I recently purchased the Master Collection of CS4 I did custom install and only unticked one or two of the main programs included. When I go to launch After Effects the load screen runs then stops after 2 seconds and then it has that error noise for Windows but no message. Fireworks is unable to launch as well for me (but actually has an error message) and I wasn't sure if that was related. I have Windows Xp. And I've been reading around seeing that people were saying to get an update but I don't have a Mac so I wasn't sure if I needed that. Right now I'm uninstalling and see if I reinstall without the custom install if it works, but it just takes forever to install and I only need the programs I unticked on another laptop.
Computer? Graphics card? Does your XP have all the service packs and other updates? Also, believe it or not, the updates do fix a number of things on PCs, too, so install them.