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Move Your Photoshop Scratch Disk for Improved Performance

You can quickly and easily improve Photoshop’s performance by moving the scratch disk from your primary OS disk to a secondary drive. Watch this video demonstration to see how.

The scratch disk is the location Photoshop uses as virtual memory when the physical memory is full. It increases performance to move the scratch disk off the primary OS drive and onto a secondary drive (preferably the fastest drive in your computer). The video below from GigaOM demonstrates how to swap the disk in OS X (Windows users will find the interface under Edit -> Preferences -> Performance.)

How to Set Your Photoshop Scratch Disk [GigaOM]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/13/11

Comments (5)

  1. Psyko

    Can I purchase an USB drive (thumb drive) with X gigabytes of storage and use that instead? Or move it to another partition?

  2. Hatryst

    Thank a lot for this one. I’ve been lookingall over to spped up Photoshop on my XP PC…

  3. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @Psyko: I’d recommend moving it to another partition or physical disk long before using USB. USB transfer speeds are so glacially slow compared to RAM and HDD speeds that I imagine you’ll see a pretty significant drop in performance if you opt to move your scratch disk to a USB drive.

  4. beergas

    Great tip. Even with an excess of RAM on PC Win 7 x32 Ultimate startup is faster. Thanks.

  5. dave

    Am I correct in thinking that, if using PS on a Mac it only sees external drives that are Mac format?

    I have 4 external drives that I brought over from my Win 7 machine when I switched to iMac one of which I formated to be my TimeMachine repository. TimeMachine is the only drive (other than OS drive) that shows up in preferences.

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