After Effects 7 hanging on “Initializing User Interface” fix

Have you had After Effects 7 hang on Initializing User Interface on start up? Like so…

Initializing User Interface startup screen

I’ve seen a couple of instances of this problem and it seems to occur when a User Workspace becomes corrupted. The fix that’s worked for me is to replace the folders at

YourLoginName/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/7.0/ModifiedWorkspaces/


YourLoginName/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/7.0/OriginalUserWorkspaces/

with backups. If you don’t have a recent backup, you can delete these folders and they’ll be recreated but you’ll lose your custom workspaces.

I’ve only had this crop up on OS X machines to this point, so I haven’t dug into the custom workspace definitions locations for Windows. If anybody has had to track this down for Windows could you leave a comment or send an email to dale(at remove-this)creative-workflow-hacks(dot)com and I’ll update this post.

UPDATE 11-18-2006 David Baertsch writes…

After reinstalling AE 7.0 for Windows, my system would hang on “Initializing User Workspace” I googled that
and got to your fix for Mac, that sent me in the direction to find the fix for Windows.

C:Documents and SettingsUserNameApplication DataAdobeAfterEffects7.0ModifiedWorkspaces

“UserName” is the name of the logged in individual, and the UserWorkspace1.xml files are the saved
workspaces… I deleted them and though my Workspaces were deleted, Aftereffects launched fine after
that. (There were several files UserWorkspaceX.xml)

Thanks for giving me the idea where to look. Hope this helps other users.


  1. cia said

    what about after effects 6.5
    i have the same problem with 6.5

  2. Dale said


    I haven’t run into the problem on AE 6.5, have you tried removing the custom workspaces and checked for a fix?


  3. Steve said

    I just started having this problem. I’m running a Windows system with AE6.5. I’ve tried repairing, complete reinstalling, removed the preferences under C:Documents and SettingsmynameApplication DataAdobeAfter Effects and completely removed that folder. Still doesn’t work. I even tried reloading my display drivers since that has been the only significant change since I last used AE. Still crashes right after Initializing User Interface and tells you to go to a webpage that doesn’t exist.

  4. Dale said

    Hi Steve,

    Yes, I think your right, this seems to be a bigger problem than what I outlined above. A couple of other things that I’ve heard might work.

    1. Check for corrupt or incompatible plugins.

    2. Upgrade graphics card drivers

    I’d probably start with the fix outlined above, then plugins, then graphics card drivers, then reinstall, in order until things were working for me.

    Good luck,


  5. Guido Wenzl said

    I had success with this problem by removing the QT Plugins PopwireWMV-9Export.component
    from the folder /Library/Quicktime
    on my OS X 10.4.8 System running on a Mac Pro .
    Hope the helps …. 😉

  6. jamman said

    Guido Wenzl is on the money…

    Worked a treat 🙂


  7. Awesome!!! Guido wenzi you rock! I’ve been trying to fix this for ages now…

    been having to work on two machines all the time.

  8. Steve said

    Hmm. . . I’m running on PC. Is the popwire component automatically loaded in when Quicktime is installed on your computer? My search continues. . .

  9. Glen Couchman said

    HAH! Finally!!! Thanks Guido, you da man.

  10. chris artenberg said

    GUIDO WENZL! Yes!!!! You are the man! Thank you very much, you fixed it!!!!
    I removed popwire – it works!!!!

  11. Piimon said

    Just ran into this problem on a WIN XP pro with AE 6.5 .1.7 Pro and found one solution.

    Open the AfterFX.ini in the ‘C:Documents and SettingsYourUserAccountApplication DataAdobeAfter EffectsPrefs’ folder with notepad and change the line




    and save the file

    AE should now be able to launch again. Once openned close AE and change the line in the .ini file back to


    and save it

    Everything should now be like it used to be

    Hope this helps someone else too..

  12. Tyler said

    I have never had a problem with my After Effects software before. Now it crashes on my PC after it says Initializing User Interface. I have tried ALL the tips from Adobe and nothing’s worked. I have also tried deleting the UserWorkspaces, but I can’t find them. On my PC I don’t have an Application Data folder. For me the chain ends at C:Documents and SettingsUserName. Then I just have 6 folders, none of them that have anything to do with Adobe (Cookies, Desktop, Favorites, Start Menu, WINDOWS, and My Documents). I have tried to find this Application Data folder and the UserWorkspace.xml files with no luck. What can I do to fix this problem? Oh and I WILL NOT reformat my harddrive.

  13. Dale said

    Hey Tyler,

    You might try the list of troubleshooting tips at General Specialist.

  14. Tyler said

    I was able to locate my Application Data folder and tried all the listed tips and solutions with no results. My AE still crashes immediately after saying “Initializing User Interface.” Like I said before, I have never had a problem with my version of AE before. It used to work perfectly. All my other Adobe Suite software works (Premiere, Audition, Encore, etc). I have not installed any extra plug-ins so I know that isn’t the problem. I have tried re-installing the software dozens of times and still the same problem. Anyone got any ideas?

  15. Tyler said

    Have I stumped the forum?

  16. Hey Tyler,

    We’ve definitely given you the laundry list of options, between the post, all of the comments above, and the General Specialist list. Might be time to call Adobe.


  17. Lee said


  18. Areeba said


  19. TSUtv said

    WOW! the modified workspaces thing David wrote on really works… the key is that you must go to the folder options and choose to VIEW HIDDEN FOLDERS! then it is a simple matter of following the path provided above… MUCH SUCCESS after effecters!

  20. James said

    Ok I had the same problem, After Effects 7 on a MacTel kept quitting out after saying user initializing on startup. I tried everything listed, removed the OpenGL extension, deleted the workspaces, removed Flip4Mac (and went through all steps on the adobe forum). The problem of course was that I could not go in and change the memory settings for it to work correctly if it would not boot up. Finally I reinstalled OS X (I know, what a pain!) and the problem fixed itself. After Effects 7 requires all those additional (and useless) languages (i.e. chinese, korean) in OS X in order to boot up and will crash if they are not in your operating system. Hope this helps.

  21. Jerker said

    Thank you 10 000 ton! You made my day.

  22. Jas said

    Thank you!!!

  23. Johnson said

    Event thought this thread is old, I had the same Problem with AFX 8/CS3 (Windows 64x). It didn´t crash but it stopped loading.

    This was my solution:

    Deleting the “Modified Workspaces” in this folder ->

    C:Documents and Settings”YOUR USER NAME”Application DataAdobeAfter Effects8.0ModifiedWorkspaces

    Hope this helps someones.

  24. Richard said

    I found that downloading quicktime installer again and then running it and choosing repair enabled it all to work. I had tried everything else, but this did the trick

  25. Richard said

    My comment above applied to AE 6.5 & 7 on windows XP.

  26. liam said

    had this problem with after effects cs3 on windows vista, was working fine for ages. Couldn’t locate any workspace preference files associated with AF to delete. Tried repairing quicktime, no luck. Changed the name of the presets file in case any corrupted presets, no luck. Now vista won’t even let me uninstall AF without unregistering. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated.

  27. Guitarrero said

    After After Effects CS3 crashed on me I could not start it. It would stall when loading the user interface. I tried deleting all the files mentioned above and it didn’t work. Finally I found out that if you hold Control+Alt+Shift right after you click on the After Effects icon to start the program, a window pops up with the following message”
    “Are you sure you want to delete your preferences file?”
    I clicked OK and it solved the problem. The downside is that you lose your custom user interface, but it was corrupted anyway. I hope this helps.

  28. nomig said

    for Vista 64 ultimate, AE CS4 the modified workspace folder is in a different spot:

    C:/Users/username/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/After Effects/9.0/ModifiedWorkspaces

    didn’t fix the problem, but maybe it will for someone else…

  29. nomig said

    oh, further to my last post, the path is only visible with “hidden files visible” from explorer folder options.

  30. Emile Henckaerts said

    OH THANKS !!!
    I had this problem for an hour, and I tried a lot of things!
    I was just about to reinstal it, and so I thought, lets take a quick look on google, and it works for CS3 aswell.
    many thanks, cheers!

  31. Nick Gooch said

    Thanks so much! I ran into this problem on CS3 and it fixed it!

  32. Jorgen said

    Thank you so much.
    i am simply amazed by what you can fix with a quick search because of people like yourself 🙂

  33. Dennis said

    Deleting the Modified User interface.xml files works on Win7 64Bit aswell.
    Make sure you have the hidden maps viewable.
    Like noming said, the modified user interface is in

    C:/Users/username/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/After Effects/9.0/ModifiedWorkspaces

    I deleted the .xml file in the folder and it loaded again for me.
    Thanks for the solution guys!

  34. Jon said

    Deleting the workspaces seems to work for me, my question is what causes it! I’m getting tired of deleting them and then restarting. I have to restart because my mac can’t seem to fully force quit AE. Any thoughts?


  35. TheReal said

    i have a mac and when i delete those folders, i try to open it and it quits, so it doesnt work for me, please help

  36. TheReal said

    and its after effects cs4 9.0

  37. Elias said

    I have the same problem I have a AE 9.02 already updated it and still doesnt load it just stops and closes without leaving a crash error message any help Iknow it isnt any of the 3rd party plug ins becaause I also tried isolating them any help?

  38. hadi said

    FOR AFTER EFFECTS CS4 (windows)

    step 1 = uninstall after effect
    step 2 = disable internet
    step 3 = install after effects(do not open)
    step 4 = restart computer
    step 5 = before enabling internet open after effects
    then enable internet and it should WORK!

  39. Stephen said

    Guitarrero’s fix solved my problem on CS3: Hold ctrl-alt-shift after clicking the icon – nice one!

  40. Ben Hollingsworth said

    Tried everything here, (plus a de/re of After Effects) but to no avail. However, a re-install of Quicktime cracked it!

  41. Aizaz said

    guys i tried everything, am using win 7 64 bit, adobe ae cs5
    nothing works for me mentioned here:S

  42. goog said

    Heha thanks, after innumerable repairs, re-installs and registry cleanups, your directions finally helped me get back to the FX magic again!.

  43. Steve Thomas said

    Thank you !
    working on CS5 and for no apparent reason, started my day with the inability to launch AE. Crash on open every time.

    I trashed the 2 folders mentioned above and the gates to the promised land opened.
    Opens perfectly.

    It would be nice if there were a way to make this post look more recent. I got here searching after effects crash on open. As a matter of practice, tips which are posted multi years ago are last ditch efforts. This is relevant to CS5 in Sept2010.

  44. dotDream said

    i tried everything you said and all didn’t work, my after effects closes when i launch it after i installed quicktime. then after i unistalled quicktime it worked again. anybody knows how to install quicktime without affecting after effects?somehow it might have a relation on extesion files, such as the .MOV importing.

  45. Alexandr Konradi said

    Thanks, it worked for users of Windows 7 64 bit to remove all of the folders C: Users User name AppData Roaming Adobe After Effects 8.0 ModifiedWorkspaces

  46. stonechat said

    having same problem and none of the solutions warked for me. i’m using AE CS4. what do i do? 🙁

  47. AdamButcher said

    Using CS3 – saved my life.

    Thank you.

  48. Sultan said

    Thank You soo much man… soo much.

    I tried ( AECS3) on windows XP , & it worked. deleted the modiefied workspace files , & it worked…

    thanx so much .

  49. Ben said

    Delete quicktime! For some reason this works 🙂 i never really used it anyway but maybe i’ll find a way to get it back and keep after effects.
    Ben . 23/05/11

  50. Gabo Mtz said

    for CS4+Win:

    Go to Quicktime Uninstaller:
    -> Click on Repair.

    That did the trick for me.

  51. Nate said

    Ok so anyone with AE cs4 on XP. (9.0).

    You need to go to your control panel and repair “QuickTime”

    After that, it SHOULD work, if not, delete the workspace crap with the instructions above. Hope I helped.

  52. Bane said

    The best solution for this is go in C drive> program file > adobe > after effects >plugins >AE_opengl drag AE_openGL on desktop. i tried everything nothing worked for me but this did . Mine after effects ran properly and never had a problem since then……

  53. Daniel said

    Bane’s answer worked for me…Thanks so much!

  54. Johnny said

    Only Bane’s solution works for me. Thanks Bane so much!!!
    Comments that my Win7 location for AE_OpenGL.AEX file is:
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CS4\Support Files\Plug-ins\Extensions

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