Jun 12, 2006

Slow performance and screen redraw problems in Photoshop (CS2 on Windows)

Source: Photoshop Support Knowledgebase

Photoshop CS2 runs extremely slowly, or it slows suddenly and appears to freeze under Windows.


Additional symptoms include one or more of the following:

– Windows, palettes, images, and selections don’t redraw correctly when partially covered by dialog boxes.

– Images redraw very slowly when edited.

– Menus don’t appear or you can’t access menu items.

– The pointer disappears when you move it around the screen or between two panels.

– The pointer displays an hourglass each time it hovers over a palette (such as the Layers palette).

– Dialog boxes are blank.

– Redraw of layer edges is delayed after you enable Show Layer Edges.


Do one or more of the following solutions:

Solution 1: Install the Photoshop CS2 9.0.1 update.

Download and install the update from the Adobe website at .

Solution 2: Reduce the image Cache Levels.

You can reduce the amount of memory that some images use by reducing the Cache Levels setting in the Memory & Image Cache preferences:

1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Memory & Image Cache.

2. Set Cache Levels to 2.

Solution 3: Disable Font Preview in Photoshop.

A damaged font can adversely affect Photoshop performance. To determine if you have a damaged font installed, disable the Photoshop WYSIWYG font preview and check performance:

1. Open Photoshop.

2. Choose Edit > Preferences > Type.

3. Deselect Font Preview Size and close Preferences.

4. Continue to work in Photoshop to test whether or not the performance issue is solved.

– If performance does not improve, then Font Preview is not the cause of your issue. Follow steps 1 – 3 above, selecting a size for Font Preview Size in step 3, and then continue to troubleshoot.

– If performance does improve, then Font Preview may be the cause of your issue. Continue to Solution 3.

Solution 4: Move your fonts to a folder on the desktop and then add them back to the Fonts Folder.

This solution allows you to check for damaged fonts. When you move the system fonts from the Fonts folder to the desktop, your operating system reinstalls undamaged versions of system fonts. When you add the fonts back into the Fonts folder you see a warning if there is a damaged font. You can then reinstall a clean version of any damaged font.

1. Create a new folder on the desktop and name it Moving Fonts.

2. Open My Computer on the desktop.

3. Double-click Local Disk (C:).

4. Open the WINDOWS folder.

5. Open the Fonts folder and the Moving Fonts folder that you created in Step 1.

6. Click the Fonts folder and select all the fonts (Ctrl + A).

7. Drag the fonts from the Fonts folder to the Moving Fonts folder. If prompted, confirm that you want to move the fonts.

Note: When you remove fonts from the Fonts folder, it is repopulated immediately with several fonts. These are the Windows system fonts. Do not remove them after they’ve been reinstalled into the Fonts folder by Windows.

8. Click the Moving Fonts folder. Select all the fonts, and drag them back into the Windows/Fonts folder.

Note: If you receive an error message that some fonts cannot be copied because they might be damaged, click OK. You may need to reinstall these fonts from the original source at a later time.

9. After you move the fonts back into the Windows/Fonts folder, you can delete the Moving Fonts folder and any fonts remaining in it.

10. Restart Windows and open Photoshop. If you disabled Font Preview in Type Preferences, as outlined in Solution 2, re-enable it.

Solution 5: Close or hide the Info palette.

On some computers, CPU usage can reach 100% when you move the cursor over an image while any painting tool is selected and the Info palette is open.

To hide the Info palette, do one of the following procedures:

– Click on either the Navigator or History tab to bring one of these palettes to the front.

– Drag the Info palette tab into the palette well.

– Choose Window and click Info to deselect the Info palette if it is selected.

Solution 6: Update the BIOS for your computer.

Contact the manufacturer of your BIOS, processor, motherboard, or computer, and determine if a BIOS update is available.

A temporary workaround, before you update the BIOS, is to disable Hyper-Threading Technology in the BIOS. Contact the BIOS, processor, motherboard, or computer manufacturer for assistance.

Important: Changes to the BIOS can have drastic consequences to the system. Be extremely careful that you change the correct option in the BIOS, and that you don’t change anything else.

Solution 7: Open the image in ImageReady or reinstall old fonts.

Older images that contain fonts that are no longer on the computer can cause images to open slowly or appear to freeze. To greatly reduce or eliminate the slowness, reinstall the fonts that are used in the image, or open the image in ImageReady.

If the image can be opened by ImageReady (that is, the image is RGB), open it in ImageReady and resave the image with a different name.

Solution 8: Update the video card driver.

Many video card manufacturers frequently update their software drivers. You may have an outdated video card driver even if you recently purchased the video card. Contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver or download one from the manufacturer’s website. (To determine the manufacturer of a video card, view the card’s properties in Device Manager.) You can often determine if the video driver is outdated by changing the color depth and resolution of the video card or by disabling graphics hardware acceleration.

Solution 9: If your video card has less than 128 MB of RAM, consider updating it.

For optimum performance in Photoshop, use a video card with more than 128 MG of RAM.

Solution 10: Reduce or disable hardware acceleration in Windows.

Reducing or disabling hardware acceleration may temporarily resolve problems caused by older video card drivers.

To disable or reduce graphics hardware acceleration in Windows XP:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Display.

2. Click the Settings tab.

3. Click Advanced.

4. Do one of the following:

– To disable hardware acceleration, move the Hardware acceleration slider to None.

– To reduce hardware acceleration, move the Hardware acceleration slider to a setting between None and Full.

5. Click Apply and then click OK to accept the new setting and close the dialog box.

6. Restart Windows and Photoshop.

To disable or reduce graphics hardware acceleration in Windows 2000:

1. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel.

2. Double-click Display, click the Settings tab, and then click Advanced.

3. Click the Troubleshooting tab.

4. Do one of the following:

– To disable hardware acceleration, move the Hardware acceleration slider to None.

– To reduce hardware acceleration, move the Hardware acceleration slider to a setting between None and Full.

5. Click OK to accept the new setting, and then click OK to close the Display Properties dialog box.

6. Restart Windows and Photoshop.

Background information

Different factors can cause slow performance and screen redraw problems, including hardware, operating system settings, and software settings. Some functions specific to Photoshop can also slow performance. The Photoshop CS2 9.0.1 update solves these performance issues.

If Photoshop slows or becomes unresponsive when left idle, it may be attempting to render a preview of a damaged font. There are two tests to determine if this problem is causing poor performance. If you disable the WYSIWYG font preview in Solution 2 and Photoshop performance increases, a damaged font is likely the cause of the problem. Perform Solution 3 to fix this problem.

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