Disclaimer: The following is not endorsed by Adobe in any way. I am just a user, like you. These are my views and recommendations. However, they are based upon more than 15 years of experience and success using Adobe software, as well as a decade of participation in the forums. I make these recommendations because I use them myself. I know they work.
Step 1: If you can, start troubleshooting with a basic knowledge of computers and Premiere Pro "getting started" training at a minimum. With these things in hand, you will have a much easier time in trying to understand any problems with your project better so that you can solve them faster and easier.
A. Computer Knowledge -- You might not know how to build a PC from scratch, but one does need to be more in tune with your own computer to run Premiere Pro reliably. As a savvy troubleshooter of a PC or Mac, be sure you are familiar with your computer, its OS, computer components, and how to maintain your computer, along with how Premiere Pro system requirements ties in with those things. You should also know as to whether you are operating a relatively low, medium, or high powered computer, and its status as a working machine.
B. User Guide and Training Materials -- Premiere Pro is a professional tool and it can be somewhat overwhelming to learn. While you train (the Learn workspace is a great place to start with its guided tutorials), refer to the User Guide as frequently as necessary to guide you smoothly through the in-app tutorials. Need more training? LinkedIn Learning and others have professional training programs you can complete too.
If you are already past computer and Premiere Pro basics, you can skip to Step 2.
Step 2: Basic Troubleshooting. If you still have a problem after successfully completing step 1 above (do NOT skip step 1), give these a try. They are listed in no particular order, and not all suggestions will apply to every issue.
A. Restart. -- Close and restart Premiere Pro. If that doesn't help, restart the computer. (You'd be surprised how many issues this one will solve.)
B. Test other media. --
C. Use the Media Browser. -- (no longer an issue) In v.22 and later, this has changed, so strict use of the Media Browser for importing card-based media is no longer required. For v.15.x and previous: import card-based media via Media Browser only.
D. Try a new sequence. -- They can get corrupted, so start a new sequence in the same project and test that out. If it works, you might be able to copy/paste everything into the new sequence and get back to work.
E. Try a new project. -- Like sequences, project files can also become corrupted, so try out a new one. If it works, you might be able to import the old project into the new one and get back to work. When importing projects, use the Media Browser and import only one sequence at a time. Test that out before importing the next sequence.
F. Reset Premiere Pro Preferences. -- Holding down Shift + ALT (Windows) or Shift + Option (macOS) while Premiere Pro starts up and until the Welcome screen appears. This resets both the preferences and plug-ins and solves many issues.
G. Remove effects and transitions. -- It does sometimes occur that a specific effect or transition, or a setting in one of those, causes crashes and other odd behavior. So work through your project by removing the effects and transitions to locate the offender. Error dialog boxes can often pinpoint the error with a timecode value, so be sure to check that if one appears. There is also a "Mute FX" button you can add and try, as well.
H. Clear the Media Cache. -- Choose File > Close All Projects. Then choose Preferences > Media Cache. Remove Media Cache Files > click the Delete button. In the dialog box, choose the option "Delete all media cache files from the system" (if this option is disabled, you need to go back and close all projects). Click OK. When you reopen the project, these cache files will take some time to rebuild, so allow some time for that.
I. Rename Media Folders. -- With Premiere Pro closed, rename the top level folder containing the media. When you reopen the project, relink the media to the new folder and let the cache files rebuild.
J. Uninstall all plug-ins. -- Even if the plug-in isn't used, just having it installed might be the problem. So test without them. For Windows users, I recommend using IOBit's Uninstaller for the task. Perform a Powerful Scan after the normal uninstall process to make sure all the leftovers are gone.
K. Test on a second machine. -- Premiere Pro allows two activations. Test things out on a second computer system. If it works on the second, you might have a hardware issue on the primary system.
L. Render -- After setting in and out points, choose Sequence > Render In to Out. It can easily happen that a system just isn't powerful enough to handle sequence playback in real time. Try rendering the timeline. This can apply especially when using Dynamically Linked After Effects compositions or motion graphics templates.
M. Turn off GPU Accleration -- Choose Project Settings > General > Video Rendering and Playback > Renderer to find the Software Only setting. Unfortunately, GPU acceleration isn't perfect. Sometimes this is the only way to get things working again.
N. Remove QuickTime -- (this is no longer an issue since Adobe built codecs were introduced)
Step 3: Advanced Troubleshooting. If steps 1 and 2 haven't solved the issue (do NOT skip step 1), give these more advanced options a try.
A. Update drivers. -- The GPU diver, I/O device drivers, audio drivers, network drivers, etc. Get them directly from the hardware manufacturer.
B. Roll back a driver. -- Conversely to the above, there are times when a new driver will introduce a bug that wasn't there before, so installing an older driver can sometimes solve the problem.
C. Remove third-party hardware. -- In the spirit of eliminating variables during the troubleshooting process, physically remove any third-party hardware like I/O devices from the system, and fully uninstall their drivers. Keep it out until everything works again. (Or if this turns out to be the issue, replace the hardware.)
D. Remove security software. -- Windows 10 includes sufficient anti-virus and firewall protection, if you know what you're doing. (See step 1B above.) Third-party security tools can and sometimes do interfere with the proper operation of Adobe software. Just don't use them.
E. Reinstall Premiere Pro. -- It does sometimes happen that something goes weird with an install. When you perform this step, use the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool to ensure a complete removal of the software, and then reinstall.
F. Try a new user account. -- Like sequences and projects, even user accounts can sometimes go weird. Try creating a new Admin user account and running PP there. If this works, you will have to move everything over to the new account.
G. Don't move documents. -- Be sure to leave My Documents in its default location on the C: drive. Moving that has caused issues for many people. If you're in a networked environment and can't do that, move Premiere Pro to a non-networked computer and do this. Same goes for Mac users, do not move the documents folder. Furthermore, use of iCloud can cause problems with the Documents folder.
H. Use local drives only. -- Test everything on internal drives when troubleshooting. You can add in networked and removable drives for backup and archiving. Add on attached drives if they are SSDs or RAIDs connected via high speed data cable. Only use networked drives which have been approved and tested for post-production. A run-of-the-mill NAS will likely not be up to the task.
I. Reinstall Windows -- This is not a bad thing to do every once in a while. If nothing else has worked, this might be worth trying.
Step 4: Back to Basics. There are many people successfully using Premiere Pro under less than ideal conditions, but if nothing previously listed has solved your issue, it might be time to take a look at which points below you're violating and correct them.
I recommend running Premiere Pro only on a:
A. Use a properly configured PC -- I recommend Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs for hardware in an edit system. AMD CPUs and GPUs are not recommended. Have multiple internal hard drives to spread out the load, ideally separating project files, cache and scratch files, media and exports onto their own dedicated drives. Spinning drives should be connected internally and at 7200rpm. SSDs and M.2 drives are ideal for internal drives too. Use at least a 24" 1920 x 1080 monitor.
B. Self-built -- If you can, and you do know what you are doing, try building your own computer. You can build a higher quality system in an afternoon. HP, Dell and other such companies normally install a bunch of crap you don't need. It's cheaper and better to build your own system.
C. Windows machine -- In my opinion, they just run better, and are cheaper to build and buy. $2,000 Custom PC vs $4,000 Mac Pro
D. Dedicated to editing. -- Only install what you need to do the job. Don't install games, office, email or other unnecessary software on an edit system if you can avoid it. Perform those tasks on a second machine or use a mobile device or tablet, like an iPad.
I recommend the above because I believe it will work for the overwhelming majority of people, otherwise, you increase the likelihood of having a problem. Since you're here, you're having a problem. And if you're at step 4, it's a difficult problem that just might require this drastic a measure to correct.
Step 5: Now what? If you have successfully completed steps 1 through 4 and you're still having an issue, read the following guide on the information we need in the forums in order to help.
Mod notes: Title of discussion changed to avoid confusion with staff created FAQs. Some passages were rewritten by mod to update and modernize the article.
This forum could do without discouraging beginners and those who aren’t tech savvy. Not everyone who uses Premiere Pro is a professional. I know my way around it extremely well and have made some great videos using the same techniques as any other person, but I do not know much about computers or technology. For me, there is a huge difference between editing and knowing how to fix a bug or other problems that occur. I am proficient at editing, but know nothing about computers and problem solving with technology. I haven’t entered college yet, of course my knowledge on technology will be limited. Not understanding how to fix a bug or any other problem does not make me unworthy of getting help or using Premiere Pro. Having the financial ability to buy multiple computers as suggested, having access to knowledge, it’s all a privilege that not everyone has. Judging someone who doesn’t have experience is the scummiest thing you can do. The videography, photography, and editing community really likes looking down on beginners. It’s absolutely draining.
The original poster has made an excellent and informative list, but they’re arrogant for thinking Premiere Pro is only for professionals. Another user mentioned this, but I shouldn’t have to rely on purchasing a second computer, or taking multiple steps just for Adobe to work properly. And I certainly shouldn’t have to be an “advanced computer user.” At the very least, Adobe should lower their prices. It baffles me how much I’m paying just to have another problem every month.
Anyway, excuse my rant. I’m tired of people looking down on non-professionals. Learning and trying new things is supposed to be fun, not discouraging. On another note, the original poster makes some very valid and helpful points. Thank you for the troubleshooting list. Excluding the patronizing tone in certain areas, I find it very helpful and I appreciate the time that went into writing it! And I'm sure the poster's intentions were not malicious. As much as I disagree with the tone, I can understand that it probaby gets tiring explaining these things to beginners time and time again, and the intent was not malicious.
This is of course a rather ancient thread. Jim was an incredibly valuable contributor here at solving problems for quite a few years. Like all of us, totally volunteering his time. We're not staffers, we're peers.
This is a pro app ... they make Premiere Elements for prosumer use, and this complex and complicated beast for pro workflows. Yes, a great many of the users are not delivering for b-cast work, but still ... the app is designed as a pro level app.And many of the best people helping here do tend to have a more pro-focused outlook on things. For some who've been at work for many years, it's an attitude or concept of pro level behavior that has changed a lot in the last five years or so.
When I 'broke into' PrPro about 7-8 years ago, Jim, Ann Bens, and shooterNZ (Craig Walker) were probably the top three 'helpers'. Jim & Craig were both a bit to the curmudgeonly side, very few words in most any reply. Terse. But ... incredibly knowledgeable. They were not sympathetic to anyone, and would have simply not understood anyone expecting sympathy. They certainly didn't. "It's a job, get over it. And don't sweat it. Park your ego and your feelings at the door and get to work."
There is no ill intent meant whatever in their posts. They simply tried to quickly and decisively nail a troubleshooting problem so everyone could get the job out the door. They never said a "sweet word" to me, but they saved my backsides time and again. Quite often with a terse comment of how if I'd thought it out before hand, I would not have HAD the problem they had to solve for me.
Which ... was of course, quite true. And I took it as it was meant: a word to the wise from someone who's been there and is actually being the most helpful possible. Pushing me to learn, to think, and to plan.
So ... when reading anything from Jim or Craig, leave your emotions at the door. It's just work ... The Job ... and it's all details. Learn from their comments.
Totally understand that. That's just the way certain people communicate and teach. I never thought that there was malice in his words. It's just not the way I learn, and I think a lot of people feel the same. Thanks for the reply, Neil. Have a great day.
At times the older comments do need ... perhaps, context?
I've been around for quite a few years now, and in professional meetings it's so different than it was. The change in the last few years has been amazing to watch. Things that would never have been thought to be even close to rude are now considered downright mean.
I grew up on a farm ... there were some old guys with other farms nearby we'd often borrow little bits from say for irrigation setups. So you go over to their place, they're out in the field working on their tractor, maybe a motor issue or hydraulics. You walk up to them to ask to borrow something, the first thing they'd do is bark "Well get the *** wrench there and brace that nut so I can get this tightened ...".
After you helped them get their rig fixed, they'd ask what the bleep you were there for. An irrigation piece. "Well you know where the blasted things are, just go get it and let me get back to work."
I never thought anything about it ... never took it personal, it just seemed normal, you know?
Nowadays ... wowza, that would be outta line ... 😉
Neil, don't have the experience that you've had, but will second what you've said. A lot of the long-time PPro users on these forums are seriously knowledgeable and helpful, but they don't have the time or any reason to sugarcoat their words so they say what they think in as few words as possible and you can either take it personally and get worked up about it or else learn from it in and get the job done, they're always right. They might sound abrupt but I'd give a lot to spend a day with one of you guys and just tag along, I can't think of a better way to learn.
If anyone thinks these forums are harsh, I recommend you try Stack Overflow - you'll soon realise these Adobe forums are pretty easy-going! Most of the questions on these Adobe forums would get you hung for spamming on Stack Overflow. Here, I can ask a one sentence question that's already been asked a thousand times, with zero detail whatsoever and no one will even blink!
Honestly, I didn't even finish reading this.
While I appreciate how knowledgable you are about this program, I don't think this is really helpful. The point of these forums is for people to learn and become better at whatever program they are working with. Your first point "Know what you're doing. -- Premiere Pro is meant for professionals." isn't helpful. I don't know what else you would suggest for someone to learn about Premiere Pro other than using Premiere Pro. For some people classes aren't an option, so they're learning as they go and from tutorials online. And that is a completely valid way of learning.
No one starts out as a professional. They have to learn and make mistakes before they get there. And with all of these Adobe programs, you have to explore the program before you know what you're doing.
That's a four year old post by another user here ... voicing his opinions. A user who's not even "around here" any more. He's moved on to Resolve. So commenting about it seems a bit out of date at the least.
As to the professional comment ... yea, people don't start as professionals typically. However that's clearly not what he's talking about. He is very clearly and specifically stating this is a complex and complicated app designed for professional use. Therefore those starting out need to recognize that and get educated on how to use it appropriately.
Which is actually quite accurate in all respects.
Jim volunteered hundreds of hours to help others here over the years. He had a ton of experience in dealing with those struggling with the program. His entire interest was getting people up to speed as fast as possible.
So no, he wasn't criticizing the users that needed to get training for being new or needing training. But pointing out the nature of the biggest problem they faced trying to get working in Premiere Pro: they needed to recognize they needed training.
As we all do starting out. I typically tell people that PrPro has a steep initial learning curve. But after you get into it a bit, it gets ... steeper. Which it does.
Making mistakes is part of learning. But railing at the program when it doesn't do what you want it to do while being rather uninformed as to why it does what it does the way it does is ... annoying ... to those more familiar with the program.
And there are a goodly number of posts every year by those upset with something that pretty much needs to be as it is. Because they don't understand the whys and wherefores underlying that part of the app. Jim took those comments a bit head-on at times.
I tend to be more gentle, but to each their own. Jim was blunt with me about my mistakes when I first started out. But I dign't get mad at him for bluntly tellling me I had made a noob mistake, which I had, clearly. I LEARNED from his short, pithy comments how to do things in a better way.
So I was grateful for his attention. He helped me get better faster.
I appreciate the insight, Neil. I still hold to my opinions as stated before, as it seems like people still reference this post even if the initial post is a few years old.
Oh, Jim was all about folks using Lynda.com and other solid online resources. He felt that for their own good, people should do that sort of thing at the very beginning of working with an app like this.
And actually, I pretty much agree. Spending a couple weeks with the now-LinkedInLearning programs and going through several of the complete series, especially while using the demo materials and doing everything as in the 'class', saves anyone a TON of time learning how to get stuff done.
Messing with the app ... poking a few YouTubes .... will take you months to get where you coulda been in days.
Isn't that helpful, in all? I have always thought so.
I'd compare Premiere Pro to an F1 car. Go to youtube and search "Drive an F1 car for the first time". They look great when they're driven by a professional, but they are far from a normal car. It's so easy to stall the engine that most beginners can't drive a hundred yards.
Just like Premiere: it takes patience, skill, experience and understanding if you want to go far or go fast.
Some people I talk to want to use Premiere to just throw a video together, and like to think they can install the program, watch a quick youtube video on what they want to do, fudge it together and save out their video. Premiere is not designed with this in mind, it's just simply not built to do that job. If you want to make a fast and quick video, use something like Apple iMovie, Windows Video Editor, Lumen5 etc - these are all designed to help you make a fast, good video without needing much technical experience.
You might decide you want a flashy, fast car to impress your mates. You can get a Ferrari California or you can get a BMW Sauber F1 car. The Ferrari is a showy road car, like Apple iMovie you can jump in and just drive it, looks great, performs well, drives fast etc . However, the F1 car is much, much better, faster, better handling, All the specs are maxed out.
So if you look at the specs alone, the F1 car is the best car to get. Like Premiere, by the specs it's one of the best video editing programs out there for a lot of reasons. But both have a very steep learning curve because they are so in depth, they're built for a serious purpose. Premiere is good enough to be used to edit hollywood-style movies, but to be that good, that means it has to have a host of very advanced features and settings to get the right results. There's a reason why the F1 car isn't allowed on the road. Premiere might be accessible to anyone, but it doesn't mean you'll be able to drive it.
The point is, you get the right car for the job. I'll fully endorse everything Jim and Neil have said, if you expect to be able to drive Premiere or an F1 car, you will find it very, very difficult without some serious training. If you don't have time to train, then this really isn't the right program for you.
Sorry about that. I think I can take the liberty of editing out some of the tone from this post. It's off-putting, patronizing, even though the body of the info is good and I'm sure he means well, it's a bad first impression.
These past years since Jim posted this have changed, and our users have changed too - and with it, the times. As the community lead for these forums, I will take appropriate action.
OK, I lightly edited some of the text while maintaining the main content of the post. I hope it doesn't read so harshly now and I hope Jim would approve of my edits if he was still around. Cheers, Jim, if you are reading this.