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FAQ: How to reset (trash) preferences in After Effects?

Adobe Employee ,
Sep 26, 2019 Sep 26, 2019

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It can be really frustrating when After Effects starts misbehaving. One of the most efficient ways to fix this is to reset After Effects preference files. Trashing preferences resets the program to its factory defaults.

 

Resetting preferences will undo most of your customization such as length of your default transitions, brightness of the user interface, labels colors, changes that you've made to your audio hardware settings and more. Some changes won't be affected though, such as changes that you've made to memory allocation for After Effects and other Adobe apps, new workspaces that you've created and some other stuff. It's worth noting that changes that you've made to existing workspaces (changes such as resizing panels and moving them) will be reset to defaults.

 

Preferences that you set for scratch disks, however, are saved with your projects. Whenever you open a project, it automatically defaults to the scratch disks you selected for it when you set up that project.

 

Here is how you can reset the preferences:

Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while launching After Effects. You can release the Alt or Option key when the splash screen appears.

To reset preferences and plug-in cache at the same time, hold down Control-Shift-Alt (Windows) or Command-Shift-Option (Mac OS) while the application is starting. Release the keys when the splash screen appears.

 

If you don't see the list of your recent projects on the Welcome Screen the next time you launch After Effects, the preferences were reset correctly.

 

NOTE: Nothing happens to the project files; it's just that After Effects's recent directories are wiped off too. Navigate to your project location and open it from there.

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Participant ,
Sep 28, 2019 Sep 28, 2019

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I'd like to point out that while this works and is all well and good... it's not a small deal to AE users to rebuild your preferences and the biggest culprits of corrupt prefs seem to be workspaces and open extentions in your workspaces.  If we're going to have all these options for customizing the interface, they need to be more stable.

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New Here ,
Sep 02, 2020 Sep 02, 2020

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will my plugins like magic bullet and twixtor and sapphire still be there?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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Yes, 3rd party plug-ins like Magic Bullet, Twixtor, and Sapphire will still be there.

 

Resetting the preferences does not uninstall plug-ins.

 

 

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New Here ,
Dec 09, 2020 Dec 09, 2020

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it doesnt work for me. i pres and hold down Control-Shift-Alt but nothing happens. what should i do?

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 31, 2020 Dec 31, 2020

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Garbage.  This is garbage advice from a garbage corporation peddling buggy, cumbersome products.  If you're having trouble opening AE, this is not the solution.  

Optomize your products Adobe!  And give use stable interfaces! It's actually not to much to ask that you programs work as intended.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 31, 2020 Dec 31, 2020

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SOLVED:  First, do not reset your preferences.  That's nonsense.  Second, right-click (on Win) and "run as administrator".


Why is running with Admin rights the work around for this Adobe?? Fix your products. 

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New Here ,
Jan 06, 2021 Jan 06, 2021

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but if we have macs???

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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Nine times out of ten, if your Mac meets the requirements to run Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, or pick whichever Adobe application you like, then your Creative Cloud applications are likely to run fine.  Also, bug fixes for macOS are rolled out fairly quickly.  

 

But, unexpected things happen even on the most stable of platforms.  Resetting the preferences is one troubleshooting step.

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New Here ,
Jan 26, 2021 Jan 26, 2021

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I agree whole heartedly with the above statement!

I'm a Graphic Design student and was excited about getting a chance to see what the adobe suite software could do but I have been let down by constant issues with interfaces and am left wondering why this software is considered indusrty grade? It's clunky, full of bugs and behind the times. Why would anybody pay for this!?

 

I'm having second thoughts about subscribing to any of your packages in the future as you seem like a company that doesn't care about fixing these issues or making your glitcy interface user friendly.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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What's that phrase?  Your mileage will vary.  How well Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere Pro, InDesign, and Audition (among others) perform is directly proportional to your hardware configuration.  If you're trying to edit 2GB layered PSD files on a computer with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, it's not going to work so well.  Creating memes for social media?  Have at it!

 

I guess what I'm getting at is being aware of the system requirements and often exceeding those is important.

 

Twenty-five years ago, you might have seen a graphic design job posting with "Photoshop experience a plus", but now?  It's absolutely required.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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You're right, resetting the preferences is not always the solution; however, for the times it is needed, thank goodness it's so easy, right?

 

Side note:  If After Effects won't launch, resetting the preferences is definitely something to try.  More advanced users certainly can opt to move the current preferences file to the desktop rather than reset it.

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Explorer ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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Im afraid that the stock answer from adobe support is to delete preferences and start again. This is not the solution for the majority of issues, and the bugs in AE are getting worse with each "upgrade". Support from Adobe is unfortunately severly lacking, so maybe the 'developers' should concentrate on fixing current builds before hastily releasing another clumsy upgrade to appease the ego. Has Adobe overstretched?

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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Restoring application preferences to the default is a common troubleshooting step for software - any software.  Yes, it's not always the solution, but it's in no way unique to Adobe.

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Explorer ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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I agree with you Warren and thanks for your reply. 

 

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Explorer ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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Thanks! Opening Adobe Clreative Cloud Windows APP and LShift+CTRL+ALT + click on program will restore default settings and programs finally starts! Thanks!!! 🙂

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New Here ,
Jun 03, 2021 Jun 03, 2021

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Will this fix the bug where anytime I move a layer mask, it goes from Add or whatever it is set to, to None? 

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New Here ,
Jul 24, 2021 Jul 24, 2021

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My after effects keeps resetting preferences automatacally and my files cant open know more cause it says it is unreadable i dont want that does anybody know how to fix it

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