Do other panels break down in AE or any other Adobe apps? What is your screen resolution? What input devices do you use? I get the impression that this is some issue with registering the mouse position correctly and/or AE is miscalculating placemnht of soem elements. Can you provide one of these files for inspection on another system?
I appreciate your answer, but I feel I can safely rule out mouse-misalignment because the rest of AE's UI functions exactly as you'd expect it to. Furthermore, if I share a corrupted file to another machine, the other user will experience the same 'lockup' of the A/V Features column. Which leads me to believe that, if it's not a bug, it's some setting that is getting changed in the project's settings / preferences.
All of us in my production department are at our wit's end. :-(
I still would suggest you provide the file to aebugs @ adobe . com along with a reference to this thread and additional info. The engineers can open the file in their debugging tools or a sandboxed testing environment and check for internal structure problems without messing up a working environment... Naturally this doesn't provide a solution, but missing or extraneous bytes or repetitive patterns could offer some clue as to what kind of thing is happening...
Did you discover a solution to this problem? I am working on AE CS4 and have just come up against a similar issue - specifically the "shy" menu button not working. Function dropped half-way through a project and now I have a bunch of layers that I am unable to access!
Any help would be hugely appreciated!!