Photoshop 2020: Temp Files Filling Scratch Disk FAST (possible memory leak?)

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  • Problem
  • Updated 4 months ago
  • Solved
  • (Edited)
I work with extremely large PSB files (~20-100 GB). Supercharged Windows 10 machine built for this purpose alone, that includes:
  • NIVIDIA Quadro P4000 (8 GB RAM)
  • 128 GB RAM
  • 1 TB OS Drive
  • 14 TB Data Drive
  • 4 TB Data Drive
  • 2 TB, RAID 0 scratch disk 
Previous project file was 50 GB and used approximately 500 GB of my scratch disk. Current project file is now reduced to 22 GB. After upgrade to PS 2020, I had to add 2 additional scratch disk options and TEMP files are now eating 4 TB and counting! It's creating anywhere from 3 to 8 new 64 GB Temp files every minute when using the program!

After spending 1 hour on tech support, I was told this is normal, expected behavior; to use 10+ times as much scratch disk space as Photoshop 2019!

Screen capture available here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/r31dzyzsq1uiv2m/Photoshop-2020%20Scratch%20Disk%20Issue.JPG?dl=0
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Greg Parrish

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  • frustrated

Posted 9 months ago

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Dan La Vigne

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Same problem here: 500MB file INSTANTLY taking up 75GB of my scratch. Just from OPENING THE FILE.
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Thomas Lévy

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Same here too...and
Ive deleted my temp files, and launched PS2020
and chose a clean 1200*1200px sheet, and watch my temp files goes up to 12gb just from a clean sheet.
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TangCanada

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I find this issue happens all the time even with PS2019 ... Photoshop does not clean up after itself either, leaving huge gigabyte orphan temp files.
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mo-gparrish

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Latest "critical update" does not help this issue, in fact, made matters worse. Now showing 0 bytes for file size but still eating my scratch disk! 14+ TB gone in less than 1 hour. 23 temp files in 1 minute. Can't use key strokes, can't check preferences, can't exit the program! Everything gives EXTREMELY helpful "due to disk error" error message. Yes, Adobe, that IS sarcasm!
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Jayson Noftle

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Yes, I'm having the exact same issue!!! Dozens of 64GB Temp Files are filling all 7 TB of scratch disk space (in about 30 minutes), and then not allowing me to "save". I switched back to PS 2019 and it's not an issue. I've lost many hours of productivity over this issue! HELP! FAST!
(Edited)
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Malcolm Feth

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Well, I just found out that if I work on my smart object using clone stamp, within only 5 minutes, my scratch file grew to 250GB !!! After a while, it took 350GB, the whole space on my HDD and I had a problem to save my work...

Something is really wrong as I had no problems in PS2019.
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Hi Greg, presuming you haven't already been contacted by and are working with someone from Adobe, I'd like to try to learn more about what you're seeing.

I'm sure you already know that Photoshop keeps an entire copy of your document's working memory content for EACH new step stored in the History panel, and that is expected to grow.  The total scratch disk space used for such history states can be limited by configuring the History States setting in the Performance Preferences panel.

We've tried generally to reproduce the issue you've stated here on several of our big Windows systems but beyond just what you'd expect by multiplying out the storage needed to keep the History states during editing we're not seeing runaway usage of scratch disks.  Presuming what you're reporting goes beyond multiplying width x height x depth x history states, can you describe what operations you're doing to cause an increasing number of scratch files to accumulate?

Thanks!

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
(Edited)
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Greg Parrish

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Hi Noel,

Thank you kindly for reaching out to me on this issue. Aside from my first phone support call, no one has contacted me. For background, I have been using PS since v2.0 and consider myself an expert. I know how to manage all preferences (including 50 history states, Huge Pixel Dimensions, and multiple scratch disks) and understand image properties and the affects on performance. Over the course of the last year, I have regulary worked on single project, 50+ GB PSB's, with multiple linked objects (44,000 px X 33,000 px dimensions).

My current project began in PS 2019 and quickly grew to 54 GB. At that stage in the project, even with many different large files open, my temp files were only utilizing about 30-50% of my 2 TB, and I could watch PS writing a 64 GB file every couple of minutes. The same project file slimmed down to 23 GB (still in PS 2019) and temp files were 200-400 GB over the course of an entire week's worth of work; never closing the file or restarting PS.

Side Note: the last 2019 update changed this behavior as each morning PS crashed as soon as I restored the window; I sent multiple crash reports to Adobe and suspect it was a problem associated with the GPU as this setting would be disabled on restart.

One week ago, I upgraded to PS 2020 due to the daily crash issue above, and the ability to convert smart objects back to original layer groups (THANK YOU!). I did notice the time to open/save, and auto-background saves definitely improved. Then, really going to work with it, I was quickly prompted it was out of disk space and could not do anything further "due to drive error" message. I checked the scratch disk and it was done. Checked preferences, and added/sorted my 4 TB E: and 14TB D: drives in that order (project file on D:), and was ECSTATIC to find PS immediately took advange of this, no longer needing a restart to take advantage of it or I would have lost the work. This was short lived as the additional 10+ TB also vanished. When you're out of disk space, you can do nothing. I can't save the file, I can't close the file without saving, I can't exit PS. Only a force quit is available and it does not recover the file. Work lost. Luckily, it was only about 30 minutes of brush work but that's the problem. 12+ TB gone in 30 minutes now. This CANNOT be intended behavior.

I have been monitoring the PS 2020 behavior closely now. Working with smart-objects and linked assets do not change the temp files much, but a few brush strokes can kill a drive. It is really dependent on what the work involves.

As seen in the OP dropbox screen capture, multipile 64 GB files are generated with the same time stamp. Can you see this image? I don't believe the RAID drive can write them this fast. It's like PS is creating multiple copies of the same files. I've seen as many as 23 with the same time stamp. I've also seen PS reporting out of drive space, but my drive properties showed 8TB available. Upon inspection, there were maybe 100 files showing a zero file size in windows, but obviously they ate the drive. 

Please let me know what else I can do to assist.
(Edited)
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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You're welcome, and thanks in return for providing more information.

I'll try to make up some more complex documents to see if I can cause what you're seeing to happen here.  If I can't easily do so, would you be willing to continue our conversation via eMail, and possibly share a document with which we can try to understand what's going on?

If so, my eMail is (please squeeze out the spaces) carboni@ adobe. com

Thanks again!

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
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Greg Parrish

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Of course. I will email you my contact info.
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Juerg Buetikofer

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We have the same issue. Instead of opening another ticket, i want to put in my info here. We have a 200-300MB file, which we can open in Photoshop 2019 just fine, and work on the file with the scratch disk using around 1-5 GBs in a few hours by just using the brush on some layer masks. However, if we open the same file in Photoshop 2020, and we brush some layer files, it fills up 300GBs in just around 10-30 seconds of clicking the brush. The file has around 10-12 smart objects, it seems to be somewhat connected to that, since if we create an empty white file with the same dimensions as the original, but without any smart objects, then we can't see the scratch disk fill up that fast, it only grows by a few megabytes maybe gigabites, but not 300GB in half a minute! Something is definitely wrong, we have worked with huge files in Photoshop 2019 before and never had an issue of Workstations filling up withing minutes, and now, with this average sized file of 200-300MB we have only minutes to work on the file before it fills the scratch and crashes photoshop! And we can't save or close the file in this case, as Greg has experienced! Thanks for looking into this bug asap!
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Juerg, thanks for adding your info here.  Would you (and others posting here) also be willing to eMail me?  carboni @adobe. com (no spaces).

I have been working diligently to reproduce the problem but so far on our systems here I have been unable to do so.  Ideally, if I can find a reliably reproducible use case with one of your documents we should be able to get it fixed quite quickly.

Thanks.

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
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Phillip Anderson

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Same issue here. Working on a 3GB file created in PS 2019. Within a few minutes of brushing a mask my 500GB scratch disk was full. As I have just managed to convince management to spend money on an ultra fast drive to devote to being a scratch disk, and I don't think I can convince anyone to let me spend the cash for multi terabyte array, I am forced to continue to use PS 2019 unless this issue is addressed. I commonly work on files that are between 15-20GB so this new structure is unacceptable. I would suggest there be an option for handling temporary files in preferences between the previous and new versions. Not everyone can just go out and spend more money whenever Adobe gets the inclination to change a fundamental part of the PS workflow.

Thank you for letting me vent, very frustrated.
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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I apologize for this being a bit of review and/or not applicable for some, but we need to separate expected scratch space use from that which is unexpected.  Certainly some of you have already compared scratch space use in Photoshop 2020 against its predecessor and are reporting an increase in disk usage.  I'm concerned that configuration options may be changed / reset between versions, or that documents have changed leading to different results.

A bit of background on our architecture:

When working with large files, Photoshop will make an entire RAM copy of all the data associated with your document for each new History/Undo Step created.  This is optimized for speed, not space efficiency, as we imagine you don't want to wait for your History/Undo Steps to be saved.

Once a sequence of History/Undo Steps have filled your available system RAM, Photoshop must write the data to a scratch file, via our own memory management subsystem.  In fact it plans ahead and does this pre-emptively.  Again, this process is managed with an eye toward speed optimization, so large blocks of disk storage can be expected to be allocated at once.

The important takeaway from the above is this:  Your History/Undo Steps will be at least as large as the RAM your document uses in memory, which is affected by pixel width x height x channel depth and may multiply further depending on your use of layers.  If you're editing a document that takes 10 GB of RAM, then every step you perform that adds a state to your History panel will  use 10 more GB of RAM and ultimate disk space.

You can see how this could add up in a hurry.  For example, 50 History States x a 10 GB document could chew through 500 GB of disk space in 50 operations.

Things you can do to lower the use of RAM and scratch space are:

1.  Watch your History panel and determine how many History States you really need (i.e., how far back you want to be able to Undo).  If possible, configure your History States setting in your Preferences > Performance section to a smaller number.  If you're seeing a difference in the way Photoshop 2020 behaves vs. Photoshop CC 2019, bear in mind they don't use the same preferences and please check your HIstory States setting in both versions.

2.  This is of course not always possible but if you can, change some of your givens so that you're working with smaller documents.  This might mean using a lower ppi or channel depth, or collapsing some layers... 

That said, I'm already convinced that many of you already know the above implicitly and are experiencing a new problem.  I really need to be able to reproduce it so that we can understand the conditions in which it is occurring, which will lead us to being able to fix any problems.

I am still working to try to craft a document with which I can see a significant difference between the scratch space usage behavior Photoshop CC 2019 and Photoshop 2020, so if any of you can provide me such a document it would be extremely helpful in getting this issue resolved.  Again, my eMail is (squeeze out the spaces):  carboni@ adobe. com

Thanks!

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
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Phillip Anderson

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Just FYI, I just opened a document typical of the working files I deal with on a regular basis. The file size is a little over 18GB. I made sure my history states were set to 50 (reasonable I think, and what I have been using on previous versions of PS) Upon open I simply went into quick mask and put down fifty dots, which in itself ate up 495GB of scratch disk space. I attempted then to go in and edit a blur in a smart layer and got the "out of scratch disk space" message. I don't think I'm alone in saying that I cannot work at a lower ppi and I need to preserve as many layers and their effects as I can. I need occasionally to go back and pick up a particular effect I made or do a drastic revision to an existing piece. If I flatten out layers I lose the ability to do that and would need to start from scratch on many images, which would waste much more of my time than waiting for the scratch disk to catch up, which is the problem I just spent money to improve, and is working just fine under PS 2019. If you need me to send you a document that is doing this, I think I could send you almost any file I've worked on in the past 5-10 years and you would get the same results. I will have to see what files I'm currently working on I can send your way, but this isn't a hard problem to replicate. This new way of allocating scratch disk space seems to be geared directly at people generating web content with relatively small file sizes. I appreciate you would like to improve the speed, but this scheme is unworkable. Adobe, please fix asap.
(Edited)
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Phillip Anderson

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Noel, I've emailed you a link to pick up the above mentioned file. Thanks for taking a look.
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Greg Parrish

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I will add, we also work in non-destructive workflows as Phillip has described. And I agree, it might work for web-based art but not high-resolution for printing. Thank you Phillip for providing a file to Adobe for troubleshooting!
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Caspian Ievers

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We are having the same issue on ~2GB files. Temp files of ~60GB are being created in Photoshop 2020 with every change. Mac 10.14.6. Just ridiculous and totally unworkable. 
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Thank you everyone and especially Phillip and Greg.

We have received a file with which we can reproduce the issue where we are seeing more than 10x additional scratch data stored from Photoshop 2020 than with Photoshop CC 2019.  We're actively looking into it.

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Update:

We have identified a workaround that has little downside and should allow you to use Photoshop 2020 for your big projects without blowing out your scratch space:

Go into Preferences > Performance and check the [ ] Legacy Compositing setting, then Quit and restart Photoshop.

Please let me know here if you continue to have any issues with scratch file sizes after doing the above.

Thanks!

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
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Greg Parrish

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Hi Noel,

Thank you very much for your assistance! I remember using this Legacy Compositing for another issue in 2019 but did not test it for 2020. We'll give that a shot and report back.
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Phillip Anderson

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Hi again Noel,

Thanks for getting on this so quickly. Finally had the opportunity to try the workaround late last night and so far seems to allow general usability for PS 2020. Appreciate you getting on this problem right away and getting us all working again. Look forward to the final fix on a subsequent release.

Thanks again.
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JWL

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This worked for me, thank you. The Legacy Compositing suggestion worked. Saved my life when I was rushing for a deadline. But please, Photoshop team work on a solution for PS2020. Even if not a bug, there is no reason why this should be acceptable when every other Photoshop version has never caused an issue like this. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Thanks for letting us know the workaround was effective.  Please rest assured we're working a real fix for the issue.

As far as "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" goes in general...  I'm afraid we can't always comply; there's a real need for us to move our architecture forward.

As an analogy, you may choose keep your car for a long time, put on new tires, maintain parts that wear, even paint it...  Great!  It continues to do what it did.  But now and again you may crave a new model because new ones have an updated engine design under the hood to give you capabilities you did not have before.

In similar fashion, we need to update our underlying compositing engine design in order to be able to deliver new features and take advantage of modern computer hardware, not to mention run on new platforms.  You may not see the advantages of our new compositing engine in obvious ways just yet, but you will.

Thanks again and as always for your understanding and patience - and especially for your help identifying problems like this one - as we strive to improve one of the most complex pieces of software on the planet.  :)

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
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Rosa

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Noel   That's an excellent explanation and clarification on things moving forward in Photoshop. Thanks so much.
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JWL

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Absolutely. I am happy enough to have a temporary solution for now that you have provided us with. Looking forward to the fix for this issue, cheers.
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Jon Koivula

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Hello, I tried to use Legacy Compositing settings. The moment I create a new project in adobe photoshop, whole harddrives fills up with temp file, around 60Gb. One layer adds another 60Gb more. So scratch disks just goes full in a matter of seconds(use brush, new layer etc does it). Hopefully you guys are working on a solution.
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Hi Jon, make SURE you quit Photoshop after making that Legacy Compositing change and start it again.

Please rest assured we'll be delivering a real fix to this issue soon.

-Noel
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Jamie

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I also have this problem. Working on a 3GB file, just using the healing tool clocked up 15GB everytime I used it (for small 15px brush size) and took up 495GB Scratch Disk until there was nothing left. I have reinstalled PS CC 19 untill it gets fixed.
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Jon Koivula

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Hi Noel, Yes we did that and even restarted PC. We will be eagerly waiting for a fix then :)
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isa cohen

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I have same issues working non destructive but not many layers. PS says Doc size is - for example - 64.9M/171.3M However once saved it's 454.4M!!! and this is not the temp file!
Since updating to PS 2020 I have worked on 5 files and it has taken up over 15GO of space!
I have reset Preferences but issue remains.
Also filter lighting effects via smart filter NOT WORKING PROPERLY... and even crashing.
I have done the legacy compositing.
Looking forward to your response,
Thanks
(Edited)
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Official Response
Version 21.0.2 should be available to you shortly and contains our changes to correct the excessive scratch space usage issues with Legacy Compositing disabled.

I'd like to know whether the changes have resolved all the issues listed here.  If you still have document size issues with 21.0.2, please follow up by eMailing me at carboni @ adobe . com (no spaces).  I want to make sure we get this right.

Thanks!

-Noel
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Meryn Johnson

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Hi Noel, i have installed 21.0.2 version update and I am not able to work very long in PS before I get the error. In fact I am unable to save my work due to the "scratch disks are full' issue. This is a critical defect.  I have over 1T of free space available to me, this defect will surely drive end users mad!

I am a bus sys analyst by trade, defect testing and resolution my specialty. I am glad to assist anyway I can to help get this resolved, as this is a nightmare for end users.
going forward, I will be mindful of the steps to replicate the defect and report them to you. 

I'm eager for an update, so please let us know at your earliest when one can be expected

thank you!
Meryn
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isa cohen

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hi, I have updated to 21.0.2 as well as Camera raw and Lightroom.
Have opened same file used as test in previous update.
A.: PS crashed - identical - filter lighting effects via smart filter and not working correctly
B.: Original raw file 35.47MB - with xmp lightroom modifications; One action with content aware move ( small part of file ) creating layer and file saved in TIFF becomes 210.7MB!!
C.: Original Raw file - with xmp lightroom modifications > opened on PS and saved (without any modifications) in TIFF becomes 108.5MB
Legacy compositing disabled, PS closed and reopened.
I will email y Noel as there is also an issue with Lightroom classic color luminosity varies from "development module" back to "library module"
Best,
Isa

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Dennis Roesler

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21.0.2 doesn't seem to be releasing memory when using Edit->Purge->Purge All.

I had an image that was consuming > 16GB of memory.  After  a Purge All very little memory was reclaimed - still over 16GB used. 

I checked Use Legacy Compositing and restarted PS and reloaded same image.  Less than 2GB of memory used.

Dennis
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Elmar Keijzer

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Looks like this issue is back since the 21.1.2 update yesterday. One Magic Wand application fills up all the scratch disk space. I have plenty though: 250GB left on a 1TB SSD.
(Edited)
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Noel Carboni, Employee

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Hi Elmar, I'm sorry you're having a problem.  Can you please let us know a little more about your working environment?  Please confirm PC vs. Mac, and let us know some detail on the image you're working with (e.g., pixel dimensions, bit depth, how complex the selection is, etc.).

Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce what you are seeing.  With a number of Magic Wand selections on a big, multilayer 64 megapixel image I'm not seeing the scratch usage grow appreciably.

Lastly - and I hate to parrot this but it helps just often enough that it's worth suggesting - could you please try making note of any custom preferences you have set then resetting your preferences (there's a [Reset Preferences On Quit] button for this in the General preferences panel).  Try the same operation again after restarting Photoshop.

Thanks.

-Noel Carboni
 Adobe QE Developer
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Elmar Keijzer

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Hi Noel,

Thanks for the quick reply. Did what you said and it worked. Also reset the Crop Tool Settings. It might be that. But anyway, PS is working again!

Thanks!