Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac

Photoshop is a very commonly used and powerful image processing software. Many designers use it for some post-image processing and other imaging work. However, many people will often encounter Photoshop scratch disk full error when using this software. This article will teach you how to solve this problem.

At first open Photoshop. Then, Click on Edit from the menu and navigate to Preferences Scratch Disk. Now, You will see and be sure which one is your scratch disk. You will see a tick sign before that particular disk drive. You can choose any other drive that has enough space that can make your scratch disks run successfully. Hit the 'Default option' and tap 'OK' to close the opened dialog box. Open Photoshop and click on 'Preference' on the main interface. Click on the 'Scratch disk option.' You will see the Scratch Disk marked as the default option. The Photoshop “scratch disk full” error usually presents itself when your hard disk is low on storage space. You can free up disk space on your Mac by removing duplicate files, clearing browser caches, emptying the Trash, deleting unused applications (and their leftover files), and so on. Nothing is working for me. Scratch disks full so Photoshop can't initialize. I have just two scratch disks listed in the dialog box: Startup and Macintosh HD. Changing those doesn't change a thing. Still with the message can't initialize Photoshop because scratch disks are full. Websites are becoming nicer, and this often leads to more voluminous PSD mock-ups. Now few people will be surprised by the layout with a weight of 100-odd megabytes, and this leads to some unexpected problems like “Photoshop scratch disks are full” on Mac. We will try to solve in this article.


How Did Scratch Disk Full Error Occurs in Photoshop?

When you use Photoshop 2020 or Photoshop CC2019 or other versions of this software to perform some operations such as using the brush tool or adding some text to the picture, you will find that this error prompt box pops up on the screen.

Sometimes, when you want to initialize Photoshop or save some files, a similar error message will appear. When it appears, there are usually some tips:

  • Could not initialize Photoshop because the scratch disks are full
  • Could not complete your request/command because the scratch disks are full
  • Could not open Photoshop because the scratch disks are full
  • Could not save files because the scratch disks are full
  • Could not use brush tool because scratch disks are full
  • Could not use type tool because scratch disks are full

Basically your scratch disk full will be the main reason for the above problems in your Photoshop.


What Causes Photoshop Scratch Disk Full?

Full space for Scratch disk may be caused by the following reasons.


1. Insufficient disk space. Adobe Photoshop itself requires a certain amount of running space and needs to store some temporary files through RAM.

If your computer’s memory space is not capable of processing the data itself, then Photoshop will use hard drive to process these files, resulting in Scratch disk full error.

2. Too many Photoshop temporary files. How does Photoshop generate a large number of temporary files and occupy the scratch disk? When you always close Photoshop without closing the open file in advance, this will make Photoshop think that you may encounter some errors, so Photoshop will help you create a temporary file to help you recover from this error.

As your chunk files become more and more, it will slowly eat up your scratch disk space, and then it will prompt an error such as “could not save files on Photoshop or could not complete your request on Photoshop”.

3. Too much Photoshop Cache. Photoshop generates a cache when it is running normally, and the cache keeps increasing. This problem can show up when your Photoshop does not clear the cache in time. So clearing the cache is to spare up more Photoshop scratch disk space.

What is a Scratch Disk?

When you run Photoshop, a temporary Photoshop file will be generated. The larger the file you create in Photoshop, the larger this temporary file will be. For example, when the file size you make is several hundred MB or more, this temporary file will exceed several GB and will take up a lot of space. This space is the scratch disk.

If the drive you set as the temporary disk has limited space, when the scratch disk is full, you will not be able to use this software at this time. Then there will be some errors such as can’t initialize Photoshop or can’t save file. You can only delete some of the files or change the scratch disk location.

Where is the Photoshop Scratch Disk Location in Your Computer?

If you are familiar with Photoshop, then you will find that in the settings of scratch disks, there will be four options for you to choose the location of the scratch disk.

By default, Photoshop uses the disk in which the system is installed as the storage location for the scratch disk.

How to Check Scratch Disk Space and Usage in Photoshop?

Since Photoshop prompts the scratch disks are in full usage, how to check the size of scratch disks and the actual usage?

1. After opening Photoshop, the bottom line of the Photoshop window is the status bar, which shows the status of the currently open document.

2. Clicking the triangle on the right and select the Scratch Disk Size. Now you can see the total space and usage of scratch disks.

Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac

3. On the left is the size of your current document, and on the right is the total scratch disk size. Generally the Scratch disk is below 60%, and Photoshop will run very fast.

How Much Scratch Disk Space is Better?

Since your Photoshop scratch disks are in full status, how much scratch disk space do you need? Isn’t the bigger the scratch disks, the better?

Generally speaking, naturally, the bigger, the better, it’s like a house. Who doesn’t like big houses? However, the actual situation is that your computer’s disk space is limited. If most of the space is allocated to Photoshop scratch disk, the normal operation of the computer will face great problems. Fortunately, Adobe has made great optimizations.

1. Photoshop will leave at least 6GB space on the system disk, and in other hard drive leave at least 1GB space. This space is reserved to prevent problems with the operating system.

2. Scratch disk space depends on how you edit Photoshop and the number of historical files you have stored in memory and the open state.

3. Under normal circumstances, if you only make small changes and retain the default options such as default preferences, brushes, patterns, etc., your Scratch disk space only needs to be more than 1.5GB. Also, set aside two more times the size of all the files you have open at the same time.

4. If you need to do is to edit multiple layers, use multiple filters, and then your temporary disk space may be several times than the original file size.

How to Fix Scratch Disk Full on Photoshop?

After you understand all the information related to scratch disk, it becomes very easy to solve it. There are six ways to help you solve this problem.

Tips: Because some of the solution need to open the Photoshop, so if the case you encounter the error that you cannot open Photoshop because scratch disks are full, you should follow below steps.

Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac

MacOS: hold down the Cmd + Option keys

Windows: Ctrl + Alt keys

Solution 1: Free Up Computer Disk Space

Scratch disk full? What should you do? Clear disk. Photoshop scratch disk takes up computer disk space, so clearing up more disk space is obviously necessary. Clearing the computer’s disk space can make Photoshop run faster, and also clear Photoshop’s cache.

So how do you empty your Photoshop scratch disk full without opening it? You can use IObit Advanced SystemCare to help you clean disk space.

IObit Advanced System Care is a comprehensive system protection and cleaning tool. It can help you clean more than 26 kinds of junk files, such as system logs, temporary files, image caches and updates caches, etc. It can also speed up your computer and protect your personal privacy. In this way, you can empty Photoshop scratch disk without opening Photoshop.

1. Download, install and run Advanced SystemCare on your computer.

2. Check the Select All option and then click Scan.

3. Click Fix.

With these three steps, your computer will release a lot of space, and the space of the Photoshop scratch disk will also be released.

Related: How to Fix 100% Full Disk Usage on Windows 10

Solution 2: Change Scratch Disk Location

As mentioned earlier, the default storage path for scratch disk is the system disk as it runs faster. So, when your computer could not initialize Photoshop, you can choose to replace it with a new disk to solve the problem of scratch disk full.

For Windows Users:

1. Open Photoshop. Then navigate to Edit > Preferences, and then click on Performance. In the right-side of Performance window, you will see there is Scratch disks item.

2. Make sure the Scratch disks’ free space is above 40GB. Normally, you will see the C:drive is the Scratch disk, and you can see the free space.


3. Select another drive whose space is above 40GB such as D:, and then click Default. Now, the new scratch disk location is set.

For Mac Users:

1. Open Photoshop, and then go to Photoshop > Preferences.

2. Select Scratch Disks option from the left side.

3. Select a hard drive that you don’t want it to be a scratch disk, and uncheck the checkbox in front of it.

4. Then restart your Photoshop.

After that, you will see that the Photoshop can be opened properly and cannot open Photoshop error disappears.

Solution 3: Delete Photoshop Temporary Files Manually

Scratch Disks Are Full Window

As mentioned above, you can use Advanced SystemCare to delete all the temporary files including Photoshop temp files. And if you do not use that software, you can also do it manually to fix scratch disk full issue.

1. Hold Win + R keyboard to open the Run dialog box.

2. Type appdata in the box and press Enter or click OK.

3. Navigate to Local > Temp. Here are all the temporary files folders for your computer.

4. Find files with~PST or Photoshop Temp.

5. Select all the temporary files with ~PST or Photoshop Temp, delete them.

6. Restart your Photoshop.

If you use Photoshop on Mac computer, type the file extension that begins with “pst” or “Photoshop Temp” in the search box and delete these files when all the files appear. After that, you will find that you have emptied your scratch disk, and you can continue to perform other operations.

Solution 4: Allocate More RAM to Photoshop

We know that too little memory will also cause scratch disk full error in Photoshop, so you can provide Photoshop with enough RAM from two aspects.

1. If possible, close unused applications or programs running in the background. This can prevent the memory from being used by useless program and ensure the computer speed and more memory will be allocated to Photoshop.

2. Manually allocate more RAM to Photoshop. At this ratio, it can not only ensure the normal operation of the computer to the maximum, but also optimize the Photoshop application.

After launching Photoshop, go to Edit > Preferences, and then select Performance. In the right side of Memory Usage option, you can drag the triangle to set the proportion of computer memory used in Photoshop.

So when you manually allocate more memory to run Photoshop CS6, the probability of insufficient scratch disk space will be reduced.

Related: How to Check How Much RAM You Have on Windows 10

Solution 5: Disable Auto-Recovery Saving

In the same way, as temporary files are generated, Photoshop 2020 or other versions of Photoshop app also provide a way to handle these files using the functionality auto-recovery. When your computer is stuck or automatically restarted or Photoshop encounters a problem and is terminated unexpectedly, auto-recovery will be started automatically. So this function will automatically occupy some space in the scratch disk and cause the disk to be full. So you can disable it to fix the problem.

1. Open Photoshop 2020.

2. Go to Edit > Preferences > File Handling.

3. In the right-side, uncheck the box of Automatically Save Recovery Information Every [N Minutes], and then click OK.

Now when you click move tool, type tool, brush tool or other tools again, this error will not appear.

Solution 6: Clear Photoshop Caches

Too many caches may result in insufficient scratch disk to initialize Photoshop. So it is necessary to clear Photoshop’s cache in time to free up more space. When your scratch disk is emptied, Photoshop will also run more smoothly.

1. Open Photoshop.

2. Select Edit (Win) or Photoshop (Mac) > Purge > All.

3. In the pop-up warning “This cannot be undone. Continue?”, click OK.

One thing to note is that using the purge function does not clear all Photoshop caches. If you want to clear all Photoshop caches, you can refer to Solution 1.

Related: How to Clear Cache on Windows 10


The above six methods are the most direct solution to fix the error that the scrap disk is full. After that, you can open Photoshop directly, initialize your Photoshop, execute any commands and requests, and use all Photoshop tools.

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HomeYodot PSD RepairHow to Fix Scratch Disk Error in Photoshop?
Updated on May 05, 2020

If you are a Mac user, and working on applications like Adobe Photoshop, then you might have encountered errors related to 'scratch disk'. The most common error occurring while working in Photoshop application is 'Could not initialize Photoshop because the scratch disks are full'.

Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac

If you have landed on this page means, you have experienced this issue. For the goodness, you have landed at the right place. Here, you will get to know how to fix Photoshop scratch disk error on Mac with Yodot PSD Repair for Mac software. To know how to get your job done with this tool, keep reading further..!

Cannot Initialize Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac

The Photoshop Encounters Scratch Disk Full Error Mainly at Three Instances:

1. Photoshop Crashed: The Photoshop application creates large temporary files on scratch disk and deletes them when it is finished. But, if the program does not shut down properly, then these temporary files can be left on the disk and you may encounter Could Not Initialize Photoshop Scratch Disk Full error due to unavailability of free space.

2. When Cropping Image: You may get this scratch disk full error message when you are trying to crop an image using Photoshop application. If you have entered wrong units/size and resolution values in the options bar, then the cropping tool gives scratch disk is full error message.

3. No Space on Scratch Disk: If your scratch disk memory is full then “scratch disk full error” message appears when you start the Photoshop application or while editing the image using Photoshop program.

How to Clear Scratch Disk or How to Fix Scratch Disk Error in Photoshop?

Step 1: In Windows system, press Windows and R keys together, type %LocalAppData%Temp and hit OK. Find and delete ~PST####.tmp files (#### is a serial number).

Wherein Mac users, search Photoshop Temp and delete temp files with name Temp####.

Thus, removing all Photoshop Temp files resolve the scratch disk error in Photoshop.

Step 2: Open Photoshop Preferences and choose Scratch Disks. In Mac OS, open Photoshop CC go to Menu, choose Preferences and click on Scratch Disks. Note down your scratch disk.

Now, clear unwanted files from this scratch drive and defragment it to make scratch disk space for the Photoshop. If possible, add additional drive/partition for Photoshop to use a scratch disk or change the scratch disk to add free space.

Step 3: If you are experiencing the scratch disk is full error message, when cropping a Photoshop image, then Clear the option bar contents soon after you select the crop tool.

Using the above techniques, you can easily solve the problem scratch disk full that appears in the Photoshop application.

If your Photoshop files are corrupted when the application crashes then, you can fix this corrupted Photoshop files by using any third party repair tool. But I recommended you to try Yodot PSD Repair for fixing your corrupt PSD files that are corrupted due to Photoshop application crash on Mac OS X or Windows operating system.

Fix Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Error on Mac with Yodot PSD Repair:

Yodot PSD Repair is one of the eminent repair software that can easily fix your Photoshop files that are corrupted due to Photoshop application crash. It also repairs large sized PSD and PDD Photoshop image files on Mac system. It can fix PSD files having depths of 1, 8, 16 and 32 bits per channel. This application is compatible with all versions of Mac operating systems namely Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion. This tool can easily fix RLE compressed PSD files that are created by various Adobe Photoshop versions on Macintosh computer. This software is preferred by most of the Photoshop users due to its user-friendly interface and it supports to operate even on Windows operating system.

You might even notice missing or deletion of PSD files due to various Photoshop errors or application crash. However, there is an opt way to recover PSD file disappeared from Mac Machine or Windows system is given in the link in an easy way.

Steps to Fix Photoshop Scratch Disks are Full Error with Yodot PSD Repair:

Step 1: Launch Yodot PSD Repair software, click on the Browse button and select the corrupt/damaged PSD file that is to be repaired. Click on the Repair button.

Step 2: After the repair process, you can verify the fixed Photoshop file by using the Preview option.

Adobe Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Mac

Step 3: Finally, Save the repaired PSD file to your preferred location (on a new location).


  • Avoid using the drive where your operating system is installed as the scratch drive
  • Don't use a network drive or external drive as a scratch disk
  • If your computer is running with SSD then set it as your scratch disk, even if it is OS drive
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