Windows 8.1 hung my Photoshop CS6, but here’s the solution

The Windows 8.1 update arrived at my work desktop today. I’ve just read that Microsoft have halted the rollout due to problems. Well, I had one straight away. I was doing some book cover typography in Adobe Photoshop CS6. Suddenly I couldn’t pick a color. Trying to pick or swap colors gave me the standard Adobe error message that translates to ‘I’ve completely given up and I don’t even know what went wrong’. (I’ve seen and ahem… written a few of those in my time):

“Could not complete your request because of a program error”

That meant Photoshop was completely broken as far as I was concerned, and having run the Windows 8.1 update an hour earlier was too much of a coincidence.

A little rooting around Adobe support suggested a two-part fix that got me working straight away.

The problem is to do with the Photoshop preferences file, something that seems to be the canary that squawks and topples over whenever life gets too much for Photoshop.

The fix is to scrap your Photoshop preferences file and reset to factory defaults. Unfortunately this didn’t work because the preferences file was read-only (which, I suspect, caused the fault in the first place).

So the fix is to go to the Adobe preferences library in File Manager and set it to be write-enabled (turn off the ‘read only’ setting in the folder properties). The location is explained by Adobe here.

Having made the folder write-enabled, close Photoshop and make the secret Adobe sign on your keyboard. It’s a bit like the Masonic handshake, but you hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift simultaneously. Keeping all those buttons pressed (you’ll probably want to use the left shift button for this…) you launch Photoshop. You should be asked if you want to create a new preferences file. You answer ‘yes’.

For me, at least, this solved my problem. If Windows 8.1 has done any more damage, I’ve yet to see it.

I don’t want anyone to experience the same problem as me. But if you do, hopefully this post will get you started again.


About Tim C. Taylor

Science fiction publisher and author of the bestselling Human Legion series. I live with my wife and young family in an English village. I am currently writing full time, when I'm not roped into building Lego.
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