Photoshop on external drive?

Community Beginner ,
Jul 28, 2018 Jul 28, 2018

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Can PS be installed on an external drive without activation issues? My problem needs a bit of explanation.

Last week I signed up for the Photography Plan and installed PS, Bridge and Creative Cloud on my system on the main ssd in my Mac desktop. I activated it and everything was working fine, but a couple of days ago I found I was running out of space on my ssd. I did what seemed sensible - I signed out of PS, copied it and Bridge to an external ssd, signed back in, changed the install address in Creative Cloud and everything was working fine again. I later found out that the space on my ssd was being taken up by backup snapshots and removed them, and then again had plenty of space, but I left PS and Bridge (and LR) on my external drive. It ran just fine, was quick and my external ssd is large enough to not worry about the space being used.

Everything was great until today. I decided to use my second activation on my laptop, installed Creative Cloud and PS on it and tried to activate it, but was told that I had used all of my activations. Instead of telling it to sign me out I checked with Adobe support via their chat line. They signed me out of all of my activations, I signed back in on my desktop and tried to sign back in on my laptop but again was told I was out of activations. Support told me that this was a technical problem and transferred me to Technical Support, but no one every seemed to answer and I was forced to terminate the chat as I had no more time. All of this leads me to a couple of questions.

First, is there any reason that I could not install PS on an external drive? Not technical, as it works just as well on the external usb3 ssd as on my main ssd, but does using an external drive count as multiple activations?

Second, could this problem be related to my copying the installation folders to the external drive instead of uninstalling and reinstalling on the external drive?

I would rather leave PS, Bridge and LR on the external drive because I have only limited space on my main ssd, but I could copy them back or uninstall them and reinstall them on the main drive. I worry that I will end up without any activations I can actually use. Fortunately I am still within my 14 day trial but I would rather not terminate my subscription. Does anyone know what is going on here?

As an aside, I do not know if Adobe does not want external drive installations. I suppose that people could move the drive from machine to machine and, although I have no interest in doing that, could that be the issue here? If so, then I suppose uninstalling and reinstalling should solve the problem.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Jul 28, 2018 Jul 28, 2018

MikeFromMesa  wrote

could this problem be related to my copying the installation folders to the external drive instead of uninstalling and reinstalling on the external drive?

That's what I think. Never do that, always install/uninstall properly!

A large part of the installation goes to the user account on the system drive anyway, so there's no real benefit to installing on another drive. It's just a GB or two saved; that's nothing, it doesn't even make a dent. What you should do instead is a thorou

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Community Expert ,
Jul 28, 2018 Jul 28, 2018

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MikeFromMesa  wrote

could this problem be related to my copying the installation folders to the external drive instead of uninstalling and reinstalling on the external drive?

That's what I think. Never do that, always install/uninstall properly!

A large part of the installation goes to the user account on the system drive anyway, so there's no real benefit to installing on another drive. It's just a GB or two saved; that's nothing, it doesn't even make a dent. What you should do instead is a thorough housecleaning on your system drive. Start with the Bridge preview caches, and that includes previous versions you have since uninstalled. That can free up 10 - 50 GB or more. You won't believe all the junk that accumulates in your user account, and most of it is obsolete stuff you will never need again.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 29, 2018 Jul 29, 2018

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Not sure why you had to get Adobe to clear your activations. Didn’t it offer to sign you out on the “other” computers?

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 29, 2018 Jul 29, 2018

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> Not sure why you had to get Adobe to clear your activations. Didn’t it offer to sign you out on the “other” computers?

Yes it did, but that is not why I originally called Adobe support. I was trying to find out why there were 2 activations when I had only activated PS on a single computer.

I was being told that there were 2 activations on my account for Photoshop and I knew that there was only one installation that had been activated. I called to find out if they had information about what computers showed as being activated. I thought knowing what machines showed activations might answer the question as to why there were 2 activations. They said that they did not have that information, so the call was unnecessary and they asked me if they should clear the activations.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 29, 2018 Jul 29, 2018

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> That's what I think. Never do that, always install/uninstall properly!

OK, but then how do I uninstall?

The app folders have been copied to an external drive and Creative Cloud updated. Do I uninstall from where it is now? Or copy it back and reset the Creative Cloud install location and then uninstall? Or, if I copy it back and reset the Creative Cloud install location do I even need to uninstall since it would be back where it was supposed to be?

> That can free up 10 - 50 GB or more.

That would be nice, but ...

The Adobe stuff in my Library folders (that is where I assume you are referring to) does not add up to much. All of the Adobe cache space accounts for less than 1/2 GB of space on my system and the entire Adobe folder structure on my system, both System Lib and user Lib, account for less than 3 GB, and that includes Photoshop, two versions of Lightroom (LR 6 and LR CC), Bridge and an old version of Elements, so there is not much to be gained there. The app sizes for those account for almost 10 GB and that is why I copied them to the external drive.

I am more than willing to clean up my main ssd, but am not sure where I can actually gain much space. I would appreciate any suggestions.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 29, 2018 Jul 29, 2018

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You need to:

* Look at all your files. Which do you need to run? Which can be archived? Ignore small files, it's the total size

* Do you need all those apps?

* What else is using space: look at every folder, tunnel down

Pay very close attention to Photoshop scratch disks, which may have free space needs in the tens or hundreds of gigabytes according to what you do.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 29, 2018 Jul 29, 2018

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I guess my initial question has been answered.

This morning the first thing I did was copy the external folders for the CC versions of PS, LR and Bridge back to the main ssd, and then I reset the install location in Creative Cloud. I then found that I could run PS on both computer without even having to go through the effort to activate the laptop version.

That is, after the copy back to the main ssd I opened the laptop and started PS. I expected to see the request to activate it, but did not. It just ran. I then shut down PS and the laptop and tried the desktop, and PS ran on it as well. I guess that means that the issue was the external drive installation. I may well uninstall it and move all of that back to the external usb drive, but perhaps I will not. I will see.

As for cleaning up my main ssd, I would like to be able to reclaim at least the space the apps took when I copied them back but am not sure where that space might be. I guess I should start with my browsing history and cookies.

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Explorer ,
Sep 07, 2022 Sep 07, 2022

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I've done all that, several times over.

There are lists of folders and files with weird and wonderful names I have no idea what they do so I can't delete them.

Where is the Adobe tutorial to show how to make space, if this is a recuring question from users?

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Explorer ,
Sep 07, 2022 Sep 07, 2022

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This is one of the reasons I will not be renewing my subscrition, I only use 4 of the apps max, so what it be like if I used them all? I would need a 10TB HD !

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Community Expert ,
Jul 29, 2018 Jul 29, 2018

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We see a lot more of these "scratch disk full" questions now than we used to only a year or two back, and the reason is simple: All the first-generation SSD machines, with only 120-240 GB system drives, are by now starting to fill up.

You need to look under your user account, not the program files. The user account is normally hidden, so turn visibilty on in the OS. Everything you do is stored in your user account, in the form of preferences, settings, previews and and caches, and nothing is ever removed. It's a giant one-way vacuum-cleaner, it grows and grows and grows.

There are free utilities that can show you in a graphical interface where it all is and how big. For Windows there is the excellent WinDirStat, I think the Mac equivalent is called Disk Inventory.

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