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Clean those Adobe Media Cache Files

And reclaim some drive space in the process

By Scott Simmons | December 10, 2011


I learned something today about Adobe Premiere Pro that I was unaware of. The application creates a media cache when it imports media and that media cache seems to default to the system drive in the user Library folder. This cache can balloon in size over a period of time as I found out when cleaning up a drive. But it can be easily cleaned and relocated.

While cleaning and preparing my system drive for a backup recently I was looking through the great visual disk management application DaisyDisk and I saw a big chunk of files on my boot drive in an Adobe folder called Media Cache Files.


DaisyDisk is a nice visual way to look at hard drive usage

I'm diligent not to place media on a boot drive, and most certainly not in a Library folder, but a little research (and some help from Twitter) revealed this to be a place where Adobe Premiere Pro writes previews to greatly improve "performance for previews, because the video and audio items do not need to be reprocessed for each preview." Okay. They are also accessed by other Adobe applications as well. If you've ever noticed the little conform progress bar that pops up in the corner of a PPro timeline when you import new media you've seen this cache at work, at least I'm guess that's when it writes those file.

I dug into the Library folder and there it was, nearly 30 gigs:


That's a lot of extra stuff on the system drive though not as big as some users have seen. Cleaning it was easy. Just head into Premire Pro's Preferences > Media and there's button under Media Cache Database called Clean.


Click that and away PPro goes cleaning that folder out. According to Adobe help this command "only removes files associated with footage items for which the source file is no longer available." If a drive is unmounted it might remove those so be sure and mount up media drives when cleaning this Media Cache Database.

After that I had saved some 20 gigs of space:


That was easy enough. I went back into the folder and manually removed another 5 gigs or so. If you remove cache files that might be needed PPro will regenerate them when the project is opened again. From this point on I'm going to keep these cache files on my media scratch drive.
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Rob: | December, 13, 2011

Do you know what the check box at the upper left of the dialog box does? (“Save Media files next to originals where possible”)

Scott Simmons: | January, 07, 2012

Hi Rob, sorry I missed this comment. I don’t know exactly as I haven’t really researched it but my guess would be it places those cache files in the same place specified as your PPro scratch disks/media drive. Your media drive should be the biggest, fastest drive you have so that should just put those cache files there and not on a default system drive. It probably would be good to turn that on.

Rob: | January, 07, 2012

Thanks Scott.

I’m slowly moving from FCP to PP. I keep running into things I had figured out in FCP so I didn’t have to think about them any more. Now in PP I’m having to rethink my workflow and especially media management.

I keep going back to FCP because I know exactly how to get the job done with it. But I’ve got to keep banging away at PP to figure out the best way to get’er done.

Another one is that I author DVDs for quick little one-time-show projects almost every week. Workflow is FCP->Compressor->DVD Studio Pro->Toast->Epson DVD lable (I love nice DVD labels printed right on the disk smile. I can walk through that in my sleep ... every setting, all the trade-offs, exactly what assets I need, how to export each part, folder structure just the way I like it.

I have yet to get all the way through the process using the PP suite. I’m sure it’s no harder but I’ve got to figure all those steps for the new suite.

That’s why these PVC articles are so valuable to me. So keep’m coming. Consider an article on the workflow PP or After Effects to SD DVD. I could use some more hints.

Happy new year and peace,


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