Fix corrupted After Effects files: The only guide you need

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Are you looking for a quick way to solve corrupted After Effects files? Without further ado, here’s what you should do.
  • Many users have tried to use File History or a third-party recovery tool to correct the issue. Others started a new project and imported the file.
  • Upgrading to the latest Adobe After Effects version is our top recommendation. Don’t worry as preferences and settings from your previous version are all migrated.
  • Visit our Adobe Troubleshooting Hub as it has more detailed solutions to all your current Adobe problems.
How to fix corrupted After Effects files

Imagine working on a project in Adobe After Effects and the file you were working on suddenly won’t open. A thing of nightmares, certainly. But not as uncommon as one would imagine.

If the saving procedure is interrupted, the file might get damaged or unsupported.

This is where incremental backups and autosaves come in handy, but if you (for some reason) have only one version of the file, here’s how to try and fix After Effects file. Don’t hold your hopes high, though.

How can I fix corrupt Adobe After Effects files?

  1. Upgrade to the latest Adobe After Effects version
  2. Check the autosaves
  3. Start a new project and import the file
  4. Try with QuickTime
  5. Use File History or a third-party recovery tool

1. Upgrade to the latest Adobe After Effects version

upgrade Adobe After Effects

Maybe the best thing to do in your case is to start from scratch. Installing the latest version of After Effects is a no-brainer, yet it definitely helps you fix the corrupted files that are giving you a hard time.

This automatically uninstalls previous versions of After Effects, while preferences and settings from all of them are migrated to the current one.

Moreover, you get the chance to enjoy all significant upgrades and new features packed in this amazing digital visual effects application.

Download After Effects latest version

2. Check the autosaves

If you have the Auto-save feature enabled, there should be at least a dozen backups stored locally. Sadly, this feature isn’t enabled by default so, if you haven’t enabled it by hand, this won’t be of any help.

The backup folder is found in the standard save location. In addition, make sure to clear the cached data to prevent render functions from kicking in in the later steps.

If you don’t have any auto-saves, continue with the steps below.

3. Start a new project and import the file

Many affected users managed to address the issue at hand with a simple workaround. By starting a new project and importing the corrupted file, they were able to access it.

This is a common solution for corrupt After Effects files which saved a lot of users from the hardship of progress loss.

It’s worth giving it a try. If you’re still stuck with the error at hand and running out of options, move to the next step.

4. Try with QuickTime

Another viable option to open corrupt, unsupported, or incomplete After Effects files are to install the QuickTime and Avid Meridian Codec.

This fixed it for some users, as they were able to access the corrupted files afterward. The procedure is rather simple and it doesn’t require any additional configuration or troubleshooting.

You can find the QuickTime installer, here. And the Avid Codec set is located here.

5. Use File History or a third-party recovery tool

Finally, the only suggestions which cross our mind are recovery tools. If you’ve configured it, you can use the built-in File History to retrieve the older version of the file.

On the other hand, you can just stop making any changes to the hard drive and use any third-party recovery tool to restore older versions of the file that way.

We encourage you to share alternative solutions if you’re aware of any in the comments section below. And please back up your future projects as frequently as possible.

FAQ: Learn more about After Effects files

  • How can I fix corrupted After Effects files?

To fix corrupted After Effects files, upgrading to the latest Adobe After Effects version is recommended. Refer to this dedicated article for more solutions.

  • Does After Effects autosave?

Yes, After Effects has an Auto-Save feature. It will automatically save a copy of your file as you work.

  • Where are Auto-Save project files placed?

The Auto-Save project files can be found in a folder titled Adobe After Effects Auto-Save. This one is placed in the same folder as your project file.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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