it seems Adobe Media Encoder (which has no forum...) is nearer the root of the problem than AE.
tried running AME.exe (Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Media Encoder CS4) and it will not launch: it gets to "Loading Clip Notes QuickTime" and a Windows message comes up saying AME CS4 has encountered a problem and needs to close.
version of AME being used is 4.0.2.002
This may be a shot in the dark, but have you tried setting the AME and/or AE .exe's to run in Compatibility Mode?
it *looks* like our IT guy tracked down the problem using filemonitor...
there was an NTSC preset for WMV (i think it was wmv) in the original CS4 install that the IT dept removed.
media encoder window now appears and runs WMV, FLV, MPEG, etc.
i need to do more tests to be sure, but i'll post if others are having this problem (i'm guessing not as both myself and IT staff were unable to find any references to this glitch in our searches)
Actually your attempt to launch AME gives it away - if a preset is referring to a non-existant CoDec or missing template, it will crash. I don't think this has ever been any different even in the past, but usually the advise then was to re-install everything. The question in your case is, why it would frown on the preset. Did you modify it in any way and save it under the same name? Was it perhaps damaged by a previous crash? Another Thing: did you perhaps install something in a different language? Unlike AE, AME cannot be forced to use a different lanuage and may not see any presets at all, if they are in a different language...