Photoshop Tutorials / Photography

How To Empty The Scratch Disk In Photoshop 2022

How to empty the scratch disk in photoshop
Published 21 July 2020

Last updated on 7 December 2022

Any Windows user tries to avoid any possible error, but sometimes you don’t even know your computer has a problem. If you’re here, then you probably encountered an error and now you want to know how to empty the scratch disk in Photoshop.

Well, for starters, I must explain what the scratch disk is and how it works. In order for you to save large projects as you’re working on them, Photoshop saves some files on your computer in this scratch disk, which is basically a virtual drive. 

In general, it will be automatically set up on your main hard drive, and if you only have one, it may get crowded in there. 

Let’s go through this tutorial and see how to set your scratch disk up and of course, how to fix the error that goes with it.

How To Set-Up Your Scratch Drive

1. Open your “Scratch Disk” preferences

This can be done by opening Photoshop, going into the “Edit” tab, then “Preferences” and “Scratch Disks.”

Empty the scratch disk in photoshop

2. Select your drive 

A new menu will pop up where you will be able to see what drive you’re using as a scratch disk and how much space you have left in there. As I only have one partition, I can’t change it, but if you can, it would be a great idea to set up a solid-state drive (SSD) for Photoshop. It’s going to be much faster than a regular HDD and your projects will have a very fast back-up.

Empty the scratch disk in photoshop

Ok, now that your new Scratch Disk is set up, you will want to clean it in case you run out of space, so let’s get to that.

How To Empty The Scratch Disk in Photoshop

As you know, Photoshop, just like any other program, saves a lot of temporary files on your computer. If you have limited space, you may want to clean those from time to time in order to make sure your computer runs smoothly. 

In general, this error occurs when the space on your hard drive is limited, so in order to fix it, you may need to remove some of the files. Because Photoshop requires defragmented space to run, you will need to open the defragmentation menu on the drive Photoshop is using and try to fix it that way. 

Of course, if that’s not the problem, you can go through these steps to completely empty your scratch drive and solve the problem. 

1. Open the “AppData” folder

In order to find your Windows temp files, you need to locate the “AppData” folder. I find it easiest to type %appdata% into any file explorer tab. 

Empty the scratch disk in photoshop

2. Find your “Temp” folder

From your “AppData” folder, you will want to go to “Local” and then “Temp.”

Empty the scratch disk in photoshop

3. Identify the Photoshop temp files

Of course, there will be a lot of files in your “Temp” folder, but you need to identify the Photoshop temp files. You can click on the letter “P” until it shows up. 

Empty the scratch disk in photoshop

Now, before you delete it, make sure you saved all your current progress, and Photoshop is closed. You won’t be able to delete the temp files with the program still open.

Simply press “Delete” and confirm it. Now, your problem should be fixed and you can resume your activity. There is a chance you will encounter this problem more than one time, depending on how many programs your computer is using. It will save the temp files for all of them, and your hard drive will get crowded. Windows has an option of automatically cleaning your unused temp files, so you can do that from time to time to try to avoid these types of errors. 

What now? Well, this is how to empty the scratch drive in Photoshop, so you can go ahead and keep working on that awesome project you have!

About Author

As a digital marketer, Andreea also has an incredible passion for photography, so she's here to give you all the information you need on the topic!