Photoshop: Could not save because of a program error.

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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I had this problem occasionally while using Photoshop CS6 on my old laptop (a 2012 Macbook Pro running El Capitan, I think?), and now it is relentless on my new laptop (also a Macbook Pro, early 2015, running El Capitan). I cannot save a file. I've read that a lot of people solve the problem by hiding or removing clipping masks - but many of the files I create have no clipping masks, and the error still occurs. What's the underlying problem, and how might I solve it?
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Belle Lavitz

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Posted 2 years ago

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Adam Bobay

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This issue has a TON of different causes, any way you can walk through some of the things that are in your file? Also, I know for me the root of the problem was an issue with an extension I got, so did you recently added any extensions?
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Belle Lavitz

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The background is hidden in most of my files, then there are three or four layers above the background with a lot of color and not much else, really. The top one may be set on "Multiply" or "Overlay," and I'll clip it to the layer beneath it, but there's not much else in the file. And no, I haven't added any extensions. I recently replaced the default brushes with another set - could that be the issue?
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Bruce Jamieson

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Often you can solve this by doing a "Save As" and overwriting or writing to a different location.

I believe Photoshop saves some time saving your PSDs by keeping some header information and only saving the image business you've been working on. This was a bigger deal when you were saving to a Zip disk a zillion years ago. But I'm pretty sure this behavior still occurs, and if the header data is changed or messed up while you're working on the image you'll get this error. It is especially common if you're saving to a server. "Save As" rewrites the entire file and doesn't attempt to preserve the header info. If this happens very often you may consider dragging your files you wish to work on to your local computer, working them there, and moving them back when you're done.

Otherwise, you may have some sort of data corruption issue while you have the file open and working, possibly related to some confusion on the part of your video card.  Although much more rare for me, I believe this may be from blending effects (drop shadow, emboss, etc.), smart layers or the newer mask properties that let you change the feathering and density of your layer or vector mask. Your work might be lost this time, but it if keeps happening try turning off "Use Graphics Processor" in Preferences > Performance. Doing so does limit other cool things in Photoshop, so you may decide keeping it on is worth the drawbacks.

Hope that helps!
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Belle Lavitz

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I've tried to "save as" to different locations. It would work at times on my old computer (most of the time it did not), but hasn't yet on this one. Your second suggestion didn't seem to work, either. I appreciate it, though! 
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Chris Cox

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No, Photoshop doesn't keep anything from the previous file -- they are always written out as if to a new file.
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Belle Lavitz

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Do you have a suggestion?