How to fix could not write the file. an unknown error has occurred issue?

Some of the users reported problem in exporting a file with Save for Web feature. They receive an error message “could not write the file. an unknown error has occurred” on doing this. The problem occurs on any operating windows whether it is Windows, Mac or Linux and on any image type, including JPEG, PNG, etc. as well GIFs. Read the article throughout to get the possible troubleshoot for this problem.

Try to find out the reason for Save for Web issue

The Adobe Save for Web feature might not work because of many reasons. Some of them are listed below:

  • Error in the Full Disk Access Permission to Adobe Photoshop: Photoshop requires this permission (in Mac) so that it can perform the said function on the targeted device. Check if Adobe Photoshop has been given this permission.
  • Corrupt Adobe Photoshop Preferences: many settings to the preferences files are set within the Adobe Photoshop. The current issue could occur when a file in it corrupts or any of the settings are conflicting with the save for web.
  • Outdated Adobe Photoshop or OS: there could be a conflict with the Photoshop app o the OS of your system, if they are outdated, resulting in the Adobe Save for Web error.
  • Conflicting Cloud Applications: if you are using clouds, and are trying to save to a directory that is syncing to the cloud, then the permission to the cloud app may restrict Photoshop to access to the folder, resulting in this issue.

Once after understanding the nature of the issue, our next task would be to discuss various possible ways to fix the “could not write the file. an unknown error has occurred” issue. Before we dive into the more detailed and technical solutions, you to check the below list of workarounds, if they work for you.

Table of Contents

Some simple recommendations for the fix

  • Check if your system meets the Adobe Photoshop’s system requirements,
  • If you are using any special character to save a file, then try saving it without any such characters if this solves the issue,
  • Make sure you have only one Adobe Photoshop is installed,
  • You might click on preview button accidentally on the Save for Web dialogue box. Check if saving the image from within the browser meets what you require.

If none of the above methods work, you need to use the below advanced solutions.

Fixes for “could not write the file. an unknown error has occurred” issue

For Mac users

Give Adobe Photoshop and browser the full access to the Disk

  • Go to the Mac’s preferences and open Security & Privacy,
  • Under the privacy section, head over the Full Disk Access and click on padlock icon (if you are asked to do so),
  • Launch the Application folder the then and drag/ drop the Adobe Photoshop to the Full Access Disk applications list,
  • Restart the device after that and see if the problem is resolved,
  • If not, then drag and drop the complete folder of the Adobe Photoshop from the Application folder on the Applications’ list of the Full Disk Access,
  • If issue persist even after this, check if the giving Full Disk Access to by dragging and dropping the below path solves the issue:


  • If not, then check if giving the Full Disk Access to the default browser solves the issue.

Reset the Mac’s RAM to the default

RRAM along with NVRAM stores the entire system configuration. Sometimes, these RAMs get into some error. Resetting it to the default this error:

  • Power off your Mac,
  • Then, hold the following keys and power it on:

option (alt) + command + P + R

  • keep holding the above four keys till you hear start-up sound for the second time and after that release the keys,
  • Once Mac is powered on, launch the Photoshop and check if the error is cleared.

Enable the low Resolution option for Photoshop

If the resolution is optimal, the Photoshop finds problem in exporting the web on the Mac. Here is how you can enable the Mac’s Low-Resolution Option for the Adobe Photoshop:

  • Navigate to the Application folder of the Mac,
  • Now, select the Adobe Photoshop,
  • In the menu section, click on Get info,
  • Checkmark the Open in Low Resolution option there and launch Photoshop to see if the problem resolved.

For Windows users

Delete the Temp Files

Temp files store temp data of app/ system. It is possible that “could not write the file. an unknown error has occurred” error message is because the Photoshop files are corrupt. In such a case, deleting the temp files and emptying the Recycle Bin may resolve the issue:

  • Right-click on Windows, select Run and navigate to the following path:


  • Then, delete all the files in the directory (leave the one you cannot) and then navigate to the following path:


  • Delete all files there and then press the Windows + D to open system’s desktop,
  • Now, right-click on the Recycle Bin and select Empty Recycle Bin,
  • If this did not work, check if creating more space on the system drive clears out the issue.

For all users (Windows and Macs)

Install latest Photoshop version

  • Launch Adobe Photoshop and expand it through Help menu,
  • Now, in the updates section, follow the prompts to update (if the update is available),
  • You can use Creative Cloud app for the update.

Update OS to the latest build

The outdated OS may be causing the problem. So, you should update your OS to see if the problem resolves. For the illustration, we will discuss the process for Mac OS system:

  • Launch Mac’s preferences and open Software update,
  • Now, check for the OS updates and if it is available, click on Update Now button,
  • Wait for the newest update to be applied and afterward check if the problem is gone.

Increase Photoshop’s memory usage in preferences

The “could not write the file. an unknown error has occurred” error message could be because the Adobe Photoshop does not have enough memory allocated to it in its preferences:

  • Launch Adobe Photoshop and expand its Edit Menu,
  • Hover over the Preferences option and select performance,
  • Go to the Memory section the then and click on the Plus sign to increase the memory usage (set it to 90%),
  • Apply the changes and see if the issue is resolved.
  • If not, check if enabling Timeline in the Windows menu sorts out the issue.
  • If the issue persists, check if converting the smart object to the layers resolves the problem.

Enable Optimized Export as Technology Previews of Photoshop

Technology Preview by Adobe checks for compatibility of various new features and one such feature is Optimized Export that replaces the Save for Web technology. If you disable this feature, you putted a break in this operation. Here is how to enable it:

  • Launch Adobe Photoshop and expand the edit menu,
  • Go to the preferences and select Technology Previews,
  • Then, Enable Optimized Export as and re-launch the Photoshop to check if the Save for the Web error is gone,
  • If not, decrease the size of the image,
  • if that is not an option, then decrease the image bit from 32 bit to 16 bit or 8 bit in Images>>Modes,
  • When you still seeing the problem, open the problematic file in Photoshop and expand the file menu,
  • Hover over the Export and select the Save for Web,
  • Hold on the Alt key the then. This will convert Cancel and Done buttons to Reset and Remember buttons,
  • Now, click on the Reset, Remember buttons and then check if the problem is gone,
  • If the problem still there, check if using “File> Export> Export a” fulfills the requirements. This will replace the Save for Web technology.

Reset Adobe Photoshop preferences to the default

  • Launch Adobe Photoshop and open the Edit menu,
  • Expand the preferences and select General,
  • Click on the Reset Preferences on Quite and confirm to reset the preferences when quitting,
  • Re-launch the Photoshop the then and check if the problem is solved.

Disable Back and Sync Operation of Cloud app

 When you try to save a folder added to the cloud backup and sync or backing up your desktop and documents through the cloud app, you will require permission of the cloud app for the Save for Web feature. Disabling the cloud app or exempting the folder in the cloud app’s preferences is the required solution in this case:

  • Expand system’s tray and click on cloud app,
  • Click on the profile icon and select preferences,
  • Go to the backup tab the then and click on the Manage Backup,
  • Now, check for the folders that you do not want o sync online,
  • Apply the changes.

Reinstall Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop might display the error because the installation of the application is corrupt. Reinstalling it thus the required fix:

  • Click Windows, type Adobe Photoshop and right-click on it,
  • Select the Uninstall button and follow the prompts the then to uninstall the Photoshop,
  • Reboot the device the then and upon the reboot, right-click on the Windows and open Run,
  • Now, enter the following command:

/Program Files/Adobe

  • Delete the Adobe Photoshop folder and repeat the same through the following folders:

/Program Files (x86)


  • Now, reinstall the Photoshop.

Also ReadHow to Uninstall Adobe on Mac [Easy Guide]


That’s all. We are now round off with the article how to fix could not write the file. an unknown error has occurred. Hope that the above mentioned methods are helpful for you in getting the fix. The steps in every method are very simple that no one will find trouble in during their operations. Still, any queries and suggestions will be welcomed.

Samir Prakash Author