Errors are there to be rectified and encountering errors like a scratch disk is nothing new. And in this article, we will talk about a reasonably familiar error and the reason for this problem along with some possible ways on how to eliminate it.

Generally, these errors may appear when you try to open a photo for editing or for photoshop purposes.

What to do when you are required to clear the scratch disk


What is Scratch Disk? 

Before moving to the crux of the article, we will explain as to what exactly is Scratch Disk. A scratch disk acts as a hard drive while using programs like Photoshop or Final Cut Pro. These programs require a certain amount of storage when the RAM on your system is not sufficient enough to carry out an operation. Photoshop or Final Cut Pro work fine when the workload of the scratch disk is divided.

Usually, Scratch Disk appear when you play a lot with large images and programs like Photoshop, secretly consume your system’s space by creating a pile of project temp files.

What can be a reason for this error? 

It arises because you have simultaneously opened a large number of photos in Photoshop or you are processing a large number of layers, which leads to the fact that there is not enough place on a scratch disk.

Maybe you really have filled up the work disk. First, you need to check it and even if you can see quite a lot of space there, you might notice that on the scratch disk it is still not enough.

The primary reason for witnessing an error like this is because Photoshop records every step of editing and thereby creates a temporary file, that is needed to record the intermediate results performed in the program. 

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How to fix with this error? 

Users witnessing this error will find a pop-up warning saying “Scratch Disk full.” This can be avoided by deleting temp files, clearing the disk space and many other methods.

We recommend you to use the following methods to solve the error.

1. Limit the quantity of states history 

You can free the space of a local disk and extend its productivity by limiting the number of history steps. The number of pixels can influence the space for saving, that is changing according to the corresponding operation. 

photoshop scratch disk full

The capacity of history states in Photoshop runs up to thousand. To reduce this value, pass to the Productivity Parameters dialog box, choose “History and cache”->“History States”. and drag the slider to a lower value if necessary. In addition, you can specify the number of states that will be stored in the History palette.

To do this, follow these simple steps:

  • Go to the Main Menu
  • Select File -> Preferences -> General.
  • On the right-hand side, there is the option called History States (number of states), type the desired number of recorded states. 

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2. Delete the temporary files

You invite a large number of temp files if you force the Photoshop app to close down in middle of some project or an editing session. The frequently crashing of Photoshop leads to temp folder filling up with cache files. Here, we have the right solution for you.

These files are easy to locate and delete, without having to put much of an effort. The folder of temporary files goes by the name ~PST####.tmp on Windows and Temp#### on Mac. The #### here refers to a series of numbers. The temp folder is located in C:/ > Users > “YourUser” > AppData > Local > Temp.

You can safely delete files from the temporary folder and also run a Disc Cleanup to remove these files from the computer.

3. Clear the disk space

In this step, Try and locate the useless files that are occupying space in the drive where the scratch disk is located and then delete those. Delete the contents which you do not want to keep anymore, allowing you to free some space.

You can either clear the space manually or automatically. To carry out the process automatically, the C: drive will serve as your scratch disk.

If you are doubtful about which drive precisely is the scratch disk, Open Photoshop and move to Edit->Preferences-> Scratch Disks.

Confirm the storage drive in the Preference Menu which will serve as a scratch disk, a minimum space of 40 GB is required. You can manually access the drive and remove the unwanted files to free some space if there is not much space available.

4. Shift to a different Scratch Disk

Another method to fix the error of Scratch Disks is to shift to a different scratch disk.

  • Open Photoshop Preferences-> Scratch Disk Category
  • Select Scratch Disk Preferences, and you will find a list of drives that are connected to your calculator.
  • Select the drive you want to shift from the current disk.
  • Alternatively, you can also press and hold CTRL+ALT, once you launch Photoshop to change the scratch disk.

photoshop for mac

5. Use fast hard drive with a large number of free space

If your system is not able to process all the image data you have, the Photoshop application reads and saves image data on the hard disk. In order to make the Photoshop work more productive, apply with the hard drive with a high speed of data transmission.

For the latest version of Photoshop, at least 2.5 GB (Windows) or 3.2 GB (Mac OS) of free disk space is required. And in the course of installation it is necessary to have even more space, so Adobe recommends to allocate more place on the hard drive for virtual memory and scratch disk.

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The Bottom Line 

These errors are common, and once you follow the methods mentioned above, you are all set to avoid the warning signal of “Scratch Disk full.” We are open for questions and feedbacks, if you have any, write to us in the comments section below.