Welcome to the forum.
First, here are some general things to look into:
- Insure that you have the latest audio and video drivers installed from the mfgr's. Web sites
- Insure that you have the latest version of Apple's QuickTime installed
- Insure that you have the latest updates for Win7
If you are still having issues, then see this ARTICLE for the types of info that will be so very useful. In your case, pay attention to the hardware and software aspects, as you are not even getting to the point of Project Presets, or Assets.
For some tips on setting up one's computer for an editing session, see this ARTICLE. For Win7, be sure to see the tips in the linked Black Viper Win7 Tuneup.
Thanks for the feedback! I will certainly give those steps a try and see if they help.
If they do not, please see the "Clean, Lean..." article for Win7 tune up, and if you are still not getting things working, let us know all about your computer. Likely something in there will trigger with one of the users here, and they can spot a conflict.
My apologies for delayed response but took me some time to work through the various suggestions, which unfortunately didn't seem to help as the app continued to crash trying to create a new project or open an existing one. Interestingly enough, a few days ago I tried creating a new project and opening an existing one out of the blue and both worked. However, this evening I tried again and it crashed. I really don't know what to think about that since it makes absolutely no sense. It's become very frustrating to work with Premiere Elements since I've had the same exact problem with multiple versions now. I'd like to try and keep working things here for the moment.
What specific information would be helpful about my system to help troubleshoot further? Make, model, amount of memory, GPU, etc?
Try disabling your anti-virus software before starting a PRE session.
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children
It sounds like something is interfering with the operation of the program, though not always.
Neale's suggesting is a great place to start.
As many programs and processes can interfere with an NLE (Non Linear Editor), many recommend shutting down every unnecessary program/process, prior to beginning editing. This ARTICLE mentions ways to get a Clean, Lean, Mean Editing Machine.
Even a powerful machine can bog down, as other programs/processes steal CPU cycles and other resources.
Most computers, and especially new ones, have lots of programs/processes that are unnecessary, and a lot of those are really unnecessary when doing Video editing. Even programs that ARE necessary for other operations, do nothing but get in the way, during Video editing.