After Effects no longer remembers where it last rendered as it's default render location.
You HAVE to click on the output module and select it evety time you open After Effects.
I have noticed that if I have used an Animation Preset, it will go there instead of the last rendered location.
If I havn't it will go to the last location but only after I select it.
Hope this helps with the long overdue fix of this. Think it is since v22
Threadripper 3955wx / 3x Samsung 980 Pro for system/storage/cache / 128Gb NonECC 3400 / Geforce 4090 / Windows 11 Pro