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Troubleshooting Final Cut Pro X Data and Settings Corruption Problems

Ashley Kennedy

Beat your Final Cut Pro X crashing problems with these simple troubleshooting tips!

Encountering editing standstills because of software crashes is definitely one of the most frustrating problems for an editor.  So, if Final Cut Pro X won’t launch, crashes while launching, or crashes while open, follow these basic troubleshooting tips to try to quickly get yourself back up-and-running.

1.  Trash your FCP X Preferences

As in many editing applications, deleting preference files can often help clear up buggy behavior.

To delete your FCP X Preferences:

  1. Quit FCP X.
  2. Locate and delete your preference files.
    • User > Library > Preferences > com.apple.FinalCut.plist.
    • User > Library > Preferences > com.apple.FinalCut.LSShardFileList.plist. To perform this deletion automatically, you can instead use a free application called Preference Manager 3.0.

    If this seems to fix your problems and you’re sure that FCP X is again running smoothly, you can make a backup of your “clean” preference files via the Preference Manager restore option.

2.  Troubleshoot your Events and Projects using Divide and Conquer

If trashing your preferences doesn’t solve your problems, you should next go after your Events, and then your Projects to see if there is any data corruption.  You will use the Divide and Conquer method.

To divide and conquer your Events:

  1. To determine if you might have corrupt media file(s), remove all of your Events (located either inside your Movies folder on your system drive, or at the root directory of your media drive in a folder called Final Cut Events).  To do this, just move the Final Cut Events folder inside another folder, thereby “hiding” the Events from FCP X.
  2. When you re-launch FCP X, if everything launches ok, then chances are, one of your Events is causing the problem.
  3. To determine exactly which of the Events is at fault, you need to add your Events back to the proper location one-by-one, and then relaunch FCP X each time to try to determine the offender.  If you find the problematic Event using this method, then you should proceed to Divide and Conquer to determine exactly which media file is the culprit.
  4. To Divide and Conquer, remove half of the media from the Event, and then relaunch FCP X.  Continue this method of process of elimination to locate the corrupt media file.

To divide and conquer your Projects:

  • If dividing and conquering your Event library doesn’t work, repeat Steps 1-4 above with your Projects.  (Your FCP X projects are located either inside your Moves folder on your system drive, or at the root directory of your media drive in a folder called Final Cut Projects.)

Automate the process!

To perform the above troubleshooting steps automatically, you can use Event Manager X to manage your Events and Projects and find any problematic data.

With Event Manager X, you are able to mount specific projects and events, which can help you divide and conquer with ease.  It even has a command that allows you to re-open FCP X after each mounting and unmounting.

Also, you can use Event Manager X to open only the projects and events you will be working on.  This will help greatly in making FCP X run smoothly, as having too many open can tend to bog the system down.

3.  Clear out your render files

If you’ve performed Steps 1 and 2 above and you still haven’t found the issue, your problem could be caused by a corrupt render file.  To clean house, follow the steps outlined in this PremiumBeat blog entry.

4.  Log in under a different User

Occasionally, FCP X problems lie within your User profile.  So, try logging in under a different User (after trying Steps 1-3 above).  If the problem goes away, you could have a corrupt User profile, so you’ll need to create a new one.

5.  Re-install FCP X

If all of the above steps didn’t work, it’s time to try a fresh install.  First, uninstall FCP X from your system (by removing FCP X from Applications folder and throwing it in the trash).  Then, re-download and install FCPX from the App Store.

Once you’re sure that the problem has been eliminated, you can make a back up copy of the software to install during future troubleshooting sessions.