Crashes and the Graphics Processor


Today’s Question: My Adobe software apparently has a bug with the new upgrades. The Clone Stamp tool would cause Photoshop to crash every time I tried to use it. My computer would also restart. I called Adobe and they had me go back to an earlier version of Photoshop. That worked. Then the same thing started happening in Lightroom Classic. I called Adobe and he had me go back to an earlier version. He said it had something to do with “Graphic processor”? It worked for a bit, but it started happening again!

Tim’s Quick Answer: This sounds like a classic example of problems caused by having the graphics processor (GPU) enabled. I suspect if you disable GPU support in both Photoshop and Lightroom Classic the problems will go away, even if you update again to the latest version of both applications.

More Detail: A variety of software applications—including the key applications from Adobe—make use of the graphics processor unit (GPU) to improve performance. However, in some cases enabling this feature can lead to instability and crashes. As a general rule, whenever there are odd issues or crashes with a software application that includes GPU support, I recommend disabling that GPU support as a troubleshooting measure.

In Photoshop you can disable the GPU in the Preferences dialog. Start by selecting Edit > Preferences > Performance from the menu on Windows, or Photoshop > Preferences > Performance on Macintosh. Turn off the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox in the Graphics Processor Settings section and click the OK button to apply the change. Then quit and restart Photoshop.

In Lightroom Classic go to the menu and choose Edit > Preferences on Windows or Lightroom Classic > Preferences on Macintosh. On the Performance tab set the Use Graphics Processor popup to “Off”. Close the Preferences dialog and restart Lightroom Classic.

After disabling the GPU in Photoshop and Lightroom Classic I expect the crashes will stop happening. You can then upgrade to the latest versions of each application to confirm the problem won’t recur with those updates, as long as you keep GPU support disabled.

There is a chance that if you update the drivers for your display adapter (graphics card) that you’ll be able to enable GPU support again without problems. However, you can also just leave GPU support disabled to help avoid these issues moving forward.