Top 9 Ways to Fix Pho­to­shop Lag on Windows

Parth Shah

Photoshop sure is a resource-hungry app on Windows. While the professionals have their setup to handle Photoshop load, the app might sometimes feel sluggish. Here’s how you can fix Photoshop lag on Windows.

Fix photoshop lag on windows

1. Ensure Your Computer Meets System Requirements

You might have learned a few Photoshop tricks, and now you want to try them on your Windows laptop. Before you sign up for the Adobe Creative Cloud plan and install Photoshop, you should first check the system requirements stated by Adode.

Head over to the Photoshop system requirements page and check for CPU/GPU/RAM and other requirements for Photoshop on Windows.

Check the recommended column and not the minimum one, and make sure you have enough hard disk, RAM space available to run Photoshop smoothly.

2. Tweak Photoshop Performance Preferences

Photoshop offers a dedicated menu to let you tweak performance on Windows. Make sure the app has access to GPU and more RAM from the Preferences menu.

Step 1: Open the Photoshop app on Windows.

Step 2: Click on Edit and go to Preferences.

Open photoshop preferences

Step 3: Select Performance.

Step 4: Enable Use Graphics Processor toggle.

By default, Photoshop uses 70% available RAM on your machine. You can use the slider from the Memory Usage menu and allocate more RAM to Photoshop.

Use graphics processor

Don’t go overboard with this setting. For example, don’t allocate more than 85% RAM to Photoshop. Doing so will affect the performance of other Windows apps.

3. Reset Preferences

Was Photoshop running perfectly fine before? You should reset photoshop preferences on quit.

Step 1: Open Photoshop and click on Edit.

Step 2: Select Preferences and open the General menu.

Step 3: Select Reset Preferences on Quit and hit OK.

Reset preferences on quit in photoshop

Step 4: Restart the Photoshop app.

4. Skip Third-Party Plug-ins During Launch

Photoshop lag on Windows might be due to a corrupt plugin. Also, if you are dealing with dozens of plugins in Photoshop, it may lead to sluggishness.

Users have an option to load Photoshop without plugins. Here’s how you can use it.

Step 1: Completely close Photoshop on your PC.

Step 2: Hold down the Shift key and open Photoshop.

Step 3: You will see an option to skip loading optional and third-party plug-ins at launch.

Skip loading photoshop plugins

Step 4: Hit Ok and start using it without plugins.

5. Update Graphics Drivers

Are you running Photoshop on outdated GPU drivers? You might need to fix it up and install the latest drivers from the Device Manager menu. Here’s how.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Device Manager.

Step 2: Hit Enter and open the Device Manager menu.

Step 3: Scroll down to GPU.

Step 4: Expand the menu and right-click on it.

Update graphics drivers

Update latest drivers from the web and try using Photoshop again.

6. Optimize Cache Levels

If you notice a lag while working with heavy-sized assets or assents with multiple layers, you should adjust cache size from Photoshop's Preferences menu.

Step 1: Click Ctrl + K keys and open the Preferences menu from the Photoshop app.

Step 2: Select Performance.

Screenshot 2021 12 25 181520

There are three cache presets available. Based on your workflow, you can select the relevant option.

  • Web/UI Design
  • Default/Photos
  • Huge Pixel Dimensions

Mostly you will find the Default/Photos option.

7. Kill Other Background Tasks

If you have too many services running in the background, Photoshop might feel sluggish during the export process.

Hit the Windows key and search for Task Manager. Check the apps and services running in the background. Click on irrelevant ones and hit the End Task button at the bottom.

End task in task manager

Make sure Photoshop has enough CPU power to use on PC.

8. Make Sure Photoshop Has Enough RAM

Even though you have allocated Photoshop enough RAM, the app will feel slow when Photoshop doesn’t have enough RAM.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Resource Monitor.

Step 2: Hit Enter key and open the menu. Check free RAM available.

Check available RAM on Windows

If you have around 3GB-4GB free RAM, close other apps and services and then operate with Photoshop. If you are running low on physical RAM all the time, it’s time to add additional RAM to your PC setup.

9. Update Photoshop

Adobe regularly updates Photoshop through the Creative Cloud software. If you have been skipping the update process for Photoshop, it’s time to update Photoshop to the latest version.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for the Creative Cloud desktop app.

Step 2: From the all apps menu, update Photoshop software.

Update photoshop

Start Editing Images Like a Pro

Photoshop lagging during certain tasks can break your entire workflow. Restarting the app won’t fix the problem for you. Instead, you should go through the steps above and remove Photoshop lag from the system.


The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

Read Next

Join the newsletter

Parth Shah

Written By

Parth Shah

Parth previously worked at EOTO.tech covering tech news. He is currently freelancing at Guiding Tech writing about apps comparison, tutorials, software tips and tricks and diving deep into iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.