Scratch Disks Are Full? – Here Are 8 Solutions to Fix It

Scratch Disks Are Full

‘Could not complete your request because the scratch disks are full’ is one of the frequent problems people face when using Adobe Photoshop. To be honest, Photoshop is an incredibly powerful app software when it comes to photo editing. But with great power comes great problems (!) and ‘scratch disk is full’ is one of them. But to solve it, you need to fix how Photoshop is using your memory.

What is the ‘Scratch Disks are Full’ Problem?

All the Adobe programs like Photoshop creates a lot of temporary files to work smoothly. At first, it tries to store those files in RAM, but when the RAM is close to get full Photoshop switches the workflow to your hard drive or SSD and use it as a virtual memory holder. The latter is known as the scratch disk.

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When this drive also gets full Photoshop will not be able to create more temporary files and this is when it shows this particular notification. There are a few ways how you can resolve this problem.

Scratch Disks Are Full? – Solutions

1. Clear Photoshop Cache

This particular problem might prevent you to even open Photoshop in the first hand. But if you can open Photoshop, delete temporary files from within the program by going to Edit > Purge > All.

2. Free Up Space

Free Up Space
Free Up Space

In case you are not able to open Photoshop then make some space for more temporary files manually. If you have not set the scratch disk directory, it should be on your C drive. Although if you are not sure about it go to Edit > Preferences >Scratch disks and confirm the location.

If that directory does not have enough space remove unwanted files from it. Most of the time we store a lot of files in the Download folder or the Desktop itself. Move those files to your other drive and it should do the job.

3. Delete Photoshop Temporary Files

Photoshop Temp Files
Photoshop Temp Files

A few times Photoshop does not auto-delete previously created temporary files and these can take up a huge chunk of space on your drive. But you can delete all those files without any problems what so ever. Usually, their name starts with ~PST or Photoshop Temp. To delete those files head over to C:/ > Users > “Username” > AppData > Local > Temp.

4. Change the Scratch Disk Location

If your C drive has less memory than Photoshop needs to work flawlessly, you should change the scratch disk directory. To do that go to Edit > Preferences >Scratch disks as previously mentioned and select a drive with a lot of free space.

Remember, if you have C drive on an SSD and have to select a hard disk space for scratch disk, your performance will get affected.

5. Increase RAM Allowance to Photoshop

Scratch Disks Are Full
Increase RAM Allowance

By default, Photoshop is entitled to use 60% of your overall RAM. But you can manually give more space to work with. To do that go to Edit > Preferences > Performance. Now adjust the sliders in Memory Usage to increase the RAM memory.

Do not provide more than 75% of your overall RAM or your overall PC performance will get affected by a large margin.

6. Add Multiple Disk Space to Scratch Disk

Just the way you can change the scratch disk location, from the same menu you can add multiple storage slots as a scratch disk. Go to Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disks and check the box near each partition to enable them as scratch disks. You might need to restart Photoshop to use all this space.

7. Defragment the Hard Disk


If you have enough space on your dedicated scratch disk location and Photoshop is still showing the issue run a disk defragmentation utility. The reason behind is Photoshop requires contiguous, unfragmented free space to work.

8. Clear Crop Tool Values

If you get the error only while trying to crop an image, you might have the wrong unit on the options bar for the Crop tool. To resolve that, select ‘Clear’ in the options bar right after you select the Crop tool.

Wrapping Up

These were all the potential fixes for scratch disk error and hopefully one of these work for you. As mentioned, Photoshop is a powerful software and it demands powerful hardware to work properly. You should have a minimum of 8 GB of RAM to have a smooth experience.


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