Setting Scratch Disks

Final Cut Pro: Setting Scratch Disks

This guide will give you step-by-step instructions to setting your Scratch Disks when starting Final Cut Pro.

When you open Final Cut Pro, you'll be asked to set your Scratch Disks. You need to do this before you can use the application.


  1. Click Reset Scratch Disks on the Non-Writable Scratch Disks warning that appears.
  2. Click on Set for the first row, with Video & Audio Capture and Video & Audio Render ticked:
  3. Navigate to the folder where you want to set the Scratch Disks to and select it. This will usually be your folder in TBM_SAN > Students.
  4. Click Set, first for Waveform Cache, then Thumbnail Cache and then Autosave Vault. You must set all 3 of these in turn. Choose the same folder as you did for the previous step. It will probably already be selected, so you just have to click Choose.
  5. Now you can click OK and the application will open.


Q: I forgot to set one of the Scratch Disks and now Final Cut won't open.
A: Log out and log back in again to reset your preferences. Now set all 4 Scratch Disk locations.


Q: What is a Scratch Disk?
A: When you work on a Final Cut Pro project, data is created and stored separately to the project file. For example, when you capture a video clip from a camera, the resulting QuickTime movie is not part of the project file, but is saved in a separate location on the computer. This location is referred to as a Scratch Disk by Final Cut and can be on the computer, on an external hard disk or on a network volume.
When you choose a location for your Scratch Disks, Final Cut creates some folders to store its data in:


Data inside these folders is organised into projects, which is why it's important to name a project before starting any work on it. If you are trying to archive or delete a project, you may need to look in these folders to see what relates to that project.


  • You can change your Scratch Disks while using Final Cut. Choose Final Cut Pro > System Settings and set them as described in the steps above.
  • You can set your Scratch Disks to the local hard disk, a USB or FireWire external hard disk, or a network drive.
  • You will get better video playback performance from a fast hard disk, e.g. the local HDD, a FireWire HDD or the TBM_SAN network drive.
  • You can change your Scratch Disks while capturing. This is useful if you decide you want to store a video clip you are about to capture in a different location. In the Log & Capture window, click on the Capture Settings tab and then click Scratch Disks:


Resources for Final Cut Studio applications including links for video tutorials
Apple's Help Library for all the pro applications - check this out for quick answers
Apple's support page for Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro Forum - get answers from other users

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