Skip to Content
photoshop on a computer
Dreamstime
Tech tips

5 ways to speed up Photoshop on your computer

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a serious photographer, Photoshop is the gold standard when it comes time to edit.

But the program is large and it can really slow down your computer. Even a relatively fast computer with modern hardware can face slowdowns if things are not set up correctly or it’s not maintained well.

Here are some tips that will speed things up.

New to Photoshop? This eight-class course will help you become an expert.

Scratch discs

If you work with big files and Photoshop starts to use your hard disks for dumping memory, it’s a good idea to set up scratch discs. If you have more than one hard disk or you can free up a flash drive that will do, or you can use a fast USB 3.1 pen drive.

The important thing is to use something other than your operating system hard disk to enable parallel writing. If you use a pen drive, it has to be at least a USB 3 drive with Class 10 performance.

For SD cards, a C10 or U3 is best. You can find scratch disk settings in preferences.

Pro tip: Mac users beware! Using Mac Fusion Drive as the scratch disk can erode life from your Mac’s internal HDD.

System cleanup

Temporary files, caches, downloads and registry clutter can bog down a system and your graphics editor. Cleaning your system’s temporary files and all such unwanted junk can speed the system up.

Tap or click here for our favorite apps for cleaning up unwanted junk on your Mac or PC.

Similarly, if animal hair and dust are clogging your systems fans and heat sinks, it can heat the processor and lead to a fall in clock speed and performance. Check out this complete guide for cleaning up your computer.

Uninstall and selective startup

Over time, you may have accumulated programs and software you don’t need — games and utilities that someone else in the house may have installed or programs you just don’t use anymore.

Getting rid of them will help improve performance. Using selective startup to disable tray and background items like updaters and quick launchers can remove them from the background and improve available system resources.

Tap or click here for the best way to remove bloatware from your Windows PC.

Graphics card

A better graphics card can make a world of difference. Graphics card accelerates OpenCL and CUDA (NVidia) Core accelerate certain areas of the program, too.

Photoshop can use such acceleration to speed things like 3D and filters. You can set acceleration in preferences. Tap or click here for directions.

Keep things updated

Even brand new PCs can run slowly if essential drivers aren’t installed or the Windows default generic drivers were installed instead. Simply updating to the latest manufacturer’s release makes a huge difference in performance. Tap or click here for directions from Microsoft on updating your drivers.

Additionally, be sure your operating system and your Photoshop installation are updated. New updates include speed and performance enhancements you’re missing out on if you’re relying on outdated versions.

To update Windows:

  • Navigate to Settings and click Update & Security.
  • In this menu, you can click Check for updates to see the latest patches available.
  • Once the window populates with the latest patch, you can download it to install.

To update macOS Mojave or later:

  • Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Software Update.
  • If any updates are available, click the Update Now button. You can also click ”More info” to see details.

To update earlier versions of macOS:

  • Open the App Store app on your Mac, then click Updates in the App Store toolbar.
  • Use the Update buttons to download and install any updates listed.

Looking for more photography tips and examples of pro-quality shots? Click or tap here to visit Dreamstime for inspiration and pro photography advice. 

Komando.com App background

Check out the free Komando.com App!

Get the latest tech updates and breaking news on the go, straight to your phone, with the Komando.com App, available in the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Download Now