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The tips outlined below came from this site.
First, if you can open Photoshop, check to see what hard drive is set up as your Photoshop scratch disk. To do this, go to Photoshop > Preferences > Performance. Then look under Scratch Disks to see which one you are using and how much free space it has. (FYI—I've included these steps for future visitors to this thread.)
Option 1: Delete some files
If your scratch disk is very full (or the free space is low), try deleting some unwanted files from the drive (for me, "Macintosh HD" as seen in the image above) to make room for new ones.
Option 2: Delete temp files
Search your computer for temporary files. These files are typically named ~PST####.tmp on Windows and Temp#### on Macintosh, where #### is a series of numbers. These are safe to delete.
Option 3: Defragment your Hard Disk
I hope one of these methods works for you!
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Hello, welcome to the forum!
Since you cannot start Photoshop, you cannot change the scratch disk allocation in its preferences.
Luckily for you, the engineers have devised a shortcut to fix that: Hold down CTRL+ALT(PC) / CMD+OPTION(Mac) as soon as Photoshop starts to get this menu:
Select another disk with more room but do not forget the clean the files clogging up your hard drive, as described in the other messages.
Thank you! This is the first useful answer I've read and I've looked on every other website ever. It's like most people either can't read the problem or refuse to understand.
"I can't start Photoshop because it says my scratch disk is full. I have plenty of space on my drive."
"OK, open up photoshop..."
"First you want to start up photoshop..."
"After photoshop starts..."
"You want to go to the option menu in Photoshop..."
"Defrag your hard drive. I don't know why that would help but I heard about it in the 1990s."
"Have you tried turning it off and on again?"
I am having the same problem.
My "C" hard drive failed and a new one is now in place. I lost all of the installed programs and I am now trying to re-install from disks. I was able to install my Photoshop V.70 from a disk, however when I try to open in I get the above mentioned message "Cannot open, scratch disks are full". I have used the fix of holding down the control & alt keys down while Photoshop opens and it does bring up the Scratch Disk Preferences window. I have three hard drives and all have huge amounts of unused space with the new "C" drive having almost two terabytes of free space. I have tried various configurations of the three drives in the Scratch Disk Preferences window and still Photoshop won't start. It keeps bringing up the message "Cannot open, scratch disks are full".
I should note that I am also having a problem with installing downloaded programs during this rebuild of the new hard disk. My operating system is Windows XP (yes, I know it is no longer supported, however it has done everything I have wanted and so I have kept with it in the new installation). This is just background info if it may help.
PECourtejoie Actually I'm little bit confused, Because I didn't see any change here through your direction. Could you clear something about this line again. ... "Hold down CTRL+ALT(PC) / CMD+OPTION(Mac) as soon as Photoshop starts to get this menu":
The suggestion posted here for Mac computers may work for opening Photoshop, but it appears that the pref setting will not hold.
I have been a Mac user since May, 1984, and an Adobe user for many years. It has gotten harder to obtain information on fixes.
I am running Mac OS 10.11.1 and the issue arose because I was dumb enough to make a selection of scratch discs to begin with. (My mirror backup does not have this problem.) I solved the problem by going to:
(user)~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop CS6 Settings/Adobe Photoshop CS6 Prefs.psp
and drag to the desktop.
Now, open Photoshop CS6 and there should be no problem.
I do not boot from the "MacIntoshHD"-named partition. I run 10.6.8 there, and I run developer versions of the latest OS on another partition. Both are defragged, with the highest frag percent at 4%. AI am running a 750GB 7200 RPM drive with two partitions, plus three other drives via FireWire. My issue was that PS could not find disc "". The "fix" to which I am replying takes care of one-time program startup it seems. Removing the pref file and letting a fresh one take its place has done the trick for me. And yes, I am also a PS CC subscriber.
If you open File Explorer and type "photoshop temp" in the search files(top right of your window) then it will search the selected disk for the temp files.
These can then be selected and deleted.
Hope this helps.
Thank you, this was a great help in a time of emergency.
I have no option to select another disk.
Having bought a new PC with large drives, I created a 500mb scratch disc and formatted it as per the PCs other drives - NTFS. Didn't work - even the Ctrl+alt trick didn't work.
I then formatted it as FAT32 and then used Ctrl+Alt and it opened correctly.
Might be worth trying.
I downloaded a trial version and on my first attempt to work- I am getting the message that the scratch disks are full. The performance tab doesnt show up under any drop down. I have spent the last 40 mins looking for a solution. My laptop has 5gb free space, so i cannot imagine its full.
If a trial version is this painful I really ought to be looking for better options.
For others who can open PS and their scratch disks freak out on them, I just purge the program (Under the Edit menu, click 'all'. Usually does the trick.
The Ctrl+Alt thing just worked for me - for some reason my scratch disk had changed to 'startup' instead of the 118 gig drive it was previously assigned to. I was seriously freaking out - so glad this worked!
i tryed to that suggested soution but even after doing so i couldnt get photoshop to work i dont have anyspace on my c drive what so ever but a lot on d what shd i do it says scrach disk is full couldnt initaliz
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Why don't you try moving data & work files onto externals or cloud drives? Also uninstall all non-essential software from your primary hard drive. It would also help to clean out internet, downloads and temporary folders. Then defrag your primary drive to free up as much space as possible.
I've tried everything I've seen suggested here. I moved Photoshop 7 to my new (much larger) computer. It "could not initialize because the scratch disks are full." I restarted the program using ctl-alt and changed the scratch disk to my C: drive but, despite clicking 'ok' it wouldn't make the change. I tried partitioning the drive since it might be too big so I now have a new F drive of 1,000 MB. That didn't work. I tried reformatting the F Drive (from FAT32 to NTFS since it was initially FAT32). That didn't work. I can get to the box to change the location of the scratch drive (it's currently at "start up") but it won't accept the change. This is a new computer on which I've never used Photoshop so there is no Photoshop Temp file that it can find anywhere. How can I get this to initialize and work?? I haven't been able to find any way to contact anyone at Adobe.
PS 7 is ancient software from 2002. It was intended to run on classic Macs or Win 98/2000 machines. Adobe support for your product ended in 2005. Adobe Customer Care can't help you.
A subscription to Creative Cloud is compatible with newer equipment and OSs. You can install a free 7-day trial to test it. Membership to the Photography Plan (latest Photoshop + Lightroom + Camera Raw and other benefits costs about USD $10/month.
Or you can purchase Photoshop Elements 2018 for about USD $100
I realize the software is old....but it's been working on my prior computer (64-bit running Win 7) and is all I need - I have no desire to spend more money (particularly these days). That said, after I'd partitioned my drive and created the 1,000 MB F: drive, formatted to NTFS, and launched Photoshop using the ctl-alt method, I changed ALL of the scratch disk designations to F: and, this time, instead of clicking on "OK" I simply hit enter. And it worked. I'm not sure which of those items made the difference but it's working just fine now on the new computer and I can now transfer all my data over. It is sad, though, that Adobe abandons its earlier work. I realize they need to maximize sales so have zero incentive to help, but I think it's poor form. But then, for a large corporation, it's really no surprise.
I have just updated to Photoshop 2018, the latest version, and I am having the exact same problem.
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I divided by C drive - created a 1k MB “f” drive and listed that as the scratch disk for all four options. I wasn’t able to save the changes by clicking okay (could have just been my software) but, when I opted to hit “enter” it saved the changes and everything worked perfectly. Not sure if it was because of the F drive, using enter instead of clicking okay or what, but at least it’s working now.
I'm on a mac, photoshop 2018, and was having the same problem. Nothing was working, I tried all of the suggested solutions above.
Freed up space on my hard drive
I opened After Effects and Premiere and deleted all of the cache files just in case.
Holding Cmd+option at photoshop startup to change the disk didn't show my other drives
Holding Cmd+option+shift at photoshop startup to delete the preference file didn't work
After trying all of the above, I shut down and restarted, and presto! Working again.
I don't know if it will stay, but crossing my fingers
When you go to open Photoshop, hold down (I believe it was) the control and alt keys - the second it starts to launch, hold those keys down and it will open the dialogue box where you can select the scratch disks (I believe you can list four - I just made it my F drive for all four).
I have had the same problem and cleared my cache in Prem & AE after your above post and it seems to have worked. Thanks very much!
What if you don't have another disk or don't know which one to click on? it only gives me two options: startup and macintosh HD
You need to take control. You need a disk with lots of free space, because Photoshop needs to have that. You have two choices: (a) make sure there is lots of free space on one of your disks, and use it; (b) add and use a new disk. You can't solve this if you don't have another disk and won't make more space
What do I mean by "take control"? I mean they are your disks. You need to know how much free space there is, and what is filling it up. If they are your files you may need to move some elsewhere or delete them. Focus especially on really, really big files like movies.
It's 2018 now. The original question about scratch disk being full causing PhotoShop no able to open.has been answered. Now I am having the same problem. But my Photoshop is a 7.0 version and my computer is a brand new laptop with 2TB hard drive. I only just installed Microsoft Office and PhotoShop. Have not used the computer yet. There should be ample disk space. I cannot understand why I have this problem I just tried to open PhotoShop for the first time and got the message about scratch disc being too full. I hope some me will be able to help me with this. Thanks.
As of my information, Photoshop 7 cannot handle a scratch disk bigger then 1Tb. That are the odds of using old software.
Sorry about that, but I suppose you need to partition your disk.
Thank you for such a quick response. I did not expect to get any response as the topic was several years old.
Excuse me for my ignorance. I don't know what is a scratch disk. Anyway, you mean it is because my compute has a 2TB hard drive so that the scratch disk cannot handle it? I am completely puzzled. I have used PhotoShop for many years though with only basic skill. Never had any issue. This copy of PhotoShop I bought from Ebay. It is not in Adobe's CS5 or 6. It was sold separately. I did not know it was an older version. I mistook it as from SC7.
I bought two copies by accident. I put one in my older desktop Windows 7 and 1TB drive. It works. The other copy I installed in the new laptop with Windows 10 and 2TB drive. So I should partition the drive. Thank you for your advice.
I just found out that Photoshop 7.0 is even older that CS (8.0). My earliest Adobe CS was just that. Then I use CS 5 and CS 6.
Thank you for such a quick response. I did not expect to get any response
as the topic was several years old.
Excuse me for my ignorance. I don't know what is a scratch disk. Anyway,
you mean it is because my compute has a 2TB hard drive so that the scratch
disk cannot handle it? I am completely puzzled. I have used PhotoShop for
many years though with only basic skill. Never had any issue. This copy of
PhotoShop I bought from Ebay. It is not in Adobe's CS5 or 6. It was sold
separately. I did not know it was an older version. I mistook it as from
I bought two copies by accident. I put one in my older desktop Windows 7
and 1TB drive. It works. The other copy I installed in the new laptop
with Windows 10 and 2TB drive. So I should partition the drive. Thank you
for your advice.
The latest perpetual version of Photoshop was CS6 and that is several years old. Current versions are available on subscription basis only.
I hope you did not pay too much for the PS7 license. Depending on what you intend doing, it is still a good value. But progress didn’t stop and things like content aware fill are really useful, just to name that feature.
According to the license conditions, you are allowed to install each license on 2 computers, given that you do not concurrently use those licenses. (2 computers, sequentialy use is OK, parallel isn’t).
On a forum like this one you will get an answer. It’s a good place to ask questions.
Thank you for the info.
I am having the same issue. I think I better shop around for a better more user friendly photo editor.
Please specify the program version. This thread is more than 5 years old. You may expect some evolution since...
You shouldn’t get a scratch disk full error message if the main disk has plenty of space. 5 GB is not plenty of space nowadays.
You are free to choose your products. There are plenty of alternatives.
I didn't understand what scratch disc was. I still don't. I used other version of Photoshop before. Never had this problem
The Photoshop I bought is 7.0. It's a very old version. I mistaking it as from Adobe CS 7. Big mistake. I will just throw it away since I don't understand what scratch disk is and don't now what to do .
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Whatever version of Photoshop you have you are going to have to learn about scratch disk, why you need it, and how to set it. There's lots of stuff to learn with Photoshop!