I've been having this problem come and go for awhile - AE CS4 dialog boxes (like Save As), menus, even scrubbing the timeline sometimes just randomly stop working. A few minutes ago I went to the Effects menu and it opened totally black - as I moved my mouse down the menu it drew in each item. Before that double clicked on a layer marker and it opened a blank box. File->Save As dialog boxes sometimes open empty. And scrubbing on the timeline just sometimes stops updating. If I keep clicking at random places on the timeline that one usually will fix itself.
In ALL CASES exitting and restarting AE fixes it.
Yea, certainly sounds like a video driver kinda thing - but this just started happening with no changes to my system. (AE also had a 2-day fit where it would not render Maya .IFF files even though I've used them for years, then it got over it and now works fine again....???)
System is Intel dual quad core, 8G ram, Windows XP x64, Quadro FX 1700
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Know how to fix?
Damn computer gremlins. As Todd said, this issue is too exotic to guess the cause, so sending a crash report would probaly do wonders and documenting the current misconduct with screenshots also helps. Still, sounds like something external is interfering seriously, so I'd check for suspicious processes from virus scanners or networking stuff. Could even go as far as something randomly locking up program files just to scan or index them. This would at least explain your IFF problem - at the time the program was launched, the IFF plug-in was locked, so AE couldn't see it.