Troubleshoot system errors and freezes on Illustrator CS4 (Windows Vista)

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Troubleshoot system errors and freezes on Illustrator CS4 (Windows Vista)

Troubleshoot system errors and freezes on Illustrator CS4 (Windows Vista)

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What's Covered

This document can help you to resolve system errors that occur while you use Adobe Illustrator CS4 on Windows Vista. System errors can manifest in many different ways, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • A blank or flickering dialog box
  • A frozen cursor or screen
  • A blue screen
  • An unexpected restart
  • An error such as one of the following:
    "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. If the problem persists, contact the program vendor."
    "Illustrator caused a General Protection Fault in module [filename]."
    "Illustrator caused an Invalid Page Fault in module [filename]."
    "Application Error."
    "Unhandled exception detected. Application will be terminated."
    "Illegal Instruction."
    "Segment load failure in [filename]."
    "Illustrator has encountered a problem and needs to close."
    "Fatal System Error."
    A STOP error

Many different factors can cause system errors, including conflicts among device drivers, applications, operating system settings, hardware, and corrupt elements in specific files. Although a system error may occur only when you work with Illustrator, Illustrator may not necessarily be the cause--it may be the only application that uses enough memory or processor cycles to expose the problem.

To benefit most from this document, perform the tasks in order. Keep track of the tasks that you perform and the results of each, including errors and other problems. Adobe Technical Support can use this information to better assist you if you need to call.

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform some of the procedures in this document.

Important: Some of the procedures in this document may initiate a User Account Control dialog that asks for your permission to continue. Read the details in the dialog to determine if you want to continue. If you choose to cancel the dialog, then you will not be able to continue with that troubleshooting step.

Note: The procedures in this document are based on the default interface of Windows Vista, with the exception of the Control Panel: this document assumes you are using the Classic View of the Control Panel. To view the Control Panel in the Classic View, click Classic View in the left pane of the Control Panel window.

Some of these procedures may require you to locate hidden files, hidden folders, or files by their full file names, which include extensions (for example, Setup.exe). By default, Windows Explorer doesn't show hidden files, hidden folders, and file name extensions that it recognizes. To make these items visible, see "Show hidden files, hidden folders, and all file name extensions in Windows Explorer (Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb404880).

Beginning troubleshooting

The tasks in this section can help you resolve the most common system errors. Before performing any of these tasks, back up all personal files (for example, Illustrator files you created). Always restart the computer after a system error occurs to refresh its memory. Continuing to work without restarting the computer may compound the problem.

1. Make sure that the system meets the minimum requirements for Illustrator CS4.

Illustrator may not run correctly on a system that doesn't meet the following requirements:

  • 2GHz or faster processor
  • Microsoft Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 (Service Pack 3
    recommended) or Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (certified for 32-bit Windows XP and Windows Vista)
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 2GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on flash-based storage devices
  • 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Broadband Internet connection required for online services

To check basic system information, such as processor speed and how much RAM is installed, choose Start > Control Panel > System.

2. Install the latest version of Illustrator.

The latest version of Illustrator may be more compatible with the operating system and drivers. Before you install an update or upgrade, make sure that the system meets the requirements.

Updates are available from the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/support/downloads. An upgrade, however, may solve a wider range of problems. (You may prefer to try the tasks in the rest of this document before upgrading.) You can purchase upgrades from Adobe Authorized Resellers and from Adobe directly:

  • To locate an Authorized Reseller, visit the Adobe website at http://partners.adobe.com/resellerfinder/na/findreseller.jsp and choose your country or region from the menu at the top of the page.
  • To purchase an upgrade from Adobe, visit the Adobe Store at http://store.adobe.com/store and choose your country or region from the menu at the top of the page.
  • To contact Adobe Customer Service in your region for assistance, visit the Adobe website at www.adobe.com, select your region from the menu at the top of the page, and then click Contact Us.

3. Install current Windows service packs and other updates.

See "Install current Windows service packs and other updates (Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb405107) for details.

4. Re-create the Illustrator preferences file.

Re-create the Illustrator preferences file to eliminate problems that a damaged preference file might cause.

Note: When you re-create the preferences file, unsaved actions are lost. To save actions that you created, choose Save Actions from the Actions palette menu.

To re-create the Illustrator preferences file:
  1. Quit Illustrator.
  2. Rename the AIPrefs file (for example, to AIPrefs.old) in the Users/(user)/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings folder.
  3. Start Illustrator. Illustrator creates a new preferences file.

If the problem continues, then the AIPrefs file isn't the cause. To restore custom settings, delete the new AIPrefs file and restore the original name of the previous AIPrefs file.

5. Run Illustrator CS4 while no other applications are running.

Some applications or services may cause system errors or freezes when running concurrently with Illustrator. Before starting Illustrator, disable other applications, including startup items and services (items that start automatically with Windows).

To disable startup items and non Microsoft services:

  1. Quit all applications.
  2. Choose Start, type msconfig in the Search text box, and press Enter.
  3. Write down all unselected items under the Startup and Services tabs.
  4. Click the General tab, and choose Selective Startup.
  5. Click the Startup tab and select Disable All.
  6. Reselect FLEXnet Licensing Service and select any startup items that are essential for testing the problem. If you are unsure whether an item is essential, leave it deselected (disabled).
  7. Click the Services tab, and check Hide All Microsoft Services.
  8. Select Disable All then re-select any services that are essential for testing the problem. If you are unsure whether an item is essential, leave it deselected (disabled).
  9. Click Apply, and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

    Note: Upon restart, you'll be notified that the System Configuration utility has made changes to the way that Windows starts up. Click OK. When the System Configuration utility appears click Cancel.

  10. Right-click icons in the Notification Area and close or disable any startup items that are still active.
Then, try to re-create the problem:
  • If the problem no longer occurs, one of the startup items is the cause of the problem.
  • If the problem recurs, startup items are not the cause of the problem and you can re-enable them:
    1. Choose Start, type msconfig in the Search text box, and press Enter.
    2. Click the General tab, and choose Normal Startup.
    3. Deselect any items that you wrote down in Step 3 of the previous section.
    4. Click Apply, and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

6. Change the Windows default printer.

Some system errors or freezes may be caused by an incompatible printer driver. To determine if the driver for the current default printer is causing the problem in Illustrator, change the default printer.

To change the default printer:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Printers.
  2. The current default printer is indicated by a check mark. Right-click on a different printer, or right-click on a document printer, such as Adobe PDF or Microsoft XPS Document Writer. Do not right-click on a network printer.
  3. Choose Set As Default Printer from the menu.

    Note: If no printer other than the current default printer is available, then create a virtual PostScript printer and set it as the default by doing the following:

    1. In the Printers window, click Add A Printer. The Add Printer Wizard will open.
    2. In the Add Printer Wizard, click Add A Local Printer.
    3. Select Use An Existing Port. Choose FILE from the pop-up menu. Click Next.
    4. Select a PostScript printer, such as Canon GP200/GP215 PostScript, HP LaserJet 4050 Series PS, or Lexmark Optra Color 45 PS. (The names of PostScript printers in the list generally end in "PostScript" or "PS.") Click Next.
    5. Type Virtual Printer in the Printer Name text box. Select Set As The Default Printer. Click Next.
    6. When the Add Printer Wizard displays the message "You've successfully added Virtual Printer," click Finish.

Once you have changed the default printer, try to re-create the problem in Illustrator. Then do one of the following:

  • If the problem still occurs, then a printer driver is not the cause of the problem. Restore the previous default printer and proceed to task 7.

  • If the problem no longer occurs, then install or reinstall the latest version of the driver for the previous default printer. (Go to the printer manufacturer's web site to download the latest driver.) Once you have installed the latest driver, open Printers in the Control Panel and restore that printer as the default printer. Then try again to re-create the problem in Illustrator. If the problem returns, then set the default printer back to the different printer or virtual PostScript printer that you chose in the steps above. Then, when you wish to print to your actual preferred printer from Illustrator, select that printer in the Print dialog.

7. Troubleshoot third-party plug-ins.

Remove third-party plug-ins from the Illustrator plug-ins folder, and then restart Illustrator. If the problem recurs, then move the plug-ins back to the Illustrator plug-ins folder and proceed to the next section of this document, "Intermediate troubleshooting." If the problem doesn't recur, then identify and address conflicting plug-ins.

To identify and address conflicting plug-ins:

  1. Move one third-party plug-in back to the Illustrator plug-ins folder.
  2. Restart Illustrator, and try to re-create the problem.
  3. If the problem doesn't recur, then begin again at step 1. If the problem does recur, then contact the developer of the plug-in that you last moved, and inquire about an update.

Intermediate Troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section don't solve the problem, then try the following intermediate troubleshooting tasks.

8. Reinstall Illustrator CS4 in Low resolution mode.

Note: You must install Illustrator CS4 in Low resolution mode, as the installer isn't compatible with Safe mode.

Device drivers and software that loads automatically with Windows (for example, screen savers and virus protection utilities) can conflict with the Illustrator installer and cause problems in Illustrator. To prevent conflict, reinstall Illustrator while Windows is in Low resolution mode. In Low resolution mode, nonstandard device drivers and startup software are disabled.

If reinstalling in Low resolution mode doesn't resolve the issue, then try installing and running Illustrator on a different computer, or on a different hard drive.

To reinstall Illustrator CS4 in Low resolution mode:

  1. Move any personal files out of the Illustrator folder and it's subfolders
  2. Uninstall Illustrator.
    - If you installed Illustrator from the Illustrator CS4 DVD, choose Start > Settings > Control Panel > Uninstall a Program. Select Illustrator CS4 and click Uninstall/Change. Follow the on-screen instructions.
    - If you installed Illustrator from any version of the Creative Suite 4 (Web, Design, Standard, Premium, etc..), choose Start > Settings > Control Panel > Uninstall a Program. Select Adobe Creative Suite 4 (Version of Suite) and click Uninstall/Change. Follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the Illustrator component of the suite.
  3. Choose Start, type msconfig in the Search text box, and press Enter.
  4. Write down all unselected items under the Startup and Services tabs.
  5. Click the General tab, and choose Diagnostic Startup.
  6. Click Apply, and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.
  7. Press the F8 key before Windows starts, when you see a message such as "For Advanced Startup Options.?
  8. Select Enable low-resolution video (640x480) from the list of startup options and press Enter.
  9. Install Illustrator from the installation media.
  10. Re-enable the disabled Startup items and services. To re-enable startup items and services:
    • Choose Start, type msconfig in the Search text box, and press Enter.
    • Click the General tab, and choose Normal Startup.
    • Deselect any items that you wrote down in Step 3 of the previous section.
    • Click Apply, and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

9. Run Illustrator in a new user account.

Create a new user account that has the same permissions as the account that you use when the problem occurs. If the problem doesn't recur, then the original user account may be damaged. For instructions on creating a new user account, see "To add a new user to the computer" in Windows Help or contact your system administrator.

10. Disable UAC (User Access Control).

See "Disable User Account Control (Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb404888) for details.

11. Update the video card driver.

Many video card manufacturers frequently update their software drivers. If you haven't recently updated the video card driver, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver, or download one from the manufacturer's website. (To determine the manufacturer of a video card, view the card's properties in Device Manager.)

12. Disable Windows Aero.

See "Disable Windows Aero(Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb404886) for details.

13. Verify that other device drivers are compatible with Windows Vista.

See "Verify that device drivers are compatible with Windows Vista" (TechNote kb404887) for details.

14. Optimize handling of temporary files by Windows Vista.

Windows and applications store working data in temporary (.tmp) files that they create on the hard disk. Excessive or outdated temporary files can interfere with performance of Windows or applications.

See "Delete temporary files using the Disk Cleanup utility (Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb404917) for details.

15. Set the virtual memory paging file to the default size.

See "Set the virtual memory paging file to the default size (Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb404939) for details.

16. Optimize scratch disks.

When insufficient RAM is available for bitmap image editing, Illustrator uses a scratch disk file--temporary disk space used for storing data and performing computations. Illustrator can create two scratch disk files of up to 2 GB each. Each scratch disk file must be on a separate partition.

The partition you specify as the primary scratch disk should have free space equal to three to five times the size of the average image file; specify a secondary scratch disk if you have an additional partition. If disk space is insufficient, then delete temporary files (see task 13) or remove other files from the hard disks.

To specify a scratch disk in Illustrator, choose Edit > Preferences > Plug-ins & Scratch Disk.

17. Repair and defragment hard disks.

System errors can occur if hard disks contain damaged sectors or fragmented files. Repair and defragment hard disks, either by using the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter utility included with Windows or by using a third-party disk utility (for example, Symantec Norton Utilities). You should run such utilities on each hard disk or partition. More information about the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter appears below; for more information about a third-party disk utility, refer to the documentation for the utility.

The Error-checking tool repairs bad sectors, lost allocation units and file fragments, cross-linked files, and invalid file names. To access the Error-checking tool, choose Start > Computer, right-click the desired hard disk, and choose Properties from the menu. In the Local Disk Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab, and then click Check Now in the Error-checking area.

Note: To prevent Disk Defragmenter from moving files to bad sectors of a disk, run the Error-checking tool before running Disk Defragmenter.

Disk Defragmenter rearranges the files and free space on your computer so that files are stored in contiguous units and free space is consolidated in one contiguous block. To access the Disk Defragmenter utility, choose Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

18. Scan the system for viruses.

Use current anti-virus software (for example, Symantec Norton Antivirus or McAfee Virus Scan) to check the system for viruses. Virus infections can damage software and cause system errors. For more information, see the documentation for the anti-virus software.

Advanced Troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section don't resolve the problem, then you may be able to resolve the problem by reinstalling Windows Vista and Illustrator, reformatting your hard disk and reinstalling Windows Vista and Illustrator, or by determining if hardware is conflicting with Illustrator.

Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support hardware and provides these procedures as a courtesy only. For further assistance, contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized reseller. If you troubleshoot hardware problems yourself, then you may void the warranty for your computer.

Note: Before you remove or rearrange hardware, turn off and disconnect power to the computer and any peripheral devices.

19. Log in using the built-in Administrator account.

The built-in Administrator account has a higher access level to the system than a normal local administrator account. By default the built-in Administrator account is disabled. For information about enabling and logging in to the built-in Administrator account, contact your system administrator. You can also refer to this support document on the Microsoft support website: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/926183/en-us?spid=11737&sid=73.

20. Check for problems with RAM modules.

See "Check for problems with RAM DIMMs" (TechNote kb404980) for details.

21. Contact Adobe Technical Support.
If none of the above steps has resolved the error or freeze that you are experiencing with Illustrator, then you need to contact Adobe Technical Support. You can find the support options at the Support Center.

Version Info

Illustrator CS4

Deutsch, English, Français

TechNote Details

Last Update: 11-17-2008
ID: kb403877
OS:
  • Windows Vista
Permanent Link: http://www.adobe.com/go/kb403877
Products Affected:

Illustrator

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