What CAN happen is that a Windows update will change some DLL in Windows that breaks something in software... usually related to the graphics adapter
What is your brand/model graphics adapter, and what is the device driver version?
IF you have nVidia...
How to determine your nVidia driver version
Right click in any open area of the Windows desktop
Select NVIDIA Control Panel from the popup window
Select SYSTEM INFORMATION at the lower left corner
Driver version should be the 1st line in Details
I have a GTX285 using driver 296.10
I'm running an ATI Radeon HD 5450 card, with driver 184.108.40.206 (from 12/19/12).
After Effects is still running just fine, for the record.
For your card, and your OS, what is the latest AMD/ATI driver available?
How does that work?
Try deleting your preferences by booting up PrP while holding down the Option / Alt key and the Shift key
Tried the latest ATI catalyst software (drivers) and deleting/resetting Premiere Preferences. Still crashes every time. I'm tempted to try a system restore but I don't think my machine has any restore points that are relevant...
Have you tried creating a new project from scratch? Before you import anything, can you select the Effects tab?
Also, do you have any third-party effects installed?
New projects don't help. Doesn't seem to matter when I select the effects tab- just crashes immediately when I do. Some "runtime" error. I did have a lot of BorisFX installed, but I removed it all and reinstalled Premiere, so there shouldn't be any third party effects left- (except video co-pilot, if they add anything to premiere).
Have you tried changing and resetting workspaces?
Changing the workspace doesn't seem to help- for example it'll crash whenever I open a workspace that would reveal the effects tab as active. I'm going to try reformatting my computer if nothing else seems to work...
Don't forget to deactivate first if you do reformat.
So reformatting my computer "fixed" the problem. I've since re-updated back to Premiere 5.0.3, and it still works. I probably had some lingering 3rd party software deep in there.
I had exactly the same problem with 5.5 on one of my Macs some months ago. I completely reinstalled but that didn't help. As I'd already bought 6 (but hadn't installed it due to the long thread about Macs crashing with 6) I felt I had no choice but to switch and keep my fingers crossed. Problem went away. Worrying though.