4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 28, 2015 6:59 PM by Mike Bethany RSS

    Scratch disk full and cannot open photoshop to fix it...

    pmcalarn17 Community Member

      I cannot open photoshop because it says the scratch disk is full. I have been using photoshop (cs5) for 10 years and never had this problem. I recently installed cs5 on my Windows 7 computer and it worked for a few weeks, then this problem arose. I cannot afford a new version at this time but would like to use cs5 on this computer and I know it can work because it did for several weeks but now it won't and I can't follow the typical steps to remedy this situation because I cannot open photoshop. Please help!

        • 1. Re: Scratch disk full and cannot open photoshop to fix it...
          EricaLynneLarson Adobe Employee

          Hi there,


          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.)


          Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 6.48.48 PM.jpg


          Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 6.50.24 PM.jpg


          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


          Instructions for Windows

          Instructions for Mac


          I hope one of these methods works for you!

          • 2. Re: Scratch disk full and cannot open photoshop to fix it...
            Mylenium CommunityMVP

            In addition, you may also want to do a little housekeeping and free your system of temporary files and all that:


            Installation Preparations (and system maintenance)



            • 3. Re: Scratch disk full and cannot open photoshop to fix it...
              PECourtejoie CommunityMVP

              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.

              • 4. Re: Scratch disk full and cannot open photoshop to fix it...
                Mike Bethany Community Member

                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?"