Scratch Disks are Full Error – Adobe Photoshop

In Photoshop, scratch disk full errors can pop up unexpectedly. The message
could mean that one or a number of things have gone wrong. Scratch Disk refers to the drive that Photoshop is installed in. Some users get it when they try to start Photoshop, others when trying to complete a certain action.

By default, it uses only that drive as the ‘scratch disk’. The scratch disk is what Photoshop uses as a virtual drive to make up for RAM when it’s running low. If both the scratch disk and the RAM become insufficient for the application to work, you get the ‘Scratch Disk is full’ error.

If you only have one hard drive or partition in your computer, then the scratch disk will be the drive where your operating system is installed (the C drive on a Windows system).

Error message:

Could not complete the command because the scratch disks are full.

Fix Scratch Disks are Full Error in Photoshop

Fix Error #1: Clear your Photoshop cache

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

  1. Open Photoshop and click the edit menu button.
  2. Hover your mouse over “purge” to reveal 4 different options.
  3. Undo, Clipboard, Histories, All. If an item is greyed out, that means it has already been deleted.
  4. Select “all” to delete all of your caches.
  5. You will be warned that the purge cannot be undone, so make sure you don’t need a previous version of one of your projects and then click OK.

Fix Error #2: Delete temporary files

If Photoshop is shut down improperly or crashes in the middle of an editing session, this can leave fairly large temporary files behind on your scratch disk.

Delete temporary files in Windows:

Press %temp% on the keyboard. It will open RUN. Then, Type the following command and click on OK.


It will open the appropriate folder. Now, Find all adobe photoshop related files and folders. Then, Delete them manually.  Photoshop’s temp files are typically named ~PST####.tmp on Windows and where #### is a series of numbers. These are safe to delete.

If you wish, You can remove everything from this folder. It should not have any problem.

Delete temporary files in Mac:

Do a search for “Photoshop Temp” with a space between the two words.

You can just search your scratch drive but to make sure everything is found, rather perform the search on the entire computer. It may take a couple of minutes for the search to complete. If your work is saved and the program is closed, you can safely delete these files and watch as your scratch disk space is reclaimed.

Photoshop’s temp files are typically named Temp#### on Macintosh, where #### is a series of numbers.. These are safe to delete.

Fix Error #3: Free up enough disk space

Make sure that you have enough space in the drive partition where the scratch disk is located. The most common cause of the “scratch disk is full” error is the lack of free space in the drive that accommodates the scratch disk. You will need to clean that disk drive to get rid of the problem. If you are not sure which drive is acting as the scratch disk for Adobe Photoshop, you can do following things.

  1. At first open Photoshop.
  2. Then, Click on Edit from the menu and navigate to Preferences > Scratch Disk.
  3. You will see and be sure which one is your scratch disk. You will see a tick sign before that particular disk drive. Confirm which storage drives serve as a scratch disk and make sure it has at least 40 GB of free space. If it doesn’t, access your drive and start removing unwanted files until you free enough space.

Fix Error #4: Change Scratch Disk Location

If you want, you can change the scratch disk drive. Doing these it can fix scratch disks are full error. Anyway, To make this change, do following things.

  1. At first open Photoshop.
  2. Navigate to Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disk.
  3. Now, Check the drive you prefer and uncheck which one you don’t want to use anymore. Select another partition from the drop-down menu near First.
  4. Save the settings by clicking on OK.

Fix Error #5: Increase RAM Usage Limit

By default, Photoshop is programmed to draw 60% of your total RAM, but you can make it use even more.

  1. At first open Photoshop.
  2. Navigate to Edit > Preferences > Performance.
  3. Once you’re in the performance menu, adjust the sliders in Memory Usage to increase the RAM memory that Photoshop is allowed to access. Do not set it about the 80% threshold, as it can make your PC run slower.

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