Adobe Creative Cloud

February 12, 2009 /Region of Interest /

crash on start with error parsing properties list

UPDATE: The first solution to this problem is to update to After Effects CS4 (9.0.2).

If you start After Effects and get a crash with the message “After Effects warning: Error parsing properties list.”, then try deleting the .xml files from this directory and its subdirectories:

Windows XP:
C:Documents and Settings[user name]Application DataAdobeAfter Effects9.0

Mac OS:
[user name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/9.0

One of the After Effects software engineers tracked some instances of this error to corruption of one or more of the XML files in this directory.

To be on the safe side, try deleting one of these at a time, trying to restart after each one. This way, you won’t throw away, say, saved workspaces when the problem was with a different XML file. The bug report that I saw implicated AIFEffectCache.xml, so I’d start with that one.

BTW, we’re getting a lot of great information and making some fixes based on information from the crash reports that some of you have been submitting. Keep it up. Read this post for more information about the crash reporter and how to give us information.


Before you delete any of the files in the preferences directory, make a .zip file containing all of the files in this directory. Then change the file-name extension to ‘.piz’. After you’ve determined which file was causing the problem, email the .piz file to This will help us to figure out what is corrupting the file(s).

Also, there’s now an official Technical Support knowledgebase article about this issue.

Region of Interest