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After Effects: changing the user documents directory

Community Beginner ,
Mar 13, 2020

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Hi folks,

 

I've had to take my computer home from work in order to work remotely, and After Effects won't launch.  At my office, the IT department had the My Documents folder mapped to a network location within the organization.  Now that my computer is at home, that networked location doesn't exist.

 

When I try to launch AE, I get these error:

 

"After Effects warning: Could not find the user documents directory."

and then,

"After Effects can't continue: unexpected failure during application startup."

 

This doesn't seem to be a Windows Defender issue; when you search the web for this problem you see a ton of suggestions of disabling Defender, or allowing exceptions to folder access, etc... none of those solutions work.  I've also tried re-installing After Effects, but I still get the same error after launching.  Curiously, Photoshop opens just fine.

 

System info:

 

Windows 10 Enterprise 1709, 64 bit

Intel Core i7-9800X @3.80 GHz

32.0 GB RAM

 

After Effects 16.1.3

 

I had a similar problem with Autodesk Maya looking for its root directory at my office's networked location; the solution there was to create a new Environment Variable (MAYA_APP_DIR) to force Windows to look to a specific folder on my hard drive.  Would a similar solution be appropriate here for After Effects?

 

Thank you, any suggestions would be very helpful.  This issue is likely to affect my whole team, as we are all working from home now due to COVID-19...

 

Nathan

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Correct answer by Mylenium | Most Valuable Participant

Nope. It's an intrinsic feature of windows itself and the default system file dialogs or in other words a default function of the underlying API. Since Adobe apps are developed cross-platform they simply rely on these default functions to avoid issues. Would be no different if something was configured similarly on a Mac with server-based profiles.

 

Mylenium

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After Effects: changing the user documents directory

Community Beginner ,
Mar 13, 2020

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Hi folks,

 

I've had to take my computer home from work in order to work remotely, and After Effects won't launch.  At my office, the IT department had the My Documents folder mapped to a network location within the organization.  Now that my computer is at home, that networked location doesn't exist.

 

When I try to launch AE, I get these error:

 

"After Effects warning: Could not find the user documents directory."

and then,

"After Effects can't continue: unexpected failure during application startup."

 

This doesn't seem to be a Windows Defender issue; when you search the web for this problem you see a ton of suggestions of disabling Defender, or allowing exceptions to folder access, etc... none of those solutions work.  I've also tried re-installing After Effects, but I still get the same error after launching.  Curiously, Photoshop opens just fine.

 

System info:

 

Windows 10 Enterprise 1709, 64 bit

Intel Core i7-9800X @3.80 GHz

32.0 GB RAM

 

After Effects 16.1.3

 

I had a similar problem with Autodesk Maya looking for its root directory at my office's networked location; the solution there was to create a new Environment Variable (MAYA_APP_DIR) to force Windows to look to a specific folder on my hard drive.  Would a similar solution be appropriate here for After Effects?

 

Thank you, any suggestions would be very helpful.  This issue is likely to affect my whole team, as we are all working from home now due to COVID-19...

 

Nathan

Most Valuable Participant
Correct answer by Mylenium | Most Valuable Participant

Nope. It's an intrinsic feature of windows itself and the default system file dialogs or in other words a default function of the underlying API. Since Adobe apps are developed cross-platform they simply rely on these default functions to avoid issues. Would be no different if something was configured similarly on a Mac with server-based profiles.

 

Mylenium

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Guide ,
Mar 13, 2020

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The way your admin mapped the folder to a network drive is the same to map it back locally. But - actually - this should be the admin's job and mapping it back could cause additional issues without seeing the larger image. I don't understand how they can send you into home office without taking care of such things.

 

So please get in contact to your admin first. 

 

I never remapped those folders, but it seems to be as easy as to go to C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\, right click on the desired folder and go to the tap "path". There you can enter the new location, e.g. C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\Documents

 

*Martin

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 14, 2020

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They probably changed it and locked it down via group policies. If you can't change this yourself (righ-click on teh folder and choose the path tab or edit the Registry), you will indeed have to get in touch with your admins.

 

Mylenium

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 16, 2020

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Thanks everyone.  I'm working with our admins.

 

Is it possible that this problem has nothing to do with the My Docs folder?  Is there a preferences file that can be edited that tells AE where to look for the "user documents directory" ?

 

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 16, 2020

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Nope. It's an intrinsic feature of windows itself and the default system file dialogs or in other words a default function of the underlying API. Since Adobe apps are developed cross-platform they simply rely on these default functions to avoid issues. Would be no different if something was configured similarly on a Mac with server-based profiles.

 

Mylenium

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 16, 2020

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Makes sense.  Thank you!

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