How to Fix Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Issues?

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How to fix Photoshop scratch disk full issues? When your computer is out of memory to store Photoshop’s temporary files, you will receive the “Photoshop Scratch Disk Full” error. This error causes Photoshop to crash or not load at all when it occurs.

In Photoshop, you can do a few things to fix the “scratch disks are full” error. To recover your memory space, Photoshop needs more RAM, as well as deleting temporary files.

Scratch disks, as you may know, are our local storage units that Photoshop uses to store documents. Virtual hard disks use your computer’s storage (HDD or SSD) to hold files that don’t fit in or don’t need to be in RAM.

Photoshop uses your boot drive as its scratch disk by default. Many programs on your PC will use your boot drive in one way or another, so over time, your boot drive could accumulate temporary files. This can lead to scratch disk errors.

Causes of the Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Error 

You can refer to your hard drive as a Photoshop scratch disk. Photoshop uses the hard drive as virtual memory, or temporary swap space when your system does not have enough RAM. On a PC with only one hard disk or partition, the scratch disk is the drive where the OS is installed (for instance, the C drive on a Windows system).

Photoshop cannot run properly when that drive runs out of space. If Photoshop crashes in the midst of an editing session, this abnormal shutdown may leave large temporary files on the scratch disk. Photoshop may not be able to reopen as a result, so you must perform some hard drive troubleshooting.

Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac
Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac

Fixing the Photoshop Scratch Disk Error

Although there are a few ways to clear your scratch disk that are effective, you should always manage your memory in a proactive manner. Here we’ll show you how to clear a scratch disk partition, as well as apps that may prevent the errors from appearing in the future.

Clean up your disk space 

This guide is about how to remove scratch disks in Photoshop, but the main cause of the issue is your Mac’s cluttered storage space. Do you often save items and never touch them again?

Space Lens is one of the most helpful features of CleanMyMac X. It gives you an overview of your Mac’s storage makeup so you can identify which folders are overflowing. The software analyzes your entire system, reveals large folders, and allows you to easily delete files you don’t need. Here’s how to do it:

  1. On your Mac, launch CleanMyMac X
  2. Hit on the Space Lens on the left side of the screen
  3. Hit on the Scan at the bottom of the screen
  4. After the app has analyzed your Mac, select the folders you wish to remove
  5. Hit on the Remove at the bottom of the page

Another feature of the app, named Large and Old Files, examines individual files based on their sizes. A movie you saved long ago may have slipped your mind. CleaningMyMac X remembers it and allows you to delete it quickly and easily.

Delete temporary files

It will leave a large chunk of temporary files behind if you force-close Photoshop without allowing it to properly close down your projects. You will fill your temp folder with Photoshop-related files if you do this enough times.

Photoshop files can easily be identified and deleted. Their titles start with either Photoshop Temp (in latest versions) or ~PST. No damage will occur to your system if they are deleted safely. C:/Users/”YourUser” >AppData> Local > Temp is where you will find your temp folder.

Clear your Photoshop cache

The scratch disk full error can be fixed by clearing Photoshop caches. With the Edit menu, you can purge Photoshop’s cached data.

  1. Click Edit > Purge in Photoshop.
  2. Caches can be cleaned in 4 different ways.
  3. To clean a cache, select one (clipboard, undo, histories, and video cache) or click all to remove all caches.

When a cache item is greyed out, your computer does not have a cache file of that kind.

You should know that after removing caches of Photoshop, you are inadequate to restore to the earlier version of your project.

If Photoshop can’t start because the scratch disks are full, you can clean up the Photoshop cache using a cleanup tool.

Macube Cleaner (opens a new window) can help you clear app caches without having to open Photoshop on a Mac.

  • Running MacMaster is a good idea. Press System Junk > Scan. Choose App Cache > Photoshop and remove its cache.

Defragment the hard disk

Defragmenting the hard drive can fix the scratch disk’s full error. Photoshop will tell you that the scratch disks are full even though there is still enough space on your computer. You can defragment the hard disk to create contiguous, unfragmented space for Photoshop. If your computer is using an SSD, you don’t need to defragment it. Defragmenting only the mechanical drive is required.

To easily defragment your drives, Windows provides a built-in disk optimization tool – Defragment and Optimize Drives. Most Macs use SSD drives, so you don’t need to defrag them.

Increase the RAM allowed by Photoshop

Photoshop’s scratch disk error can be fixed by making the program’s RAM larger. This will prevent the error from recurring. This is how you do it.

  1. Select Edit > Preferences > Performance.
  2. Set the sliders to increase the amount of RAM Photoshop can use, but it shouldn’t exceed 80%.

When cropping an image in Photoshop, you probably entered the wrong size and resolution values. For example, entering 1080 x 1920 when the unit is inches causes Photoshop to create a file that is too large, which triggers the “scratch disk full” error.

To run smoothly, Photoshop needs a large amount of storage space. Clean your Mac (opens new window) or PC regularly to ensure the best performance of Photoshop.

Disable the Auto Recovery Feature in Photoshop

Working in Photoshop, you save your project automatically as you work. By disabling this option, you will save some space on your scratch drive. If you don’t care about auto-saving, go ahead. (Not ideal if you want extra protection from crashes.)

  • You can untick the Automatically Save Recovery Information Every checkbox by going to Edit > Preferences > File Handling.

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