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

New Here ,
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}

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2 Correct Answers

Adobe Employee , Mar 20, 2020
Pete.Green Adobe Employee , Mar 20, 2020
Hi all,   We have several suggestions for the Scratch disk full error listed on our KB article here: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/scratch-disks-preferences.html#Troubleshootscratchdisksarefullerror   Please have a look and try the suggestions listed there.   Let us know if that helps.   Regards, Pete

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Adobe Community Professional , Jun 01, 2018
Ged Traynor Adobe Community Professional , Jun 01, 2018
Hi Try holding down Ctrl+ALT for Windows/ Option+Command key for Mac OS and keep them held down and start Photoshop, you should see this   Learn more about setting up Scratch Disks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 12, 2018

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I thought that NVMe M.2 drives made the entire argument irrelevant.  I absolutely intend using a shared 512Gb Samsung 960 PRO drive for Photoshop Scratch, Premiere Pro cache, Premiere Pro project files etc. and another one for OS, Program files, and to make use of the size, quite a bit of other stuff as well.  I will also have decent SSDs bumped from my old build that will be used for the next tier of data usage, and then use HDD internals and USB3 externals for backup and non critical files. 

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 12, 2018

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I appreciate what you've written here Trevor. I’m trying to spec out my new build which will be primarily for LR and PS. I was thinking of something similar to your configuration. Question for you, do you think there’s any advantage to using a Samsung 960 m.2 for the LR catalog over a standard SSD like the Samsung 860? I was even thinking of getting a 1TB SSD for my image files rather than a HDD. I know it can be a case of diminishing returns but if there’s a reasonable benefit I may do this. I’m fortunate in that I don’t have to watch every penny, but I also don’t want to throw money away.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 13, 2018

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mRoy62  wrote

Question for you, do you think there’s any advantage to using a Samsung 960 m.2 for the LR catalog over a standard SSD like the Samsung 860?

No. There is a theoretical advantage, but as soon as you are in the region of “very fast” a “little bit faster” is nonsense except if “very fast” is not fast enough for some reason.

You may put your image files on a SSD. I have my mobile image files (connected to my laptop when travelling via USB3) a SSD of 1Tb. The reason for me was not exactly speed but either mechanical robustnes. I didn’t look at the cash. It will never amortize as compared to a 99€ USB3 disk.

In my desktop, I have a 6 Tb drive for my pictures. I do not see an advantage to put in an SSD for this. But my camera is not (yet) producung those ultra high resolution pictures of 30-50Mp+. I’m still happy with my 22Mp camera. I can imagine that the speed increese could be interesting in case of those monster pictures.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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New Here ,
Jan 27, 2018

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So in my soon to build configuration I am going to design as follows...

Disk 1: Samsung 960 EVO 500GB M.2-2280

OS, Applications and Adobe Scratch disks

Disk 2: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2-2280

Adobe Export, File Rendering, ...

Disk 3: Wester Digital Caviar Black 4TB 7200RPM SATA

Long Term Storage, Drop Box Sync, Media Server

Disk 4: External 8GB USB 3 Drive

Backups Of Disks

Does anyone see any issue with this configuration?  Maybe have suggestions?

Thank You

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 27, 2018

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Nice configuration. Go ahead.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 27, 2018

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mRoy62  wrote

I appreciate what you've written here Trevor. I’m trying to spec out my new build which will be primarily for LR and PS. I was thinking of something similar to your configuration. Question for you, do you think there’s any advantage to using a Samsung 960 m.2 for the LR catalog over a standard SSD like the Samsung 860? I was even thinking of getting a 1TB SSD for my image files rather than a HDD. I know it can be a case of diminishing returns but if there’s a reasonable benefit I may do this. I’m fortunate in that I don’t have to watch every penny, but I also don’t want to throw money away.

I'm _still_ waiting for my new build — you would not believe the hassles I have had, and I am reluctant to say too much untill I have taken delivery.  When I do have the new system, as well as the pair of uber-fast Samsung 512GB 960 PRO drives, I will add one of the 256Gb 840 PRO SSDs (the other is the boot drive) and the 1Tb 840EVO from the old system.

The 1 Tb SSD is labeled Projects and is where I place images using this DAM so that they appear in order taken, and with a meaningful name.  Every so often I move the older project folders to another drive.  I keep other often used folders on the 256 PRO drive because it is so reliable as well as fast.

I expect to use one of the 512Gb PRO NVMe drives for recent projects with the new drive, but with it being so fast. I'll also use it for Scratch and Cache folders.  I'm actually running without backup at the moment because most of my drives are disconnected ready for moving to the new system.  That includes half a dozen internal HDDs which I want to phase out as I don't find them reliable, and eight USB3 externals totaling about 32Tb.  When I have had some experience with the NVMe drives, I might get another 1Tb one for the third M.2  slot, but I can't think at this stage how I might make use of that drive other than for video project files.  I have a 1DC but mostly still shoot 1080 because I so much prefer to use my XF300 — proper video cameras leave DSLRs dead when it comes to usability.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2018

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Trevor.Dennis  wrote

I'm actually running without backup at the moment because most of my drives are disconnected ready for moving to the new system.

Interesting disaster prevention system... I wouldn’t do that. My backup is disconnected from my workhorse.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2018

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Abambo  wrote

Trevor.Dennis   wrote

I'm actually running without backup at the moment because most of my drives are disconnected ready for moving to the new system.

Interesting disaster prevention system... I wouldn’t do that. My backup is disconnected from my workhorse.

This is completely temporary, and all but my most recent activity is backed up on the disconnected drives, but I have been expecting delivery of a new system and have only a few essential drives connected right now.  I normally have all drives permanently connected, which is something I sometimes worry about as I understand ransomware encrypts all connected drives.  Plus a disaster like a house fire would wipe me out. I am paranoid about opening emails that look sus, but I am sure they can get you eventually.

[EDIT]  I forgot to say that I use Shadow Protect that does incremental backups every 15 minutes.  You can mount the back up at any of those intervals, and you can make an image of your boot drive and boot from it via a CD or pen-drive.   It's one of the better $100 I've ever spent.  They also have unbelievably good support.

ShadowProtect | Server, Desktop, Virtual | StorageCraft

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 28, 2018

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Hmm, yes. A backup system ideally plans for a certain range of disasters. If backups are permanently connected it protects well against

- hard drive failure

- accidental deletion or overwriting

- crazy application software

It protects poorly against

- crazy system software

- malware

- mains surge

- environmental damage (e.g. water)

It doesn't protect against

- theft

- fire

For business purposes, a system which ever left me with all backups in the same building would be unacceptable to me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2018

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My company has a three-knot disaster prevention. We have 3 mirrored server infrastructure in 3 distant places.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2018

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I don't trust the company server, we've lost files there and changed IT provider several times because of that. They say their backup is safe - until it isn't. Besides, the server is slow and doesn't have enough storage space for my needs.

So I made my own system.

I have two similarly configured machines at work and home, both fitted with 20 TB storage space. I then use synchronization software to copy new and modified files to an external drive, and the reverse process on the target machine. I've used this system for close to ten years now without a single problem.

It does take a while to set up, because you need placeholders for every file on the external. It has to be a very large capacity drive, and it takes forever to copy over the first time. But in operation, it's very efficient. One click, let it copy the day's work, pack up the drive and go home.

This way I have three copies of every file, at least one always off-site. It has saved my butt on several occasions.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 28, 2018

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At work, I need to take my company’s IT infrastructure. For security reasons, we can’t share own infrustructures with the corporate net. But as I said: we have three mirrored server infrastructures. So when buying a new server, we do buy 3. When adding disk space, we do add 3times that. Anytime any server can take over as master.

I have at home a 2 level security system (my computer and my backup server). I would like to have a level system to be immune against fire, but that is not in reach today..

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Contributor ,
Dec 13, 2020

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hi to all users of scratch discs 🙂

this is an old one, but may i summarize the subject for 2021, as i use scratch discs on a daily base and my RAM is full early (16GB and on another mac 64GB in the moment).

i also need a scratch disc for 4k video work with adobe premiere pro CC.

 

this article is a good recommendation by adobe:

(wasnt allowed to post html link:) "adobe > help > scratch disc" or "Set up scratch disks"

i just dont see, what a network drive is. ethernet? or even an external thunderbolt raid? ("dont use network drives as scratch disc", they write).

 

apart from that, adobe says, performance is better, if you DONT set your scratch disc..

- to the internal boot disc and work disc, where your huge photoshop files reside,

- to an USB2.0 or USB3.0 external 2.5" disc (too slow)

(so, i cannot use my fast internal macbookpro 1 TB SSD, if i want max. performance of my scratch disc)

 

so, what is the best option for a scratch disc with maxium performance?

in my opinion, a separate and internal SSD, which is dedicated for photoshop only, and always free. (no files on it). point.

as my macbookpro laptop has no space for a second internal SSD, i only could opt for an external thunderbolt 3 SSD or HDD raid0, which is also permanently empty (no files on it).

 

how large should a scratch disc be? depends on your files and work method, my files are up to 40GB per single .psb (in 16bit) and i use 24 history states: multiplied, the scratch disc should be 1-2 TB ? not sure...

 

what do you think? thanks for your time.

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Explorer ,
Jul 29, 2016

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Any suggestions for how to add a scratch disk in the updated Photoshop CC 2015.5 version. All of the videos and other answers provide an earlier version, and in this version of Photoshop, they moved the scratch disk to it's own tab. I have an external drive connected to my computer, but don't see an icon or a way to check (or add) another drive.

Please help!

Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 29, 2016

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start Photoshop while pressing alt + ctrl

Scratch Disk Photoshop.png

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Explorer ,
Jul 29, 2016

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Hey,

I am using Mac OS. I tried the alt + ctrl & the equivalent alt + cmd in OS. No dialogue box popped up

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Explorer ,
Jul 29, 2016

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Check that. The dialogue box appeared, but didn't allow me to choose another drive I only see startup & mac hd.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 6.16.49 PM.png

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Mentor ,
Jul 29, 2016

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Hi

( it's "command-option" at start up on a Mac )

Bizarre, I can see all my connected external HD and partitions. ( El Capitan 10.11.6 )

Try : for First select Macintosh HD, then see if you can select your ext.HD for Second

Pierre

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Explorer ,
Jul 29, 2016

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I tried that and just updated my OS to El Capitan 10.11.6 and nothing changed.

Any other ideas? Do you think it's my external hard drive? It worked for the last version of Photoshop, but when I updated it the disks changed back.

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Mentor ,
Jul 29, 2016

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Hi

From Finder, unmount your ext.HD and turn it Off (it it has a power switch), keep PS open. Turn On the ext.HD and mount it on your desktop (do you see it in Finder too ?). Go to PS preferences > Scratch Disks, can you see/select it ?

Pierre

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New Here ,
Aug 21, 2016

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Hi, i am having the same problem with you.

After having discussion with the support staff of adobe, i can solved it by changing the format of our external hard drive.

if you have you external hard drive formated with FAT 32, it wont be recognized in the mac computer.

try to format your external hard drive with OX X EXTENDED (JOURNALD) format, after that you can now select that drive in the Scratch disk option.

I hope it can help you.

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Explorer ,
Aug 21, 2016

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Thank you so much! I can't tell you how thankful I am for your response!

I was starting to wonder that about the external drive itself.

Thanks!

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New Here ,
Aug 01, 2018

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If I format my hard drive to OX X EXTENDED (JOURNALD) format, will it erase all the contents on it?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2018

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Yes, that's what formatting will do and you will get that warning. You'll have to back the data to a folder on your main drive if there is room or to another external HD.

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New Here ,
Feb 01, 2019

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Hello! Please help me, I have followed all these steps and it will STILL NOT recognise my ext hard drive as a scratch disk

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