10 Fixes For The “Scratch Disks Are Full” Error In Photoshop

Photoshop’s “scratch disks are full” problem commonly arises when your computer’s memory space is insufficient to hold Photoshop’s temporary files. Photoshop either fails or doesn’t load at all when this error occurs.

Clearing “scratch disks are full” on your Mac isn’t a problem you’ll encounter often, but people who work with tools like Photoshop should know how to deal with it if it arises. This issue frequently appears in intensive programs like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro, which can be confusing.

10 Best Ways "Scratch Disks Are Full" Error In Photoshop | (Windows, Mac)

I will lead you on how to solve the “scratch disks are full” error on your Mac and why Photoshop scratch disks are full. How to better manage memory to lessen or eliminate the frequency with which these pop-ups appear.

What Are The “Scratch Disks Are Full” Error?

Virtual memory, often known as cache memory, is required when running Photoshop or Final Cut Pro programs. This is where you’ll find and access temporary project files.

When there isn’t enough RAM to perform a task, Photoshop uses scratch disk space as virtual memory. Photoshop allows you to assign multiple scratch disks, giving it additional room to work with.

Photoshop covertly eats up your hard disk space when you work with large photos and many layers by swiftly building a mountain of project temp files. It’s worth citing that when you first install Photoshop, you’ll have the option of assigning the scratch CDs to whichever drive you like.

Why Currently Selected Scratch Disks Are Full Error Occur?

The most common cause of the “scratch disks are full” issue is temporary files. They frequently congregate in your drive and leave no trace of their existence.

If you frequently force-quit Photoshop, you may have many temporary files on your computer. Photoshop maintains such files on your machine since it can’t adequately shut all projects once you exit it so quickly.

Here are some more possible causes for the message mentioned above:

  • There isn’t enough room in the drive to store the scratch disk.
  • The disk partition that Photoshop is using is full.
  • Photoshop could only use a limited amount of RAM.

What Do You Do When Scratch Disks Are Full?

Don’t panic when you see the message ‘Photoshop scratch disks are full,’ don’t panic. Mac machines have no way of resolving the problem. It won’t automatically free up disk space or build a separate partition to avoid the problem.

You’ll need to learn how to clear a scratch disk on your own.

How Much Scratch Disk Space Do I Need?

For all users, there is no standard scratch disk space. The amount of scratch space you’ll require is determined by how much you alter documents in Photoshop and how many temporary files you keep in memory.

For Photoshop, you’ll need at least 1.5 GB of scratch disk space (with default patterns, preferences, brushes, etc.). You may additionally require disk space equal to twice the combined size of all the files you’ve opened simultaneously.

If you’re a ‘heavy’ Photoshop user, you’ll probably require a lot more storage space than the original file sizes. Having dozens of brushes or patterns loaded increases the amount of scratch space required for your Photoshop app to launch.

Best Methods To Fix Scratch Disks Are Full Error In Adobe Photoshop (Windows And Mac)

  1. Change The Scratch Disk On Startup
  2. Free-Up Memory Space On Computer
  3. Delete Photoshop Temporary Files
  4. Remove Photoshop Cache Files
  5. Reset Values For Crop Tool
  6. Change The Scratch Disk In Photoshop
  7. Disable The Auto Recovery In Photoshop
  8. Let Photoshop Use Ram
  9. Defrag Hard Drive
  10. Reset Adobe Photoshop Preferences

1. Change The Scratch Disk On Startup

If the disk is nearly full, move the directory to one with more space. When you run Photoshop, press Command + Option to modify the Scratch Disk location.

Changing your scratch disk to another drive in your system may be a smart option. If you don’t have another drive, you can buy one, with a solid-state drive (SSD) being the best option for Mac OS X scratch disks.

To replace your scratch disk in Photoshop, follow these steps:

  • Select Photoshop from the drop-down option.
  • Scratch Disk can be found under Preferences.
Preferences then scratch disks
  • Select or delete a drive as the scratch disk by checking or unchecking the checkbox.
Select disk
  • Click the OK button.
  • Restart Photoshop if necessary.

2. Free-Up Memory Space On Computer

Examine the drive’ to see if you don’t need anything. There usually is, so go ahead and delete your old files to make room.

You can also easily copy files to external devices, DVDs, or cloud storage services such as Dropbox and iCloud. Apple has added additional tools to “assist” users in managing storage space in macOS Sierra.

On Windows, Check Your Storage.

  • Open the Settings app on your device.
  • On the next screen, select System.
  • To see the storage details on your computer, go to Storage.
  • You’ll be able to monitor what’s using up how much RAM. This will aid you in determining what to eliminate.

Check Your Mac’s Storage

  • Choose About This Mac from the Apple logo in the top-left corner.
  • At the top of the page, choose Storage and then Manage.
  • It’ll show you what information takes up how much space and make suggestions for freeing up memory.

3. Delete Photoshop Temporary Files

Photoshop generates and saves temporary files on your computer’s hard drive. After you’ve closed Photoshop, you can safely remove these files. It permits you to reclaim some memory space.

  • To launch Run, hit the Windows + R keys together, then type %temp% the following into it and press Enter.
  • Locate the files called Photoshop or PST when the temporary folder opens.
  • Select Delete from the context menu when you right-click those files.
Delete Temp Files
  • Empty the Recycle Bin on your desktop by right-clicking it and selecting Empty Recycle Bin.
  • On a Mac, utilize Spotlight to look for and delete temporary files.

4. Remove Photoshop Cache Files

Photoshop includes a feature that allows you to delete individual Photoshop caches. These troublesome caches can grow and take up a lot of space on your scratch drive if the program doesn’t automatically erase them.

To utilize this feature, open Photoshop on your Mac and open an image:

  • Select Edit from the menu bar.
  • Hover your cursor over “purge” to see four options appear.
  • Undo, Clipboard, Histories, and All are all options. If an item is grayed out, it has been removed from the list.
  • To erase all of your caches, pick “all” and select the individual item you wish to delete.
  • You’ll be informed that the purge is irreversible, so double-check that you don’t need an earlier version of one of your projects before clicking OK.

5. Reset Values For Crop Tool

Photoshop’s crop tool allows you to crop your photos to a specific size. If you specify the size in the wrong units, such as centimeters instead of pixels, you will end up with an incredibly huge image.

The image takes up a lot of memory, resulting in the “scratch disks are full” error in Photoshop.

  • In Photoshop, utilize the crop tool to eliminate any values from the supplied boxes.
  • When entering values, whenever possible, use pixels as the unit.

6. Change The Scratch Disk In Photoshop

If your device’s scratch disks are full and the Photoshop 2019 app or older cannot run, you can create a new scratch disk by:

  • During the launch on macOS, hold down the Cmd + Option keys.
  • During the launch process on Windows, hold down the Ctrl + Alt keys.

Alternatively, you can change the scratch disk settings in Photoshop’s software by following these steps:

  • Go to Preferences, then Scratch Disks after starting Photoshop.
  • Select Edit, then Preferences, then Scratch Disks on Windows.
  • Choose Photoshop, then Preferences, then Scratch Disks on macOS.
  • To disable or enable a scratch disk, deselect or pick the active check box in the Preferences dialogue.
  • To modify the scratch disk order, click the arrow buttons.
  • To save your changes, click OK.
  • Restart Photoshop and see if the error still exists.

7. Disable The Auto Recovery In Photoshop

In most cases, if you exit the Photoshop software unexpectedly, Photoshop will attempt to auto-recover your project. This can result in the Photoshop error “scratch drives are full.”

You can turn off auto-recovery to save memory by reducing the size of temporary files on scratch disks. It’s worth noting that you’ll run the risk of not being able to recover.

In The Windows OS,

  • Open the Photoshop application.
  • Select Edit then Preferences File Handling, Automatically save recovery information.
  • Turn off the procedure.

On A Mac,

  • Open the Photoshop application.
  • Select File Handling from the Preferences menu in Photoshop, then save recovery information automatically.

8. Let Photoshop Use RAM

Allowing Photoshop to use additional RAM is one technique to resolve the scratch disk are full issues. This will allow it to store more temporary files on your scratch disks’ RAM space.

  • On your computer, launch Photoshop.
  • At the top of the screen, click Photoshop, Preferences, and Performance.
Preferences then General
  • A box entitled Let Photoshop Use can be seen on the right-hand side pane.
Allocate RAM size

9. Defrag Hard Drive

Defragmenting Macs isn’t necessary, and if you have a contemporary Mac with an SSD, defragmenting it can damage it. Macs with SSD drives store files differently than Macs with HDD drives; therefore, defragmenting them can be harmful.

Backing up files is a good idea because there will be occasions when clearing up an app’s cache or files mistakenly delete or destroy files you wish to save. Having a backup plan is like having a safety net.

Located in windows, It’s a good idea to defrag your scratch disk drive in Windows to free up some memory for Photoshop. This should help you resolve the app’s scratch disks problem.

  • Defragment and Optimize Drives can be found by searching for Defrag in the Start Menu.
Defragment and Optimize Drives
  • You’ll get a list of your hard disk partitions on the next screen.
Defragment and Optimize Drives
  • Click the Optimize button next to the one you use as a scratch disk.
  • It will fix the “Scratch Disks Are Full” error.

10. Reset Adobe Photoshop Preferences

Scratch disks are full can occur by an error or a corrupted preferences file in Photoshop. On launch, you can reset the preferences in the same way you can reset the scratch disk drive.

  • Hold CTRL+ALT+SHIFT (Windows) or CMD+OPTION+SHIFT (Mac) while Photoshop is starting to reset your preferences.
  • This will reset the preferences; if at all feasible, back up your preferences before resetting them.
  • If you want to remove the Photoshop settings file, you’ll get a prompt. To delete the files, select Yes.
  • Ensure Photoshop has enough RAM to work smoothly and properly configure your scratch disks.
  • All Photoshop users should keep an eye on efficiency and know where their scratch disks are situated.
  • It will fix the “Scratch Disks Are Full” error.


One of the typical problems encountered while using Photoshop is the “Scratch disks are Full” error. Delete the temporary folders in the drive regularly to avoid such situations in the future. This will ensure that Photoshop has adequate space on the scratch disk to run its applications. All the methods above will help to solve “Scratch Disks Are Full” error.