank you! 

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New Here ,
May 19, 2022 May 19, 2022

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Thank you! This saved me!

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Community Beginner ,
May 23, 2016 May 23, 2016

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I am finding conflicting information regarding the use of an SSD for Photoshop scratch disks. I recently purchased an OWC 240 GB external drive for use as a scratch disk. Is this a good idea? Do I need this much space for most Photoshop work, or would I do as well to partition the drive into two 120 GB drives, with one for scratch, one to bcking work in progress? Thanks much.

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May 23, 2016 May 23, 2016

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Hi ThomasLuth ,

It is recommended to keep Scratch disks  on a different drive than the one your operating system uses.

You can partition the new drive and if required assign the second partition to Photoshop in future as well.

See Optimize performance Adobe Photoshop CC

Regards,

Akash

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 23, 2016 May 23, 2016

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Hi Thomas,

I personally don't recommend SSDs for use as scratch disks. SSDs have a limited number of "writes" to each data cell, and using as a scratch disk will cause premature failure of the drive. SSDs are better suited to be your OS disk, where you load your programs once and read many times, without making a huge amount of changes.

Mike

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 23, 2016 May 23, 2016

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Ah, well, I just advised another poster to put everything (OS/apps/scratch) on a 500GB SSD.

I've no idea what the situation is with SSD wear. I have never experienced a disk failure, ever, for the simple reason that I replace them as space requirements grow. And that happens very frequently.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 20, 2016 Jun 20, 2016

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Hi, @mhoffman2001 this is useful. I have what I think is quite a newbie question. I have been using Premiere for a few weeks only, basically infant daughter videos. so I am low on demand but of course, I like to play with "Advanced features". I have two basic questions.

1. I got a Samsung T3 500gb ssd external over USB 3 (it has USB C interface, but I don't have a cable handy to use the laptop USB C port), which I understand is among the fastest external drives in the market. my question is, what should I put in the SSD to achieve better Premiere Performance, a) my media files (video footage) or b) leave it empty as scratch disk (putting aside the reliability issue you mention). my laptop is an Asus Zenbook Pro 501, i7 5700HQ, GeForce 960m, 16Gb RAM DDR4, with an internal 512gb that has read/write speeds north of 1.5Gb/s (Crystal Disk Mark)

2. you mention not to use SSD as scratch. but I understand spinning HDDS max out at about 150Mbs read speed. in general, what is the minimum speed for the external disk to make it worth it to use as scratch (vs just using the OS internal SSD as scratch too)?

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 14, 2017 Apr 14, 2017

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I do not think that should be a worry (burning out your SSD) check out this torture test.
The SSD Endurance Experiment: They're all dead - The Tech Report - Page 1

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 14, 2017 Apr 14, 2017

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/Michael+J.+Hoffman  wrote

Hi Thomas,

I personally don't recommend SSDs for use as scratch disks. SSDs have a limited number of "writes" to each data cell, and using as a scratch disk will cause premature failure of the drive. SSDs are better suited to be your OS disk, where you load your programs once and read many times, without making a huge amount of changes.

Mike

Is that still true Mike?  I thought that was not so much the case nowadays.   I wonder how many read and write operations the operating system does on your boot drive compared to Photoshop's use of the Scratch drive.   A recent test I did (in response to a question on this forum) seem to indicate limited use of the scratch file.

Noel Carboni uses a single six SSD raid 0 array for _everything_ and says it flies!  Plus things have changed so much in the last year or so, with M.2 drives capable of 3.5Gb/s.  When I get round to my new build, I intend using a 1Tb M.2 drive for OS, apps and scratch space, and 64Gb of the fastest RAM I can find, and I also want to phase out all my mechanical drives because I have had a good few reliability issues with them.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 15, 2017 Apr 15, 2017

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Trevor, I don't know for sure. I guess, using it as a scratch disk, your exposure in the case of drive failure is minimal, so the risk is low. In that case, I think my original statement is probably overly cautious. In the study cited by jmichelli​ above, the drives under test lasted a long time... then failed suddenly and irreparably. If this happened to a scratch drive, with no data stored on it, I suppose you could move on with little impact other than to work in process.

When this happens to a drive containing data, you'd better have a backup. Of course, this is equally true for mechanical hard drives, which can also fail without warning. So at the end of the day, with a good backup plan in place, you could well enjoy a better experience with full SSDs in your system.

Just one word of advice, quoting from the study above:

"If you write a lot of data, keep an eye out for warning messages, because SSDs don't always fail gracefully. Among the ones we tested, only the Intel 335 Series and first HyperX remained accessible at the end. Even those bricked themselves after a reboot. The others were immediately unresponsive, possibly because they were overwhelmed by incoming writes before attempted resuscitation."

Writing a lot of data would definitely be a characteristic of drives used as scratch volumes. If you're editing video, or working on huge files in Photoshop, you could easily generate several Gb of writes in a single session. This adds up quickly, but it would still take a long time to hit the hundreds of Terabytes observed in the testing above.

Perhaps we could summarize by saying:

1. Get an SSD from a good source, and get the best you can afford based on independent testing.

2. Have a solid backup plan (Peter Krogh's 3-2-1 backup strategy is my mantra).

3. Pay attention to drive status, and watch for changes. Change indicates developing issues.

By by the way, for monitoring and "preening" drives, I recommend SpinRite from grc.com - run on level 2 for SSDs. Spinrite can help the drive recognize its own problem areas proactively, and can give you a good baseline of data from which to evaluate future drive behavior and detect imminent problems.

Mike

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