Have you tried deconfiguring the external drive from being used for scratch? Make sure to restart Photoshop before testing.
I have seen other programs crash upon attempts to determine drive info when a Western Digital external USB drive is spinning up.
By the way, an external drive is often quite slow for use as a scratch drive.
i'll try it out. I just have it as an additional as a backup. It's connected through usb3 and figured it couldn't hurt. i couldn't see it being the issue for an immediate freeze. that seems ridiculous.
This is a new problem. I've not had it do this all year or last year with the same configuration.
It's been a few hours and i haven't bumped into that again yet. weird. Thanks for the suggestion.
I have not had any real problems with letting my workstation with an external disk enter sleep state. When the system wakes up I have often notice the my external 4TB Seagate usb 3 drive take some time to get running and will often see Windows Autoplay popup window for the drive. However I don't use that drive for application work space like Photoshop scratch space. For application may be off and running before the drive is ready after sleeping. I find the USB3 external hard disk performs almost as well as my internal 10k RPM 500GB disk. I did not expect that.