How to fix Photoshop Freezing on startup


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I love Photoshop, and I am sure you do too. I regard it as one of the best, if not the best image editing software that exists. However what do you do when the one software you trust does not want to work? The simple answer is to stick with it, and find a way to make it work.

The problem

On starting Adobe Photoshop, the welcome screen comes up and starts to load up all the relevant configuration files. However, during this process it abruptly freezes. Immediately, an error comes up that says there is a problem, and it would close down.

Possible solutions

  1. Restart the Computer

The first solution was to restart the computer. That is the most common trick to getting software to respond. Unfortunately that did not bring the desired results. Ouch.

  1. Use a different account

Then I started to think of whether this problem would affect other users on this computer. Using that alternative approach;

  • I created another user, and switched to that account.
  • Double clicked to start Adobe Photoshop and eureka, the program loaded up perfectly.

There was no problem whatsoever in opening it from this second Windows account. I might as well use other accounts on this same machine. However, I did not want to be switching accounts whenever I wanted to do a little design work.

That is when the light bulb to my next solution came.

I realized that if I could use other user accounts on same machine, then this told me one thing. And that was that the issue had something to do with my very specific Windows account. It had nothing to do with the computer. Since I was using a Windows 10 operation system I could narrow it down to the C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData folder.

  1. Delete user specific files

Having narrowed it down to a problem which was user specific, then it had to obviously be something with my specific Adobe Photoshop settings that need to be changed or removed.

However, before I went around deleting any crucial program files I needed some sort of evidence that this is the case. Apart from just looking through the logs, I started Adobe Photoshop again, and the program stopped as it was reading from the preferences file. This looks like another bad thing but to me it was a significant breakthrough.

I did a little research, and true to my initial thoughts, it had to do with the preferences file. I read that the preferences file may be corrupted. Deleting the current preference file, will force Photoshop to create a new one at startup.

You do not have to go round your Windows file system and just delete anything. This is the best way to delete the preferences file.

  • When starting Adobe Photoshop, holding down the combinations keys of Alt, Ctrl, and Shift keys (Mac: Command, Option, Shift) while starting up Photoshop.
  • A dialog box will pop up asking if you want to delete preferences file. Click Yes.
  • Then, click yes to the Dialogue box that pops up.

That was easy!

  1. Discovering the library lookup file

In a lot of instances, from what I read from the web that was the solution for most people. If that does not solve it for you, and Photoshop is still freezing at startup, then let us keep investigating the problem. As you can surmise that alone did not solve my problem either. I went through the previous approach of watching where along the startup process the screen halted. This time around it halted when looking for something called a Library Lookup file.

I did my research and the solution was to delete this file as well. I took a different route. I chose to renamed it, so that I could reverse back to the original incase this solution did not work. On my computer I went to the location below

C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Creative Cloud Libraries\LIBS, where there was a file called librarylookupfile

As stated from above, you could delete it or simply rename it.

I hope these tips as well as the steps used in resolving the will assist you in your own debugging process. You can now go back to creating even more stunning designs with Adobe Photoshop.

Take care, and cheers.

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