Photoshop 5.5 tools become unusable or unresponsive

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  • Updated 3 months ago
Double clicking a jpg image opens with all the tool windows "greyed" out and clicking on any tool has no effect.  Some images in the same folder will open with no problem but if I switch between images the problem soon infects that "good" image
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Robin Curtis

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Posted 3 months ago

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Robin Curtis

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I am new to this forum so I am replying to my own problem with the solution.
   After struggling with this problem for a many weeks, I almost bought a new computer; I hired an online computer company to “fix” this one...  $300 ; called on computer-expert friends to help... they couldn’t;  googled “Photoshop 5.5 problems”...  virtually no help there.

   It started with only one image 3 months ago and my "fix" was to copy the entire image and paste over a different one that was fine.  That happened twice and multiple restarts of Photoshop fixed the problem...  sometimes I had to restart the computer.  Then the problem seemed to accumulate over time with the final "straw" being... all images were "infected". 
   Finally I realized I can also open images by going to the File menu and selecting "Open"; navigating to the desired image, and voila...  it opened with no problems.  The shortcut to that is to right click on the jpg or psd image and select "Open".   I have had no more problems and this seems to have fixed that random file that is saved somewhere in some registry that my $300 expert couldn't find... and once again double clicking works.

    There is very little online help for 5.5 or earlier versions and I love this old program.  It may not have many of the newer features but I know the tools and shortcuts and have discovered newer versions have changed some of the shortcuts.  I hope this helps someone else before they resort to the rented versions of Photoshop or do something more expensive, like buy a new computer.
(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Robin,

I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say the "tools menu" -- do you mean the Command Menu at the top of the screen -- File, Edit, Image, Layer, Type, Select, Filter, 3D, View, Window, Help?  Usually, if those are grayed out, then the application is not running correctly and/or the OS is having a problem.

More importantly, are you really running Photoshop 5.5?  I mean, that's when I joined this team, back in the late 1990s.  That application was designed to run on Win98 and OS7 and 8, not Win10 and OS 10.13.  What Operating System are you running it on?  I wouldn't even be a little surprised if it didn't run well -- the automotive analogy would be you're trying to drive an Edsel using space shuttle fuel.  That's not a cop-out either.  Each update to the various OSes improved their function and added features.  PS 5.5 is almost certainly trying to access features and functions that are long-discontinued and replaced, leading to problems.  Continuing the automotive analogy, the Operating System might take issue that the PS 5.5 application is doing something it shouldn't be, like an Edsel running without a catalytic converter, cuz they weren't invented when the car was made.

The only other advice I could give would be to try trashing your preferences.  If you're encountering problems where something worked and then later didn't, trashing your prefs restores your application to "factory default" settings.

Good luck,
David
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Robin Curtis

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Hi David:
Yes it is PS 5.5 .  Ive been using it from the same disc since 2004.  I have a 2012 windows machine running OS7.  PS has run beautifully for years on this and my work computer (also OS7).  I would upgrade my computer but I don't have extensive demands when it comes to PS and it is like an old friend...  I know how it works and what to expect.
Apparently there is a small file kept somewhere that records the location of the menus (Layers; History, Actions; Info; brushes; and the actual tool bar like lasoo, eraser, etc) so that when you restart they appear in the last place you had them.  I believe that my "double click to open" issue was either kept in that file or one like it such that all those "menus" became grayed out and unusable. 
  This older version of PS doesnt have the option of "trashing prefs".  I can go in to the prefs and change them but that newer feature of "trashing" isnt to be found in 5.5.
   Anyhow,  I posted this problem and solution in the off chance someone else like me refuses to upgrade.  The interesting thing is that since I've opened a number of images using the "right click open" method that corrupted "preference file" has been overwritten and now double clicking no longer brings up the problem.
(Edited)
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Robin,

If you've got this working stably and it's cool for you, that's great.  I just wanted to share what my expectations would be, given the age of the software.

Now, that said, the file that keeps track of locations of menus, files opened, last setting used, etc is the Photoshop preferences file.  That file, all the way back to PS 6.0 (for sure, but probably earlier) can be trashed/reset on launch if you "Press and hold Alt+Control+Shift (Windows) or Option+Command+Shift (Mac OS) as you start Photoshop. You are prompted to delete the current settings. The newpreferences files are created the next time you start Photoshop."  So that might be a solution for you in the future.  And, I just checked with someone who's been here even longer than I have -- you should be able to trash prefs all the way back to at least PS 3.5.

Hope that helps you (and others) out,
David
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Robin Curtis

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Thanks David:
I tried that CNT-ALT-Shift early in my problems and there was no noticeable difference.  At that time there were only two or three images that had the problem and so it was hard to see the difference.  My solution of pasting a "bad" image over a "good" one worked and re-opening that image didn't pose the problem.  I am guessing that my double click problem was stored in the file you mention...  but maybe not.  Thanks for the attention.  I hope to help with future 5.5 or earlier problems.  
Not all updates are "good".  My iphone6  is still on 9.3.5    I hated the upgrade for my wife's identical phone to system 10 and I will hang on until the "end".   Hahahaha.
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David, Official Rep

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Howdy Robin,

In the interest of being thorough, would you mind sending me one of the files that's exhibiting this problem you're seeing?  I'd like to take a look at it on my end.  My email address is david <dot> mohr (at) adobe [dot] COM.

Thanks,
David