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 ,
May 19, 2012 May 19, 2012

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Normally you should not have to run Photoshop As Administrator.  The installer, if coded correctly, should set up whatever permissions are needed when it is run with elevated privileges.

Note that I did not say the installer is coded correctly.  Adobe really does need to deal with this - some people are clearly having permissions problems on Windows with UAC enabled.

This business of writing things into the root folder of a hard drive...  Bad practice by Adobe.  What's needed is for the scratch setup dialog to allow the specification of FOLDERS, not just drives.

-Noel

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 04, 2013 Jan 04, 2013

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I'm going to add my 2c to this post because I had this issue and was able to resolve it satisfactorily. There is a lot of bad behaviour by some arrogant users in this thread, but I'm replying up here anyway despite the grief of reading through a lot of - frankly - useless garbage and verbal harangueing.

Your mileage may vary but here is my scenario: a relatively small SSD as my boot disk, and a large HDD as my data drive. I had already moved /Users to the HDD creating a hard link, and I need my /TEMP directory to be on the HDD because that directory gets a crapton of stuff thrown into it including temporary internet files etc, and I don't want it taking up valuable resources on my boot drive.

Originally I had just created the TEMP directory on my D:\ drive and then pointed the environment variables there. But it looks like Photoshop, InDesign, Bridge, Encore and god knows what else for some reason NEED TEMP to be on the C:\ drive.

The solution: create another hard link (junction) for C:\TEMP to D:\TEMP like this:

Open up a command prompt, navigate to your C:\ drive, check that there is NO TEMP folder yet and then enter:

mklink /J C:\TEMP D:\TEMP

(use drive letters that are appropriate to your setup).

Then go back and re-edit your environment variables to point TEMP and TMP to C:\TEMP again. Note that you have to do this in 4 places - look through the entire list of system and environment variables and change them all.

Now you have the best of both worlds: A) your TEMP files are off your boot drive and are on your data drive B) your Windows environment variables are set up correctly C) Adobe apps THINK they're writing to C drive even though they're not.

I don't know for the life of me why Adobe apps care (they should not, and should just respect your environment variables - that's why Microsoft created them!), but they seem to care. This should solve the issue.

DISCLAIMER: I'm writing this only moments after having implemented this solution and the only tests I have performed are booting Photoshop, Bridge and InDesign. But where they were all crashing before, they are now booting up correctly.

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Explorer ,
Jun 07, 2012 Jun 07, 2012

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As Adobe is one of the big "industry standard" software makers I really don't know where to start. Constant crashing, inconsistent workflow and stupid, stupid errors like this makes my wonder why it is "industry standard". I'm not able to change permissions on drive C, becuase of normal user account rules set in Windows Group Policies, and thereby not able to run Photoshop at all as a user.

Come on Adobe! Mercury cache this and tilable patterns that, make your software run first!

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Explorer ,
Jun 22, 2012 Jun 22, 2012

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Hi, I have the "scratch file" problem also. It seems to only happen if I open pre-CS6 photoshop files that contain smart objects (so far).

Example, open CS5 PSD file fine. Create a new doc (file>new). Drag smart object from first document to second, I get "Could not open a scratch file because the file is locked....".

If I rasterize the smart object before moving, then I don't get the error.

Another example is that if I open the CS5 PSD file and try and edit the smart object, it will go through to illustrator fine, I can edit the vector object, but when done and I get sent back to PS, I get the 'scratch file' error and the smart object is not updated. Resaving the PSD from PS CS6 does not fix issue.

PS CS6 would crash on startup before I deleted preferences, ran as admin and changed cache drive.

I have OS on C: (SSD)

Userfolder on P: (WD 1TB)

I have been previously using CS5 Master collection with no issues. Just did a straight uninstall and installed CS6 via cloud, applied all updates.

As it stands, Bridge and Indesign will only run as Admin without crashing (which disables any ability to work and save to network server) and I get this error with PS.

System specs:

i7 2600K @ 4428Mhz | Asus p8z68 Deluxe | 16GB RAM | 2 x EVGA GTX580 SC SLI | X-Fi Ti | 5TB | 2 x DVD | 1 x BluRay | Silverstone Strider 1500W | SilverStone FT02B Fortress | Win7 64bit | ASUS VG236H 23" 3D LCD x 3 | Nvidia 3D Vision kit | Logitech G19 KB and G9 Mouse

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LEGEND ,
Jun 22, 2012 Jun 22, 2012

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dean.p wrote:

I have OS on C: (SSD)

Userfolder on P: (WD 1TB)

I have no insight into what Adobe may have coded that would lead to problems in this arrangement, but you're not the first who has reported here a problem where relocating things off a small SSD has led to problems.  I know of at least two others who have said they can only run Photoshop successfully As Administrator after having done similar things that should just work.

Not that this can be an easy workaround for you but an approach that works (I know because I use it myself) is to create a huge C: volume from multiple SSDs in RAID 0.  This also has the advantage of pushing the increased performance up even higher and wear-loading the individual disks less (though that's not really a practical problem any longer with modern SSDs).  Pointing parts of your system to a spinning hard drive does slow things down.

-Noel

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 28, 2012 Jun 28, 2012

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This problem surfaced on my pc immediately upon starting Photoshop CS6 after installing Design Standard. In line with comments above, I then started it as administrator, and found the installation program had marked my boot drive (a relatively early [=small] SSD), as the only scratch drive, even though there also is a large drive with loads of free space. I changed the scratch disk to the latter drive, and the problem disappeared.

I have two gripes with this:

First, wouldn't it be simple for the installation program to check whether the intended scratch disk is fit for the purpose, and request the user's input about the choice of scratch disk, limiting the choices to those drives that meet Photoshop's requirements?

Second, it would seem logical for Photoshop -- in case there is a problem with the scratch disk -- to proceed along the lines described above, instead of throwing an error message that does not even identify the problematic disk.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 28, 2012 Jun 28, 2012

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I agree, Photoshop's "scratch" strategy in general should be reassessed and potentially overhauled.

But Adobe doesn't have a habit of revisiting core functionality.  They're milking the cash cow and a lot of stuff that's growing ever more outdated just remains the same from version to version.  Perhaps they figure millions of users have found a way to make it work, so that's good enough especially in light of the possibility of breaking things if they do sweep through with changes.

-Noel

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Explorer ,
Jun 28, 2012 Jun 28, 2012

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So still no solution for this? so basically we are unable to open photoshop. excellent just waste of time and money. I should have taken the Corel or for simplier stuff free http://pixlr.com/editor/ although pixlr.com has very advanced stuff.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 28, 2012 Jun 28, 2012

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Actually I just ran into this myself here on my new machine. It seems that several CS6 programs, including PS, do not properly communicate with Windows' UAC and thus does not trigger the proper dialogs the first time it is launched. This can be fixed by invoking the Ctrl+Alt+Shift command to trash the prefs and then just liek magic the UAC disk access dialog will appear. Once you have confirmed it, PS will run just fine. Go, figure!

Mylenium

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 28, 2012 Jun 28, 2012

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Just noticed that Illustrator also takes the startup disk as the scratch disk but does not cause the above problem...

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Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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ctrl+alt+shift did show one time, and I pressed NO, and now popup error is back again. I don't have time to explore that "scratch" thing, i'm no developer/programmer and i just want photoshop to work. if all those brainiacs at Adobe can't figure this out and repair before final product comes out then they should mention in they Advertisement, you buy it but it will contain a LOT of bugs, errors, issues, problems - in short don't use it, buy something else.

I had issue with other CS6 programs, it seems that Adobe quality is going down with every new product.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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mari8899 wrote:

ctrl+alt+shift did show one time, and I pressed NO, and now popup error is back again…

Well, why on Earth did you press "NO" ???    That's exactly the opposite of what you should have done!  You would have been in business by now.  Oy!

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Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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I didn't want to erase all my settings, and thats what it said it will do.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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But, but…  your settings files are CORRUPTED!  The whole idea is to erase them, trash them, nuke them.  A new, fresh, uncorrupted set of preferences files will be created.

That is the whole point!  

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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What is it with you folks who are reluctant to spend a couple of minutes re-setting your preferences?? !!  That's all it takes, for Pete's sake!

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Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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You're putting this on me like Adobe has nothing to do with this issue. I'm not developer nor do I want to be one to understand any of the problematics thats happening here, I just want program to work perfectly.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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mari8899 wrote:

You're putting this on me like Adobe has nothing to do with this issue. I'm not developer nor do I want to be one to understand any of the problematics thats happening here, I just want program to work perfectly.

Look, the program is not working properly on your computer because one or more of your preferences file got corrupted.  It's up to you to fix your computer.  Whether the corruption was caused by a hardware problem, by a crash or some other cause, Adobe is not responsible.

Right now, your corrupted preferences file is directing Photoshop to use a a drive that doesn't exist (the name may be all garbled) or a phantom file that is locked.  Trashing your preferences will solve that, as the corrupted name will disappear and yourr boot drive will be designated as the new scratch disk drive.

Imagine you buy a new car and a tire blows out.  The car manufacturer cannot fix that for you, you have to change the tire.  Period.

An explanation of waht a scratch disk is will follow in one or two more post.  Everything should be clear then.

Hang on…

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Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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station_two wrote:

Look, the program is not working properly on your computer because one or more of your preferences file got corrupted.  It's up to you to fix your computer.  Whether the corruption was caused by a hardware problem, by a crash or some other cause, Adobe is not responsible.

Right now, your corrupted preferences file is directing Photoshop to use a a drive that doesn't exist (the name may be all garbled) or a phantom file that is locked.  Trashing your preferences will solve that, as the corrupted name will disappear and yourr boot drive will be designated as the new scratch disk drive.

Imagine you buy a new car and a tire blows out.  The car manufacturer cannot fix that for you, you have to change the tire.  Period.

An explanation of waht a scratch disk is will follow in one or two more post.  Everything should be clear then.

Hang on…

Google search says its thousands with the same issue and not just me. 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. Besides I never got that error from any other software in 20 years I'm working on computers, so when we rule out all of that, Adobe made Photoshop, Photoshop is producing this error. Error is NOT produced by the Windows or hardware mailfunction or any other software installed.

The problem is IN Adobe Photoshop. Period.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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To solve the problem with the scratch disk, I

(1) Started Photoshop as administrator,

(2) Went to preferences and changed the scratch disk to a non-start-up disk

(3) Closed Photoshop

After that, I could start it normally from my regular account.

Hope this helps.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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jerdenberg wrote:

To solve the problem with the scratch disk, I

(1) Started Photoshop as administrator,

(2) Went to preferences and changed the scratch disk to a non-start-up disk

(3) Closed Photoshop

After that, I could start it normally from my regular account.

Hope this helps.

Well, good for you, jerdenberg!

What does that tell you?  The issue was in YOUR setup.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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station_two wrote:

Well, good for you, jerdenberg!

What does that tell you?  The issue was in YOUR setup.

After a good night's sleep, you might take the time to think about this.

My setup, which is the standard setup of any fresh Windows 7 install, prohibits non-administrator accounts writing to the root directory of the boot drive. This policy was implemented by Microsoft at a point in time several years ago.

Now the installer of Design Standard CS6 chooses to assign to this directory the scratch disk of a program (Photoshop) that should not be run with administrator rights by default, with the scratch disk crash as a result. This is at variance with the policy mentioned above, and for no good reason.

Nevertheless, you maintain the issue is in my setup. That is comparable to a person who goes to a restaurant, takes a seat at a table that is labeled as being reserved for another party, then breaks down when he is told this is forbidden.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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Frankly, jerdenberg, at this point I don't give a darn about what you think or have to say.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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No problem. Have a good time in your ivory tower.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 29, 2012 Jun 29, 2012

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mari8899 wrote:

The problem is IN Adobe Photoshop. Period.

Fine.  I'm not here to argue with you.  I was trying to help you.  I'm not the one with the problem, you are.  Your computer is, not any of mine.

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