Adobe Premier Pro Scratch Disk is Write Protected or Unavailable

Two days and countless hours later I came across a workable solution that in hind sight makes sense when setting up Premiere Pro CS 5.5  and CS 6 with a scratch disk on your Macbook Pro or Apple computer. If the standard route doesn’t work and you’re continually getting a read/write error, you may want to try this . . .

1.) First make sure your scratch disk is writable. Right click on the external drive desktop icon. Under the drop down menu choose Get Info.  At the bottom unlock the spotlight screen. You will be prompted to enter your password. Back in the menu next to your Name and under Priveldge choose Read & Write. Lock and close.

2.) Open Premiere Pro CS 5.5 or CS 6. Click on New Project. In General, under location select your external drive under Browse. Next Name your project. At this time, don’t worry about the Scratch Disk settings. You will probably get a “scratch disk is write protected or unavailable” error or something similar.

3.)  For the moment click through the chosen Premiere Pro disk location on your computer and open your new project. In Premiere Pro at the top of the screen open Preferences. Under Preferences choose Media. Under Media Cache Files choose Browse on your external drive and select a location for the folder. Under Media Cache Database select Clean. Next select Browse and select a location for the folder. Select Ok at the bottom of the screen and it will close.

4.) Next at the top of the screen select Project. Under the Project Settings in the drop down menu choose Scratch Disks. From here there are two ways to make the adjustment. One way is to select Project from the drop down menu. This should point to where your project file is being stored on the external hard drive. The second is to select the Browse button and find a location for each file on your external drive. Select Ok at the bottom and the screen will close.

It may take a little work but your scratch disk is now setup on your external drive. If you change drives at any time, you will have to go through the whole process all over again.

If this works for you drop me a note. Maybe someone at Adobe will hear that this is a major problem for those using their editing software on Apple computers.


28 thoughts on “Adobe Premier Pro Scratch Disk is Write Protected or Unavailable”

    1. Not sure why PP tells you it can’t “save” the project file. Only two things that I can think of: the software can’t find the location your project is being saved to or the disk is full. Hope this helps.

  1. THank You so much!! Not a scratch disk or permissions thing at all so i was going crazy & your fix helped.
    Only thing i’ll Add is that After relocating the folder with all the contents of the edit and the program file to just another folder on the same Raided drive, not my boot-up/application drive, I had to rename my “project file”. The same file name even in the New folder was still a problematic issue for Premiere? Once I changed the name of the file it worked! oh i also got rid of any unused files by project>remove unused..

  2. This did NOT work for me. I’m running Windows, could that be the difference here? There is no “unlock” feature on my harddrive device, unless there’s a special Windows way that I don’t know about. My project not only keeps pulling up that error of Scratch disks being write-only or unavailable, it also keeps crashing and taking over an hour to locate media if it doesn’t crash….which then, in that process, inevitably causes it to crash. This is due in less than five days and I’m in panic mode.

    1. Hi Jamie. Our experience has been with Apple computers. For Windows you may want to check a couple of things. If the hard drive is new make sure it is formatted. If it has already been in use, make sure it is not full. You can also check the drive by right clicking on the drive > go to properties > got to the securities tab and make sure your permissions are checked.

      We hope this helps.

  3. Hi,

    I’m desperate to find out why it didn’t work for me. I’ve recently upgraded to Maverick and ever since then (2 days ago) the message pops up for all my projects on the external hard drive.
    I’ve started a project yesterday that I saved on my computer (instead of the hard drive) as it was very small, plus i’ve done this before and never had an issue. The new project opens up without any issues, the old one gets the message!
    I’ve spend past year and a half working on this and now I’m just desperate. Please help me. What else can i do. I followed your post to the dot.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. Hi there,
    This is a problem for me too but I only get it on one version of a saved project. Previous saves I can still access. Why is it that its just this one (most recent and most important) save thats having the “Scratch disks are write protected or unavailable” issue…?

    I am working off files on my desktop and saving to the desktop too, on my main computer hard drive “Macintosh HD” .. Is that a bad idea? Will this process of switching scratch disks still fix this problem or am i dealing with something else thats wrong?

    1. Hi Tom.
      It’s best to set up your editing software with a portable 500GB or 1 TB external hard drive. Most likely your computer is out of hard drive space or your processor is being over worked. Editing software works best with and external drive.

      Hope this helps . . .

  5. For those of you Mac users who are still experiencing problems, try this:

    1) Follow the above procedure to a T. It is crucial that you set all scratch disks, media databases, and the new project file to your external drive as suggested above.

    2) Once you have created the new project, save and quit Premiere. Open the project you are having issues with (you will probably still get an error message upon open) and copy the contents of the bin to your clipboard. Quit Premiere without saving.

    3) Open the new (empty project) from the external drive. Paste the bin contents from the previous project into the new project bin. Save and quit Premiere.

    4) Open the new project from the external hard drive. You should not receive any “scratch disk” error message at this point. For those of you who had been unable to render in conjunction with the scratch disk errors, try rendering a clip in your timeline. It should work now. Save and quit Premiere.

    5) Drag the new project file to your desktop and rename it to your preference. Open from desktop to verify that it still works. You should be good to go at this point.

    This worked for me, but only after precisely following the steps in this blog post.

    Good Luck!

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