Kind of hard to word the problem in a non-confusing way, but here goes. After Effects CS6 and CC will only work if the Composition panel is in its default spot in the Standard workspace, and that it's the only thing displayed there. No layer or footage panels can be opened - it can only be Comp or nothing.
In other words, AE is 100% certain to crash if:
- The composition panel is closed or moved to another spot in the workspace.
- A file from the project is double-clicked and opened as a layer/footage panel
- Any attempt is made to switch the Standard workspace to another
The crappiest thing about this is that I've searched Google using as many different phrases as I can and haven't found any discussion about this particular problem. It's as if I'm the only one on Earth who is having this issue.
It should be noted that After Effects CS5 does not have this problem on my PC, but I need CS6 or better because that's what we're using at work now. I can't work from home (as I need to do occasionally) if AE won't work properly.
Windows 7 PC, 12GB RAM, Quad-core AMD Phenom II X4 965 @ 3.7 Ghz, ATI Radeon HD 6700 series GPU (1GB)
See if you can dig up any crash reports. I'd guess it's a driver problem. It could also be faulty memory. We would know more if you had a crash report.
It's not like a regular crash that instantly closes the program and has a "sorry, AE crashed" popup. It basically just freezes until the process is forced to quit.
Have you updated your graphics driver recently?