Trash the prefs and manually flush the cache directories.
After an afternoon without any replies, I called in to Adobe Support where the guy uninstalled the program and reinstalled it through a trial version he downloaded off of the web. Does anyone mind explaining what happened and why that worked?
Sometimes things don't install correctly. It's usually not an issue with simpler programs, but software as complex as AE can sometimes go screwy on install and you simply have to reinstall it.
Well, I had uninstalled and reinstalled After Effects through the Adobe Cloud about four or five times before calling support. He immediately bypassed the cloud and installed through an independent installer he found online. Now it boots into the program but is very VERY unstable. I can't get any work done in it without it crashing every minute or two. I "trashed the prefs and manually flushed the cache directories" as Mylenium suggested but it is still crashy as all hell. Any other suggestions?
So, right now, my game plan is to uninstall After Effects, once again, and manually wipe the cache with the program uninstalled. Then, reinstall through the creative cloud. To see if that fixed my problems with the splash screen... because my current install with the independent installer is not a functional product at this point. If we get another splash screen timeout with the CC installer, than it will be another full manual wipe and give the independent installer another shot. By this point I'm wondering if there isn't registry errors or something going on behind the scenes. Just did a virus scan and it came back negative.
It does sound like something is going awry on a deeper level.
Try using Adobe's CC Cleaner tool after you uninstall/before you reinstall.
I've uninstalled and reinstalled a few times now. It still fails to boot after the splash screen. I'm kind of at a loss. An engineer at work here is thinking it might be a problem with registry files and I'm inclined to agree with him. Does anyone have any advice for going down that road?
Registry issues tend to involve OS reinstalls
Okay. I'm posting here just to update anyone who may find this in the future. After my post on Monday I spent the rest of the week with three engineers in my office on the phone with Adobe Tech Support. I have to say, Adobe tech support is some of the worst service I have ever experienced. They were unprofessional, arrogant, rude and refused to listen to input from me or the station engineers. They wasted hours upon hours of our time and never resolved the issue.
As I've already said, on Friday the tech bypassed the Creative Cloud installer and installed a version of After Effects from a trial installer. This install, while able to open, was severely unstable. So, on Monday I had an engineer take a look at my computer. He troubled shooted for several hours on both Monday and Tuesday. Following individual suggestions from previous posts on the Adobe Forums. He cleaned my registry, he wiped my preferences/cache, he ran virus and malware scans... He was pretty thorough in his step by step process. The guy is honestly one of the smartest people I know and when even he failed to figure out what was wrong on his own we decided to call tech support together in hopes of talking to someone who could escalate the call somewhere with people who either had engineering experience or tools that could help isolate and identify the problem.
We eventually got paired up with a hot tempered lady who didn't appreciate it when we informed her that the basic time consuming trouble shooting steps she had been instructed to follow (such as uninstalling and reinstalling the programs). She spent well over six hours trouble shooting while remoted in to our computer. She finally said that she thought it was a licensing issue and she was going to transfer us to licensing support. I then tried to prove the point that if I can log into my coworkers computer it has to be a local issue that has to do with licensing and I didn't think they were going to be able to help me with that. At this point her boss stepped in and disregarded what she said and continued trouble shooting.
Keep in mind these trouble shooting sessions were not painless. As I said earlier the techs were rude, bossy and arrogant. They made the engineers jump through many time consuming hoops and refused to continue trouble shooting other potential causes until their demands were met. One of these issues earlier was that the computer was on a domain server. They refused to continue until troubleshooting until the computer was fully off of the domain and a fully local account was made on the computer with admin privileges. This was a major pain and of course did nothing. ... Anyways, her manager was positively certain it was the anti-virus software and, once again, refused to continue trouble shooting until the software was fully deactivated. This, of course, involved contacting corporate to get them to type in the password and have them do it, which took seemingly forever. Of course, this didn't resolve the issue and her boss said he had run out of time and needed to call me back the next day.
So, we set an appointment for him to call the next morning at 11am. The next day came and there was no phone call. So, I decided to call support... after getting the run around, being transferred to different departments, hung up on and repeat, I gave up after an hour. A different engineer came in and decided to give ti one last attempt before dismantling the computer. We tried some steps we hadn't tried before and nothing worked. Then, my coworker signed into her Adobe account and, magically, After Effects loaded without a hitch. No timeouts or crashes. So, this had me feeling like maybe I should have taken the lady's advice from earlier and contacted licensing. Which, I did. This was also a terrible experience. At first the tech had a hard time understanding why I was contacting him. All I wanted was to him to check my license and confirm there was no glitch on Adobe's end or that there was any kind of trouble shooting steps he could take to get my license working on my computer properly.
He remotes in and the first thing he does is uninstall After Effects (which I protested to because I was running short on time) then he goes to the same website the first tech I contacted went to to download a trial version installer. I tell him this is not going to work. That I had done this before with a previous tech. That it not only installs an outdated version of After Effects but that it is also extremely unstable and that this doesn't solve my problem. He begs me to stay on the line and says that if this doesn't work he will escalate my call. I tell him that I have already been escalated numerous times. He tells me that from looking at my case number I have never been escalated. At this point I was pretty upset about not having been escalated before. I was under the impression that there was a public support line, a corporate support line, and an after effects support team. And I had been transferred to the After Effects support team several times throughout my trials with tech support.
So, I tell him it's not going to work so go ahead and give it a shot so he can escalate me. Keep in mind i'm running out of time and he keeps promising me it will be less than ten minutes for the process to happen. I know it will take longer because I had been through it several times and kept telling him so. But despite my protests he keeps telling me "only ten minutes" by the time he had After Effects uninstalled and the web version reinstalled it had been well over 40 minutes. So, he gets the web version installed and it boots past the splash screen. "See it's all fixed now." and I tell him "no. it's not." and give him the lecture I gave him before he even started this process and tell him it's not the right version, it's unstable and that I don't want to download it off the web for it to work. He scoffs at me and tells me it's the newest version and is perfectly fine.... he goes to "check for updates" and it crashes. "Ooooh this is odd. This wont' happen again. It's perfectly stable." he reopens After Effects, clicks check for updates again and it once again crashes. So, then he tries to start trouble shooting why it's crashing and that's when I cut him off because I was already well past the time I had before I needed to clock out.
He's absolutely begging me not to hang up on him. I tell him there's nothing more that he can do for me. I've trouble shooted for nearly a week by this point and that he has done nothing I haven't seen before except blatantly waste my time. So, he tells me he can make me a new account and transfer the license. I basically tell him. "Okay that sounds like that might work." I'm not super excited about having to make a new account because everything is neatly tied up to work email but if it gets my program working again I would be happy. Instead of working on getting me a new account and transferring my license he continues snooping around my computer and sees that I am on a domain and then tells me "Oh, I see you are on a domain. I think if we get you off the domain and make a local account with administrator privileges this will fix your issues." That was the last straw for me. This is when I told him thank your for your effort but you have been of no help to me. You've kept me on the phone by lying to me and continually wasted my time. Of course he's screaming "no! no! no! nooo!" as I'm hanging up on him.
So, the next day, Friday by this point. I am working on boxing up my computer and I get a phone call. It's the lady's manager from Wednesday who told me he'd call me Thursday morning. He apologizes for not calling me Thursday but tells me "he was with a customer". Well, sir, I am an employee of a company who has a subscription to over 300 creative cloud licenses and you severely wasted my time. I explained to him that it was already done and he continued, like the last guy, to beg me to reconsider and allow him to continue trouble shooting. By this point my manager and head engineer was in the room who hopped on and told the tech that the decision was final.
Anyways, I have a new computer now, haha, and I just really needed to vent. This was an absolutely horrifying experience for me. It wasted my time and now I am extremely backed up on edits. It's frustrating that Adobe's tech support is as bad as this. I am so disappointed in Adobe in general. I held them in extremely high regard before this and now I find myself questioning if I will suggest people use their products going forward. Anyways, I feel like I probably needed to vent about this. And looking up I see a massive wall of text...
So tl;dr I could log in on another computer and use After Effects. Anyone else could log in to my computer and After Effects would work. The issue was never resolved or even officially isolated. I highly recommend anyone who comes across this same issue cuts their losses and just reinstall the OS. I was not in a position of authority to do this, so I was stuck bashing my head against Adobe's terrible tech support for a week.