Move Your Scratch Disk To An External Drive For Increased Speed And Space

Move Your Scratch Disk To An External Drive For Increased Speed And Space

When you edit photos and video, files are constantly cached to your internal drive by default, which can slow you down quite a bit. You can make your system run faster by caching these files to an external drive instead.

Photo by miss karen.

Depending on how long you’ve had your computer, you probably have more than one hard drive lying around. You might even have them in external enclosures, wondering what to do with them. Technology blog Tested notes that turning one of those drives into a scratch disk can give you a nice boost in speed and hard drive space during the editing process:

Programs like Premiere Pro, Photoshop and Gimp all make use of a scratch disk, where these scraps files and temporary data are stored when you run out of RAM. If you’re working with a large project, those files can grow in size fast. By shifting them all to another drive entirely, you’re lessening the load placed on your internal drive, splitting reads and writes between two places, as opposed to one. You’ll render faster, export quicker and be all the happier for it.

While Adobe CS5 interestingly does not allow external scratch disks, most programs will have that setting easily accessible in their preferences. In fact, some programs will even prompt you to switch to an external scratch disk if you’re still using your internal drive. If you do any kind of media editing, it’s a pretty nice PC upgrade that you can get on the cheap (or on the free, if you already have an unused drive). Hit the link for the full article on the five best uses for external drives, and be sure to share your favourites in the comments.

How To Best utilise Your External USB Hard Drives [Tested]


  • The glaring omission here, although covered in the linked article, is that this applies mainly to laptops. If you’ve got a spare drive, you’re better off installing it internally if you can.

    I still have doubts about the performance of a fast single internal SSD vs an extra external USB drive. It’s ironic that a site called tested doesn’t mention whether they’ve measured anything to back up their claims.

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