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Sorry, a serious error has occurred... Rant and a solution

Jul 17, 2011 2:27 PM

Warning. Much of this post is frankly a rant against a poorly written program and the so-called experts who offer up solutions here. If you are one of these experts and you have a thin-skin, don't read this post.


If you just want a solution to the problem skip to the bottom of the post.




Adobe, I want my money back! I rarely buy Adobe products and always wind up regretting it when I do. This product was no exception.


I tried the trial version. Bought the product along with Photoshop Elements as part of a promotion.


Produced a couple of videos with it, no problems. Then, inexplicably, it stopped working for me and I would get the infamous "Sorry, a serious error has occurred..." message while trying to start or open a project. This would happen almost immediately, as it was drawing its intial screen layout.




This has to be the most useless error message I've ever read. The few times I've had programs crash on me, the error message that results usually gives me enough clues to find and fix the root problem.




Uninstalled it with Revo Uninstaller, re-installed it.
Deleted all old project files.
Tried to re-start by clicking 'New Project' button.
Prompts me for a location for the project. I accepted the default.
Immediately gives me the "Sorry, a serious error has occurred..." message and shuts down when I press okay.




I did observe that when I went to use the Organizer after the re-installs, the thumbnails of previous videos were still there. Clearly some cache wasn't removed during the uninstall.


If a cache wasn't removed, perhaps other remnants of the the program were still lying about on my machine. If they were the problem, then no amount of uninstalling/ re-installing would solve the problem.




At this point, I came to the forums for help and my worst fears were confirmed. This error message is a common problem. The suggestions to solve it were all over the place. The sheer depth and width of this faultfinding indicated to me that this is a seriously buggy piece of software.


With one or two exceptions it seems that nobody ever resolves this problem.




These are some of the typical solutions I read on these forums:
- Your computer is probably underpowered. Give us a list of all your specs.
- Your computer doesn't have enough hard drive space. Give us a list of all your specs.
- Your computer doesn't have enough RAM. Give us a list of all your specs.
- Something on your computer has 'changed'. Give us a list of all your specs.
- Your hard drive is dying. Back it up quick!
- It's probably your anti-virus software. Turn it off.
- Some of your drivers are probably out of date. Update them all. Give us a list of all your specs.

- That's a different issue... start a new thread. (Lame...)


Most of that advice is... well, lame. It's pretty obvious that these people are just winging it, i.e. throw everything up there and hope something works. Sorta like that tech guy on the support line who always ends up telling you to 're-install the program' because he really has no clue what the problem is and just wants you off the line.


As someone who has used video editing programs for years, I'm here to tell you that the problem is rarely the computer specs. The specs listed by Adobe for this program aren't that onerous and my three-year-old Dell 1525 laptop with less than 20 megs of space on its 136 HD and 2 megs of RAM was able to produce videos with no problem.


Most computers sold within the last three or four years are pretty robust and should have no problem with consumer level video editing.


Sending people off on a quest to 'fix' their computer and research a lot of computer specs is a time-waster. That should be the LAST thing you recommend after first eliminating the program as a problem.




This is worthy of its own post, but I won't bore you here. Suffice it to say that Adobe tech support deserves some sort of industry recognition for its ineptitude.




First, let me reinterate. The problem is probably the buggy program and not your computer, assuming your computer is relatively new and mid-range or better.


In my case, the clue was in the fact that not all of the program is uninstalled when you try to do a uninstall / re-install. The program likely had some sort of corrupted cache that stopped the program and that remained after an uninstall.


I unstalled it again, but after some research I came across this tool:
Adobe Creative Suite Cleaner Tool at


and this reference:


The reference above applies to Photoshop, but the Organizer elements applies to Premiere unintalls as well.


After applying these two solutions and then re-installing, my Premiere Elements is working once again.


Had I followed the typical advice I would have spent days updating drivers, installing RAM, de-fragging and cleaning up my hard drive, listing specs to post here, etc. And none of it would have mattered a wit.


The program is still buggy though and my original problem may re-occur, I admit. I will certainly never buy another version of this POS program again, but, in the meantime, I hope I can save someone here some time in looking for a fix for their own message.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 18, 2011 6:28 AM   in reply to ML58

    If you'd like to contact Adobe, you should click the Contact Adobe button at the bottom of every page on this web site. They often do give refunds

    to customers who just can't get the program to work.


    This is a user-to-user forum peopled by folks who spend tireless hours every week trying to help people get their computer systems up and running with this program and answers how-to questions for no compensation whatsoever. Posting your rant here does little more than flips them off.


    But if you've got a complaint about the software, I do encourage you to contact the people who designed the program.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 18, 2011 3:46 PM   in reply to ML58

    Your post count is 2 (as I write this) beginning July 17 - which indicates to me that you never asked for help in this forum (or you did so under another name)


    As Steve said (and which you may not have known) this is not Adobe support, this is a place provided by Adobe for users to try and help each other


    Yes... Adobe has less than good telephone support... a year or so ago that was even admitted to by the Adobe CEO, with discussion of that over in or maybe it was (been long enough ago that I don't really remember)


    If you do have future questions... come back and ask and someone will try to help


    Just as advance notice... don't come in saying "my file won't work... why?" without providing details... such as


    This is not pointed at you, at least right now... this is just for the future


    More information needed for someone to help
    Some specific information that is needed...
    Brand/Model Computer (or Brand/Model Motherboard if self-built)
    Build a Configuration file
    How much system memory you have installed, such as 2Gig or ???
    Operating System version, such as Win7 64bit Pro... or whatevevr
    -including your security settings, such as are YOU the Administrator
    -and have you tried to RIGHT click the program Icon and then select
    -the Run as Administrator option (for Windows, not sure about Mac)
    Your Firewall settings and brand of anti-virus are you running
    Brand/Model graphics card, sush as ATI "xxxx" or nVidia "xxxx"
    -or the brand/model graphics chip if on the motherboard
    -and the exact driver version for the above graphics card/chip
    -and how much video memory you have on your graphics card
    Brand/Model sound card, or sound "chip" name on Motherboard
    -and the exact driver version for the above sound card/chip
    Size(s) and configuration of your hard drive(s)... example below
    -and how much FREE space is available on each drive (in Windows
    -you RIGHT click the drive letter while using Windows Explorer
    -and then select the Properties option to see used/free space)
    Windows Indexing is BAD
    While in Properties, be sure you have drive indexing set OFF
    -for the drive, and for all directories, to improve performance
    Some/Much of the above are available by going to the Windows
    Control Panel and then the Hardware option (Win7 option name)
    OR Control Panel--System--Hardware Tab--Device Manager for WinXP
    And the EXACT type and size of file that is causing you problems
    -for pictures, that includes the camera used and the pixel dimensions
    Plus Video-Specific Information
    Read Bill Hunt on a file type as WRAPPER
    What is a CODEC... a Primer
    What CODEC is INSIDE that file?
    Report back with the codec details of your file, use the programs below
    For PC or
    For Mac

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2011 10:09 AM   in reply to ML58

    Had you carefully read most of the existing threads, a clear pattern should have been observed:


    • Most first time posters do not provide enough information to even begin to troubleshoot almost any issue. That is why the first request is usually for more information.
    • Troubleshooting is an inexact science (some would even say it's akin to alchemy), and most troubleshooters have a checklist of "the usual suspects." They do not want to rule those out, until some testing has been done, and only then should they be discarded.
    • Some posters treat even the simplest info as a "state secret," and getting the necessary info is like interrogating a spy. It often takes a half-dozen requests, just to find that the Imported AV files contain the Xvid CODEC, or that the poster has a 100GB HDD, that is filled to capacity.
    • The "so-called experts" are trying to step through a process, to narrow things down to a root cause, and then provide a fix for that cause.
    • Some problems are actual Bugs, and the users, who donate their time, totally uncompensated here, cannot fix those - only Adobe can. Now, some sharp users, yes, those "so called experts" can often find a workaround, though that is seldom as good as a fix. Adobe has PrE on a 12 life span, so depending on when a Bug is brought to their attention, they may well be deeply involved in designing and writing the "next" version, and might not be able to get out an update/patch for a previous version, even if they can find a Bug fix.


    That is the pattern that I see, and see often. Still, and even when it takes 10 posts to get the basic info, most problems ARE fixed here. Most Bugs do get a workaround, even if it takes a bit more effort from the volunteers here.


    If one is serious about getting PrE to work properly, and trust me, it does for the vast majority of users, then the best, first-step would be to post with all of the necessary details, and data, explaining in exact detail, what they are doing, and what is happening. You'd be surprised how many fail to even mention error message, or the exact syntax of error messages. This ARTICLE will be helpful in getting one started in the troubleshooting process. For troubleshooting, this ARTICLE starts with a general checklist of things to do, to get PrE working smoothly, and then works up to some serious troubleshooting, with the "degree of difficulty" advancing, as one works down the links listed.


    All of that comes free of charge, and from a bunch of the volunteers here, one of whom, ME, has been using Adobe software to make a good living for almost 20 years. I also have owned nearly every program that Adobe sold, until the last few years, and have had to call for Adobe support once - for a licensing/upgrade issue with Illustrator 3.0, IIRC. Even that problem was solved in less than 5 mins., including hold-time. Not a bad track record for Adobe over almost two decades.


    Good luck, and sorry that both Adobe, and the forum has let you down.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2011 10:17 AM   in reply to ML58

    And these solutions rarely work. The original poster comes back and says that after following the solution offered up, the problem remains. (As is the case for one of the references in your message for example...)


    That, to which you allude, has not been my experience at all, and I have read every thread on this forum, plus the old forum, prior to the Jive Software update - probably 10,000, but who's counting?


    Now, in all of my years, I can only recall a few instances, where a solution was not found. A few were actual Bugs in the particular version of the program, and fixing them is way beyond our "pay grade." A few involved the attempt to use PrE in a controlled network environment, for which it is ill-suited. A few more were where a poster was trying to make extremely weak hardware work a version of the program, and material, that was just unsuitable, no matter how many times they were informed that one cannot edit AVCHD on a Pentium 1 machine.


    Yes, there have been a few posters, who have found their solutions themselves. They did the physical troubleshooting, while we were hampered by doing virtual troubleshooting. Some have also found answers on other forums, like Elements Village. When this happens, we encourage them to post the details of their solution, so that we can learn to do our work better, can learn from their experiences, and can then help others most effectively.


    Sorry that you take offense to our linear methods, but over the long haul, say 9,800 satisfied posters, the outcomes are great - they work. Sorry that we failed you.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 14, 2011 10:49 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    I also forgot Installation Issues. Those can be highly problematic for us, the mere users, as we seldom encounter them. Our only knowledge is built from reading of others' installation problems, and what worked for them, whether it was info found in an Adobe KB Article (we usually bookmark those), another forum, a suggestion from another user who has found a fix for same, or Adobe T/S (this is an area, where they excel).



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 10, 2012 6:03 PM   in reply to Steve Grisetti

    What ever you do don't go to Pinnacle Studio,after 8 years,Elements is a dream to me...

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 23, 2012 9:25 AM   in reply to patriots network

    I think that it was Pinnacle Studio 5, that I started with, and worked up to Studio 11. The only version that was stable for me (stability can be because of the program, or the user's system *) was Studio 9.4.3. Studio 10 was a total disaster, and I never installed Studio 11 (sitting in the box, with all of the extra content). Instead, I went to PrPro Production Studio CS2, upgrading on a "special" from my other CS2 suite products. I never looked back.


    I added PrE 4.0, a bit later, as it did some things with "consumer" material, that PrPro did not handle smoothly. I have never had any problem with either program, though have found that on the same system, PrPro handles very large Projects better, than does PrE, but I am talking VERY large Projects.




    * PrPro CS2 ran pefectly on the same workstation, that Studio 10 would not, so perhaps we could at least slightly discount "system" in that equation?

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 23, 2012 9:28 AM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    As a PS on the above Reply, between Studio 10 and PrPro CS2, I also gave AVID Liquid a try. It was sort of Studio 10, but more robust - however, it too was very crash-prone. Never tried AVID Composer.


    I now have a very large box filled with Pinnacle/AVID products.



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