Unable to start Photoshop CS6 - could not open a scratch file because the file is locked (Windows)

New Here ,
May 19, 2012 May 19, 2012

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When I first installed Adobe Photoshop CS6 I was unable to run Photoshop or Bridge CS6.  Photoshop would give me an error about "could not open a scratch file because the file is locked.  If I ran either of these programs as an administrator they would run without issue, this led me to believe that there was a permission issue somewhere.  After some digging I found out the both Bridge and Photoshop try to create a temp file (similiar to Photoshop Temp2777223910092) on the c:\ drive of the computer.  In my case the user that I was logged in with did not have access to write to the root of the C:\ drive.  Note that you run the program as the administrator and change the scratch disk location as that changes the preference for the administrator user and not the user that you are currently logged in as.

To get around this issue I first had to give the user that I was logged on with write permissions to the root of the C:\ drive.  Next try and run Photoshop, you will get an error another error about the scratch disk and about and invalid or missing setting file.  To correct this you need to have run Photoshop as an administrator, next you can go to Users\Admin\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6\Adobe Photoshop CS6 Settings and copy Adobe Photoshop CS6 Prefs and/or Adobe Photoshop X64 CS6 Prefs to Users\<your logged in username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6\Adobe Photoshop CS6 Settings.

Photoshop and bridge should now start up with no issues.

I hope that this can help others out there as this caused me a great deal of frustration when upgrading to CS6.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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mari8899 wrote:

… If you want to compare this with car industry then you would notice how when failure arises they ask for customers to return cars to fix them…

For a flat tire?   LOL ! 

What you have is a malfunction in YOUR setup that is preventing Photoshop from running.

If your car is being blocked by your kid's tricycle on your driveway, you would probably blame it on Ford too.  Right. 

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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(1) I don't see the need to shout.

(2) Who are you generalizing your outcry to?

(3) I dislike spending time on rectifying a coding error/oversight by the publisher that causes a program to crash at start-up after a fresh install (as with Photoshop's desire to create a scratch file at a forbidden location, and, as a result, crashing with a rather uninformative error message).

(4) For the Windows version, on a computer with multiple partitions, starting the thing as administrator once, then changing the location of the scratch file should be sufficient to get rid of the scratch file crash. No need for resetting preferences. (And if there is a need, how can the preferences be corrupted after a fresh install?)

Message was edited by: jerdenberg (forgot some parentheses)

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Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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Change location of the scratch file to what? where ? i have photoshop installed on C which is SSD.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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The simple work-around is not possible if you have a single drive. [I have a data drive with a lot of space, so I put the scratch file there.]

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Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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I have 2 hdd plus SSD, but I still don't understand what to do and where exactly. And what will this scratch file do on my other drive ?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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mari8899 wrote:

I have 2 hdd plus SSD, but I still don't understand what to do and where exactly. And what will this scratch file do on my other drive ?

OK, here comes the explanation of what the scratch disk does and why it's optimal to have it on a physically separate internal drive (not partition!) other than your boot drive:

Photoshop creates a scratch disk the instant you open an image file or create a new document.  It's akin to virtual memory on a drive, and Photoshop moves things from RAM into the scratch disk and vice versa as necessary.

Photoshop creates a scratch disk for every single document you open.  It bases its size on things like file size, number of history states, number of layers, etc.  The entire file must fit in it.  Figure on at least 50, 75 or 100 times the size of your largest file—or more—and multiply that by the number of open files.

If the scratch disk is created on the same physical drive where your boot volume resides, Photoshop will be competing with the swap files of the OS for the use of the only set of read/write head(s), which will slow you down and increase the likelihood of file corruption.   Obviously, if you have only one drive, you are stuck with that arrangement so you have to live with it.  Tough!

That's why partitioning the boot drive does NOT help, quite the contrary.  When partitioned, the above named files will still be competing for the use of a single read/write head or set of heads.  You gain nothing by partitioning, and you limit the contiguous, unfragmented space for Photoshop's scratch disk.  Bad ideas, both.

On my desktop machine right now a keep a dedicated, physically separate 200 GB hard drive exclusively for Photoshop's primary scratch disk use.  On my laptop, I have attached a 160 GB external FireWire drive for that purpose.  Others have TB drives as dedicated scratch drives.

Other applications, such as web browsers, will also keep their cache files and other invisible files on what to you appears to be empty space on your boot drive,

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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station_two wrote:

OK, here comes the explanation of what the scratch disk does and why it's optimal to have it on a physically separate internal drive (not partition!) other than your boot drive

I probably shouldn't say anything since it could complicate this thread, but the rules of thumb can be different under special circumstances when SSD is involved.

IF you have a LOT of empty space on your SSD-based system drive, then Photoshop can actually work great with it's scratch setting pointed at the system drive.  This is because a) SSD transfers are much faster than spinning hard drives and b) there's no seek time, so simultaneous transfers to/from scratch and swap files aren't devastating to performance, and you can see a net gain because of the increased I/O throughput over what's possible using a separate spinning drive for scratch.

But if you don't have a huge amount of free space (hundreds of GB) on the system SSD, it's definitely better to use a separate drive, as station_two has said.

Also, up to about a year or so ago, you had to try to severely limit write activity to your SSD drive, since you could actually wear them out by repeated high data write activity.  That's pretty much a non-issue now with the advent of things like the SandForce in-drive controller that does wear-leveling inside the drive.  Modern drives will last 10 years or more in normal typical use, without special consideration.

As it turns out, making a RAID array of SSDs is a great way to boost performance across the board, have bunches of free space, and ensure even the heaviest usage doesn't shorten the drive life.  I have done so, creating a 2 TB system drive C: made from 4 SSDs and Photoshop's swap file (and pretty much everything else) pointed to C:.  This system flies, and I can barely tell when Photoshop and/or Windows "goes virtual" and starts using its scratch/swap files heavily.  I don't even notice Photoshop auto-saves.

Sorry for the SSD diversion.

Back on topic

Pretty much everyone who's successfully using a computer - Mac and PC users alike - comes to realize after a while that the task of integrating things on their computers and making everything work falls on THEM, not the developers of applications like Adobe.  Some applications pose unique challenges, but to think you can just throw up your hands and try to make it someone else's problem when something goes wrong simply isn't a viable strategy.  Maybe that's how things should be, but it's not how it is.

For those of you struggling to get Photoshop to run properly, bear in mind that it's on you to get things working.  It works for most folks.  It could be a configuration or setup choice you've made that may need revisiting, or some kind of restorative activity that you need to do, or even something very minor like clearing your Photoshop preferences, but it may well take your learning new things and doing things you didn't think you'd have to do to get back to where you can edit photos.  It's no one's problem but your own.

So let us here on the forum help you - when we say to do something, try it.  We're not here to jerk you around; we're users just like you who have already found the ways to make things work, and we'd like to help you do the same.

-Noel

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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Thanks for chiming in, Noel!  The sun is rising (or did rise) in Florida while it's still night time here in the West Coast.  You're getting up already and I'm just going to bed.

See you later, once I catch some sleep.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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Noel Carboni wrote:

Pretty much everyone who's successfully using a computer - Mac and PC users alike - comes to realize after a while that the task of integrating things on their computers and making everything work falls on THEM, not the developers of applications like Adobe.  Some applications pose unique challenges, but to think you can just throw up your hands and try to make it someone else's problem when something goes wrong simply isn't a viable strategy.  Maybe that's how things should be, but it's not how it is.

For those of you struggling to get Photoshop to run properly, bear in mind that it's on you to get things working.  It works for most folks.  It could be a configuration or setup choice you've made that may need revisiting, or some kind of restorative activity that you need to do, or even something very minor like clearing your Photoshop preferences, but it may well take your learning new things and doing things you didn't think you'd have to do to get back to where you can edit photos.  It's no one's problem but your own.

I find this somewhat irreconcilable with what you wrote in message 6 above...

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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jerdenberg wrote:

I find this somewhat irreconcilable with what you wrote in message 6 above...

There's no conflict here.

As I said, Adobe could do a better job of installing their software and setting up permissions for properly accessing your hard drive for temporary purposes.  That's true.

But it's been the way it is for years, and the masses continue sending Adobe money.  It works for most people.  Ergo, they're not going to make it work better just for you.  That's not an apology, that's not letting them off the hook, it's just a recognition of what's real.

It CAN work.  Thus the only workable solution is that YOU have to take whatever steps you can to make it work - or return it for refund.  The former could include setting permissions, rebuilding your computer with more standard settings, or even getting a new one.

This is the reality that we all have to deal with when we get mass-market software for just a few hundred bucks that cost literally millions of dollars to develop. 

You've done something wrong in setting up your particular computer or messed something up after the fact that has caused Photoshop not to work for you.  A number of folks, for example, have tried to "trick" their systems into using a too-cheap SSD, for example, by relocating a bunch of stuff to other drives.  They think they can get away with doing this with no downside.  Guess what, there are downsides.

-Noel

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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Very well said, Noel.

What I fail to understand is why these users come to the Adobe user to user forums with a problem, then refuse to listen to those who are trying to help them.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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Station_Two,

That is a very common theme, and not just in the PS Forum.

For some reason, many feel that they can "trick" the Adobe programs, but then are angered, if there is a price to pay.

Most users never have issues, but they are NOT trying to do any tricks.

Hunt

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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There are other factors that can contribute to the scratch disk drive not being accessible, like permissions errors, improperly named volumes or directories (stick to the letters of the English alphabet, numbers and underscore.  Do not use commas, colons, semicolons, apostrophes, slashes, asterisks, diacriticals, special characters and things of that nature.

Power spikes, lightning hitting the mains also can corrupt files.  So can an OS malfunction, an improperly written driver, a computer crash or hang.  None of that is controlled by Adobe.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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jerdenberg wrote:

The simple work-around is not possible if you have a single drive. [I have a data drive with a lot of space, so I put the scratch file there.]

Yes it is,  See my previous post.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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jerdenberg wrote:

(1) I don't see the need to shout.

Don't be ridiculous.  I'm not typing everything in all caps, I am giving emphasis to words I consider to be emphasized.

jerdenberg wrote:

…(2) Who are you generalizing your outcry to?…

To every single poster who ever complains about not wanting to reset preferences for whatever reason.

jerdenberg wrote:

…(3) I dislike spending time on rectifying a coding error/oversight by the publisher that causes a program to crash at start-up after a fresh install (as with Photoshop's desire to create a scratch file at a forbidden location, and, as a result, crashing with a rather uninformative error message)…

Nonsense.  There's no coding error.  There's a file that got corrupted for whatever reason, such as neglectful routine maintenance of your computer, OS error, failing hardware, or software conflict with other appliactons, fonts, etc.

jerdenberg wrote:

…(4) …how can the preferences be corrupted after a fresh install?)

See above.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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Although shouting is extremely obvious when presented in caps, I consider "for Pete's sake" and double exclamation/question marks as shouting too, but then I may be old-fashioned.

The thing about resetting preferences is dubious at least. Of all the programs running on my pc, from MS office to VMWare Workstation, and from putty to filezilla, only the CS6 programs created the ridiculous problems that many are encountering.

Your response to my item (3) is ridiculous (now I am shouting). The fact that Photoshop tries to create a scratch file in the root directory of the start-up disk, which has been off-limits for quite some time now, has nothing to do with errors on the pc, but only with (a) programmer(s) neglecting a general rule set by the operating system.

BTW, My reference to the simple solution was to changing the scratch disk to another one than the start-up disk, which is rather impossible if one has only 1 disk.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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jerdenberg wrote:

…BTW, My reference to the simple solution was to changing the scratch disk to another one than the start-up disk, which is rather impossible if one has only 1 disk.

Oh, for crying out loud!  (so WHAT if I'm shouting now?)  Trashing your preferences file will at least force the creation of a new one and. if there's any eligible space on your drive, it will set that space as the scratch file.  If you're using illegal characters in anything along the path, then you're SOL (Severely Out of Luck).

Look, yes, I'm frustrated with you now.    I'm trying to help you solve YOUR problem and all you want to do is argue, and rant.  My computers, both Macs and Windows boxes are scrupulously maintained and they run FLAWLESSLY., and I don't mind shouting it to the world.  Don't give me this "old fashioned excuse," I'm an old geezer with grandchildren, one of them in college by now.

No one has any obligation to respond to any post in these user to user forums, where we are all volunteering our time, expertise and experience for free.  Even those members of Adobe staff who contribute here do so as volunteers, on their own time and dime.

If you don't like the advice I'm giving you for free, you're entitled to your money back:  $0.00.

Message was edited by: station_two

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New Here ,
Jan 13, 2013 Jan 13, 2013

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Changing the scratch disk worked for me.  Thanks for the fix.

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New Here ,
Jul 05, 2012 Jul 05, 2012

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I had the same problem on the mac. Find where the PS preference files are stored and delete them. Also check every disk you have as a scratch disk and by no means uncheck the drive the application is running off of. This is where I ran into problems.

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New Here ,
Aug 14, 2012 Aug 14, 2012

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I had the same problem as everyone else and read the thread, started as administrator and changed the scratch disk to my media disk instead of the default c:\ drive.

I can't believe software this expensive won't launch after installation because of an issue like this. Photoshop is screaming for a competitor

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 15, 2012 Aug 15, 2012

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If some of the responses above reflect Adobe's interpretation of "users" and "tricks", you had better believe these problems are here to stay.

In my case, the only "trick" I can think of is that I changed my tmp and temp environment variables from the defaults to locations where more disk space is available. This is a perfectly legitimate action in Windows.

As an additional illustration that Photoshop CS6 is not behaving as it should, I encountered another problem, even with the scratch disk location adjusted. While it now runs OK when used on its own, it still reports an error with a scratch disk when I call it from within Acrobat X to edit an image, then try to save the edited image.

To make sure this was a Photoshop CS6 problem I changed the image processor in Acrobat X from PS CS6 to PS C5 (64-bit), and that worked flawlessly.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 15, 2012 Aug 15, 2012

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Check your scratch disk assignments in every variant of Photoshop:  32 and 64 bit variants have separate configuration options!  You may have set one and not the other.

Also check that your username specifically has Full Control permissions for your TEMP area and the root folders of all the disks you've identified to Photoshop for scratch use.

You bought one of the most complex and expensive computer applications there is.  While you have a right to expect it to work, you should also expect to have to take some responsibility for properly setting it up and maintaining your work environment to get the best operation and performance from it.

-Noel

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Explorer ,
Aug 15, 2012 Aug 15, 2012

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Well, you can't really set it up properly when you can't even start it, can you?

Of course you should expect more variables to tweak from a more complex, expensive software but should it be more difficult to get started on? It's like you just hop in to your KIA and drive away while the guy with the M5 have to call a mechanic to prepare the trunk for your luggage, open the door to let you in and start the engine for you.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 15, 2012 Aug 15, 2012

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Changing your example a bit, it takes more knowledge to drive a big rig tractor-trailer than a Kia economy car.  No, you wouldn't expect to just be able to jump in to a truck cab and go as you might a Kia.

It's possible the problem lies with permissions on your hard drive, and there is a way to forcibly configure the scratch disk settings even if Photoshop won't start.

Try pressing and holding Control-Alt immediately upon cold-starting the variant of Photoshop that will not run.  If you're quick enough to get the keys down, you should see this:

ScratchDisks.jpg

Try changing these or even setting None (note that there is no necessity to fill out all 4 fields).

Also, if you're on Windows try running Photoshop (or the parent program that won't run Photoshop properly) As Administrator.  I'm not talking about whether your account is in the Administrators group here, I'm talking about specifically starting the executable from its shortcut using right-click, Run As Administrator.  If this works, where starting the application normally (which with UAC is in a non-privileged state) does not, you have permissions issues on your TEMP folder or scratch drives.

-Noel

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New Here ,
Aug 18, 2012 Aug 18, 2012

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OK, I Too have this issue.

Brand new install of Photoshop CS6 (64 bit)

We run two (2) accounts on a Windows 7 (64 Bit) machine.

Administrator - to Install software.

Me (User) - to run software

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shirt + Starting PS = starting PS with Admin privileges (i.e. UAC requires admin uplift or password)

I have deleted both the preferences file in the Admin and My (user) profiles in various fashions still not joy

i have rebooted the machine, still no joy

PS starts OK in Admin (or using Ctrl+Alt+Shirt + Starting PS), but of course uses the Admin profile settings

PS will throw an error when starting in my User profile.

I have changed the scratch file location to the D partition (rather than C), but still no joy. The user (me) has write privileges to the root of D drive.

The deletion of the setting file has had no effect.

Can Adobe please answer this query. with an authoritative answer?

Many thanks

Chris

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