Not enough memory error. Please help.


New Member
Trying to apply a brushed metal background (Alien Skin Eye Candy 5.0) to a sign in PhotoShop 7.0. Sign is 3'x4', (112 meg at 150 dpi)

Error message keeps popping up stating "cannot complete command due to insufficient memory". The computer itself has 1.0 Gig Ram.

Surely this command doesn't use all of that? Does it? Any help greatly appreciated.


New Member
Are you running your scratch disk on the same drive as your application? You may want to check your memory allocation to PS.
I am running 4 Gig on mine and I have occasionally gotten the same error a while back, allocating more memory to PS, adding drives and moving the scratch disk locations helped but then again my configuration is a little hosed at the moment. We may not be sharing the same type of pain. LOL


New Member
it where the program writes data to .....I run a external 250 gig hard drive just for the scratch disk...when you have the scratch on your system hard drive ,it will use up allot of resources.

Bill Preston

New Member
I'm not sure what a scratch disk is either, and I'm also not familiar with Photoshop.

That being said, a 112 meg file strikes me as being awful big. My earliest computer only had 540 meg for the whole hard drive.

Point being, that maybe if you adjust the settings in virtual memory---as in increase the maximum number----you might get away from the error message.

All virtual memory is, is space "borrowed" from your hard drive when RAM isn't sufficient. Ordinarily, I'd say a Gig of RAM ought to be enough, but now we're back to a program I know nothing about, especially when it comes to file sizes.

Also, can you reduce the dpi without losing too much quality in the file?

bill preston


New Member
Velocity, I work on one machine with, I guess, one hard drive. The other designer also is set up identically. We save everything to a 500 gig server, but that doesn't count, I assume. I run the printer, he runs the Edge and plotter.

Bill, I tried that. Dropped all the way down to 75 dpi. Same message. Also,
no, 112 meg is not all that big. We have printed files that are 1 gigabyte in size.


New Member
In your property setting, File, Edit, Properties.
You will have to the option to set your memory allocation and scratch disks.
Scratch disks are basically Photoshops doodle page. Moving the scratch disk to another drive removes it from taking resources from your main drive.
I am running 3x250 drives, 4 Gigs of RAM and an external 500 Gig for storage and backup. Mind you I am set up for a lot more than just design and print hence the extra toys.
You dont need to go that far but one of the first things to be done with photoshop for performance is to get your scratch disk on a seperate drive from where your applications are running.

Hope this helps.


Double your ram at least .. 1 gig is not enough for high res picture editing. Photoshop can take up allot of memory when working with filters at high resolution.
I get the same msg. as threeputt gets sometimes and I have 4 gigs of ram on my designing cpu but only 1 hard drive. I toyed around with different settings in photoshop , but dont know what im really doing. I often get my tech to fix them problems for me, when he's around.


New Member
Many person run PS with just one hard drive all the time. Yes its nicer to have two drives. but it is not mandatory..

Double your ram at least .. 1 gig is not enough for high res picture editing. Photoshop can take up allot of memory when working with filters at high resolution.

Yes more is better. However. I run just 1 gig and do not have a problem. There is another setting you can operate to remove this error.

When this error message appears Adobe suggests that you reduce the size of the scratch disk.
Define Scratch disk. As mentioned above this is hard drive space allocated to PS for it to use for its internal house keeping.

Adding more memory is not the real fix because it is not actually a memory problem. (It is a file usage problem within PS) If your scratch file is too big,, and your hard drive is fulll of goodies.. then you cannot actually access to total size of your scratch disk. By default is is likely set to a large number and that exceeds the total space available on your haaaard drive.. Reduce scratch disk size down to a managable umber such as 15% of the total hard drive space.. Or less if the error keeps appearing...


New Member
Ok, just phoned my tech. They're going to start by adding one additional gig of ram. Then we'll mess with the memory allocation issues, I guess.

Thanks all for input. Love this place.


New Member
its just a setting in photoshop. an almost instant fix....

Adding memory is not the best fix...

Also, scratch disk must be a full continous space. So if your dirve is fragmented it will show an error.
Also, sometimes scratch disk will be full of junk. You have to delete it all..
Also look here

edit/ preferences /memory and image cache, chang eto a lower number..
Lower this to below 50% usage.

Determining how much scratch disk you need

With changes in Photoshop and its memory management, the formula used in the past (that is, 3-5 times the size of your average image) no longer provides an accurate estimate of how much scratch disk Photoshop needs. In Photoshop CS2, you can use the states in your history palette to help you determine how much scratch disk space you need.

Each history state that includes an operation that affects the entire image (for example, when you apply Gaussian blur or unsharp mask to the entire image) creates a full copy of your image at its original size. If your initial image is 500 KB, and you apply Gaussian blur to it, your image will need 1 MB of scratch space. If your history states consist of operations that affect only part of the image, such as paint strokes, only the size of the tiles touched by the strokes are added to the image size. If you count up the number of histories you have where operations have affected the entire image, and multiply your original image size by that number, you'll have an approximate amount of scratch disk space the image will need. If you have applied levels, a reduce noise filter, and an unsharp mask filter to your entire image that's 5 MB in size, the image will need 20 MB of scratch space.

If you need to reduce your scratch disk overhead to a minimum, you can minimize the number of patterns and brush tips you use in each of your presets, and you can reduce the number of patterns you use in your image's Layer Styles (as applied with the Bevel and Emboss Texture or in the Pattern Overlay). Each small pattern and sampled brush in the presets uses at least one tile for storage. Patterns used in Layer Styles take extra RAM, as well.
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New Member
I've lowered my number to 32% of available RAM. But shouldn't I be going UP in percentage? Not down?

Finally, in the Plug-ins and Scratch Disk preferences menu, my settings are First: Start-up Second: None, Third: None, Fourth: None.

Should they be set at C:/ instead?


New Member
how many drives do u have?

if more than one,, which is the fastest. and which has the most available space.


New Member
gradients and fills are killers when making large format stuff... the rendering really clogs your pc arteries! Definitely 2gb RAM will help your overall pc experience, and a separate PS "scratch disk" too. It is also a good idea to set the windows swap drive to a separate physical disk (can be the same one PS uses for scratch) than the one the O/S is installed on. Bonus points for using a 15k disk... muy bettah.


New Member
all the scratch disk file are thrown in the windows>temp folder. you might want to delete all files on that folder.and when you delete it and an error pop out "access denied" thats ok. ps is still probably open. some of that will be deleted some of them are not. if you dont want it to be a routine job techman's suggestion is great! add another hard drive just for the scratch disk.