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What To Do If Photoshop Goes Crazy?


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Every so often, Photoshop may act irrational.  It starts doing things that do not make sense.  It may not react to your clicks correctly, freeze up, or give you errors in places you usually do not get them. Just like a car, Photoshop sometimes needs a “tune up.”  Much like your computer, how fragments can scatter, Photoshop sometimes needs a “fresh start.”

Your best bet is to first see if you can diagnose the problem. You can always search Adobe’s help files. You can also call/contact Adobe technical support.

If you cannot diagnose and fix the specific issue, chances are good Adobe will have you restart Photoshop.  And then if that does not work, and it continues to act possessed, then it may be time to “delete the preferences.”  For some reason in Photoshop, preference files tend to cause issues from time to time.

To delete and re-build your preference files, do the following:


  1. Restart Photoshop – and as soon as you do, before anything even launches, press the Cmd+Opt+Shift keys simultaneously.
  2. A dialog box will come up that says, “Delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File?”
  3. Click “Yes.” Photoshop will delete the files, re-launch, and build new preferences.


  1. Restart Photoshop – and as soon as you do, before anything even launches, press the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys simultaneously.
  2. A dialog box will come up that says, “Delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File?”
  3. Click “Yes.” Photoshop will delete the files, re-launch, and build new preferences.


No Comments

  1. Deborah Israeli on February 23, 2010 at 9:28 am

    GREAT article — I thought I was the only one. Sometimes it’s fast, other times it’s as slow as molasses. Sometimes I cannot get the cursor (brush), and sometimes it is as you said, possessed!!

  2. Brandilyn on February 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Ah ha!! Very usual info to have… thanks for sharing!

  3. Eileen on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I’m old and challenged. How do you restart photoshop? Do you just restart the whole computer?I LOVE your blog.

  4. Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions on February 23, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Eileen, just close down and open up. As you are opening you do as described above.

  5. Lisa Manchester on February 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Jodi, in the past I’ve tried deleting the preferences the way you described and I never get the dialog box that asks if I want to delete. I tried doing it several times awhile back when I was having a problem with my brushes, but no go. I thought maybe I wasn’t doing it quick enough after launching, then maybe that I was doing it too quickly….anyway, my husband ended up having to go in and manually do it. What a pain. LOL! Any ideas why I wasn’t able to do it with the ctrl+alt+shift keys? Thanks!

    • Tammie Ter-VEen on January 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      UUUGGHGH!!!! I am having this SAME problem right now. I’ve been editing all day with no problem, and now all of a sudden my action is not working! Frustrating!!!!NO fun when you’re on a deadline! I know he did this almost a year ago, but does he remember how he did it by any chance? Thanks for your help!Tammie

  6. chesley on February 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    i so wish i’d read this yesterday. my cs3 was acting nutty so i decided to uninstall & reinstall it last night. the huge bummer is that when i went to get the disc out of the case to reinstall it, i broke it in half!!! i was so sick!

  7. Alison on February 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I just read in photoshop help it is opt-com-shift in that order. Hope that helps

  8. Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions on February 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Lisa – not sure – this is just how adobe says to delete them. But they likely could help you troubleshoot next time around.

  9. gina on February 24, 2010 at 8:42 am

    photoshop? crazy? hummmm that never happens….giggle….thanks for the insight! love your actions, love your work 🙂

  10. Kamala Hand on March 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I agree with this. I happen to be spending a lot of time educating myself about photoshop. I found a lot of answers at

  11. Christi on September 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    You make me so happy!! I love you!!! My stuff is totally back to normal!!:) THANK YOU Mr. Photoshop Ninja!!!

  12. CW on June 13, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    You seriously rock! Thanks for taking time to do this article…in the middle of a big edit and nothing was working properly. This was the complete solution! Appreciate your generosity!

  13. Kelli on July 27, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Hallelujah! I was about to lose my mind. Thank you SO SO SO much! Now I can go to bed!

  14. ELBOB on January 19, 2012 at 12:43 am

    THANK YOU!!! I was going insane!! Every single time I opened a file, new or already made, the Navigator would show it to me but it was nowhere to be found on the screen, and its not a big one at that, its a 15″.Reseting Photoshop solved this Issue!!!

  15. Brad on October 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    WHEW!! Thank you Jodi! Dittos the insanity referenced above! It would not allow me to resize an image, every time you tried it locked up Photoshop and you had to use Force Quit. Everything else worked. THANK YOU!!

  16. Edalat on November 7, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Dear Mrs,After my photoshop cs3 runis opened, it feezed…I mean no click in photoshop or windows is possible and task managers(Ctrl+Alt+Delete) does not work.Then I have too shut down my computer via power key.rI reinstalled my photoshop but there is that problem…after 2 or 3 times I restart my computer it runs correctly!How can I solve it?Regards

  17. Philip Beaurline on November 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Hello Jodi – I apparently have somehow corrupted my custom actions .psp file, as photoshop 5 (mac) won’t start with it in the preferences folder. Unfortunately there are a LOT of actions that I use regularly in there. I didn’t know that you had to save it out to a separate .atn file to safeguard against this happening. Do you know how to repair the .psp file? It happened when I accidentally hosed one of the actions in it.ThanksPhilip

    • Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions on November 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      actions are a .atn not .psp file – so while I am not exactly sure what you are asking or a solution, maybe that is part of the issue?

  18. nedz toledo on June 12, 2013 at 12:42 am

    when i use the text tool, my photoshop freeze, and displays photoshop cs5 not working properly’.. .how can i fix it//

  19. olawuyi femi on November 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    thanks, av bin havin this problem for a while now….immediately i tried the control+alt+shift keys combination the problem disappeared. God bless you for us all

  20. Isaac Gomez on September 20, 2014 at 12:13 am


  21. Michal on February 16, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Thank you so much for taking time to write this article! It helped me today.Photoshop is always temperamental. Didn’t really think there will be a cure 🙂

  22. öÁ_öÁÁö±öÁ¬ on December 28, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Wonderful job…… Thank Q Very much……sir

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