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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!
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
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.