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How to Open a Photoshop Temp File

Published: 27/05/2021

There are frustrating moments when Photoshop suddenly closes or crashes due to a technical issue while you are working. You may lose your precious work as a result of crashing as the PSD files get corrupted. Learn how to open a Photoshop Temp file on Windows and Mac to recover your PSD files easily. 

How to Open a Photoshop Temp File on Windows and Mac

Generally, while running an application, the data is saved in the form of temp files on the computer. Photoshop runs on the same principle. It creates temp files in a deeply buried destination folder on your PC or Mac.

Later on, when Photoshop is closed normally, these temp files convert into permanent ones. In case of crashing or abrupt closure of the program, you can find these temp files and manually convert them into permanent PSD files in order to open them.

Additionally, temp files are also created in the temp files folder when you open a smart object in Photoshop. Until you save the smart object out of Photoshop, this temp file will not get deleted. 

Opening temp files in Photoshop is not a very perceptive process, but thankfully, all the steps that you take will help you recover your unsaved PSDs. 

Recover PSD Files from Temp Files on Windows

First of all, remember that recovering lost PSDs from temp files is not your first line of defense. Your best bet is to turn autosave on in Photoshop CC, which we will talk about later in the post. However, if your autosave was not turned on, here is what you can do as a Windows user to recover the files and open them in Photoshop.

Navigate to the Temp File 

Navigating the Temp File
  1. On Windows, open up the File Explorer, and go to the C Drive.
  2. The default path for temp files is C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Temp.
  3. Navigate to Users, and open your User Directory, which is a folder with your username.
  4. From here, you will need to open the AppData folder. If it is not visible, you can go to the Advanced Settings and toggle on Show Hidden Files and Folders. Alternatively, search the Local Folder in your User Directory search. When the Local Folder is displayed, double click on it to open the data of all your applications.
  5. Next, you have to open the Temp folder. Keep in mind that If you didn’t turn on Show Hidden Files and Folders previously, this would be hidden. 
  6. In the Temp folder, the temp files for all the applications will be found. Look for files beginning with “Photoshop Temp” succeeded by a number as these are your Photoshop temp files.

Convert the Files into PSD format

The temp files are saved in a .tmp format. In order to open them in Photoshop, you need to change the file name extensions. It is as simple as changing their format by swapping the .tmp extension with the .psd extension. 

  1. In the temp folder, click on the View menu on top.
  2. Check the box for File Name Extensions.
  3. Once the .tmp extension is visible with the file, rename the file.
  4. Remove the .tmp extension with the .psd extension and save the files.
  5. You can now access your PSD file easily.

Recover PSD Files From Temp Files on Mac OS

  1. Go to the Finder and click on the Application folder.
  2. Access Terminal and run it.
  3. Next, enter the option “open $TMPDIR” and hit Enter.
  4. Go to the “Temporary items” and find the PSD file.
  5. Open the file with Photoshop and save it on your Mac OS.
  6. This will successfully recover your temp files on Mac.

Note: If you are a Mac user, you might be aware that although there is a directory that stores temp files, it isn’t safe to access it like on Windows. The directory holds important system files without write protection. Your OS might become unbootable if you accidentally delete an important temp file. It is, therefore, highly recommended to use reliable Data Recovery Software for Mac.

Avoid Losing PSD Files by Enabling AutoSave

As mentioned above, turning on the Autosave feature is a convenient way to ensure your files won’t get lost even in case of abrupt crashing of the software. 

Although every new version of Photoshop is a lot more efficient and stable, you can not guarantee that it will never crash. You have a risk of losing your hard work if any such scenario arises.

When we specify to Photoshop how frequently we want to back up the copy of our work, it automatically saves our work after that specified time.

Photoshop Preferences Menu on Mac OS.file
  1. In Adobe Photoshop CC, go to the Edit menu on Windows or Preferences Menu on Mac OS.file Handling option.
  2. Choose Preferences. A dialog box will open, where you need to go to the File Handling tab.
  3. The option for Automatically Save Recovery Information will be available here. By default, the interval is set to 10 minutes, but we recommend you keep it to 5 minutes. 

Keep in mind that recovered files are different from the original files, and they will be saved in a backup file. If Photoshop crashes, you can reopen it, and the autosaved backup file will be reopened.

The autosaved version will be available with the work you had done till the last time Photoshop autosaved it. In the file name, you can see the word Recovered added to show that it is a recovered backup copy of the original file.

Recover PSD Files From Previous Versions

There is another feature available in Mac that may save your files by restoring their previous versions in case you did not turn on the Autosave in Photoshop. The feature is named the Mac Time Machine which you can turn on and set up for your Photoshop files.

All you need to do is to connect the Time Machine’s backup drive to Mac and click on Time Machine in the Dock. when you access the Time Machine, find the Photoshop backup files and click on Restore.  


Software crashing and technical issues on computers are unavoidable as no one can guarantee that won’t happen. In Photoshop, such events may cause hindrance in your workflow as you may lose the current sessions on which you spent a lot of time and effort. Luckily, you can easily restore those lost PSD files via the temp file opening method.