Some general comments, and reading (some for PPro, but concepts are the same)
Some specific information that is needed...
Brand/Model Computer (or Brand/Model Motherboard if self-built)
How much system memory you have installed, such as 2Gig or ???
Operating System version, such as Win7 64bit Pro... or whatevevr
-including your security settings, such as are YOU the Administrator
-and have you tried to RIGHT click the program Icon and then select
-the Run as Administrator option (for Windows, not sure about Mac)
Your Firewall settings and brand of anti-virus are you running
Brand/Model graphics card, sush as ATI "xxxx" or nVidia "xxxx"
-or the brand/model graphics chip if on the motherboard
-and the exact driver version for the above graphics card/chip
-and how much video memory you have on your graphics card
Brand/Model sound card, or sound "chip" name on Motherboard
-and the exact driver version for the above sound card/chip
Size(s) and configuration of your hard drive(s)... example below
-and how much FREE space is available on each drive (in Windows
-you RIGHT click the drive letter while using Windows Explorer
-and then select the Properties option to see used/free space)
While in Properties, be sure you have drive indexing set OFF
-for the drive, and for all directories, to improve performance
My 3 hard drives are configured as... (WD = Western Digital)
1 - 320G WD Win7 64bit Pro and all programs
2 - 320G WD Win7 swap file and video projects
3 - 1T WD all video files... read and write
Make sure you have the default Windows hard drive indexing set to OFF for all hard drives and folders
Some/Much of the above are available by going to the Windows
Control Panel and then the Hardware option (Win7 option name)
OR Control Panel--System--Hardware Tab--Device Manager for WinXP
Plus Video-Specific Information http://forums.adobe.com/thread/459220?tstart=0
And, finally, the EXACT type and size of file that is causing you problems
-for pictures, that includes the camera used and the pixel dimensions
Read Bill Hunt on a file type as WRAPPER http://forums.adobe.com/thread/440037?tstart=0
What is a CODEC... a Primer http://forums.adobe.com/thread/546811?tstart=0
What CODEC is INSIDE that file? http://forums.adobe.com/thread/440037?tstart=0
For PC http://www.headbands.com/gspot/ or http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/en
This is aimed at Premiere Pro, but may help
Work through all of the steps (ideas) listed at http://forums.adobe.com/thread/459220?tstart=0
If your problem isn't fixed after you follow all of the steps, report back with ALL OF THE DETAILS asked for in the FINALLY section at the troubleshooting link
Also, tuning Win7
Temp/Cookie Cleaner http://www.mixesoft.com/
Win7 Toolbar http://WindowsSecrets.com/comp/110210
More Win7 Tips http://windowssecrets.com/comp/110127
Utilities http://windowssecrets.com/comp/110106 (Startup Solutions)
Win7 Help http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/w7itpro/
Win7 Configuration Article http://windowssecrets.com:80/comp/100218
Win7 Monitor http://windowssecrets.com:80/comp/100304
Win7 Optimizing http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/servicecfg.htm
Win7 Virtual XP http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/
More on Virtual XP http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5607&tag=col1;post-5607
Win7 Adobe Notes http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/508/cpsid_50853.html#tech
Win7 Adobe Update Server Problem http://forums.adobe.com/thread/586346?tstart=0
An Adobe Win7 FAQ http://forums.adobe.com/thread/511916?tstart=0
More Win7 Tips/FAQ http://forums.adobe.com/thread/513640?tstart=0
Win7 God Mode http://forums.adobe.com/thread/595255?tstart=0
CS5 Install Error http://forums.adobe.com/thread/629281?tstart=0
CS5 Help Problem http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/842/cpsid_84215.html
Win7 and Firewire http://forums.adobe.com/thread/521842?tstart=0
Win7 64bit Crashing and "a" fix http://forums.adobe.com/thread/580435?tstart=0
Harm's Tools http://forums.adobe.com/thread/504907
I agree, guys. My Premiere Elements 9 flies on Windows 7 -- and I don't think I've got nearly the power of the original poster's machine.
Much could have to do with the source video or the project settings he/she is using. Or, as suggested, it could indicate something not cleaned, updated or tuned on his/her machine.
I've tended to struggle with the performance of PE9 on Windows 7 myself. After having read through the material posted here, and corrected certain things (specifically drive allocation, and an upgrade to a new graphics card) I've gotten PE9 to perform somewhat adequately. After doing my own Perfmon analysis it's clear to me that drive and memory configurations can only marginally effect the performance of PE9. Ultimately the major bottleneck is in the processing queue.
I'm running a Pentium 4 3GHz dual core with 2GB RAM on Windows 7 32bit, with all current rev levels up to date. I have a NVIDIA GeForce GT450 graphics processor with 1752MB of memory. I allocate system paging and virtual memory to my system internal drive, and PE9 workspace to a second 1TB internal SATA drive. After reading through the material noted above I started wondering if a third SATA would alleviate some of the bottleneck, but before investing in that I decided to do a rather comprehensive analysis of what was going on with Perfmon to get a better picture of what PE9 is doing and determine if a third drive would make much of a difference.
To make sure I wasn't flavoring my results I used TuneUp Utilities to put my computer into Turbo mode which scales down the vast majority of the OS graphics and non-essential background processes while I captured the perfmon results.
It was clear to me the key bottlenecks are in the processor and processor queue. There's very little physical read/write to any of the drives during these slowdowns. There's a slight build-up in the logical read/write queues on the disks, but that's relatively minimal and dissipates quickly. The same is pretty much true with memory as well. It stays in the mid to upper range of usage, but still has significant unused memory available. What stays high, intermittently maxes out, and doesn't dissipate so quickly are the processor and processor queues. In fact the processor queues are alarmingly high, which suggests to me that PE9 may have threads that are deadlocking which coincides with a rather high number of synchronization objects such as mutexes and semaphores.
Given all of this, it doesn't appear to me that you will squeeze much more real performace out of additional work drives or memory configurations as is suggested in the articles cited here. Most likely the only real solution that would offer any noteable difference would be to upgrade to 64-bit which would broaden the pipeline in the processor queue to alleviate some of the strain.
PE9 is my first encounter with this software as I never used anything prior, so I can't really speak to any differences in the versions. As to the orignal poster specific problem, I was also having problems initially with PE9 seizing up and even crashing as well. I seemed to eliminate these problems when I went to a newer graphics card. I was using a Radeon X1950 with 1GB of memory, but ATI was not supporting that card on Windows 7. You may want to look at your graphics processor as it appears PE9 is pretty particular about them and your card may not be able to be rev'd up to Windows 7.
Updated graphics card and a good driver for that card has done wonders for many with APE8 and APE9 in this beautiful forum.Try that and let us know