Photoshop Fails to Launch due to Permission Issues! Know Why?

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Failing to launch Photoshop? 

A number of times you might have encountered the issue of a failed startup of Photoshop. This is not a new problem and neither is it a rare one. You may see an error popping up during launch, trying to open a photo in your photoshop application or during processing an image. Let's look deeper into why Photoshop fails? and what could be the possible fix for these failures?

Here are some of the error messages you will see popping up during working on Photoshop:

"Could not open a scratch file because the file is locked”


“Could not initialize Photoshop because the file is locked” 


 You do not have the necessary access privileges”

Since you are reading this post, I am assuming that you too have come across the above-mentioned error messages. You are puzzled and cannot fathom what’s going on. You just want to lay your hands on the tool and get your task done. Well, this post shall help you know and understand as to why Photoshop fails to launch due to permission issues.

Photoshop tries to create a temp file on the C: \drive. The user account through which you have logged in requires access to write to the root of C:\drive. When Photoshop is run by using the administrator’s account, it runs without any fuss. Here, you can get the cue that the complication is somewhat related to access rights or permission privileges. When you run the software using the administrator’s account and make changes in the scratch disk location, the changes occur with respect to the administrator user and not the user account you have logged in.

It is safe to conclude that the user preference file of Photoshop is corrupted. It is also likely that the file is being saved in a location where it is restricted or not allowed.

Now, that we know what the problem is and why it happens, let us try and salvage the situation.

In order to avoid encountering this error, the user has to navigate the following path;

C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5\Adobe Photoshop CS5 Settings

You also have to know the version of the Photoshop you are using and delete the following files:

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Prefs.psp (for 32bit version)

Adobe Photoshop X64 CS5 Prefs.psp (for 64bit version)

In Photoshop, Go to, to Edit --> Preferences --> Performance

In the section called Scratch Disks; verify that D:\ is the one checked as active, not C:\. Change it if it isn’t likewise.

After you restart photoshop the issue will no longer be there.

This would be the fix for your launch issue and an answer to why photoshop fails to launch and shows error. Before anything else, you must have administrator rights while using the computer. The troubleshooting steps for starting Photoshop will solve your issue.

Note: If the preference file gets corrupted again, the previous steps have to be taken again to prevent permission errors. You can repair damaged photoshop files with these steps.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…