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Fix “Could not initialize Photoshop because the scratch disks are full” In Mac


Adobe’s Photoshop is revolutionary software. It has revolutionized photo editing in many ways people can’t even imagine. It is so powerful that most of the PC’s won’t even be able to run it. You would need special configuration to make it work at its full glory. Most of the elite editors, creators in the industry and market are solely dependent on it. There are many options available in the market but none of the software’s has gotten the taste of success that Adobe has. The wonders of Photoshop are known well and wide around the world. But even though this software is so powerful, it can still face some issues and may cease to function if you don’t take proper care of it. One of the commonly and easily resolvable errors is “Could not initialize Photoshop because the scratch disks are full.” on a Mac. So today, in this article, I am going to share with you some of the steps you can take to resolve this error in a short time and can resume working ASAP. Have a look.


Fix Photoshop Scratch Disk full error in a Mac

Image Source: Adobe

So before we jump on to the process and steps to resolve this problem, it is really necessary to understand what are Scratch Disks and why this error comes and then you would know what should be done.


What are Scratch Disks?

Scratch Disk, officially, is a designated place on storage, be it internal hard drive, network drive(cloud) or even an external hard drive, to store cache and other production data. So basically, when you are working with powerful editing softwares like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, etc. a lot of files and media cache is generated. So whenever you put a cut or an effect on the image or a clip then that gets saved in auto save files and other forms so that if you wish to go back then you can easily go back to any step and can undo any edit that you don’t like. The data generated in these edits is of very small amounts, usually in KBs. But usually people are not aware about it or just ignore it and over time, when professional editors are working on heavy and big projects these files get populated and take up a lot of space.

Now you might be thinking that if they are in KBs then it should take decades to fill hard drives as they come in gigabytes and terabytes. Don’t be mistaken, I once found 1 terabyte of just media cache in my friend’s computer and he was working for 4 years with these apps. So things become more serious as we have quite limited space at our disposal.

A user is given full control over choosing the destination place for all the data. It means you can choose which drive(even cloud), will be your scratch disk. So now you know a lot about Scratch Disks. Let’s see how one can clean them, make some space and resume working.


How to Clean Scratch Disks when they get full in Mac

1.   Clearing Media Cache through App

Image Source: macpaw

This is the simplest way to clean the Media Cache and is usually the first step in clearing way for your Scratch Disks. To do so, follow the steps:

  • Launch the application on your Mac.
  • Click on the Edit option in the menu available on the top.
  • A new list of options will appear, drag down your mouse pointer over to the option named “Purge”.
  • Select “All” to get rid of all kinds of media cache.

These steps will fix most Scratch Disk errors occurring on your system. But if the problem still persists, then we have some more solutions that we can try.

2.   Clean Out your Hard Drive

The best solution to make some space in your home is to clean out the existing junk. The similar theory applies here as well. Find out what is filling your Mac. This step may take some time and effort if done manually but can be an eye opening journey.

You will have to start by finding out what fills your Mac. Like what application and programs are installed. Are any of them useless and safe enough to be removed? If yes, remove them.

What files do you have which you don’t need. Like big videos, old projects, music collections that you won’t even need. Remove them. You will have to also search your external drives and cloud drive for the same. You will be surprised to see how much junk you have and may even find some apps which you didn’t even know existed in your computer.

Now this sounds a lot of work and if you work on multiple drives, then you may even have to spend days to decide what to remove, what all to transfer and what all to kick out. But we also have an alternate solution for this step.

Outsource this burden to a system optimizer app which can deep scan your computer for bloat wares, junk files, log files, media and browser cache and can even boost your computer’s performance.

Smart Mac Care

Image Source: smartmaccare

For this purpose, I would suggest you try Smart Mac Care. One of the best apps and most reliable apps in the market. This program is a one stop solution to most of your problems that you face with your Mac. Issues like a lagging system, overloaded with junk and other problems which just keep slowing down your computer for hundreds of unknown reasons. Smart Mac Care can take care of all of them with just a single click. Deep scans, detection of malwares, bloatwares, useless applications, folders, files can be done very quickly and with ease.

3.   Change the location of your Scratch Disk

Image Source: macpaw

After you have followed the second step and cleared the junk files and programs the problem should have been solved. If it still persists then it can mean only one thing. That the space was not filled with junk files and media cache. And the files you have on the disk are there by your permission. So if you are unable to change the location of your files or remove any more files from your computer then you can also try changing the location of designated Scratch Disks.

Follow these steps to do so.

  • Click on “Preferences” option in the menu after you have launched the application.
  • Select the “Scratch Disk” option from the left panel.
  • Select the designated Scratch Disk from the list and remove it and select a new folder/disk/drive that has ample space on it.
  • Click on “OK” to save the changes you made.

And here you go. These were some of the solutions I wanted to share with you in case you encounter a Scratch Disk full problem with Photoshop in your Mac. If you face any further or different issues, you can always call Adobe Customer Support for help. They have a dedicated team that can solve the issues.

Hope it helps.

Thanks for reading!


Author Bio: 

Chandra Shekhar Choudhary is working as an SEO analyst and technical Content Writer. His potential of writing is PC tips, Android and Mac tricks, Mac Cleaner Software and he is anxious in writing other technical blogs. You can also find Chandra Shekhar on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Author Name – Chandra Shekhar Choudhary

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