Photoshop + Google Drive = potential catastrophe

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  • Problem
  • Updated 3 months ago
I had a serious problem with the combination of Google Drive and Photoshop a while back. I posted about it on the Google Support page, and it was ignored by Google, despite at least one other person saying they had the same problem. 

I've since switched from Google Drive to OneDrive, which works great, so I'm fine, and I never thought that Photoshop was the main culprit. But I thought I'd report the problem here so you're aware of it anyway, and there's probably more chance that Adobe will do something about it than Google. 

This problem was 100% reproducible for me, as described below:

-You have Google Drive and Photoshop running at the same time
-You save a PSD or PSB, and Google Drive starts uploading it to the cloud
-a few minutes later you try and save the PSD or PSB again (while Google Drive is still uploading the older version)
-This time, Photoshop tells you "I can't save this file, because it's in use by another program"
-You think to yourself 'I could "Save As" but - ah, doesn't matter, I was just doodling around for the last few minutes, and I wasn't really being productive anyway, so I'll just quit Photoshop without saving'.

If you do this, Google Drive will annihilate your Photoshop file. Not just move it to the recycle bin, not just delete the hard copy on your HDD, or even just corrupt it. It will cause it to simply vanish without a trace on both your Hard Drive and the Google Drive cloud. Like I said, I could reproduce this bug on demand with 100% reliability.

This used to happen to me all the time, because my files are regularly 2GB+ and I have ADSL (slow upload speeds), so my Photoshop files are almost constantly syncing. I had to get in the habit of either constantly "saving as" duplicates of the file (thereby creating more 2GB+ files that would clog up the sync queue further), or else disabling Google Drive while I was using Photoshop (ie. most of the day). Though there was the ever-present risk that I would forget to do one of these things, and Google Drive would nuke my file never to be seen again. 

Anyway, I've been using OneDrive for a year or so now, and it's fantastic. It has none of these problems. I can leave it on nonstop and it doesn't get in the way, doesn't prevent me from saving files, and certainly doesn't nuke them. 

It's possible that Google Drive has since fixed this problem, but it's certainly possible they haven't. 

Like I said, I no longer suffer from the problem, but I felt I needed to record this somewhere, since it seems to be such a little known problem, yet is such a potentially serious one. I hope this ends up helping someone.

I'm on Windows 7 by the way.
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David Bleja

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Posted 3 years ago

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Max Johnson, Champion

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Woah... that's scary. That "in use by another program" error happens to me a lot with Crash Plan backups, but without the destruction.

Adobe, would it be possible to add an "if file read/writeable" check at the beginning of the save operation and lock it down during the async save? That shouldn't block the async save feature, but would make the operation safer when 1-2gb files are being saved over 10-30sec....
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Chris May

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This is still happening, it completely destroys my files
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Roei Tzoref

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interesting and frustrating. luckily this has not happen to me using google drive.

 I have 1TB of space in GoogleDrive and all my current work is in there. I work with a lot of Psd files big and small. I use insync for syncing my files through google drive and it works very well. I never had a case of this type of behavior. as I work it uploads, but it runs over the file and I don't get these type of errors.

moreover in insync I can decide which folders I don't want to upload. I sometime work with very large video files (I have 5mb/sec upload speed but that's not enough sometimes) so I work in a folder that does not upload. later if I want I can upload it by moving it or changing the name of the folder. 
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Darrin Carrigan

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Happened to me, lost half a days work. file just disappeared. Found a copy in the trash but most of my days work was just gone. 
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Deanna Laverty

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Yeah this still happens. I love Google Drive otherwise, so I have to turn it off whenever I'm going to be working in Photoshop, and remember to turn it back on afterward. I don't think Adobe would be able to do anything about this, but I leave my comment as a warning to others to let them know YES, this is still an issue. Protect your work!
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Igor Rudyak

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Same problem. Tryed to solve with Google Drive support. No result.
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Geraint Krumpe

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Yes, this is definitely a bug, and I suspect Adobe enjoys the pain we are receiving by not subscribing or using their cloud storage system....
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Micah Burke

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Best thing to do is to have Google Drive (etc) be a backup system, rather than central storage.  When Google Drive is synchronizing the file it locks the file - not the fault of Photoshop.  Save to a different location, and have a backup system (I use SyncBack Free) to keep Google Drive's folder backed up.  Not optimal, but solves the versioning issue and the locked file problem.
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Stephen Deligan

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Wow... I thought I was going crazy! This only seems to be an issue with Photoshop. Lightroom, so far, doesn't seem to have this issue.

I honestly thought I was seeing things... at one point I was looking at Explorer and the file just blinked away. It was there, and then it wasn't! Crazy. Have also been getting the "file is locked..." error, and the "you don't have permission.." error, when I had JUST made the file.
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Chris Shelby

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Yep i had this problem but i never close my work unless i see a recent saved version of my file on the hard drive so i caught G backup and sync trying sync the file.  I have fast internet so not an issue, it takes seconds but one of their bug fixes was to lock the file after the first overwrite to it while it's open in photoshop.  So after i save one time, i can't save the file again because it's locked.  I have to pause or close g backup and sync to release the permission and then save.  Then remember to turn it back on.  Highly frustrating and considering another cloud storage.
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Carlo Mezzaschiappa

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Same problem, the files seems to be never uploaded... lost months of important work
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Frank Walker

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Hate to rain on everyone's parade, but Adobe will probably not fix this as this problem has been around since the beginning (1990's). We used to have this problem when opening PS files from servers (in design studios with 10+ users working from the same volumes). This saving issue used to happen frequently if the shared volume disconnected or your computer crashed while saving. The culprit is that the very latest version of your file exists only in the RAM of your computer, so if you interrupt that process - poof!! there goes your file. Adobe's official position is- don't open files from a network volume (the Cloud drives seem to be functioning like a server volume in this instance). Drag a PSD file to your desktop or local hard drive, not a "cloud" drive as you've been doing. I'm coming to believe cloud storage is not suitable for large Photoshop files (other than copying files up and down to local drives.
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Alex Michels

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Happened to me tonight when I went to save a 2gb PSD file.. Lost at least 6 hours of work. Thanks google and Adobe.

Anyone know if there's any way to get that file back in any form from Scratch disk or somewhere local?
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eartho, Champion

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that's really terrifying and i'm not sure if there's any way to recover the file.
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David Apltauer

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This is not Google Drive's fault but Adobe's. When you try to save to a project that is currently locked and that doesn't have to be locked by Google Drive, then Photoshop will delete the file. (You can try that by simply locking the file by open its Properties in Windows 7). Google Drive could improve by not locking the files though (if that is technically possible).