Why is Photoshop Elements So Slow? How to Fix It

It can be frustrating when you’re trying to work on a project in Photoshop Elements, but the program suddenly slows down and starts lagging. It can even happen when you know you have hardware that’s more than sufficient to handle the program. So why does this happen? Why is Photoshop Elements so slow and how do you fix it? 

Photoshop Elements runs slow for several reasons, including memory problems, needed updates, and problems with preferences or plugins. To know what the problem is in your specific version, you’ll have to do some troubleshooting.

Consider using a web-based graphic design software if you cannot get Photoshop to speed up. Web-based software like Placeit.net run fast on all devices because they are internet-based rather than device-based.

If you’d like to get your Photoshop Elements project back up to speed, we’ve got you covered. In our guide below, we will break down the various causes of lag and slow response time, as well as what signs to look for with each issue. Then we will provide you with a potential solution so you can sort through them and find the one that works for you.

What Causes Photoshop Elements to Run Slow? 

There are a whole host of reasons why Photoshop Elements can run slow. These range from problems with plugins to a simple accidental change in your preferences.

To know which problem is slowing down your project in Photoshop Elements, you should look at when the lag or slowness is happening. Is it only happening when you first launch the program? Is it when you run other programs simultaneously? Maybe it’s just a general slowness. Whichever of these it is will help you determine what the problem is and fix it. 

Below we’ve outlined some of the most common ways Photoshop Elements gets slowed down so you can easily find out what your problem is and fix it:

1. Photoshop Elements Launch is Slow 

When Photoshop Elements is only slow at launch, you can narrow the problem down a little bit. Still, it could be anything from an interaction with your antivirus software to a simple change in preferences. 

How to Fix Photoshop Elements Slow Launch  

There are a number of fixes that may solve this problem. Below we’ve outlined some of the most common solutions so you can use them to troubleshoot:

  • Update the software: Sometimes color profiles on older versions can become corrupted. This can not only cause slowness at launch, but a complete crash as well. Simply updating the software should resolve the problem. 
  • Try it with your antivirus software disabled: Temporarily disable your antivirus software and see if the problem resolves. If it does, there was an interaction between your antivirus software and the program. You may consider switching antivirus brands.
  • Hold down the shift key as the program launches: This will prevent it from loading third party plugins. Those plugins could be causing your program to lag.
  • Try disconnecting external drives: These could also be interfering with the launching process. To check, simply disconnect them before opening the program.   

Hopefully one of these solutions will work for you. If none of them did, you may try some of the other troubleshooting steps we’ve outlined below, as there can be a lot of overlap between these problems. 

2. Photoshop Elements Slow With Certain Tools and Features

Sometimes Photoshop Elements can get slow specifically when using certain tools or features such as saving or exporting. 

How to Fix Elements Lag With Tools and Saving

Below we’ve outlined a few fixes if Photoshop elements is only running slow with certain tools or features:  

  • Change performance preferences: You can adjust the preferences like how much RAM Elements can use by going into preferences>performance. Sometimes adjusting some of these settings down can cause the slowness to abate. 
  • Check the drive you’re saving to: If Photoshop Elements slows down when you’re saving, there’s a chance you’re accidentally trying to save it to a network drive. Network drives aren’t supported and may cause lag through an error.
  • Try flattening layers: Your layers may be causing the program to run slow. Try flattening them. 

Most of the time problems with specific tools or features indicate that something is going wrong with the memory. Always make sure you have a good amount of hard drive space and RAM allocated to Elements.

3. Photoshop Elements is Just Slow 

If Photoshop Elements is just slow in general, there could be several causes. Many of them overlap with the problems that cause the previous issues, so be sure to also try those steps as well. 

How to Fix Photoshop Elements When It’s Just Slow

Below, we’ve broken down some more troubleshooting steps you can take if Photoshop elements is just slow in general: 

  • Allocate more memory: If you go into “preferences” and then “performance,” you should see a box that allows you to change the amount of RAM Elements can use.
  • Check hard drive space: If your hard drive space is filling up, it may be time to get another. Choked-up memory can definitely cause Photoshop Elements to run slow.
  • Try resetting your preferences: You may have accidentally changed something in your preferences that caused the program to slow down. To reset them, press Ctrl-K on Windows and Cmd-K on Mac, then click “reset preferences on next launch.” When you restart the software your preferences should be reset.

Hopefully one of these approaches worked for you. If not, you may consider checking your hardware and making sure that it is up to the requirements Photoshop Elements needs to run smoothly.  

Will SSD Improve Photoshop Performance?

If you’d like to not only get Photoshop Elements to work right, but to work better as well, then you should consider using an SSD. It has been proven to increase the launch speed of other Photoshop programs four times.

So Why are Photoshop Elements So Slow?

There are a whole host of reasons why Photoshop Elements can run slow. It can be anything from a negative interaction with your antivirus software to not having enough memory allocated. 

Remember, when troubleshooting, start with the simplest solutions first and work your way up. Somewhere along the way you should be able to discover what the problem is and fix it.

If you’re seeking an alternative to Photoshop Elements, we highly recommend Placeit.net because it’s web based which makes it fast loading on any device.