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Mylenium

Welcome to the After Effects Error Code Database. This site is the collected wisdom of working with the program ever since version 5.0 seasoned and flavored with some general computer knowledge dating back to the early 1990s and spiced with a dose of common sense. Many of the solutions apply to other commonly known problems with other Adobe programs as well and some of it is even relevant on a much broader, generic system level.

I’m trying to keep things as current and complete as I possibly can and provide help, but please understand that I don’t have the resources to buy a new computer every 3 months just to investigate compatibility issues nor do I always have the time and inclination. I have a day job just like everyone else, suffer from a chronic disease that requires lots of medical attention and have to run my household and so-called “normal” life just like you do. When I’m not busy with any of that, I enjoy dabbling around and creating projects just for the fun of it or playing around with cool new plug-ins as a Beta tester. I also do hang around on a couple of forums to answer questions.

I would like to thank all our supporters that have made it possible to keep this site alive for just that much longer, but due to the ongoing problems in financing the site’s running cost and ultimately my own life I feel no longer able to provide the information contained on my site for free. If you need access to the errors, you will have to make a notable donation via PayPal or Flattr for limited time access.

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Mettle produce plug-ins for After Effects and provide a ton of content to go with them, some of it created by me. Other supporters:

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For updates on current events and other things around After Effects, please visit Mylenium’s Blog.

Could not complete your request because of a problem with the file-format module interface.

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Message text:

Could not complete your request because of a problem with the file-format module interface.

Message interpretation:

A file could not be opened because it was not found or of an unknown format.

Possible causes:

The most common cause are broken or screwy system level file associations and protocol handlers that tell your computer which programs to use to actually open a file when you use a double-click, drag & drop or other system methods to invoke a file operation. Since this is not controlled by anyone, it can happen that multiple programs register the same file extension like for instance *.psd. That can mean that the file opens in a different image viewer or editing program and not in Photoshop if it is actually a PhotoShop Document. On the other hand it may not open at all if someone simply used the same extension for his file format, but it actually means Popular Survey Data or similar. Naturally then it will not contain any image data and Photoshop can’t work with it. This applies even more so to auxiliary file types like the ones used to save brushes, actions and swatches that may never correctly import by just double-clicking on them.

Related to the previous, files may not be possible to open when those handlers are blocked by security tools or the hand-off chain from the double-click registered by your operating system to the actual opening of the file is interrupted otherwise. This can include hardware problems like fragmented drives, bad connections to external storage devices and interruptions in network connections just as well. Sometimes they are genuine issues with cables or connections, sometimes performance issues because a disk is already being used a lot. Also time-outs from drives that have gone to sleep needing to spin up or network connections being too slow can cause Photoshop to simply give up on opening the file.

Another critical issue is of course missing or messed up file parser plug-ins. There is basically two standard scenarios here: The user has copied his beloved filter plug-ins from an older version of Photoshop to a newer one and inadvertently also copied incompatible or redundant file format plug-ins or in the other case uses an incompatible third-party plug-in e.g. for creating icons.

Finally, a very specialized case that is sort of a combination of all the above points are Smart Objects and Smart Filters that attempt to use dynamic data directly from the source of a placed file. Handling Raw files from your camera via Lightroom and/ or Adobe Camera Raw would be one such example, but this may also affect Illustrator files or other types. When going from one program to the other, communication could be blocked or due to differences in versions, which even could have been caused by a failed update of one of the programs, the file format is not understood.

Resolution or workaround:

To begin with, most issues can be rectified by just reinstalling the program. This will reinstate default file associations, place compatible versions of the plug-ins and give you a chance to straighten out potential hardware issues beforehand and optimize your set-up by e.g. choosing a different install location. To avoid remnants and invalid configuration data of the previous install to be left in place and get in the way, it is necessary to try and uninstall the program using the uninstallers and clean out any folders. You may also need to run the Creative Cloud/ Creative Suite Cleaner Tool as explained here.

If you are reasonably versed in computer stuff and know your way around, you can also try to manually fix file associations and all that stuff. This is explained on this page. Some guidance on straightening out potential hardware and performance problems is provided on this page. Of particular not should be fitting up your drives by defragmenting and reorganizing file structures as well as making sure that things like USB connections actually work reliably without dropping out or the external drive going into idle modes prematurely. When you use double-clicks or drag & drop, try to open the files using the relevant menu functions instead and see if it makes a difference.

When using specific plug-ins, obtain the correct version from the vendor/ supplier and do not use outdated ones. It may cost a few bucks to upgrade your plug-in suites, but it can save you a lot of trouble. Similarly, if you use plug-ins across multiple programs, make sure you have the same version. This explicitly also includes verifying the update status of Camera Raw and your Adobe programs in general. Even things like unwittingly installing the latest Adobe Reader and it introducing new file versions of the shared PDF libraries that then could prevent you from opening those files in your older version of Photoshop need to be considered. Going back to an older version to undo the damage may then be your only option.

Could not initialize Photoshop because the preferences file was invalid (it has been deleted).

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Message text:

Could not initialize Photoshop because the preferences file was invalid (it has been deleted).

Message interpretation:

Photoshop could not access its preferences file.

Possible causes:

While it boldly states that the preferences file has been deleted, most of the time this is actually not the case and the file is merely inaccessible. This is then exacerbated by the fact that due to the problem also no new prefs can be created with factory defaults.

Resolution or workaround:

The only way to fix the issue is to adjust your file and folder permissions and make sure no security tools block file access as explained here. Once you have resolved those issues, you may need to reinstall the program, regardless.

Could not complete the Render Video command because the settings in the file are invalid.

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Message text:

Could not complete the Render Video command because the settings in the file are invalid.

Message interpretation:

Media files (video, audio) could not be opened or imported because the required system service is not accessible.

Possible causes:

This issue seems to point to a conflict with how the rendering has changed in Photoshop CC 2014 and on. Since it relies exclusively on Adobe Media Encoder it would appear that the program more often than not does not compensate for mismatches between the video timeline settings and the stored settings in a render preset. It could also be that specific information in the source files like metadata or specific MPEG stream flags can cause the issue when the program attempts to retain that data and pass it through or makes wrong automatic assumptions about this and that. The specifics remain unclear as the people experiencing the problem never provided enough info to make sense of it.

Resolution or workaround:

Not applicable.

Could not complete your request because the DynamicLink Media Server is not available.

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Message text:

Could not complete your request because the DynamicLink Media Server is not available.

Message interpretation:

Media files (video, audio) could not be opened or imported because the required system service is not accessible.

Possible causes:

For working with media files Adobe applications use a unified architecture known as DynamicLink, which is a specific auxiliary process that can control and connect to system-wide media frameworks such as Quicktime or your system’s specific hardware drivers for audio, video and graphics. These connections are handled via a shared memory address space and local TCP port connections on your system. Because of that, they can be sensitive to external influences that may interfere and break these connections. Some common causes for this are:

  • Other, non-Adobe programs that try to use the same ports.
  • Security tools like firewalls and virus scanners that may block communication or shut down processes.
  • Operating as a user with insufficient user privileges.
  • Permissions issues that prevent access to the executable files or their configuration data such as for instance certain keys in the Windows Registry.
  • A faulty network configuration on your system.
  • General technical issues.

Resolution or workaround:

Since this is a complex topic, there are no easy solutions and you need to tip-toe your way through. Start by making sure to reinstall your program with sufficient user privileges and also make sure you have full access to all temporary files, system services and configuration. If you are on a limited account e.g. in a corporate environment, talk to your IT department. A complete article on detailed installation preparations can be found here. Next make sure to run the program with equally suitable privileges and permissions.

With regards to security tools and features, make sure to create pertinent rules. By default, most virus scanners, firewalls and Windows’ UAC will be set into a mode, where they produce warnings or pop-ups in your task bar that ask you for action to allow or deny changes to the system. If that is not the case, those tools can often be set to a specific auto-learning or training mode or their security levels lowered to make them more adaptable to your needs. When the dialogs come up, naturally allow Adobe applications local connections and communication with the Internet. It may also be necessary to temporarily turn these features off completely to track down issues.

If other programs occupy specific ports, disabling or uninstalling them may be necessary. A brief list of known problematic applications is included in this article, but of course there could in theory be many, many more. Likewise, if network issues seem to be the problem, it may be smart to reinitialize your network configuration completely. The easiest way to do that is to e.g. delete your current network and let the system auto-configure from scratch. On Windows this can be done easily by using the start menu and then go to the System Control Panel‘s Network and Sharing panel. If you have established multiple networks because you regularly use mobile connections or use a corporate VPN, additional steps or deleting these networks may be necessary.

When technical issues may get in the way, check your hardware setup. Just like the programs, many device drivers require specific ports to communicate with your hardware like scanners and printers. That of course includes network connections for wireless printers or office printers just as well. If possible, try to change the configuration like assigning a different printer port. As a minor, always make sure to use the latest compatible driver for your hardware. Also seemingly trivial stuff like plugging your USB cable into another slot can sometimes fix things when the plug & play configuration kicks in.

A short summary of these steps and some additional info with more detailed explanations can be found here.

Could not complete your request because something prevented the text engine from being initialized.

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Message text:

Could not complete your request because something prevented the text engine from being initialized.

alternate text:

Could not initialize text engine.

Message interpretation:

Text could not be rendered at all or at least not correctly.

Possible causes:

This error pretty much covers the same area as this one.

Resolution or workaround:

The same troubleshooting steps and solutions as explained in the other article apply.

Could not open a scratch file because the file is locked or you do not have the necessary access privileges. (…)

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Message text:

Could not open a scratch file because the file is locked or you do not have the necessary access privileges. Use the properties command in the Windows Explorer to unlock the file.

Message interpretation:

Text could not be rendered at all or at least not correctly.

Possible causes:

This error is specific to Windows and appears when a user doesn’t have sufficient user privileges or file permissions. This can happen if a new user is added to the system with no regard to existing user and group policies or the user is part of a limited group while the primary user/ admin has elaborately defined file permissions to prevent other users accessing private data. Additionally security tools could monitor and prevent disk access. A very special case may occur after program or system crashes where remnants of Photoshop‘s scratch file have been left in place, blocking the creation of a new one due to insufficient disk space.

Resolution or workaround:

To fix the issue, first you should do as the message instructs – verify your file and folder permissions and change them if necessary. Explanations on how to do that can be found here along with generic tips on how to keep your drives in good shape. In particular make sure to maximize available space by removing temporary files and defragmenting. When you have done that and the program still starts up, check the settings under Preferences –> Performance and define an alternate drive to place the scratch file on. Ideally this should be the fastest one with the largest amount of free space left. Defining multiple drives will help to provide a fallback option in case you run out again. If the program refuses to start because of the warning, you can hold down Ctrl+Shift+Alt during start-up to define new preferences.

Could not initialize Photoshop because an unexpected end-of-file was encountered.

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Message text:

Could not initialize Photoshop because an unexpected end-of-file was encountered.

Message interpretation:

Text could not be rendered at all or at least not correctly.

Possible causes:

This error either indicates damage to your preferences file or one of the additional files used to store presets, actions, styles and so on or that the files at least cannot be read consistently. This can include invalid configuration data stored in them, but most of the time comes down to the usual file access issues. Of particular note is that this issue seems to be happening frequently on Windows 8/ 8.1.

Resolution or workaround:

Refer to this article for some basic troubleshooting regarding file and folder permissions, especially on your user folders. On Windows also make sure to manage your User Account Control (UAC) plus the app doesn’t attempt to launch as a tile in full screen mode on Windows 8/ 8.1. This uses a different behaviors for some security stuff as well as input control and may get in the way.