Photoshop: Could not initialize because the scratch disks are full

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  • Updated 3 days ago
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Hello! When I try to open my Photoshop it won't open and give me this error: Could not initialize Photoshop because the scratch disks are full. I would be really happy if you could help me
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Jordan cvijic

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Posted 11 months ago

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
Hold down Cmd + Option (macOS) or Ctrl + Alt on Windows when you launch Photoshop. It will give you a dialog to select a different Scratch Disk with more space on it.
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Tom Mallam

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i tried this and a window came up called "scratch disk preferences". within this tab there are four different drop down menus labelled; first:, second:, third:, and fourth:.
i dont understand this menu, i have to different hard drives, my main one which is full and my secondary one which has quite a bit of space on, any configuration i choose of these just gives the same response of scratch disks full, please help 
- tom
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Jon Calvert

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I only get properties window to pop up when I do this.
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Tony Harding

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That worked thanks Jeffrey - I get wary now every time there is a Photoshop/Bridge upgrade as always issues -and  I use them so much.
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Brando Paredes

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Worked for me. Thank you very much Jeffrey! 

Tom Mallam: don't know if you could fix it until now but in case not, consider the following:
I have Windows 10. I have two partitions: C and D 

In C: I only have left 1.40GB ( where the program was installed )
in D: 117 GB free. ( I choose this one as my second ) 
I checked that the program creates a Temp archive of 832 MB in my disk "D". You can infer that minimum amount of memory is needed for the scratch disk in order to make Photoshop works. Remember that Temp files tend to increase their size depending upon what you are doing in the Program. If your project is getting bigger and dense that size would increase probably the double and the program is monitoring that your disk space needs that incremental memory in order to work. 

This article explains it a bit: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-the-photoshop-scratch-disk-1702246

Hope it helps. Good luck!

(Edited)
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jodi bingley

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Prefect Jeffrey - that worked for me! 
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Brenda Eisenhour

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Does not work for me . I pulled up Scratch Disks Preferences. Tabs first, second, third and fourth drivers where to start.


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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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I'm not sure what this means "Tabs first, second, third and fourth drivers where to start."

Can you post a screenshot of your dialog?
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Olivia Kinsey

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Mine's been doing the exact same... Tried both options but it still doesn't seem to be working?
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Bori Hadady

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I have the same problem.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Olivia and Bori, Are you guys using a version installed from Adobe.com?
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Yevhenii Martsynenko

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Thanks, that worked for me
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Gabrielle Deveney

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Nothing happens when I do that. Photoshop won't open but also freezes so that I have to force quit.

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Mattews Mico Terzol Directo

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Thanks, this worked. My main drive was almost full, change it to my spare drive
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Christina Damore

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I've tried this and keeps freezing up to have to force quit. Help please!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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What version of Photoshop are you using? Are you using a version installed from Adobe.com?
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LynnetteFree Lipinski

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yes i am using the adobe.com version
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Robert Garrett

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I am having this issue also.  Tried to use the CTRL/ALT option and got a pop-up that had four options.  Set the first option to the only drop down selection of C:\.    Gave me the same error.  My disk is only about 25% full.  Not sure why I am getting this error.  Just started recently.  Have had Photoshop 7.0.1 installed and working for several years.

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Will Westerfield

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I have 31.8GB free on my boot disk (Mac OS 10.15, beta). I have been running the Beta of the OS since its release and PS never gave me this error before. I have rebooted my MacBookPro, resetting the PRAM. This is the only Adobe CC App giving me this problem on the OS Beta.
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Jose Wallace

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Great thoughts, I thank you for the useful materials.
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Charles Boisseau

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Nothing is working for me. I'm on a Mac. 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. 
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Mihai Beffa

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This does not work. Classic example of careless software design. The message itself is absurd without a possibility of fixing the problem. And again, Ctrl-Alt does nothing. What a shame.
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David Misko

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Sufficient space on all drives. No change when setting scratch disk first/second upon next attempt.