View Full Version : PS Scratch Disk almost full, PS shuts down

12 December 2003, 03:26 AM
I am running PS7 on my new toshiba notebook and after weeks of stable PS use, I have suddenly run across a nasty problem.

When PS initializes I get a popup telling me that my scratch disk is almost full and options to select another drive. When I press okay, PS crashes with a popup exclaiming "Unrecoverable Error". My drive is NTFS, uncompressed, unencrypted and has 60g of available space.

Now if I had my druthers I would be running my scratches on a separate physical drive from my page drive (as my other rigs are setup) but currently I have only the one drive in my laptop, and will not be buying another for several weeks.

I have installed no software since recently and changed no settings, so does anyone have any idea where this crash bug may be coming from.

doh... left of the specs

XP Pro w/ All updates
P4 2.8 w/ HT
512M DDR2100
75G HD

12 December 2003, 05:34 AM
hmm... looks like a bug.. but... i must ask.. how much free space do you have on your hard disk?

12 December 2003, 05:42 AM

12 December 2003, 07:24 AM
any partitions? And on the drive that uses the scratch disk, what percentage is PS currently allocation for scratch disk use?

12 December 2003, 10:23 AM
is PS trying to use startup as it's primary scratch disk?

this happened to me when i installed PS.

i changed the primary scratch disk in edit/preferences/plugins & scratch disks to the C: drive and it worked fine.

i'm not sure if there's a way to change the default prefs from outside of photoshop though if it's not letting you in before crashing.

sorry if you knew this already.

12 December 2003, 01:56 PM
The drive has no partitions.

The Scratch is set to C:/, I am not aware of a setting where I specify how much scratch space can be used, but memory usage percentage is set to 70% of available memory.

Now this is the strange part... I wake up this morning and try to open it... it doesn't work. I used fireworks quickly to acomplish my task. 20min later I needed PS again and out of habit tried to open it w/o thinking, it works!!!

Sweet, right? I do a few things and close it. 30min later open it again, and it doesn't work. AHHHHRRRRGGGG!!!

Ice Czar
12 December 2003, 02:46 PM
How to Configure Paging Files for Optimization and Recovery in Windows XP (

To Change the Size of the Virtual Memory Paging File (;EN-US;308417#31)

"You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure. "

1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.

2. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under Performance.

3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Change under Virtual memory.

4. Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.

5. Under Paging file size for selected drive, click Custom size[/B], type a new paging file size in megabytes (MB) in the Initial size (MB) or Maximum size (MB) box, and then click Set.

in the event you did have more than one HDD to work with and for posterity
in the event the search feature is actually employed :p

Should I use Multiple Pagefiles ( @ StorageReview FAQ

do you have Partition Magic?
If so you can resize the single partition
then move it back (in)
and create a dedicated partition on the outer edge (front) of the HDD where the rotational speed\areal density\ZBR ( gives you the best performance

also a very good read
As the Hard Disc Spins, I: Internal Drive Performance ( Chapter One @ Lost Circuits

PS: Pagefile = Scratchdisk = Swapfile = Virtual Memory

12 December 2003, 03:03 PM
I appreciate that Ice Czar, but none of that info is new to me. It's just a matter of not having the optional hd at the moment. I have been using PS for 9 years and there is no question how to optimise the system, the question is: Why is PS flaking out on a system configuration that has not only worked for basic use on several systems w/o issue, after working for weeks on this very machine?

I do not have PM, but that is not a concern. There is very clearly something strange happening here and none of the standard optimization methods will help in this particular circumstance.

Ice Czar
12 December 2003, 03:06 PM
is the swapfile dynamic or fixed?

and what is your drives current fragmentation level?

try PageDefrag ( (Freeware)

I use O&O Defrag pro, which happens to include that, so I dont actually use that ap, but Sysinternals are the guys behind Windows & .NET Magazine

12 December 2003, 04:05 PM
The page file is fixed @ 2048/2048.

The fragmentation (per Windows XP) was at 3%, I went ahead and defragged. Never know, it may set things right, but 3% is very minimal.

12 December 2003, 05:07 PM
ooh, everything's on the same partition? Photoshop generally doesn't like that. Ur left with, I'm guessing at least 15GB of free space assuming all the scratch disk is used plus the pagefile from Windows and all ur apps installed, right? This might be one of those side affects from that whole scratch disk on pagefile drive bug.

12 December 2003, 05:22 PM
Yeah it may, but from what I understand this config only causes a reduction in performance, not errors unless you are dealing with large images. This is occuring just from opening PS empty. At that point the Scratch is empty and 15G of Data + 2G from page file = 17g, so I have nearly 60g of free space, not 15G.

Ice Czar
12 December 2003, 06:36 PM
3% isnt suprising fixed swapfiles dont fragment much

have you tried flushing it?
(a common security measure)

Open Control Panel
Select Administrative Tools
Select Local Security Policy
Select Local Policies
Click on Security Options
In the right hand menu, right click on Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile
Select Enable

Ice Czar
12 December 2003, 06:37 PM
and of course the standard:

Memory or Scratch Disk Error When Opening an Image in Photoshop:


When you try to open an image, Adobe Photoshop returns the error, "Out of memory," "Scratch Disk is full," or "Not Enough Memory (RAM)," or "Could not open the document because the scratch disks are full."


Do one of the following:

Solution 1
On the hard disk partition you designate for scratch disk files, make sure you have free disk space equal to 3-5 times the size of the file you're trying to open. If the file you're opening has many channels or layers, its file size in the Image > Image Size dialog box when opened may be larger than its file size in Windows Explorer, requiring even larger scratch disk files.

Solution 2
Choose File > Preferences > Plug-ins & Scratch Disks, specify a hard disk partition that has more free space as the primary scratch disk, and then specify a secondary (or for Photoshop 5.x, a third and fourth) scratch disk. For Photoshop 4.0.x, do not specify the same hard disk partition for both the primary and secondary scratch disks.

Solution 3
Re-create Photoshop's general preferences file:

Note: If you delete the general preferences file instead of renaming it, custom preferences settings (Photoshop 5.x and earlier) and unsaved actions (Photoshop 4.0.x only) will be lost. To save any actions you've created in Photoshop 4.0.x, choose Save Actions from the Actions palette menu. Photoshop 5.x saves actions in a separate preferences file. For more information, see document 312917.

In Mac OS, quit Photoshop, rename the file (e.g., to Filename Old), and then restart Photoshop:
- In Photoshop 5.5, the Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Prefs file is in the Adobe Photoshop 5.5:Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Settings folder.
- In Photoshop 5.0.x, the Adobe Photoshop 5 Prefs file is in the Adobe Photoshop 5.0:Adobe Photoshop Settings folder.
- In Photoshop 5.0 LE, the Adobe Photoshop 5 LE Prefs file is in the System Folder:Preferences folder.
- In Photoshop 4.0.x, the Adobe Photoshop 4.0 Prefs file is in the System Folder:Preferences folder.
- In Photoshop 4.0 LE, the Adobe Photoshop LE Prefs file is in the System Folder:Preferences folder.

In Windows, exit from Photoshop, rename the file (e.g., to Filename.old), and then restart Photoshop:
- In Photoshop 5.5, the Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Prefs.psp file is in the Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 5.5\Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Settings folder.
- In Photoshop 5.0.x, the Adobe Photoshop 5 Prefs.psp file is in the Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 5.0\Adobe Photoshop Settings folder.
- In Photoshop 5.0 LE, the Adobe Photoshop 5 LE Prefs file is in the Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 5.0 LE\Prefs folder. (Note that this filename does not have an extension.)
- In Photoshop 4.0.x, the Photos40.psp file is in the Adobe\Photoshop\Prefs folder.
- In Photoshop 4.0 LE, the Phot40le.psp file is in the Adobe\Photoshop 4.0 LE\Prefs folder.

Additional Information

To open a file, Photoshop requires free disk space for a scratch disk file equal to 3-5 times the size of the file. Because Photoshop's native file format (.psd) uses Run Length Encoded (RLE) compression, files saved in .psd format are often larger in size when opened in Photoshop than when saved on the hard drive. The more alpha channels and layers in a .psd file, the more hard drive space Photoshop requires to open the file. If a .psd file has many channels and layers, Pixel Dimensions field in the Image Size dialog box may indicate a file size that's more than 10 times the file size indicated by the operating system. For example, a file whose size is 25 MB file on the hard drive may open as a 500 MB file in Photoshop if it has many channels and layers.

Photoshop uses a scratch disk file (i.e., temporary disk space used for storing data and performing computations) when there is insufficient RAM for image editing. You can set up to two scratch disks in Photoshop 4.0.x, and each can be up to 2 GB. Each scratch disk must be on a separate hard drive partition. This means in Photoshop 4.0.x if you have 5 GB free on an unpartitioned hard drive, and all scratch disks are assigned to it, Photoshop can use up to 2 GB of space in one scratch disk file. To use the full 4 GB, partition your hard drives so that there are as many partitions as there are scratch disks you want to use. In Photoshop 5.x, you can assign up to four partitions for scratch disk files. Although the scratch disk files still have a limit of 2 GB each, Photoshop 5.x can write as many scratch disks per partition as there is free disk space. This means if you have 5 GB free on an unpartitioned hard drive, and all scratch disks are assigned to it, Photoshop 5.x can use up to 5 GB of space in three scratch disk files (2 GB, 2 GB, 1GB).

The Photoshop preferences file, which Photoshop creates during startup, stores information about Photoshop settings. When the preferences file is damaged, Photoshop may return an error regarding available RAM (i.e., memory) or Scratch Disk space. Deleting the preferences file and restarting Photoshop forces Photoshop to create a new preferences file that contains default preferences settings and default plug-in folder and file information.

12 December 2003, 06:43 PM
Damn, Ice Czar really knows how to hit the nail right on the head. :thumbsup:

Ice Czar
12 December 2003, 07:50 PM
because if none of that works Im out of ideas

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