How to Fix Photoshop Crashing or Freezing on Windows

Photoshop Laptop

Photoshop is the holy grail of photo editing and digital art manipulation. Even so, just like any other app on your Windows 10 or 11 PC, Photoshop is not immune to problems. If your Photoshop keeps crashing or freezing constantly, this guide unravels some easy fixes.

Tip: learn how to make an image’s background transparent without the need of Photoshop.

1. Reset Photoshop Font Cache

A corrupted font cache that accumulated in Photoshop can cause performance degradation on your computer. To resolve this, clear the cache:

  1. Exit Adobe Photoshop and other Creative Cloud applications.
  2. In Windows, open File Explorer by pressing Ctrl + E.
  3. Go to the “C:\Users\[Your Username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop <version>” folder.
  4. Find the “FontFeatureCache” and “CT Font Cache” folders and delete them, then empty your Recycle Bin.
Photoshop font folders in File Explorer.
  1. Try running Photoshop again and use it for a while. If the app still crashes, try the following tips.

2. Disable Plugins

Plug-ins can bring some extra functionalities to Photoshop. They are also quite capable of causing issues. To rule them out as the culprit for the crashing and freezing errors you’re experiencing, start disabling these plugins one by one.

  1. Hold the Shift key, then launch Photoshop.
  2. Click on “Yes” to open Photoshop without plugins.
"Skip loading third-party plug-ins" window.
  1. If Photoshop still crashes, the plugins aren’t the culprits.
  2. Alternatively, if your Photoshop runs smoothly now, you can try to pinpoint the problematic plugin.
  3. Navigate to “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop <version>” in File Explorer.
Photoshop "Plug-ins" folder visible in File Explorer.
  1. Open the “Plug-ins” folder and try moving one of the plugins to another location to prevent Photoshop from loading it.
  2. Repeat until you find the problematic plugin.

Tip: getting error code 43 in Windows? Learn how to fix it and get your GPU working again.

3. Update Graphics Drivers

An outdated or faulty graphics driver can be the reason behind your Photoshop crashing or freezing. Follow the steps below to update it:

  1. Open Device Manager on your PC.
Device Manager view in Windows.
  1. Expand the “Display adapters” selection and find your graphics card.
"Update driver" button from driver properties window.
  1. Navigate to the “Driver” tab and click “Update Driver.”
  2. Select the “Search automatically for drivers” option.
Clicking on "Search automatically for drivers" in Windows update wizard.
  1. If available, new drivers will be installed automatically. If not, check the next tip.

Tip: need to install an unofficial driver on your PC? Learn how.

4. Tweak Photoshop Permissions

There may be times you are dealing with corrupted Photoshop preference settings. In this case, try resetting them, but before you do that, it’s advised that you back up your settings for future restoration in case something goes wrong.

Backing Up Photoshop Preference Settings

  1. Open File Explorer using the Ctrl + E keyboard shortcut.
  2. Navigate to: “C:\Users\[Your Username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop <version>.”
Photoshop Settings folder visible in Fire Explorer.
  1. Copy-paste the “Adobe Photoshop <version> Settings” folder into another location.

Resetting Photoshop Preferences

  1. Open Photoshop on your PC.
  2. Go to “Edit -> Preferences -> General.”
Activating the "Reset Preferences on Quit" button.
  1. Click on “Reset Preferences on Quit,” then press “OK.”
  2. If you need to restore the previous Photoshop preference settings, paste the “Adobe Photoshop <version> Settings” folder back to its last location.

5. Free Up RAM

Photoshop is a memory-intensive application that can consume up to 70% of your system’s available RAM when in use. You can free up RAM by terminating unnecessary background applications and allow these resources to be used by Photoshop instead. Note that it’s essential to have a healthy amount of free RAM for Photoshop to operate smoothly on your system.

  1. Access Task Manager using the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keyboard shortcut.
  2. Navigate to the “Processes” tab and terminate any resource-intensive tasks by clicking on each application and pressing the “End task” button.
Terminating resource-intensive tasks in Task Manager.
  1. Launch Photoshop again and see whether it makes a difference.

Tip: have you noticed high memory usage on your PC lately? This is what you can do about it.

6. Increase Timeout Detection Recovery

Timeout Detection Recovery (TDR) is a feature in Windows that works by detecting response problems from a GPU, and if a timeout occurs, it proceeds to reset the card. Upon increasing its value, you might be able to reduce any crashes due to Photoshop features that require GPU input taking too long to respond.

  1. Open Run and type regedit to open up the registry window, then click “OK.”
Typing "regedit" in Run window.
  1. From the left panel, navigate to “Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers.”
Registry Editor open with TdrDelay key visible.
  1. Double-click on the “TdrDelay” key on the right.
  2. Select “Decimal” under “Base” and enter a larger “Value data.” In this example, it was set to 60.
Changing data value of "TdrDelay" key.
  1. Finally, restart your PC.

7. Fix Corrupted System Files

System file corruption is a notorious culprit behind random Photoshop crashes. Luckily, you can easily fix this issue by running an SFC scan.

  1. Type “Command Prompt” in Windows Search, then click on “Run as administrator” on the right.
  1. Type SFC /scannow in the new window and press Enter.
SFC scan in execution in Command Prompt window.
  1. Reboot your PC once the scan terminates.
  2. Launch Photoshop and see whether it works as it should.

Finally, remember it’s good practice to ensure your Windows is always up to date. This helps eliminate all kinds of issues from your system and may also have an effect on your Photoshop woes as well.

Good to know: learn how to use ADM Radeon Software to record and stream video.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I upgrade my RAM capacity, will Photoshop performance improve?

You can drastically improve your Photoshop performance by upgrading the RAM on your computer. Adobe recommends a minimum of 8GB of RAM to run Photoshop smoothly.

Yet, upgrading your RAM allows Photoshop to have more memory firepower at its disposal. More RAM translates to better image rendering performance, especially while dealing with large files.

You can also instruct Photoshop to increase RAM usage. Go to “Photoshop Preferences -> Performance” and increase RAM usage by using the slider.

How can I fix the "Scratch disks are full" error in Photoshop?

This error occurs when Photoshop has no memory space on your PC to store temporary files. One easy way to enable more space for Photoshop is to clean up your hard disk and keep around 20GB free for Photoshop. Also, check out other actionable tips to fix the “Scratch disks are full” error in Photoshop.

How do I manually update my NVIDIA or AMD graphic card drivers?

To update a NVIDIA driver on your PC, visit the NVIDIA GeForce Driver official page and use the “Manual Driver Search” to find the relevant update for your driver. Proceed to download and install the new driver to your system.

When it comes to AMD driver updates, open AMD Software on your PC. (If you don’t have it. you can download it.) Access “Settings -> Check for Updates” to find the latest driver updates for your system.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Joshua Solomon.

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