A ten year old design flaw in Adobe Photoshop

Not long ago, when I was trying to open my Photoshop CS3, a vague error message that I had not seen in ten years stopped me:Could not initialize Photoshop because the file is locked. Use Properties command in Windows Explorer to unlock the file.Photoshop ended afterwards.

Like all badly-written error messages, it did not make any sense. I was not trying to open any file; I was trying to open Photoshop itself. I was sure that none of the Photoshop’s files were changed. (A look on the access date of the files confirmed this.) Moreover, I was sure that even if Photoshop was somehow automatically updated, the file system access permissions were not changed. (AccessEnum tool confirmed this.) So, what was the problem?

My vague memories of ten years ago told me that it had something to do with the Photoshop configuration files. So, the proper course of action was to back up and delete the configuration files, forcing Photoshop to load with default settings. Pressing CTRL + ALT + SHIFT key combination immediately after clicking on the Photoshop icon discards the configuration files, although I strongly suspect that it does nothing in the way of backing them up. So, I backed up and deleted Adobe Photoshop CS3 Prefs.psp, stored in Application Data folder in my user profile. Since I was using Windows XP, it was stored in:

C:\Documents and Settings\John\Application Data\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS3\Adobe Photoshop CS3 Settings

Sure enough, Photoshop started without problem.

After that, I went through reconfiguring Photoshop, tweaking everything that needed tweaking manually. And then, it clicked: A few days before, I had changed the Photoshop Scratch Disk path but I had forgotten to modify the file system permissions so that Photoshop, while running in my user account, could have access to the new path.

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Posted on 18 June 2010, in Windows Administration and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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