Experiencing a 5-second delay in Photoshop

Posted on 2006-11-03
Last Modified: 2010-05-12

I have the Adobe CS2 Suite installed on my comp (specs for my comp are below), and all the programs in the Suite run great except for Photoshop.  There is about a 5-second delay between when I perform an action with the mouse and the corresponding reaction from the program, and when I switch tools or roll the mouse into a different area of the screen, sometimes it disappears completely for 4 or 5 seconds.

I recently added a second internal hard drive to my computer, because in my experience, using a separate hard drive as a scratch disk for Illustrator and Photoshop greatly improves the performance and load capability of both programs.

My comp is running Windows XP with SP2.  Intel dual-core P4 3.2 GHz, 2GB DDR PC4200 RAM, Abit board and two hard drives - one 250GB and the other 160GB.  I don't think the problem is a lack of hardware resources, unless one of my RAM cards is bad and I just don't know it.

Any ideas what the problem might be?  I downloaded all available updates for Photoshop and am still having the same problem.


Question by:pumas4jeff
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 17870508
Have you tried using your main hard drive for the primary scratch disk to test and see if this makes a difference? With that many gigs on your main hard drive, it shouldn't be an issue to use your main disk... just a thought to test it out.

Author Comment

ID: 17871996
Yes, originally I had C set up as the scratch disk, but since Windows and all of Microsoft's other deviant pieces of software are given priority access to that memory, I've had better luck dedicating a separate drive to Adobe programs, which is why I installed the second drive.  You're right, it shouldn't be an issue with that large of a C drive, but Windows needs a lot of room to work, and so do Illustrator and Photoshop.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 17873853
Has this problem only occured recently or since you installed PS?

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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:David Brugge
ID: 17874062
I assume that you have the same problem regardless of the size of file that you have open, and that this problem is apparent from the beginning and does not get progressively worse as you fill up your cache.

There is a outside chance that you have a bad font. CS2 added WYSIWYG fonts to the font selection menu. This means that PS opens every font installed on your machine in order to render it in the menu. A deficit of the current version of PS is that it keeps rechecking the fonts every time you execute a command. If there ia a font that is causing a hiccup, PS won't complain with any kind of error message, it will just churn away until it times out on that particular font, and then go on about its business.

The simplest way to check your fonts is to drag them out of the font folder and then drag them back in. Both Windows and Mac will check the font before reinstalling it and warn you if there is a problem.

It's a bit of a long shot, but it may be worth testing.

David B
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 17874824
Trash the preference folder.

Author Comment

ID: 17875175
Aplimedia - No, when I first installed Photoshop on this computer (Jan 05), it ran fine for a few months.  Since the degeneration of the program though, I have done a complete reformat/reinstall approximately twice, but it hasn't helped the problem.  There wasn't really a definite point or event when PS started slowing down - I just know it's been like this for a little over a year.

D Brugge - Your assumptions are completely correct.  The problem is evident from the minute you fire up the program and does not get any worse or better the longer I work in PS.  I tried your suggestion of moving the fonts out of the Windows/Fonts folder and back in, and there was about 20 fonts that said they were either "invalid or damaged" when I tried to reinstall them, but the problem is still there in PS and has not improved.

I was excited about your advice because that seems like exactly what's happening - it's like Photoshop is busy doing something else for 5 seconds every time I try and switch tools or palettes.  However, if it was a problem with the fonts, wouldn't I be having the same problem in Illustrator CS2?  Adobe added WYSISYG fonts to that program as well in this version, and I have had absolutely no delays in Illustrator.

Jason210 - Where is the preference folder?  Also, I just did a reformat/reinstall about 3 weeks ago (the problem was there before that and is still there), so it's not like PS has been installed a long time (long enough to accumulate junk files/etc.).
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

Jason210 earned 125 total points
ID: 17885123
I think preferences can remain aftr an reinstall - not sure.

Preferences is in the root folder of Photoshop. A bit of browsing and you will surely find it.

For example C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS\preferences

I think it's called preferences--- I have a Swedish version so it's called "Förinställningar" but I believe this translates as "preferences".

Give it go, it might work.
LVL 26

Accepted Solution

David Brugge earned 125 total points
ID: 17886799
This is the PREFERED method for rebuilding the preferences folder (from Adobe's web site):

1. Exit from Photoshop.

2. Locate the Adobe Photoshop [version] Prefs.psp file in the Documents and Settings\ [user profile] \Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop\ [version] \Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings folder.

3. Rename the file (for example, to Adobe Photoshop [version] Prefs.old).

4. Start Photoshop. Photoshop creates a new primary preferences file.

To restore custom settings, delete the new primary preferences file and restore the original name of the previous primary preferences file.

To remove all preferences files for Photoshop and retain the option to recover them:

1. Exit from Photoshop.

2. Locate the Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings folder.

3. Rename the folder to Old Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings.

4. Start Photoshop. Photoshop creates new preferences files.

Note: If you need to use any of the old preferences files, delete the specific file in the Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings folder, and drag the file of the same name from the Old Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings folder into the Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings folder. Using old preferences files might cause the problem to recur.

Expert Comment

ID: 17908521
You could try "filemon" from it will show you if photoshop is trying to open a non existent or corrupted file.

Author Comment

ID: 17919349
Jason210 & D_Brugge - Thanks!  Renaming the old prefs folder and forcing Photoshop to create a new one seems to have worked.  I still get delays when other programs are active (if Outlook is open and gets an email or posts a reminder, etc.)...but it seems a lot better...

What is an ideal amount of RAM for running several Adobe programs at the same time on a PC?  Also, is there any software that can tell me whether or not all my RAM is working or not?
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:David Brugge
ID: 17919742
I didn’t mean to steal any points from Jason210.

But instead of being a stand up guy giving them back, let me expand the answer to try and justify your faith in me.

There is not an ideal amount of RAM for running several Adobe products because everyone has different needs. In addition to using your RAM, Adobe makes use of its proprietary cache (the swap drive) to juggle data around.

It’s normal for a memory hungry program like PhotoShop to use the swap drive occasionally, but if you have to stop very often while PhotoShop churns away to do a screen redraw, then you probably will benefit from added RAM.

Unless you are working on some very, very large files, or have several huge files open at once, or have some files with hundreds of layers, then I would say that you are reasonably safe with your 2G.

I should have asked if you have upgraded your PhotoShop to 9.02? Adobe had some serious memory usage problems that were fixed with the upgrade.

Here is Adobe’s check list for slow performance on window machines:

As for testing RAM, I assumed that you right clicked on My Computer to see that your machine recognizes all of your RAM. After that, you might try a program like It is a free utility to check the integrity of your RAM. It is not an exhaustive test, but it should help ease your mind.

- David
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 17921364
It's ok David....I got some points and I'm satisfied with that.

The main thing is that we found the problem.

Author Comment

ID: 17924316
Thanks again for your help, both of you...D_Brugge, thanks for the additional tips - I will check them out...

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