Learn how to Set Up and Empty Scuff Disks In Adobe Photoshop

If you are an Adobe Photoshop consumer and you regularly work on large files, you are running Photoshop on an older or sluggish computer, or you just want to make sure that you are running Photoshop along with maximum performance, then understanding scratch disks is important. Maybe you’ve even received a “Scratch Disk Full” mistake and you aren’t sure exactly what that means or what to do about it. Nowadays we’re going to look at scrape disks in Adobe Photoshop. We will learn what they are, how to set them up for the very best performance, and how to empty them and deal with that annoying error message.

Table of Contents

What is the Photoshop Scratch Drive?

The very first thing we need to know, before we learn how to setup and empty scratch disks is exactly what they are and why Photoshop uses them. Scratch Disks are usually temporary storage that Photoshop creates when it needs more storage than it has on your computer’s RAM. Photoshop is a complex program, also because it is so powerful additionally it is it is very “resource intensive” psychological significance it uses a lot of your computer’s resources – from the processor, to the graphics processor, towards the memory. When Photoshop requirements more memory than your personal computer can provide it begins to make use of the computer’s Solid State Commute (SSD) or Hard Drive (whichever your computer has) for extra short-term storage. Essentially scratch area is hard drive/ssd drive area that Photoshop is using because extra RAM.

How to Allocate MEMORY to Free Scratch Disk Space

Before we get into steps to make scratch disks more efficient, I wish to start with a quick note regarding the RAM. In an ideal set up, Photoshop would have enough MEMORY to run everything without actually needing to use scratch drive space. While that is usually not possible, it can be useful to understand how much RAM is invested in Photoshop and adjust that to reduce Photoshop’s reliance on scratch disks.


By default, 70% of the computer’s RAM is allocated to Photoshop. Because the computer requirements RAM space to operate, Adobe warns against increasing the particular RAM allocation to greater than 85%. Depending on your computer set-up, how much RAM you have, and what processes your computer is operating, the actual amount of memory your pc needs to operate efficiently will vary, so Adobe recommends raising the RAM allocation in 5% increments. It’s a balancing act, though, because you do need to be careful to not allocate too much RAM to Photoshop. Still, since RAM storage is more efficient than scratch disk storage, ensuring that Photoshop has the RAM it requires to operate can help with performance as well as help keep the scratch hard disk drives from filling up too quickly.

Even with plenty of RAM, Photoshop will save some short lived files to the scratch disk, such as auto recovery files. But for the most part, improving the available RAM possibly by adding more to the pc (often a simple and fairly inexpensive upgrade) or by allocating as much as necessary to Photoshop, will decrease scratch disc use and increase Photoshop’s performance.

How Much Scratch Disk Space Do You Need?

Hard drive/SSD Space may already be an issue for the purpose of photographers (all those large RAW files start to combine up), but it is essential that you leave enough room on your drive for Photoshop’s scratch space. If your scratch disk will be running on your main system drive, Photoshop will instantly reserve 6 GB of space as scratch space. On non-system drives this reserves 1 GB of space. But how much you actually need is different than what Photoshop is reserving, and it varies drastically based on what you are actually doing in Photoshop.

For smaller procedures and edits, Adobe states you will need 1 . 5 GB plus 2 times the size of all of the files you have open at the same time. For large processes and complex edits, they say that you could need current document sizes multiplied by the number of history states (you can modify the number of history states by visiting Edit > Preferences > Performance).

Practically, file sizes add up quickly, especially when working with large files and multiple layers or multiple image files. So , it’s important to make sure you have got plenty of available space on your own drives.

Using the Status Bar to check on Efficiency and Scratch Sizes

You can use the status bar to check efficiency, scratch sizes, plus document size

In the bottom left corner of your Photoshop files, there is status bar that can display information about your image and about Photoshop’s efficiency and scratch sizes. By clicking on the arrow on the right-hand side, you can select the standing option you would like displayed. 3 of these can help give all of us a good indicator as to just how Photoshop is running concerning scratch disk space:

  • Document Size gives you the file size of that particular document. You will find two numbers displayed, using the number on the right becoming the actual document size since it is open in Photoshop (with layers and such) and the number on the left getting the size if you flattened the particular document. Having an idea from the size of the documents you might have open and are working on will help give you an idea of the amount of memory Photoshop will need.
  • Efficiency is displayed as a percentage. When the efficiency drops below 100%, it indicates that Photoshop is certainly writing to scratch hard disks. The lower the percentage, more suitable percentage of the time Photoshop is usually spending writing to scrape disks. Watching the performance number drop is a good signal that you need to make sure you have abundant scratch disk space available for Photoshop to use, and it is also an indicator that Photoshop needs more RAM MEMORY to run as efficiently as is possible.
  • Scratch Sizes displays the total amount of memory that all the open up documents are using (left number) and the amount of RAM that will Photoshop has available to make use of (right number). The less of the available RAM the open documents are using the particular less you will end up relying on nothing disk space and the improved Photoshop will run.
An efficiency of only 90% indicates that Photoshop is depending heavily on scratch hard disks

How to Move Photoshop Scrape Disks to Another Drive

The information in the status bar can give you advisable of how Photoshop is operating and if you can expect your scrape disks to fill up, but how do you free up more room if you need to?

Selecting Scratch Disk from the Preferences Menu allows you to add or change scratch space hard disks.

If you need more scratch space, among the easiest and quickest ways to free up space is to move the scratch disks to a different drive. By default your scratch disks will be stored on your own system drive, but you can transformation that by going to Edit > Preferences > Scratch Hard disks and assigning a new push, or additional drives. You are able to assign up to 4 hard drives or SSD drives to be used as scratch space.

If your main system drive is an SSD, you might as well use your main commute as your scratch disk drive; there is no performance penalty, as long as it has enough free space to run efficiently. However , if your main drive is a harddrive, then you will see a performance boost from moving your scratch devices to another drive. You can use a secondary drive as scratch disc space, either another internal drive or even an external tough drive/ssd drive as long as you are using a fast connection like UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS 3. 0 or Thunderbolt.

Because the 32 GB of RAM in my machine is sufficient for my needs I am running my scratch drive only off of my major system SSD. If I needed additional scratch space I really could use an external drive and it would shop up here in the particular scratch disks menu where I could select it for extra scratch space.

To change which push Photoshop is using for scuff disks, go to Edit > Preferences > Scratch Hard drive. Then use the checkbox to select or unselect the drives you want to use. You can budget for up to 4 drives as scratch space. External drives utilizing a high speed connection are good, but if the drive wasn’t linked when you opened Photoshop, you will have to restart Photoshop before it will recognize it as an option. When you make changes for your scratch disk drives (adding or selecting new drives), you will need to restart Photoshop before they take effect.

Using Your System Generate for Scratch Space

If you can not move your scratch devices to another drive then you wish to free up space on the existing drive. If your scratch hard disks are stored on your program drive then Photoshop is certainly automatically going to allocate 6 GB of space, but your operating system most likely uses your whole body drive for virtual storage as well, so you likely need more free space compared to that to make sure your computer will be running well. If your scuff disks are on a hard generate as opposed to an SSD generate then you also want to make sure to defragment the hard drive regularly. Because of the way scratch hard disks are saved to the drive, hard drives uses as the begining disk require more regular defragmenting than they would or else.

Clearing Memory Within Photoshop & Purging Cache Files

If you are watching your scratch/document sizes scale and your efficiency drop, you might want to clear up some memory when you are in Photoshop. The absolute easiest (and least painful) method to do this is to simply close up documents you aren’t using before you need them. Closing more documents can drastically slow up the memory and the scratch hard disk drive size Photoshop is using.

You can also reduce the size of a large document you are working with by cleaning up any unnecessary layers. Duplicating the backdrop layer of a photograph increases the image size and increases it by the original picture size again for every fresh duplicated photographic layer.

Decades ago, whenever possible, we were advised to make a choice and only duplicate the necessary collection of an image to a new layer to save space. Steps that drastic are rarely necessary now, but if you are dealing with an extraordinarily large file or even a very slow machine, cutting your extra layers (or flattening layers when possible) can assist. Make sure you don’t need to help to make changes to a layer just before flattening it, though, because flatting an image is a trade-off between editability and room.

Reducing the amount of History States (Edit > Preferences > Performance) can also drastically reduce the memory/scratch storage space that Photoshop makes use of. Of course , it is a trade-off among performance and the ability to undo/go back farther. But if you retain your History States to some number that you’d realistically need, rather than using some thing excessive, you can make a significant difference in the amount of memory Photoshop is using.

You can Purge the cache in order to free scratch space, you need to be aware that it can not be unfastened

You can even purge your cache documents to free up space, yet this does come at a cost as well. If you go to Modify > Purge, you will have the option to purge the “Clipboard” or the “Histories” or “All. ” Clearing the clip-board will clear anything you have copied to the clipboard. Histories clears all the history claims, so even undo (CTRL/CMD +Z) will no longer be available. Nevertheless , history states can take upward a lot of memory, so this is a good idea if you’re sure you don’t need to go back. While purging these types of will free memory or even scratch space, keep in mind that it cannot be undone.

What to do when Photoshop Cannot Open Because Scuff Disks Are Full


Probably the most frustrating error messages Photoshop gives is the one that reads “Could not initialize Photoshop because the scratch disks are full. ” If Photoshop can’t initialize then how can you handle the scratch disks? Well, the first thing to do is to be sure that the hard drive that Photoshop is using for Scratch Space is not full. If you haven’t changed your preferences then which will be your main system drive.

Holding CTRL + ALT (Windows) or CMD+OPTION (Mac) when Photoshop is without a doubt opening will launch the Scratch Disk Preferences Menus

When it is full, clearing space for the drive will help solve the issue. Move files to an external hard disk unit, delete unnecessary files, apparent the recycle or trash bin on the computer. Anything you can perform to free up Gigabytes worth of space should fix this error. If you can’t free up enough space – or, you simply want to select a different scratch disk generate, but Photoshop won’t open because the disks are total – then you can hold CTRL+ALT (Windows) or CMD+OPTION (Mac) while Photoshop is launching to select a new scratch cd disk drive.

Reset Photoshop Preferences

Holding CTRL+ALT+SHIFT (Windows) or CMD+OPTION+SHIFT (Mac) will clear Photoshop settings. This will delete your preferences yet a corrupted preferences file can sometimes be the cause of a scratch disk error

Sometimes an error or even a corrupted preferences file inside Photoshop can affect your nothing disks. Fortunately, resetting the preferences can be done on start in much the same way seeing that resetting the scratch storage drive. To reset Photoshop preferences, you can hold straight down CTRL+ALT+SHIFT (Windows) or CMD+OPTION+SHIFT (Mac) while Photoshop is usually launching. Because this will totally reset the preferences, you should regress to something easier your preferences before resetting all of them if at all  possible.

Making sure that Photoshop has the memory it needs to run efficiently, and making sure your scratch disks are setup properly, can go a long way in order to keeping Photoshop working the way you need it to. It’s important for all Photoshop users to maintain an eye on efficiency, understand where their scratch devices are located, and be familiar with how to proceed if Photoshop encounters the scratch disk error. Ideally this has simplified that process for you, so you can keep focusing on your images uninterrupted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *