[2024] After Effects Won't Open? Here's How To Fix It!

When facing issues with After Effects not opening, consider checking for software updates and ensuring system compatibility. If problems persist, reset After Effects preferences or reinstall the software for a fresh start.

November 26, 2023
[2024] After Effects Won't Open? Here's How To Fix It!
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Why Doesn't My After Effects Open?

One time when I had a project due after school, I clicked on the After Effects icon, expecting to dive right into my work, only to find the software refusing to open. That sinking feeling of a looming deadline and a non-responsive software is something many of us have experienced. But fear not, because this hiccup, while inconvenient, is solvable.

What This Solution Offers:

  • Software Updates and Compatibility: A step-by-step guide on how to ensure your After Effects version is compatible with your system.
  • Corrupted Preferences: A walkthrough on resetting preferences, giving After Effects a fresh start.
  • Reinstallation: A comprehensive guide on reinstalling After Effects, ensuring a clean slate for your projects.

With these solutions at hand, you can swiftly navigate through technical roadblocks and get back to crafting your visual stories.

Software Updates and Compatibility

One of the first things that might come to mind is whether you've recently updated After Effects. Sometimes, new versions can have compatibility issues with certain system configurations.

Step-by-Step: Checking for Updates

  1. Open the Adobe Creative Cloud application. You'll find this in your system tray on Windows (bottom right corner) or the menu bar on a Mac (top right corner).
  2. Navigate to the 'All Apps' section. Here, you'll see a list of all Adobe applications you have installed.
  3. Look for After Effects in this list. If there's an update available, you'll see an 'Update' button next to it. If you've recently updated and are facing issues, there might be an option to 'Roll Back' to a previous version.
  4. Click on the appropriate button based on your need. If you're updating, the application will guide you through the process. If you're rolling back, it will revert to the version you had before the update.

Remember, it's also essential to ensure that your operating system and graphics drivers are up-to-date. These updates often contain fixes for compatibility issues with applications like After Effects.

Corrupted Preferences

Preferences are like the memory of After Effects. They store your settings, workspace layouts, and more. But sometimes, they can get corrupted, leading to unexpected issues.

Step-by-Step: Resetting After Effects Preferences

  1. First, ensure that After Effects is completely closed.
  2. Now, hold down the Shift+Alt (Windows) or Shift+Option (Mac) keys on your keyboard.
  3. While holding these keys, click on the After Effects icon to open it.
  4. A dialog box will pop up, asking if you want to delete your settings. Click 'Yes'. This action will reset your preferences to their default settings.
  5. After Effects will then launch with a fresh set of preferences.

By doing this, you're giving After Effects a clean slate. It's like when you rearrange your workspace to get a fresh perspective on a project.


If all else fails, sometimes the best solution is to start fresh. Reinstalling After Effects can resolve underlying issues that aren't immediately apparent.

Step-by-Step: Reinstalling After Effects

  1. Open the Adobe Creative Cloud application.
  2. Navigate to the 'All Apps' section.
  3. Find After Effects in the list and click on the three dots (ellipsis) next to it.
  4. From the dropdown, select 'Uninstall'. The application will guide you through the uninstallation process.
  5. Once uninstalled, you'll see an 'Install' button in the same place. Click on it to reinstall After Effects.

It's like moving into a newly cleaned studio. Everything is where it should be, and there's no clutter from past projects.