Managing Scratch Disk Space: A Guide for Dummies

Seeing the “scratch disk full” error is a common problem that Mac users working with resource-intensive software for photo and video editing (like Photoshop) encounter from time to time. Because of the cluttered space of the scratch disk, you may see the lags in Photoshop’s performance or even fail to reopen the program after closing it. Here, you can learn more about the fundamentals of scratch disk cleaning. Now let’s proceed to clarify what this disk is, why it is so crucial for hassle-free Photoshop operation, and what measures can help you solve and avoid the “scratch disk full” problem.

Why Does Scratch Disk Cause Photoshop Operation Problems?

The scratch disk of your Mac is the folder on which all scratches, or intermediate materials, are stored during your work with Photoshop. Thus, if you work in this program for a long time or perform some extensive operations (like adding many layers, experimenting with visual effects, etc.), the amount of free RAM in the scratch disk gets quickly filled up. As a result, the disk starts consuming the RAM of your hard drive, thus causing some performance lags and slowing down the entire device’s performance.

For the problem not to culminate into severe performance lags, your Mac will issue a note about the “scratch disk full” problem. Once you see it, it’s critical to take urgent steps to free up the vital memory space so that your Photoshop materials are safe and your device functions well again.

How to Correct the “Scratch Disk Full” Issue?

Now that you’ve probably encountered the “scratch disk full” problem, it’s time to manage it. We have good news: there is no need to bring your gadget to professional repair services. The issue can be quickly corrected on your own. Here are some options (or their combination) to try out.

#1 Remove Temp Files

Temporary files are a significant source of the hard drive’s cluttering. As a rule, they are automatically removed once you end the work session. However, a system error may cause them to stay. Besides, some users don’t turn their Macs off, leaving them in the sleep mode between working sessions. As a result, the mass of temp files accumulates on your hard drive, and this clutter prevents the robust functioning of your processes. A regular audit of temp file cleaning is vital for the system’s proper work and optimal filling of your storage space.

#2 Clear Cache

Cache files can also cause much trouble in terms of hard drive’s filling up, which limits the amount of space your scratch disk can use. Thus, it’s vital to keep track of the cache volumes stored on your computer and remove it regularly to achieve optimal performance. To deal specifically with Photoshop’s cache, you need to run the program, go to the “Edit” menu, and choose “Purge” there. In that section, you will be offered some options, but yours is “all,” clicking on which will ensure that all cache is removed from the system.

#3 Change the Scratch Disk’s Location

Another option is to remove your scratch disk to an external drive so that the RAM of your Mac doesn’t get overloaded. Such a solution gives you much more flexibility in the use of Photoshop on your Mac without compromising other essential processes.

#4 Engage a Broad Hard Drive Audit

Your scratch disk is located on the hard drive, so its free space capacity is directly related to the general free space availability. By checking the hard drive and performing a regular cleanup, you can reinvigorate numerous processes on your Mac. Thus, you need to scan the disk for redundant and old files, duplicates, suspiciously large files that can turn out to be virus-infected, etc. Junk files should also be removed to ensure that the hard drive contains only the essential data without clutter.

How to Avoid a Full Scratch Disk in the Future?

As you can see, dealing with a “scratch disk full” error is not that complicated if you know the principle behind this disk’s functioning. Make regular hard drive audits, remove redundant files, and keep the amounts of cache under control. In this way, your scratch disk will function smoothly and won’t cause you any trouble.

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