15 Replies Latest reply on Sep 2, 2009 7:21 AM by OsakaWebbie

    How to tune AE CS4 for function on 2GB RAM?

    OsakaWebbie Level 1

      I have a Windows XP SP2 (no SP3 because for the sake of smooth capturing and DVD burning I'm avoiding WGA's constant interruption) on a machine that cannot have more than 2GB of RAM (that was considered a lot when I bought it 4 years ago!).  [Please don't tell me I'm crazy to have such old hardware - I can't afford to replace computers every couple of years like the pros.]  I have increased my virtual memory pagefile to a fixed size 8GB, which helps with some operations (messy PPro projects especially).  But here's the AE story: I recently downloaded the trial version of AE CS4, did a few complex and/or long comps (one was over 4 minutes, and another had about 15 layers of high-res stills and lots of effects), and had no troubles.  I do remember noticing that when I rendered the render queue, it would say, "Using xx% of 2GB RAM", or something like that, and the percentage rose to 59% and then stayed at that level for the rest of the render.  I didn't know the significance of that number at the time.  Then I paid for the real thing, and mysteriously had to reinstall to get it to accept my serial number.  Okay, no big deal.  But then I went back to work on a 30 second comp, and when I rendered the queue, it started crashing about halfway through (offers to save a copy of my project, and then either throws up some sort of runtime error or just disappears).  Even after I removed all unused layers to try to simplify the calculations, it kept doing the same thing.  Then I noticed the RAM usage percentage - it cruises upward like before, but this time it doesn't stop or even pause at 59%, and as soon as it hits 60% it crashes.  Since it explicitly says the percentage is "of 2GB RAM", it would appear that it is not using virtual memory for the renders.  I have no idea whether the reason it started hitting 60% is because the trial works differently from a registered version, or my reinstall screwed something up, or my new comp is harder to render in ways I don't understand.


      Anyway, I really need to get this to work, and I don't care if performance suffers - I need to be able to use the program.  Are there configuration settings I can change to improve the way it uses memory, or a way to make it recognize and use my 8GB pagefile, or its own hard-drive-based buffer?  I remember at some point a tutorial mentioning a binary setting for some operation that chooses between prioritizing performance or memory, but I can't remember what operations that affected, and now I can't even find where the setting is nor any mention of it in Google searches (I probably don't have the terminology right).  Any recommendations (other than just telling me to get new hardware) are appreciated.

        • 1. Re: How to tune AE CS4 for function on 2GB RAM?
          yenaphe Level 4

          Well, first of all AE won't use your virtual memory, only you physical memory, and even if it used it, it couldn't use more than 2gb because of the way Windows limits ram access to the processes.


          So if i understand you well, it crashes without error messages. It sounds fishy, and my first thought is that you ram may be defective. Other apps may not crash, but as AE is really using all it can of your ram, it's possible that a block of  memory is defective. To be sure about that you can download an iso file of the MemTest CD, boot on it and it will check your ram. You'll obviously see any problem here.


          Other than that, what are the size (in width and height) of your comps and elements ? With 2gb I guess you can't really work with files biggers than HD.

          • 2. Re: How to tune AE CS4 for function on 2GB RAM?
            OsakaWebbie Level 1

            Thanks for the reply.  I had never heard of MemTest86, but at your suggestion I read about it, made a CD, and ran it.  I thought your hypothesis was reasonable, because I have also had PPro disappear with no warning (at least AE offers to save my project - PPro CS3 is not that generous).  But alas, the diagnosis is not that simple - MemTest took about 25 minutes to run through one pass of its default set of tests, but it found no errors.


            My comps are all SD NTSC - not even widescreen, but just the regular 720x480.  Video elements are also the same.  I have used some higher resolution NASA space photos, but that was in one of the comps that worked fine (separate project file also), not in the one I'm currently working on.  The simplified comp that crashes very consistently only has an audio spectrum in a rainbow color (set the inside and outside colors to red and set the hue something (I forget the word) to 1x0.000, something I learned in a tutorial - I really have no clue how that hue thing works), with absolutely nothing in the background yet (most of the screen is just black).  How hard can that be to render?  Previous to buying and reinstalling AE, I used motion tracking to stabilize over 4 minutes of sunrise video, and made a 33 second comp of 8 NASA photos and 3 layers of a fake starfield made in Photoshop at different angles and magnifications, and made them all move and zoom (flying through the universe encountering different nebulae and galaxies as we go - I'm not a Star Trek animator, but I did my best) - both were successfully rendered multiple times to both lossless AVIs (initially) and to DV-AVI interlaced (after Iearned more about settings, a discussion you probably remember).


            I'm now afraid to even let AE decide how much footage it can RAM preview - a few minutes ago I was trying different variations and RAM previewing to hear the music with it, and normally I tried to stop the rendering at about 15 seconds of video (because I already didn't trust it), but one time I let it run for longer (about 20 seconds), and when it played, instead of repeating when it was done, it played it once and then just sat there with an hourglass.  When I hit the spacebar to try to stop whatever it thought it was doing, it gave a runtime error (although it didn't subsequently crash this time).  Maybe that problem was a fluke, but maybe not...


            New information: I just now re-opened one of the comps I rendered before (the space one) and tried to render it again -  this time it crashed just like my current project!  So I guess the problem has something to do with my installation troubles.  Here's the story on that in more detail: When the copy I had installed as a trial refused to recognize my serial number (perhaps a language mismatch - I'm using the Japanese version but installing it to run in English, and in some dialogs I get a choice of U.S. vs. International English and other times only International), I called Adobe.  After asking a variety of questions, having me try my serial number multiple times, and putting me on hold to consult with others, she said I needed to uninstall and reinstall, putting in the S.N. during the install process (I know that is not normally necessary, but I obliged).  It accepted my serial number, but gave errors when it  finished installing - "Error 2" for several of the components.  But it ran okay at least on the surface, so she said go ahead and try using it, and if I have problems, download and run Adobe's "Clean Script" before installing again.


            So when this problem started happening, I immediately assumed it was caused by a bad install.  The Clean Script instructions say to do the regular uninstall of the software first, so I did that, but then Clean Script didn't list AE as something it could clean.  Go figure!  So I tried re-downloading the software, using the My Download link provided to me as a paying customer (rather than the trial version), just in case they are different somehow.  But I got the same errors during install.  I considered calling support again, but decided to search first for the "error 2" and see what people are saying - I saw a forum thread where someone said that it worked when they did a reinstall WITHOUT uninstalling first, so I tried that, and got no errors.  So I decided it must be okay now, and continued working, and when the render problems continued, I searched for word about that more specifically and found discussions of memory problems.  After more troubleshooting in vain, I then started this thread, whose title now no longer fits my question.


            Right now I wish that I could reverse time and go back to before I uninstalled the copy that was working - I wouldn't be able to input my serial number, but I could do about 3 weeks more with it (which would be enough to finish the DVD I'm working on) and then try to fix the installation problem when I'm not as busy.  But now I'm stuck, so any ideas are appreciated.

            • 3. Re: How to tune AE CS4 for function on 2GB RAM?
              yenaphe Level 4

              First, if it's not the memory then it's good (you won't have to buy ram) and bad (something more complicated is happening).


              Well, after reading you installation stories I understand why your serial didn't work in the first place (you might have donloaded an english version of the demo, and then bought a japanese serial and since CS4 the serial are region locked (but that doesn't prevent your japanese AE to have an option to be displayer in english).


              Maybe Millenium will have more information than me on this Code 2 but something is definitively wrong with your current install. What I would do in such a case is that I would deactivate all my CS4 products, run the clean scripts, uninstall every CS4 products, Adobe air runtimes, and Acrobat reader then reboot.


              Then I would reinstall AE first, then all your other CS4 apps, and then update them to the current version via help > update.

              An then I would reinstall Air & Acrobat.


              As your old working project is now crashing AE, i guess it's not a bad video that causes the crash.

              • 4. Re: How to tune AE CS4 for function on 2GB RAM?
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                Unfortunately I have to concur with Sébastien. Most likely your issues are caused by a language mishmash. Installer Error 2 is a language pack error and even if after your first re-install it didn't show up anymore, it mustn't mean everything is okay. I'd definitely clean up and re-install everything, taking care to choose the proper language already during installation.



                • 5. Re: How to tune AE CS4 for function on 2GB RAM?
                  OsakaWebbie Level 1

                  The problem is that as far as both I and Adobe support knows, I did choose the correct language combination.  I am running Japanese Windows and upgrading from the Japanese version of AE 6.0, so I have to buy my serial number from the Japanese Store.  But I'm American and my Japanese language skills do not include much special effects and animation terminology, so the learning curve was so steep that I never really used 6.0, and perhaps the biggest reason that I want to upgrade is so that I can have an English UI (language choice seems to be a new Adobe feature starting in CS3).  So I downloaded the program from the Japanese website, but then selected English during the install (both when I did it with the trial and later while on the phone with Adobe).  I made my purchase from the Japanese Adobe Store, but it allowed me to choose whether I wanted Japanese or English, and I chose English.  But the Store only said "English" (well, technically the Japanese word for English), while the installation has many choices including both International English and U.S. English.  Which English should I choose in order to match the serial number?  If I remember correctly (I didn't think it was important at the time, so I could be mistaken), I chose U.S. English the first time, but that installation later didn't accept my S.N., but the second time I chose International English, and the installation process accepted my S.N. but gave Error 2.  Or should I try doing what I did the first time, installing without the serial number (like a trial) and then inputing the serial number later?  During the installation, after I input my S.N., of course it required me to also input the serial number of the product I am upgrading from, and in the AE era there was no choice of Japanese versus English when one shopped for Adobe products in Japan.  But it did accept my old S.N. as valid for the upgrade, so surely that "mismatch" couldn't have anything to do with actual installation errors...?

                  (Sébastien)  "What I would do in such a case is that I would deactivate all my CS4
                  products, run the clean scripts, uninstall every CS4 products, Adobe
                  air runtimes, and Acrobat reader then reboot.  Then I would reinstall AE first, then all your other CS4 apps, and then update them to the current version via help > update.  An then I would reinstall Air & Acrobat."

                  A couple questions (to either of you) about that:

                  1. Should I really run Clean Script before uninstalling?  That's not what the Clean Script instructions say.  (But of course, as I said in my previous post, once I have uninstalled, Clean Script doesn't find anything to clean.)
                  2. Air (some sort - I don't know what "runtimes" means; in fact, I don't know what Air is!) and Reader came as part of the AE installation, and neither of them had the Error 2 - the list of Error 2 components were "Adobe After Effects CS4", "Adobe Dynamiclink Support", "Adobe Media Encoder CS4", and "Adobe Media Encoder CS4 Additional Exporter".  Are you saying that I should deselect those two from the installation, and then run the installation a second time to add them in?


                  For your information, AE (and the various stuff that comes with it) is the only CS4 product I have.  I have PPro CS3, and CS2 of InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.

                  • 6. Re: How to tune AE CS4 for function on 2GB RAM?
                    yenaphe Level 4

                    Can you try to install your AE in japanese (to see if it accepts your SN). If yes, install it in japanese. Then, create a shortcut to AE on your desktop (just drag and drop the shortcut from your start menu on your desktop) and then right click on it. In  the target text field add "-L en_US" (without the quotes) after the path (something like "c:/folder/floder/adobe/after effects 9.10/afterfx.exe").


                    See if it works.


                    but yes, try to clean everything then uninstall so you are sure everything is clean. Adobe Air is something that allows you to run some programs, and can be installed on your system. Just check for it in Add/remove program control panel but you may not have it.

                    • 7. Continued installation woes
                      OsakaWebbie Level 1
                      ...but yes, try to clean everything then uninstall so you are sure everything is clean.

                      I decided to do that because you told me to, despite the fact that the instructions are very clear that I should uninstall first.  But when I ran it and selected a program for removal, its confirmation question was worded this way: "Please confirm that you want to remove the selected product from Install Database."  I fear that what it will do is remove the entry in the database (without removing all the files it expected to have already been removed by the uninstall) and leave me with a situation of having a program that needs to be uninstalled but no entry for it in Windows' Add & Remove Programs list (which I assume to be related to the "install database").  So I lost my courage and canceled that operation.  Instead, I did lots of uninstalls (including the "Template Projects & Footage", Adobe Air, Adobe Media Player, and Adobe Reader) and then rebooted.  Sorry to be difficult, but I hesitate to go against what Adobe instructs when it seems like the result could be a big mess.


                      Now, back to the installation language discussion.  When I ran install again, I realized that I don't even have a choice of language.  The first thing requested in the installation process is the serial number.  Then the agreement to the user contract, and then the "Options" screen that has the language selection.  If I have input a serial number, it chooses the language for me (in this case, "English (International)") and grays out the selection box.  So if one inputs the serial number during the install, it is impossible to choose a language that does not match that.  I'm quite sure that if I went through the trouble of installing without a SN and choosing Japanese, I would be unable later to input my SN, just like I was unable to do so the first time after after I installed (without a SN) and chose "English (US)".  So I don't see how my problems are caused by a mismatch between my serial number and a language selection - Adobe's installation program forces them to match.  Are there any other meanings of "Error 2"?


                      I know that only a fool does the same thing twice but expects different results, but since I uninstalled more stuff this time, I decided to try installing ONLY the main AE component - I unchecked all the other boxes in the Options dialog.  But it still gave Error 2 (only two components listed with the error, of course, because less was installed - this time just "Adobe After Effects CS4" and "Adobe Dynamiclink Support").  I wish it would know not to install Dynamic Link or other suite-related components because I don't have a suite, but it's apparently not that smart.  I also tried just installing as a trial again (no SN) and choosing International English (because I would need to have that selected if I want to add the SN later).  Still got the errors.  I suppose I could try doing the trial and choosing U.S. English because that's what I did the only time it was successful, but I'm getting tired of uninstall/install cycles - they take forever.


                      When the installation fails, it offers a choice of "Get Support", which leads to an web page about the Adobe Support Advisor, which "inspects the installation log file of an unsuccessful installation of Adobe CS3 or CS4 software, and a tech doc link is displayed if a known issue is found".  I declined previously (I resist installing lots of extra software on my video machine), but this time I decided to try it out.  It took a surprisingly long time to run (how big can a log file be?), and then reported (rough translation of the Japanese - I selected the English version, but most of it was in Japanese anyway): "Regarding the selected log file, no solution rmethod was found.  In the case of problems running the application, please contact Adobe Support.  System Information: OS=Windows XP Home Edition SP2, Locale: ja"  Well, that was a waste of time.


                      Any other ideas, or should I just call Adobe Support again on Monday, even though they didn't have any more ideas the first time?  I would be willing to try Clean Script without uninstalling if they can confirm that it's okay to do it that way, but it's kinda scary.

                      • 8. Re: Continued installation woes
                        Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                        I decided to do that because you told me to, despite the fact that the instructions are very clear that I should uninstall first.  But when I ran it and selected a program for removal, its confirmation question was worded this way: "Please confirm that you want to remove the selected product from Install Database."

                        That is what it is meant to do. of course you lose the ability to remove programs via your system control panel after that, but contrary to your concerns, after running the script the programs themselves remain intact. If you ever needed to remove them, you could then simply delete the respective directories.

                        Now, back to the installation language discussion.  When I ran install again, I realized that I don't even have a choice of language.  The first thing requested in the installation process is the serial number.  Then the agreement to the user contract, and then the "Options" screen that has the language selection.  If I have input a serial number, it chooses the language for me (in this case, "English (International)") and grays out the selection box.

                        That sounds fishy. Are you sure, you actually have the Korean/ Japanese region installer? Falling back to International English is only a last resort and should by all rights only occur on the generalized international installer. If you had the European and US American versions, you would even get an invalid serial warning. I'd definitely Investigate that.

                        When the installation fails, it offers a choice of "Get Support", which leads to an web page about the Adobe Support Advisor,

                        The support advisor is useless, because Adobe play the spy game and never actually tell you what is wrong. You could post a install log (C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Installers) and I might have a look at it, but no promises about anything. And yes, the files can become very large because results of successive installs/ uninstalls are appended, rather than the old file overwritten. So if you wanna be a good person, delete the old log before trying your install and present us wit has slim a log as possible...



                        • 9. Re: Continued installation woes
                          OsakaWebbie Level 1
                          Are you sure, you actually have the Korean/ Japanese region installer?

                          Well, I downloaded it from the Japanese Adobe website, and the installer's UI is all in Japanese - that should be enough evidence.

                          And yes, the files can become very large because results of successive installs/ uninstalls are appended, rather than the old file overwritten.

                          Actually, looking at the directory (thanks for telling me where to look), it would appear that it appends to the same file on any given day, but starts a new file on a different day.  I have five log files for AE CS4, of varying sizes, and they all have dates in the filename (the two biggest ones are the day I did uninstall/installs with Adobe on the phone and yesterday when I did several tries).  One is quite small (71kB compressed), and the date would indicate that that was not a full installation (an update, perhaps?).  If I try an installation again (perhaps after talking to Adobe again tomorrow), I'll set aside the file after only one installation and let you look at it.  I wish I could look at them myself, but I don't think I have an uncompressor tool that will handle gz files.


                          Unless there is some bug in just the International English installation (the only successful install happened to be U.S. English; all the rest, which errored out, were International English), it still sounds like the environment is not properly prepared for the installation, because the only success was the first time.  But as you clarified what Clean Script does (exactly what I suspected), I can't imagine that deleting the files by hand after Clean Script removes the DB reference is going to be more effective than letting the uninstaller do the work (in fact, I would assume the opposite - I'm sure the uninstaller will do much more than I could figure out, like registry entries and files in other folders besides the main program one).


                          Off to other events for a few hours (or the rest of the day - I don't have any new tricks to try, unless you have an idea).

                          • 10. Re: Continued installation woes
                            yenaphe Level 4

                            Well I guess you'll have to wait for your support call tomorrow because you seem a bit reluctant to try our suggestions.


                            I know sometimes it can be scary, but if you're not willing to try, sadly we can't help you, because without these steps it's really complicated for us to narrow down the problem.


                            Keep us informed from what the support will tell you to try and if it was effective or not.

                            • 11. Re: Continued installation woes
                              OsakaWebbie Level 1

                              Please be patient with me - I'm not trying to be difficult.   I didn't realize that Mylenium also was recommending that I run Clean Script instead of uninstall - I thought he was confirming my understanding of what it does.  Perhaps I'm a little slow, but please help me understand.  Here are what seem to be the facts:

                              1. An application's Uninstall routine removes files and folders, possibly also registry entries, and finally removes the entry in the install database that tells Windows that the program exists.
                              2. The only thing Clean Script does is remove the database entry.  (Quoting Mylenium: "...after running the script the programs themselves remain intact.")  I assume the purpose of such a tool is to fix the database if an  uninstall failed to remove the entry properly (however, my uninstall seems to do that correctly).
                              3. If I run Clean Script before Uninstall, I will be unable to run Uninstall after that, because the database entry will be gone, so I can't select it in Add & Remove Programs.
                              4. If I am still trying to get my computer to the clean state that it was in before I first installed CS4 the first time, after running Clean Script I would  have to manually delete all the various things (files, registry entries, and whatever else there might be - I am definitely not smart enough to know what all needs removing).


                              If some of these things are not true, please correct me so that I can understand how it really works.  If, on the other hand, these things are true, then I'm having trouble seeing how Clean Script could possibly help in my case, or what I'm supposed to do after I run it.  Mylenium seemed to think it was good news that Clean Script would leave my non-working installation of AE in place, but I don't understand why.  Can one of you tell me all the steps I would need to take after running Clean Script in order to clean up the rest of my installation?

                              • 12. Re: Continued installation woes
                                OsakaWebbie Level 1

                                The Adobe lady had me do lots of things to troubleshoot (disable a bunch of processes, create a new user to use for the installation, etc.), but I still kept getting Error 2.  She did have me try running Clean Script after I had uninstalled, but as before, CS4 wasn't in the list of choices, which she considered an indication that uninstall worked correctly and Clean Script was not needed.  I asked her about running Clean Script without uninstalling, and she said no, that's not what it's for, but it's for fixing failed uninstalls.  She said that Adobe's next suggested step will probably be to uninstall/re-install PPro CS3 as well, which I refuse to do until I'm done with this project (in a month at most), because if PPro won't install, I'll have a much bigger problem.  So if that is their only other suggestion, I'll limp along until this project is done.


                                After that, I mimicked my first installation exactly, including selecting U.S. English instead of International even though that means I wouldn't be able to input my SN, just as a test.  Still nothing changed, so I put in another call to Adobe - they will call me again in the morning (they are always too busy to talk to me when I call them, but have to call me back instead - sigh!).


                                Meanwhile, this evening I tried more drastic things.  I uninstalled, then hunted down as many files as I could find that seemed to be left over (looking at file creation dates as a clue as to what was related to CS4 vs. previously installed things) and renamed them to hide them from the installer, and then, in my most drastic step, I ran System Restore to turn the clock back to the day before I first installed it.  I had high hopes for that method - System Restore should be even more "clean" than anything else that can be tried, including Clean Script.  But alas, the subsequent installation still "completed with errors" (I forgot to look at the details to see if it was Error 2 again, but it seems likely).  The installation log file is attached, if you are interested.


                                Finally, I tried your suggestion, even though Adobe does not recommend it and you never wrote back to tell me what to do next.  So I have run Clean Script when the application was still installed.  It seemed to work pretty hard (it called that "...Addition.exe" file a zillion times with different parameters), but as expected, the application is still there and the entry in "Add and Remove Programs" is gone.  When I started up AE to see what state it was in, I was surprised to see that when I selected Open Project, the Open dialog went right to where I had been working on stuff.  Weird!  After both a massive System Restore and the Clean Script, it still remembers the last directory I accessed???  I wonder how deep that information hides...


                                Anyway, now I have discovered that my symptoms have changed.  I hadn't actually been trying to render a comp after each of these "Error 2" installs, but this time I decided to try it for a change.  It succeeded!  The RAM usage kept alternating between 59% and 60%, and it didn't crash.  But then I discovered a bigger problem: Anytime I lose focus on the AE window and then come back to it, it makes the menu disappear for several seconds (like it is trying to redraw it or something), and then gives this error: "After Effects error: failed to parse transmap file (83::2)".  If I click on OK, the error message immediately comes back again (and again and again...).  I have to kill the program using the Task Manager.  I tried to Google that error, but there were very few hits, and all involving fonts used in compositions.  But in my case, not only do I not have any text in my comps, but this error happens with no project open at all!  Could this be also related to installation problems, or did I screw up something else by my own folder cleanup, the System Restore, or Clean Script?


                                It's WAY past my bedtime, but if you have any suggestions I'll try them when I get up, before Adobe calls again.  They seem to be running out of ideas, and they haven't yet "escalated" me, which might be helpful - I get the same lady, who is nice but has to put me on hold repeatedly to check on things (presumably to ask someone with more experience).

                                • 13. Re: Continued installation woes
                                  yenaphe Level 4

                                  Well it's very weird that you can use your After Effects after the clean script.


                                  I would remove completly AE files, and reinstall from scratch.


                                  But, i don't want to freighten you, but it seems that your problem is more profound that it seems, and maybe it will be necessary to reinstall your system.

                                  • 14. Re: Continued installation woes
                                    Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                                    Okay, let's clarify some things:


                                    Install and Clean scripts


                                    The clean script removes ther normal Windows installer database and the Adobe installer database entries. A normal uninstall does not. On teh contrary, it adds additional entries into the Adobe install database (caps.db) to keep track of how many times you have installed/uninstalled and what otehr components may still be left on your system.


                                    File references


                                    These are stored in teh AE prefs and the Windows registry as MRU lists (most recently used). Since most Windows system restores are differential (to save time and resources), some of that may still remain in its last active state if it is not relevant for overall system functionality. The prefs do, anyway, and MRU lists in the registry are stored in your user key branch, which holds all your stuff for file associations and other configuration. It's kinda logical that this will not be blindly deleted or changed, as you wouldn't wanan lose all that info.




                                    Your interface uses fonts, does it not? Thouse would be active even without any project loaded or you doing anything. I think here we are again returning to some of our initial suspicions - plain and simple ugly language issues/ Unicode conversion issues.


                                    I'm really sorry, but I'm running out of ideas on how to fix this post-facto. It would seem that indeed a full re-install of the whole system in Japanese and then installing AE in Japanese as well would be the only way to get this fixed. You clearly have a very exotic situation that never was covered during testing and thus no proper, established solution exists, unfortunate as it is. Anyway, let us know how things progress. We wil lhelp wherever we can, if only with handholding and lending an ear.



                                    • 15. Re: Continued installation woes
                                      OsakaWebbie Level 1

                                      Reporting in again with the latest news about OsakaWebbie's crazy AE problems...


                                      Adobe is really trying to help.  I think my issue has now been escalated - before today it was always the same gal who called me back, but after my second call today a guy called back.  And he never put me on hold to check on anything - until he felt the need to contact the main Adobe in the U.S. and get back to me, all the other answers were at his fingertips.  (And he seems more willing than the gal to recognize that I know my way around Windows a bit - I no longer have to listen to the Japanese ultra-polite version of, "In the lower left corner there's a Start button - click on that..."  I used to work in Tech Support for HP back in the 80's, so I do understand why it's a good idea not to skip steps in the instructions, but it was getting a little tiresome.)  And the issue is not solved, but it's better, and if it never gets better than this, I can live with it in the short run.


                                      First of all, this morning I did one more uninstall/install series, and finally I got through an install with no errors.  But the transmap error cycle was still coming up when the window would lose and regain focus, so I told the Adobe gal about that when she called this morning.  As a first troubleshooting step, she asked me to try removing any User Presets, which I had one of (which survived the System Restore - go figure).  When that didn't work, she next began attacking the fonts - she asked me to temporarily delete (move) all fonts except the ones that came with Windows, for which she provided a list.  That changed my number of fonts from 525 to 76 (I didn't realize I had so many fonts - I had installed a whole big font pack just so it would be there, but that was probably overkill).  It was after that that I discovered that the number of times the transmap error appears is actually finite, not a loop - with the standard fonts only, and even with some favorites added back (I have 109 right now), the error message appears exactly 26 times, and after it does the 26-dance once, I can then change focus freely and it won't happen again until after I close and reopen AE.  The guy had me try a few other things, but no complete cure was found, so he wants to check with the U.S. for more ideas.  But clicking a button 26 times and then having full use of the software is a lot better situation than anything else I had been experiencing lately.


                                      By the way, not once did he even hint anything about questioning my English installation - I think it's perfectly normal (and a tested configuration) to have Japanese Windows and the Japanese download of AE, but install it in English.  The problems started when I reinstalled, and more recently, when I did a System Restore (I think he suspects, as I do, that something in the restore process messed up my fonts or a registry of the fonts).  He's continuing to research it, but like I said, the pressure is off, as this is usable.