Photoshop tools don't function

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  • Updated 7 years ago
Re the topic "Photoshop CS Toolbox Tools won't work." I see some good fixes (deleting the preferences file) in your forums (I have CS4) - but I find I have to do this OVER AND OVER. Not good when you're up against a deadline! It's like driving a car that has a flat tire every couple of miles. I keep having to bail out and fix it. Any other ideas?
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Peg Moudy

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Posted 7 years ago

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Chris Cox

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What do you mean "tools don't function"?

Unless you have a bad disk or something corrupting files, you shouldn't have to delete the preferences that often.

What OS are you using?
Have you installed all the updates?
Do you have third party plugins, and have you tried disabling them?
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Peg Moudy

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The following do not work -

Paintbrush tool
Cloning stamp
Eraser tool (in other than the block mode)

The appropriate cursor appears for these but nothing happens when I move it around. I've already made sure I don't have some portion of the image selected that I forgot to de-select, and also that I'm not working on a locked layer.

Then I re-open the program while holding down the Ctrl-Shift-Alt keys simultaneously, and select "Yes" to the delete settings question which comes up. That usually works for awhile, though the problem recurs.

My updates are current, as far as I know (I just checked). Then it works fine for a short period or so until the problem recurs, and I have to close out and re-open the program. Several times, so far today it's happened.

My OS is Windows 7. I don't think I have any third party plugins interfering, but will check. Are there some specific ones I should look for?

Thank you.
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Chris Cox

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That still sounds like you've changed a setting that makes it appear not to work: like the blend mode on the tool, targetting the wrong layer, etc.

Other people are not seeing this sort of problem, so it's either something specific to your system, or something you've changed.
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Andrew Rodney

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Check that the brush is set to a decent opacity and size, and that the blend mode is normal.
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Peg Moudy

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Yep, done that already. Thanks.
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Andrew Rodney

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Might try resetting your preferences next.

Press and hold Alt+Control+Shift (Windows) or Option+Command+Shift (Mac OS) immediately after launching Photoshop. You will be prompted to delete the current settings.

(Mac OS only) Open the Preferences folder in the Library folder, and drag the Adobe Photoshop CS Settings folder to the Trash.

I wonder if you have some OS permissions issue or something corrupting the preferences.
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Peg Moudy

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That works. But I have to do it repeatedly while working on an image for more than a half-hour or so, because the tools I'm using (described above) keep ceasing to function, as I described.
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Andrew Rodney

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What’s the OS? At least on the Mac, you could try logging in as another user and see if this persists. Or maybe boot from a backup boot drive and see if the issue persists. Its odd you have to keep deleting the preference and then later it gets ‘hosed’. If either solution works, then we can start looking at some oddity in the drive or permissions that are affecting this file.

I suppose a clean delete and reinstall of Photoshop might be worth a try. I’ve never heard of the issue as you report it.
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Peg Moudy

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MY OS is Windows 7, although I had the same problem when I had Vista (shudder), a few years back. I have tried a complete re-install of CS4 a couple times since I switched to Windows 7, but the issue always comes creeping back after awhile.

I don't think I have any oddball plug-ins in effect, but if you know of any specific ones known to cause trouble, I can check for them.

I can work around it for now (need to finish some artwork), and then maybe try your other suggestions. Thanks!
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Chris Cox

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If you have ANY third party plugins, try disabling them and see if the problem goes away. Any of them could have a bug.
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Scott Mahn

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Just curious, do the tools not work, or do they simply lay down a dot, but then are unable to drag?

This is what I get on a Mac running 10.6.8. A restart temporarily helps without needing to trash the prefs.

Not much help, I've yet to find a fix. I just wonder if it's the restart that's resetting your tools rather than the trashing of the prefs.
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Peg Moudy

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The tools (brushes, cloning tools, eraser brush) do not lay down a dot, nor do they make any kind of mark. The correct cursor appears, and I can move it about, but nothing happens. The effect is similar to trying to use a brush while some portion of the image is still selected, but it happens when nothing is selected.

Trashing the preferences helps, but the effect keeps recurring. Some days it's worse or better, so I'm thinking something else is interfering. I've also done complete restarts (temporarily helpful) and a couple de-installs / re-installs (temporarily helpful).

I still have to check and see whether I have any weird plug-ins or other elements influencing this. Wishing I knew of some kind of "conflict-catcher" software for my PC that would just tell me when applications are clashing.
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Chris Cox

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Trashing the prefs means that it is most likely some setting that you chose while working in Photoshop (possibly unknowingly via an action or automation plugin).

Again, don't check for "weird" plugins -- try disabling ALL third party plugins, because any of them could potentially cause problems.