How to Fix Scratch Disk Error on Adobe Photoshop

Want to know how you can fix the scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop?

The scratch disk is basically your hard drive. Adobe Photoshop uses your drive as temporary swap space or virtual memory when your system doesn’t have enough RAM to handle your editing activities. 

Now, if you’re only using one drive on your computer, the scratch disk is the drive where your operating system is installed. 

Now, when your drive runs out of space, Photoshop may stop working properly. 

One issue you might face is the scratch disk error. When this occurs, you won’t be able to perform actions on Photoshop or even access it. 

Today, we will show you what to do when you encounter the scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop. 

Let’s get started!

1. Restart Your PC. 

Before changing your configurations, we suggest restarting your computer first. This should clear your system cache and eliminate temporary errors that may have occurred during run time. 

For Windows users, here’s how you can restart your PC:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key to open the Start Menu
  2. After that, open the Power Options tab. 
  3. Finally, click on Restart to reboot your system. 
Restart your PC

On Macs, follow the steps below to restart it: 

  1. First, click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen. 
  2. Next, select the Restart option. 
  3. Lastly, click Restart again to confirm your action. 
scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop

Once done, relaunch Photoshop to check if the problem is solved. 

2. Free Up Disk Space. 

As mentioned, the scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop occurs when it runs out of swap space to use on your hard drive. In this case, try to check your storage drive if it’s already full and try to delete old files. 

Remove unused applications from your system and delete downloaded installers. You can also clear your Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac). 

After freeing up your storage, go back to Adobe Photoshop to check if the problem is solved. 

3. Defragment Your Disk (Windows). 

For Windows users, you can try defragmenting your hard drive if you encounter the scratch disk error. This should re-organize your files, so that related data are filed in a continuous manner. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. On your PC, open File Explorer and click on This PC on the side menu. 
  2. After that, right-click on your storage and choose Properties
  3. Now, open the Tools tab and click on Optimize
  4. Finally, select your active drive and click the Optimize button again. 
Defrag Windows

Once done, restart your system and check if the problem is solved. 

4. Clear Photoshop Cache. 

If you can access Photoshop on your computer without the error message interfering, you can try clearing its cache. This should free up disk space and eliminate temporary data from your system. 

See the steps below to clear Photoshop’s cache: 

  1. First, click on Edit (Windows) or Photoshop CC (Mac) on the menu bar. 
  2. After that, choose Purge.
  3. Lastly, select All
scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop

After that, restart Photoshop and try editing a photo to check if the error message still occurs. 

5. Clear Crop Tool Values. 

If you get the scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop while cropping an image, it may indicate an issue with the values entered in the options bar for the Crop Tool. For instance, entering a 1200 x 1080 value when the unit is set to inches instead of pixels generates a very large file that can trigger the error message. 

To prevent this, simply hit the Clear button in the options bar after selecting the Crop Tool. 

6. Change Photoshop Settings. 

Photoshop might not be allowed to access all of your system memory, which forces it to use your hard drive as a swap space/ To prevent this, adjust the performance settings on Photoshop and allow it to use more RAM. 

Here’s how you can change your performance settings: 

  1. On Photoshop, click on Edit (Windows) or Photoshop CC (Mac).
  2. Next, go to Preferences and choose Performance
  3. Finally, adjust the amount of memory Photoshop can utilize. 
scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop

Restart the program afterward and check if the scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop is solved. 

7. Expand Your Storage. 

If none of the solutions above worked for you, it’s time that you expand your system storage. Your current drive might not have enough space to handle your Photoshop activities, which triggers the error. 

We recommend adding a separate drive as your scratch disk on your system if you perform heavy functions and edit high-resolution images on Photoshop. 

That ends our guide on how to fix the scratch disk error on Adobe Photoshop. If you have questions, drop a comment below, and we’ll do our best to help. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter)

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