How to Stop GIMP From Freezing When Opening Files

GIMP is an open-source raster graphics image editor comparable to Photoshop in that its primary function is image retouching or manipulation. It’s a cross-platform application used on various operating systems, including Windows and macOS. While there are many similarities in the tools, features, and function, GIMP is an open-source program, meaning it is free.

Like with any application, there are updates, in this case, created by designers to address any functionality issues and make improvements to the platform. A common problem the application has experienced is the program freezing when attempting to open files. Keep reading for ways to stop GIMP from freezing when opening files.

5 Ways to Prevent GIMP From Freezing When Opening Files

Many GIMP users have experienced the program temporarily freezing when trying to open files. Sometimes the delay can be as high as five minutes before the application is ready to move on to the next action. Waiting for the program to unfreeze is precious time being taken away from projects and a waste that adds up if this same problem occurs every time you attempt to use the application.

There are many advantages to using GIMP for your photo editing and design needs, but all of those fall short if the application continues to crash. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent the program from freezing.

1. Use Less Resources

Before attempting to do anything within the program, there is a way to make GIMP more responsive from the outside by changing the graphics card settings to use fewer resources when the program launches.

If you’re using Windows, right-click in the GIMP shortcut, and a menu should appear. Select “Properties.” Once in “Properties,” click on the “Shortcuts” tab and add this sequence to the end of the target command, -r -D -L -m.

If you’re using Mac OS X, go to your “Applications Directory” and click on the GIMP application. At the top-left corner select Properties>Application>Launch Options. Similar to Windows, add this sequence to the end of the target command, -d -L -m.

2. Use Less Memory

Though GIMP takes less RAM than its competitors, it could still be a problem for your computer to multitask, opening a large file like a 14in.x14in. GIMP workbook with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. This file size could be as big as 156.8 MB, and for a computer with 256 MB of RAM, it could be a challenge.

One of the solutions to save memory is scaling down large files. If you resize using GIMP, go to Image>Scale Image and decrease the size to make the file more manageable. You can also adjust the image resolution or reduce the number of effects or changes you add to the image.

If you don’t want to change the size of your file, you can go to the “Memory Preferences” in your operating system, then go to Options>Application>GIMP and click the option “As Low As Possible.”

3. Different Display Settings

Another way to save resources is to change the display settings, and doing so will allow your computer to run GIMP without using as much RAM. The way to change the display settings is to go to the “GIMP Display Preferences” dialogue box and switch the display to “Simple Mode,” which displays less information.

4. Update to Latest Version

Applications are constantly being worked on to improve innovation and address technical glitches that affect the application’s performance. Since GIMP is open source, updates come from developers working on that project. Check to see if you have any updates available for GIMP and run them. The freezing problem could be resolved this way.

5. Re-install GIMP Application

Reinstallation is the last-ditch effort to fix the freezing issue. There are times when a GIMP download can be corrupt from installation and cause more than one issue. The best way to resolve this is by deleting the application. Reinstallation shouldn’t affect any extra files you’ve downloaded, but it may affect your default preferences.

Helpful Tip for GIMP Freezing

If your application experiences multiple crashes, the best thing to do to save your time and energy is to adopt saving your work as you go. It’s not a solution to GIMP crashing, but it will help keep your sanity until the problem can be solved. Saving as go will ensure you’re not constantly redoing your work and slowing down your progress.

If GIMP continues to freeze before saving is possible, you may consider using another application or website for design, like


GIMP crashing when opening files is a common issue, but one of these fixes should help resolve that issue and get you on your way to working again.