How to Solve The Problem When Photoshop Starts With Strange Behavior

How to Solve The Problem When Photoshop Starts With Strange Behavior

Sometimes Adobe Photoshop starts with strange behavior like missing options in Preferences, Brush tool not painting the first line, Export As dialogue displays An unknown error occurred, missing handles for free transform command, the application is freezing on start and so on...

Most of us will try searching on Google or to ask for help on Adobe forums and Facebook groups. Before using any of the mentioned searches and help options there is one general helping option for all things strange and weird behavior in Photoshop. That option is to reset preferences. Resetting preferences does not require any special knowledge, it can be done easily in a couple of ways including from the Preferences > General tab.

In this post, I will explain to you how to reset user preferences in Adobe Photoshop to troubleshoot  weird and strange Photoshop's behavior.

Why and when to reset preferences

As already mentioned sometimes Photoshop starts with strange behavior. Strange behavior can affect tools and options which are working correctly and then simply start to cause a problem or do not work as expected. There are many known issues related to Brush tool behavior, Liquify dialogue is also reported, then canvas, hand and zoom tools and so on... In some of the next releases, some other not yet known strange behavior may be introduced.

If you experience something that can be described as strange behavior not experienced before and you can not find an easy solution online then it is probably time to try with preferences reset.

Here are official guidelines.

Numerous program settings are stored in the Adobe Photoshop Prefs file, including general display options, file-saving options, performance options, cursor options, transparency options, type options, and options for plug‑ins and scratch disks. Most of these options are set in the Preferences dialog box. Preference settings are saved each time you quit the application. 
Unexpected behavior may indicate damaged preferences. If you suspect damage to preferences, restore preferences to their default settings.

How to reset preferences

There are a couple of ways to reset preferences in Photoshop. There is no right or wrong way, you can use any of the below-mentioned ways. It is worth knowing all of the available options because you may not be able to start the application.

Here are three ways to reset preferences in Photoshop:

  • Go to Preferences > General tab. Click on Reset Preferences on Quit, confirm on OK then restart the application.
  • Hold down Alt/Opt + Ctrl/Cmd + Shift while clicking on Photoshop's icon to launch it.
  • Delete manually Adobe Photoshop [version] Prefs.psp file. 
    • On Mac go to Users/[user name]/Library/Preferences/ Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings. 
    • On Windows machine look for Users/[user name]/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop [version]/Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings folder.
Reset Preferences On Quit in Photoshop
One way, probably easiest way to reset preferences in Photoshop is using built in function from Preferences > General tab.

Adobe product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop 2020

Preference file functions, names, locations | Photoshop


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