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: Do these first.
A. Know what you're doing. -- Premiere Pro is meant for professionals, people who already have at least some basic education or training. Many issues posted in the forums are the result of ignorance. This is best solved with knowledge. So get some education/training on the general subject of video production first, and then read the full Premiere Pro manual. Do these things before using the software. You will have a much easier time of it.
B. Creativity is no longer enough. -- In this day and age, you do yourself a disservice if you are not an advanced computer user. Any editor using software at this level should be able to build and troubleshoot their own computer. (Or at the very least, have quick and easy access to such a person.)
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. -- It sometimes happens that a particular problem is specific to one media type, so testing other supported camera media is a good troubleshooting step. (I should note that cell phone and video game footage are NOT suitable media. If you intend to edit with professional software, use a proper camera rather than your phone, and use a hardware recorder for screen capture. Blackmagic and AJA both make suitable devices. If you don't wish to change your recording method, then you should change your editing software. Look into consumer level programs at VideoHelp.com.)
C. Use the Media Browser. -- There are certain media formats that just work better when you copy the entire contents of the card to the hard drive, unchanged, and import them into Premiere Pro using the Media Browser.
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. -- Holding down Shift+ALT while Premiere Pro starts up and until the Welcome screen appears will reset both the preferences and plug-ins. This will solve many issues.
G. Remove all 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.
H. Clear the Cache. -- Close Premiere Pro and using Windows Explorer, navigate to the proper location on the hard drive and manually delete all Cache folders along with the Peak Files. When you reopen the project, let the cache files rebuild.
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. 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 -- 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.
M. Turn off CUDA -- Unfortunately, GPU acceleration isn't perfect. Sometimes this is the only way to get things working again.
N. Remove QuickTime -- Again I recommend using IOBit Uninstaller for the task. Perform a Powerful Scan to make sure all leftovers are gone.
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.
H. Use local drives only. -- Outside of using Adobe Anywhere or Team Projects (both of which are paid services), keep everything on internal drives only. Use networked and removable drives only for backup and archiving.
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. Properly configured -- Use only Intel/nVidia hardware in an edit system. 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. Use at least a 24" 1920 x 1080 monitor.
B. Self-built -- 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. (Do NOT skip step 1 above.)
C. Windows machine -- They just run better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDmOHU6lmRw
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. Perform those tasks on a second machine.
I recommend the above because I believe it will work for the overwhelming majority of people. I do believe that as you violate any of these four points, 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 note: Title of discussion changed to avoid confusion with staff created FAQs.
And, Ann never said that a codec pack can "[Mess] up Premiere Pro to the point where a complete reinstall of Windows becomes necessary."
Not just Premiere but AE as well.
I usually leave the bit out of complete windows install because most people find it to be untrue..........
Thank you Jim!!
Very usefull tips. You saved my day!!
Thank you Jim Simon for putting together this guide.
Especially step 2.f proved itself very useful to me -
as it saves a lot of time localizing the problem.
In point 4.d. you point out that an editing workplace should not have additional software installed not specifically needed for
editing itself (games / mail).
Would you mind elaborating on this a bit please?
Did you encounter problems that were fixed after removing office products?
I would take this "guide" with a huge grain of salt. I'm sure the intentions were good, but without a SINGLE reference as to why other software and specifically what software could cause issues with Adobe's suite, then that is like saying don't buy a computer for computing. If Adobe software is so fragile as to crash because of other software installed, then clearly the responsibility is ON Adobe not the end user.
It's ridiculous to suggest NOT installing other software, in fact, one of Adobe's "selling" points is it's flexibility with add-on/plugin integration ... every other editing suite I use supports add-on/plugins and does NOT list an "software" exclusions in their documentation. You can't have a plug-in feature and then say don't use that feature because it might crash Adobe.
I realize this is User to User forums, but to make any such a suggestion without a single return of exactly what software Adobe doesn't like is far too generic and sweeping. I'm a software engineer with over 30 years experience, if I even considered attempting to tell my clients/users to NOT install XYZ software because my software will not work with it ... I would have been out of work a long long time ago.
There's no way to determine EVERY piece of software that can cause issues.
In the 2017 release, there were a number of people that were having a few crazy issues that neither the PrPro team nor any of us users here could even replicate, let alone "solve". One user with the problem finally sat down and simply started deleting drivers and applets from his rig, trying PrPro, removing another few, trying PrPro ... and I don't know how many hours he put in.
He found that onedrive.dll was the problem, an MS Word/Office file. Without that installed, his PrPro ran fine ... as did his MS Office apps as he never used their "onedrive" system, I think some sort of "cloud" connection thing. And posted that here.
It solved that series of problems for those with them.
I have a similar Win10 system, with MS Office installed, and yea, it had put onedrive.dll in place and activated it. But most of us with onedrive.dll installed had no problems.
With the many apps & drivers in thousands of versions on different OS's, it's impossible to test for every potential conflict in every situation. Jim's guide is predicated on your making a living on editing, and therefore needing the most stable and crash-free system possible. The people that stay closest to that advice, and some other wisdom on here, have fewer crashes & missed deadlines than those who blithely load their computers with everything, rather than using a different computer for the other things.
It's very hard science that the fewer services running in the background, the better PrPro will run. Ignore this is you wish, but ... if you just want in reality the thing to work best, there are some things to pay attention to.
I want to second what you say. What I have found is PrPro works find with other software designed for video editing. I also found that the order of installation of software makes a difference. I recently re-built my editing system from scratch. A fresh install of Windows 7, then creative cloud apps, then some other software titles. I could hardly believe the difference in performance I got. All of the hardware was the same. I decided to go back to the old system, to see what was so different. Well, the old system had been running awhile, and had a lot of general purpose computing and office programs installed before Creative Cloud was installed.
So I began to uninstall all of the other software down to just CC. PrPro still struggled. I was able to perk it up after a lot of hacking in the registry. Then I took a look at the services that were running in the background, killed a lot of them, and PrPro perked up a little more.
Here's the takeaway from all my experimenting:
PrPro performs very well when it is the first installed application on a fresh OS install.
"Other Software" (Meaning general non-video applications) sometimes modify the OS. Once benign example is MS Office adding Word docs and Excel Docs to Windows' explorer's New menu. All of them make changes to the registry, and a lot make changes to the startup items. I'm not talking about the Startup folder in your main menu, but startup items you can find by running the MSConfig utility. Frequently, I have to run this utility after installing new software to clear the unnecessary entries found here. The fewer entries here, the faster Windows boots.
How do we know which ones? The ones that modify the OS. Some utilities like Stardock's Window Blinds which changes the whole look of the Windows UI changes a lot. Some kinds of disk utilities will cause problems.
Happily, I found that when I installed a fresh install of PrPro right after a fresh install of Windows 7, I became hard pressed to install anything that would mess up PrPro. I even installed WindowBlinds and modified Windows' appearance. (To great improvement.) This slightly changed PrPro's window borders, but did not cause any problems. Then I resumed a project with a LOT of media assets, still no problem.
Windows Updates are another problem. They will “break” some applications, especially large ones like PrPro. The best approach is to set Windows’ update settings to notify you, but not install. Wait a week or two and check the forums both here regarding Adobe CC, and general Windows forums to see what kinds of problems the update caused. Learn about any fixes, and do what you need to do to prepare to use them, then do the update. You might be able to mitigate the damage caused by the update by creating a second user account with admin privileges, and running the update from that account.
The bottom line, as you can see, is “fixing” PrPro did not take a lot of editing knowledge, but a lot of Windows OS knowledge. And that’s what Jim is talking about in his guide. Yes, you do need a certain amount of OS Tweaking knowledge.
It sometimes helps to uninstall PrPro and AE before installing a Windows update, then re-install PrPro and AE. I found this often fixes the "break" caused by Windows updates.
If you're going to be like that, then you need to take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt too, not just this post. 99% of every piece of information on the internet is opinion based.
My opinion therefore is to suggest that anyone that doesn't like this post, instead of wasting time criticising it, they make their own, better post, and then post the link here on this thread so that it will help all the people that found this advice so terrible. Then everyone else that comes here for help can take advantage of your knowledge.
As for me, it's helped me and I've bookmarked this thread. Jim's got more experience here than most of the critics.
Excellent write up! This should be made the "*Official* Troubleshooting Guide", because honestly it combines all of the official troubleshooting advice I have read on these forums over the years. Good work
One minor gripe is that Step 4A is a little dated now with the new Ryzen chips. I have two systems setups I work off continuously. One is an AMD Ryzen 7 build with an RX 480 and the other is an Intel i7 with a 980Ti and generally speaking when I have the problem on one system I will have it on the other (but it is helpful to test it on both just to make extra sure it is not a hardware issue).
Appreciate your info, very nice !!!
Thank you Mr. Jim
I recommend running Premiere Pro only on a:
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. Perform those tasks on a second machine.
This implies that the CPU and GPU hardware should be closely balanced (matched) to one another. You do not want one to be substantially more powerful than the other. A system that's built for gaming all too often mates a somewhat underqualified CPU with a seriously overqualified GPU - and that can cause corrupt video renders when a piece of video editing software that utilizes the GPU for acceleration is used - and a GPU that's more closely matched to the CPU may result in gameplay that's less than desirable. Conversely, an office system balances a decently powerful CPU with a severely underqualified GPU - and that causes the CPU-only performance to suffer greatly.
This is great thank you, I’m genuinely perplexed at those offended about this piece. If you’re actually a professional you wouldn’t be offended you’d just be glad for a convenient list of information and less worried about your bruised ego. There’s a huge difference between needing to get a job done and dabaling. Most professionals understand their tools as much as they can so it’s not surprising editors understand computers, and if you don’t that’s fine too, he’s just making the point that it wouldn’t hurt to and that’s it’s fairly common. Race car drivers know a lot about cars and how they work, that’s no different to an editor. They Also appreciate that getting the right performance and troubleshooting is Part of their job too. I do feel it’s a shame however Adobe doesn’t have a special version of Premier that’s super reliable and basic, no bells and whistles just raw editing with solid XML export and a dedicated pro support line, Premier Pro Studio or something.
At first glance, I thought this post was intended as a parody.
Let me see if I can provide a valuable counterpoint for the community. I have something I might add to this post. Thanks for the reminder.
Here's some additional resources for those reading your troubleshooting article for PC and Premiere Pro.
Very frustrated. The first step says that this platform is designed for "professionals" yet most of the steps are impossible in a professional environment. Disabling anti-virus on a professional computer system is definetely not adviseable. I am a professional working in a professional environment, and there's only one piece of software that constantly crashes and runs into issues that take hours and hours to resolve. I understand you're trying to help, but this is not professional software. Professional software needs to be designed to work in a professional environment. Where minimal downtime is important, and altering anti-virus settings and re-imaging computers at will is unreasonable.
I find your comment condescending. I am and know a lot of others, who are well-versed in video production, but not necessarily full-time or professional editors. I love working with Premiere Pro and learning as I go along. I came to the Forum to troubleshoot a problem evidently shared by others that when you export in h.264 the video becomes out of sync. This is evidently a bug in the latest version of the software and I wish Adobe would address it. I've read about a lot of workarounds that are time-consuming, and frankly an unnecessary obstacle. Maybe you can help with the problem or report it to Adobe instead of telling us that we are too inexperienced to use the program.
If you're responding to the original post ... that was three years ago. And while a ton of users are coming from an amateur background, this is still a program designed for pro use.
Which means ... it runs on manual, not automatic. And it's got a nasty, steep learning curve. Which only gets worse the farther you get into it.
So everyone is welcome to start out with it, but for many it's actually more than they need. For those that want to stick with it, some money and time invested into at least LinkedInLearning for a couple months to really go after good training ... and get outta that YouTube stuff ... is needed.
That isn't being condescending, but giving wise advice.
As to the H.264 export being out of sync ... from what I've seen, that nearly always involves original media that is VFR ... variable frame rate. Meaning the device that shot it changed how many frames a second it was running constantly throughout the clip, often only recording well below the 'stated' frame rate. PrPro can sort of work with VFR clips, but there's no guarantee.
Either way, convert the media to CFR, then import into PrPro. That simply, and always, works.
I appreciate your response and suggestions. The footage in question was shot on a SONY PXW-X70, which is an older model but considered a professional video camera. It was all shot at 29.97 fps, so that isn't the problem. One solution I saw was to import the file into iMovie and re-export it. Or export it as a .mov file and convert. But that's a pain. I just can't understand why Adobe isn't addressing this issue which many people have complained about.
Ah, one of the XDCAM rigs. Some of those Sony rigs used intriguing parameters for recording data (as engineers for both Adobe and BlackMagic have told me). And also often do the XAVC bit about clips all like 00001 in separate folders and audio in different folders.
Sadly, you're correct, for some situations it's better to re-encode/transcode those files.