Scratch that!

So you’ve got Photoshop loaded and you are working away, saving as you go along, but it just seems so slow… Then it stops all together…

What’s going on? Is there any way you make it run better on your laptop or desktop?

Of course there is. There are all kinds of things you can do to help Photoshop work at it’s best.

So what should I do?  Well… honestly every computer is going to be a bit different, and there is no way I can tell you 100% “do X and you’ll be good”… so I’ll focus on one or two things to try.

The easiest way to increase performance is buy a new computer. Or upgrade the one you have, invest in RAM, SSD and maybe even a new CPU with the most cores you can afford.  But there are options that won’t cost you money, so I imagine it would be worth trying those first.

I’m going to talk about the one problem I’ve heard often

‘My scratch disk is full!’

What the snickerdoodle is a scratch disk?

Well a scratch disk is space dedicated on a hard drive for temporary storage of data. Any drive, or drive partition, with free memory can be used as such. By default, Photoshop uses the same hard drive on which the operating system is installed. This is done since many people have only the one disk. However, for best performance try using a different hard disk for your primary scratch disk.

Set the scratch disk to a defragmented hard disk that has plenty of unused space and fast read/write speeds (7200rpm and up HardDiskDrive, or an SolidStateDrive) . If you have more than one hard drive, you can specify additional scratch disks. You can even set up a raid disk array.
If possible use a dedicated drive for your scratch disk, or at least keep it separate from any large files you are editing.

Note:  The following Instructions based on Windows, but should be similar for Mac.

To manage your scratch disks, open Photoshop:

Choose Edit > Preferences > Scratch Disks>
Scratch Disk Selection
EDIT on Mac:
Mac: Scratch disk for PS

From there you can select the active disk or disks (checkmark), and change the order the disks are used by clicking the arrow buttons on the right of the panel.
On my system I have an older blank SSD as my primary scratch disk (B), with secondary SSD (C) as overflow, and my Safety disk (S) a large HDD if Photoshop really needs more room.
I changed from I to S as I is used to store the Images and is used when Photoshop is open. SSD performance is not greatly affected when OS and scratch disks are the same, if avoidable, I would not recommend using the the same HDD for scratch and OS.
Scratch disk Order

Ok I’ve run out of time, so I’m going to post as is, I’ll continue this topic in a new post.

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