Scratch Disks are Full: Fix Photoshop Scratch Disk Full

Troubleshooting steps and fast fixes to Photoshop Scratch Disk full error.

Are you currently encountering scratch disks are full problem and looking for a fix to Photoshop scratch disks are full error then you need to know certain facts first. First thing you need to know that Photoshop scratch disk is your hard drive.

The Photoshop scratch disk is your hard drive. Photoshop uses the user’s hard drive as a temporary “swap” space, or virtual memory when the system does not have enough RAM to perform an operation.

If the user has only one hard drive or partition in your computer, then the scratch disk will be the drive where your operating system is installed. In the Windows operating system this is generally the C: drive.

What is a scratch disk?

When you are using programs like Photoshop, they require a working space called virtual memory or cache memory. This is where temporary project files are stored and accessed.

Scratch disk is your hard drive space used by Photoshop as a virtual memory when there is not enough RAM to complete a job. Photoshop allows you to assign several scratch disks and that way, it has more space at its disposal.

When you are working with large images with lots of layers, Photoshop is secretly chewing up your PC space by rapidly creating a range of project temp files.

However, with Photoshop, you will have the option to assign the scratch disks to the drive of your choice. Its always better to use a fast disk(better if you have SSD) other than your system drive as this will result in faster loads.

Fix Photoshop Scratch Disk Full Error

Before searching for any fix to “Scratch Disks are Full” error make sure to double-check your hard disk space. Often scratch disc full message shows up when Photoshop has used up all the space on the hard drive that has been assigned as a scratch disk.

Don’t worry if you see increased disc space while using Photoshop as these taken space is temporary and separate from your actual project file. However, sometimes Photoshop doesn’t get rid of these temporary files when they aren’t used anymore. This is more like a permanent problem if the user can’t find a solution.

So if you are looking on how to clear scratch disk then here the certain options that you should try.

1. Clear Photoshop Cache

Photoshop has an in-built solution for erasing specific Photoshop caches. When these annoying caches aren’t removed automatically by the program, they can grow and take up a lot of space on your scratch disk.

Follow these steps do it:

  • Click the Edit menu button.
  • Hover your mouse over to “purge” to show 4 different options.
  • Starting from Undo, Clipboard, Histories, etc. if an item is greyed out, that means it has already been deleted.
  • Select the specific item you want to delete or select “all” to delete all of your caches.
  • You will be warned that the purge cannot be undone. Make sure you don’t need a previous version of one of your projects and then click OK.

Apart from that, you can run regular disk cleanups to clear the Photoshop cache.

Also Read:

2. Clear your Disk Space

If your current drive is full and you have no other drive remaining to use nor want to buy a new one then you can go for disk cleaning. You can either look for deletable files inside the drive or you can move some of the files to external or cloud storage.

3. Delete your temp files

Most of the time the reason behind the scratch disks are full is Photoshop’s own temp files. If Photoshop isn’t going to get rid of them, I guess you have to do the job yourself.

For this look for the files that begin with “pst” inside the drive following the file extension “.tmp“. You can also search for “Photoshop Temp” to make sure everything is found. This is the easier option rather performing the search on the entire computer.

Once you get the list of files you can delete them. Just make sure you have closed and saved the work inside Photoshop before deleting them.

4. Defragment Your Hard Disk

It is also possible to get the “scratch disks are full” error, even if the scratch disk drive has free space. This is because Photoshop requires contiguous, unfragmented free space on the scratch disk drive. If you are getting the “scratch disk is full” error message and your scratch disk drive does show a sufficient amount of free space, you may need to run a disk defragmentation utility.

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