PS Scratch disk help

divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
edited June 17, 2013 in Finishing School
Wondering if any of our Photoshop gurus here can help me; I've googled and read Adobe's site without finding the answer, so here goes:

Due to CONSTANT slowing and crashing, I want to add a scratch disk to the program. I'm running a PC with Win 7/CS6.

When I go to edit>preferences>file handling, there is only 1 disk shown as available to use (my C drive, which I gather is actually the worst choice). I have a large USB key I could use as a scratch disk, or am even prepared to get a solid state disk or something else to use.

So, the question is: how do I ADD the other scratch drive so I can then select it to use? Thanks in advance.....

Comments

  • RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,908 moderator
    edited June 5, 2013
    First, you need to make sure that you are actually being slowed down by swapping. Set the little dropdown widget below the preview to Efficiency. If it drops below 100% often, that means you're swapping; if not, something else is responsible.

    It is far better to add memory than to use any sort of swapping device, so if your machine isn't maxed out, add as much RAM as you can.

    If all else fails, you could add an additional drive. The higher the bandwidth to that drive, the better, and the faster the drive, the better as well. So you'd probably get the best performance from a solid state internal or eSATA external SSD. I'm too lazy to do the math, so I'm not sure whether an external SSD over USB3 or an internal normal drive would be faster--Ziggy probably knows mwink.gif.

    As for configuring PS, I think all you need to do is make sure the drive is mounted before you start PS, and PS should see it. Of course, don't remove it while the program is running. I've never tried it, so I might be wrong about how it handles removable media, but Ziggy probably knows that as well. deal.gif
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 5, 2013
    you checked wrong section
    go to ; edit>preferences> performance instead
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 5, 2013
    Yes, Performance - sorry. Was looking in the right place, but typed the wrong name :)

    I'm still not able to see ANY drives I plug in, but I'll deal with that when I have more time. In the meantime, looks like some expired trial plugins were responsible for the issues I was having - I uninstalled those, and it's running more normally. I can still ALWAYS use more speed with Adobe products - I swear, it consumes all RAM in the known universe (and yes, I am on occasion swapping according to the efficiency taskbar indicator) - but for now... I was FINALLY able to save my files. It was hanging when I was saving, and I had to crash out. Since the crash was caused by saving, I couldn't save before crashing, if you get my drift, so it was very frustrating!
  • cmasoncmason Registered Users Posts: 2,506 Major grins
    edited June 5, 2013
    FWIW, a thumb drive does not show as a valid disk from Scratch disk on my Mac either. When I plug in a USB hard drive, it pops up just fine.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,788 moderator
    edited June 5, 2013
    The following is my "opinion", not necessarily reliable fact.

    If this is on a laptop, Richard is correct in that adding more RAM will often speed up operations more than any other strategy, with improved reliability a significant second effect. Even most desktop systems benefit from additional RAM. (Laptop/notebook computers tend to be on the "minimal" side of installed RAM.)

    Crucial has a downloadable "System Scanner" software that will even make recommendations for compatible products from their store. I like and trust Crucial myself so I also recommend them.

    http://www.crucial.com/systemscanner/

    Do check to see how much available HD space you have. If the HD is more than 80% used, it may be time to either add an additional internal drive (if possible), or "replace" the system drive with something larger and faster. (Replacing the primary drive can be very beneficial, but difficult to do. You may wish to locate a local professional who can provide that service for you.)

    Partitioning a large HD may be beneficial, if you are diligent about "working" in the primary partition, and then "storing" in the secondary partition. While working, the reduced seek times from having everything on nearby tracks can be beneficial, but you need to keep that area free and uncongested for new work or it will slow down again. Files that are mostly stored need to be in the second partition and where the longer seek time won't matter so much.

    I have reduced trust for SSD technology, versus conventional magnetic drives. If you do decide that an SSD is appropriate, I highly recommend frequent backups on a conventional HD (or several devices of differing technology, if you want a true backup system.)

    For an external HD or external solid-state storage, speed improvements depend partly on the connection type and partly on file sizes. Since every computer has different external connections available, we would need to know what "your" computer has and what files you wish to use on that external device/drive before making a recommendation.

    For scratch drives in particular, a USB connector may not be desirable. A Thunderbolt connector is probably best, with eSATA much more common (to Windows machines) and still fast.

    USB-3 is fairly common in new machines and better than USB-2, but USB-3 is still far from ideal for a scratch space. It would be much better just to use a USB device to keep files offloaded from the computer HD when they are not needed. (Also burn DVDs if you use a USB device for storage, as they can be rather fragile.)


    My current strategy for a desktop is to use 2 - large, fast, internal hard drives, and the scratch drive is on the second HD. I also have 3 - larger, but a little slower, external USB-2 connected hard drives. I follow my own advice by keeping new and processed files out on the external drives, except when I'm actively processing the files.

    I don't do any serious image processing on any laptop, reserving them for image display of finished files only. (Occasionally a laptop also serves as backup storage for RAW image files, like during a trip.)

    A second desktop serves as a backup machine for image processing, plus most other tasks. (Composing this post, for instance.)


    (For the following, make sure to backup your machine first, especially valuable and irreplaceable or difficult-to-replace programs and data. If you use "MSConfig" or "AutoRuns", be very careful not to disable too much. Research carefully before disabling anything and use the machine for some time before "deleting" anything.)


    PC Magazine has a fairly useful article: 12 Tips to Speed up Windows 7
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • arodneyarodney Registered Users Posts: 2,005 Major grins
    edited June 5, 2013
    Crashing isn't a good sign and no, a scratch disk isn't going to help Photoshop from crashing. You have to figure out why.

    Try trashing your Photoshop preferences. Press and hold Alt+Control+Shift (Windows) or Option+Command+Shift (Mac OS) immediately after launching Photoshop. You will be prompted to delete the current settings.

    Photoshop needs 3-5 times the file size in RAM, if not available, you hit scratch disk. And you can see if you're going there by setting the little triangle fly-out you see in the bottom left of the document window to Efficiency.
    Andrew Rodney
    Author "Color Management for Photographers"
    http://www.digitaldog.net/
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2013
    Thanks guys. I'll be delving into this in coming weeks, ideally ones where I have fewer deadlines to meet. Sheesh it's been crazy the last 10 days!

    Removing the expired trial plugins has solved most problems, although after working on a big file I still find I need to close and reopen photoshop to get it to play nice. I suspect I'm probably looking at an uninstall/reinstall to clean up whatever mess is in there. I'll get to that in due course.... VERY glad I bought the CS6 disk when I upgraded earlier this year (hint hint hint hint hint Adobe - THERE ARE PRACTICAL USES FOR HARD COPIES OF THE SOFTWARE AFTER PURCHASING /rant)
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2013
    if and when you re-install ;
    follow the advice that is given ; install some more RAM
    its fairly easy to do , and with 8GB or more , you dont even need virtual RAM anymore
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2013
    I'm already at 6g; I can only go up to 8g in this laptop. I suspect it will help some, but it is only a small increment; it might help stability if not speed, however.. It's really expensive right now though! I have to figure out the 6g config (I'm assuming it's 4+2) and whether or not I need to get 2x new 4g chips or simply one (does anybody know a resource for looking that up? I can easily find my model number and compatible memory, but not sure if I have to add a dedicated pair, or simply be sure it's 4+4 and can mix brands/actual chips)

    ETA: Adding RAM in this particular laptop is a pain - you have to in via the keyboard instead of the back panel. I'm sure there's a reason for it, but stupid, stupid, stupid design for consumers.....
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    IMO 6 gig is more then enough for image editing , no need to get more

    are there other applications running in background ? things that start automatically w windows ?
    if not sure , check in task-manager

    a good idea is to use CCleaner
    it can , among other things , disable this auto-startup items , and its freeware

    its just not normal that PS makes your computer crash or freeze
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    I will say that I have NEVER had a computer that PS didn't crash. I have big, .cr2 and .tiff files with lots of layers, and have always assumed it was because of that. The machine is definitely swapping out (the efficiency indicator will drop sometimes, which is when things start to slow... QED). Is there some kind of configuration that could cause that? I usually have LR, PS Picasa and Firefox open at the same time when I'm editing; FF usually dies when PS crashes and I wind up closing all programs and starting again. It has happend on XP, Vista and Win 7 machines with different hardware, so I do have to assume it's the software doing it... ne_nau.gif
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    UPDATE: by using Rodney's alt+ctrl+shift to bring up the scratch disk preferences, I could direct it to use my external hard drive with a large, empty partition on it. Now to see how it affects performance...............
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    UPDATE 2: HUGE improvement in speed with the scratch disk set to use the external. HOWEVER.... it's still hanging when going to do a "save as". Anything I can check to identify the problem with that? I have no idea what's doing it, or where to look. headscratch.gif When this problem first started last week, it kept giving me error messages on saving that the file was "in use by another program". Deleting the plugins fixed that, but it's still going to the save dialog and then stalling; only solution is to crash out using the power button (thank goodness for autosaves, or I'd be losing ALL my work!)

    ETA alt+ctrl+shift ONLY brought up scratch disk prefs; not "reset preferences". I've tried it a few times, and can't get it to reset for me. So weird. Also, this last crash didn't autosave :cry
  • Gary752Gary752 Registered Users Posts: 934 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    Diva: Try closing all the other programs and just have PS running and see if it still does it. If it doesn't do it, then try leaving one program running in the background at a time, till you find which program is causing the problem.

    GaryB
    GaryB
    “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!” - Ansel Adams
  • Dan7312Dan7312 Registered Users Posts: 1,330 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    The Windows Event Log *might* have some info about what happened. In Win7 you get to it thought Start button->Control Panel->System and Security->Administrative Tool->Event Viewer. It takes a little bit to come up. Then drill into Windows Logs->Applications. Look for Photoshop in the Source column. If you do a right mouse button on Application in the left panel you will find a "Find" menu entry... use it to search for Photoshop. No guarantees but there might be some info there.
    divamum wrote: »
    UPDATE 2: HUGE improvement in speed with the scratch disk set to use the external. HOWEVER.... it's still hanging when going to do a "save as". Anything I can check to identify the problem with that? I have no idea what's doing it, or where to look. headscratch.gif When this problem first started last week, it kept giving me error messages on saving that the file was "in use by another program". Deleting the plugins fixed that, but it's still going to the save dialog and then stalling; only solution is to crash out using the power button (thank goodness for autosaves, or I'd be losing ALL my work!)

    ETA alt+ctrl+shift ONLY brought up scratch disk prefs; not "reset preferences". I've tried it a few times, and can't get it to reset for me. So weird. Also, this last crash didn't autosave :cry
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    Dan7312 wrote: »
    The Windows Event Log *might* have some info about what happened. In Win7 you get to it thought Start button->Control Panel->System and Security->Administrative Tool->Event Viewer. It takes a little bit to come up. Then drill into Windows Logs->Applications. Look for Photoshop in the Source column. If you do a right mouse button on Application in the left panel you will find a "Find" menu entry... use it to search for Photoshop. No guarantees but there might be some info there.

    I found stuff, but I don't know how to use the information therein; several instances logged of crashing and hanging in PS and LR, but how do I use that to fix the problem? Also, several instances of "Adobe ARM Service", which I gather is an auto-updater for Adobe Reader.

    Short version: what exactly am I looking for, and once I've found it what do I do with it? :)
  • Dan7312Dan7312 Registered Users Posts: 1,330 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2013
    The problem with the event viewer is that sometimes it gives you a clear message as to what caused the failure but other messages can only be interpreted by the app manufacturer. Adobe support *might* be able to interpret the messages.
    divamum wrote: »
    I found stuff, but I don't know how to use the information therein; several instances logged of crashing and hanging in PS and LR, but how do I use that to fix the problem? Also, several instances of "Adobe ARM Service", which I gather is an auto-updater for Adobe Reader.

    Short version: what exactly am I looking for, and once I've found it what do I do with it? :)
  • RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,908 moderator
    edited June 10, 2013
    divamum wrote: »
    Short version: what exactly am I looking for, and once I've found it what do I do with it? :)
    Short answer: this stuff gets arcane quickly, so I suggest you have someone geeky look at your machine logs. deal.gif
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 10, 2013
    FINALLY got the preferences dialog to come up (reading around, I gather it's not uncommon to have trouble getting it to "catch" as you open PS) - let's see how things behave now... I'm still guessing there's leftover crud from plugins which has messed with things - hopefully this will solve it!

    And I will say that adding the scratch disk has DEFINITELY sped things up, universally. Big improvement all round thumb.gif
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 11, 2013
    divamum wrote: »
    I usually have LR, PS Picasa and Firefox open at the same time when I'm editing; FF usually dies when PS crashes and I wind up closing all programs and starting again. It has happend on XP, Vista and Win 7 machines with different hardware, so I do have to assume it's the software doing it... ne_nau.gif
    not a good idea , and usually not necessary either
    LR, PS Picasa and Firefox are all consumers of memory and other resources

    there is no need to have 3 image-editors running at the same time
    any PC that is not top-level would freeze , including mine

    as for swapping file ;
    adding it wont speed up things , because virtual RAM is slower than hardware RAM
    it will only prevent a lack of memory

    try it with only PS alone , see if it make a difference

    for a physical graph of what happens
    do to windows taskmanager , performance-tab
    you 'll see CPU and RAM usage
  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,696 moderator
    edited June 11, 2013
    The combination of LR AND PS running simultaneously can put a big demand on your RAM - it does on my machine and I have 20Gb of RAM and a separate internal 300 GB HD dedicated solely for my Photoshop swap drive in my tower. I have to be careful at times when doing large panos as they will occasionally crash PS or will not save due to "not enough RAM" - But LR is my primary image editor, and PS is only used from within Lightroom in my workflow.

    Maximize your RAM, and if needed add a separate PS swap drive via a very fast connection. Or replace your main C drive with a much larger HD that is setup with 2 partitions, one for boot and apps, and one for data/swap drive, as Ziggy suggested.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2013
    Thanks Jim and Bas - this is clearly much of the issue, I suspect - if your machines (far more memory-powerful than mine) are having trouble running both programs with large files, then it explains why I am :)

    basflt unfortunately, I actively use all of those programs while I am editing; I can probably live without Picasa running all the time but I often use PS and LR in tandem with each other, so I'm kind of stuck with that. Like Jim, PS is usually used from within LR, but when I know I'm going to work on more than one image I leave it open rather than closing it with each image (I suppose I could close it each time since my problem tends to be cumulative, but it is a slow program to boot...) FF runs pretty much permanently (although it is SUCH a pain these days - and I know I"m not alone with the problems the current generation of the program is facing - that I may finally be pushed to Chrome....)

    BTW, regardless of whether or not there "should" be an improvement with the USB2 scratch drive I'm using, there has definitely been one ..... Having the external drive plugged in and pointing scratch to its empty partition is doing a great job of keeping things running more smoothly. Clearly noticeable difference - no drops in the "efficiency" widget at ALL when using it, faster save times, and faster action-run times. ne_nau.gif
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2013
    good to hear it is better now
    you may tweak it a little bit more by adjusting the memory-slider in PS preferences , performances

    drag to the right and more RAM is assigned to PS , ( less to other programs )
    you try / test this for some days , to find a value that suits you best
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2013
    there is a new update
    it says it solves problems w scratch disk ,

    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5595
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2013
    Thanks!

    AND... in other news.....

    after an apocalyptic crash this afternoon, my clever husband MAY have discovered one of my problems (won't trust it until it's been running stable for more than 24hrs): omehow, Windows Defender had turned itself on, and this is a known conflict when running Avast (my virus software). Since I switched it off, EVERYTHING has been running faster and more reliably, I'm not getting so many script errors in FF and Adobe products are generally behaving. I sure hope so, because it has been driving me NUTS!!!!
  • BinaryFxBinaryFx Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2013
    I personally would uninstall "surplus" AV software and only have one installed.

    If one is after performance, then I am not sure of the benefit that one would have with a partitioned drive as it is still a single physical drive.


    Stephen Marsh
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 15, 2013
    BinaryFx wrote: »
    I personally would uninstall "surplus" AV software and only have one installed.


    Stephen Marsh
    you cannot un-install Defender , or any Windows item , you can only dis-able / switch off
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 16, 2013
    Ok, just to put a button on this in case anybody ever pulls up the thread because they're having problems with "Photoshop crashing all the time"

    1. Once you have a bunch of crashes, Windows can't always sweep up behind you and you get a ton of crap clogging up the machine.
    2. This can lead to unpredictable behaviour, eg virus programs freaking out
    3. There is a KNOWN problem with win 7's chkdsk function on some machines; it will cause bootup issues. There are several different fixes of varying success, but speaking for myself running chkdisk manually and setting it via command prompt rather than from within Windows eventually got it past the boot hang.
    4. upgrading to 8g ram made a much bigger difference in speed than I anticipated, given what I"d read about incrementals being less obvious.
    (Corollary to 4: No matter how well you think you have seated the ram, push it in a little further. It took three freaking tries before it was seated properly and the computer recognized it.)
    5. Even a simple scratch disk on an external drive can be very helpful in keeping photoshop happier.

    And now, please, I'd like several months without computer issues lolol
  • basfltbasflt Registered Users Posts: 1,882 Major grins
    edited June 17, 2013
    divamum wrote: »
    No matter how well you think you have seated the ram, push it in a little further. It took three freaking tries before it was seated properly and the computer recognized it.)

    you are very lucky !!!!!!!!!
    usually this will permanently damage the motherboard from electrical burn ( did happen to me once )
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