Could not initialize Photoshop because the preferences file was invalid

Problem

When you open Photoshop on your Mac, you may get the following error:

 ”Could not load actions because an unexpected end-of-file was encountered.”

Which is then followed by another error:

“Could not initialize Photoshop because the preferences file was invalid (it has been deleted).”

Cause

This is caused by corrupt preference files.

Solution

Select the tab below with your operating system:
[tabs][tab title="Mac"]

  1. Go to your home folder.
  2. Go to your User Library folder.[note] If you are unable to see your User Library folder, please follow this post [/note]
  3. Go to the Preferences folder.
  4. Delete the “Adobe Photoshop CS5 Settings” (or similar name) folder.(Folder name may differ depending on what version you have)

[/tab]
[tab title="Windows"]

  1. Click the Start button (Windows XP users should then click Run).
  2. Type %appdata% and press Enter.
  3. Open the Adobe folder.
  4. Open the Adobe Photoshop CS5 (or similar name) folder.
  5. Delete the “Adobe Photoshop CS5 Settings” (or similar name) folder.

[/tab][/tabs]

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    • Thanx man- you just saved my day..! The first workaround didn´t work for me so I tried your post- and Photoshop works again..!

    • MAKE SURE YOU CLICK THE PHOTSHOP ICON TO OPEN FIRST

      THEN HOLD DOWN CTRL / SHIFT / ALT

      If you hold the keys down BEFORE clicking icon then it won’t work. Just FYI, it was driving me crazy and I finally figured it out… Thanks for the info by the way!!

  1. thanksssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
    u help me a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    aghain thanks

    ya Ali

  2. I did this and still get the same error message, with the additional error message “cant find workspace folder”.

  3. WAY COOL!! Thanks so much. I thought i was going to have to uninstall and reinstall the whole program but this worked.

  4. thank you, that fixed it with the command alt shift key had to reload photoshop to get it to work but worked the second time.

  5. Thank you so much ………………i participated in design contest and just one day left and my Photoshop creating this prob but fixed now ,thanks alot

  6. Hey! I had the same problem but when i checked on the libraries folder i didn’t find any photoshop files or anything… Help?

    • Try reinstalling Photoshop. Also, try it on another user account and without any plugins to help isolate the issue.

  7. Worked fine for me!

    When PS doesn’t find the folder there, it just creates a new one. I think I’ve lost my preferences but that’s no big deal.

    Thanks!

  8. Funny! I haven’t had this problem in so long, 12 years, I had completely forgotten about this bug.

  9. Dear help desk – Sorry I resent as checked to notify by email – thanks

    I did what you recommended but no improvement- perhaps this works for most others applications. I am using a fairly new Toshiba laptop that is foolproof for most anything for two years now and I do above and beyond in Photoshop as a professional photographer. I just encountered this tonight when trying to open my Photoshop CS5 64 Bit. It will not open- Even after deleting the preference files as you say- I had two of them. There was no improvement- I also find it funny that others say “go open photoshop and add “named such” new prefrences…? huh? How can you go to Photoshop and open it to add new preferences when you cannot open it to begin with? Like when you are out of gas, Go start your car and drive to the gas station to get more gas?

    Please suggest exactly how to reset these preferences files. I am stuck without being able to open my Phoptoshop CS5 on my Vista Windows now.

    Thanks
    Mark

    • The instructions on how to reset the preferences are outlined above. Was it the “Adobe Photoshop CS5 Settings” folder that you deleted?

  10. Thank you so much !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You Help me a Lot! Great job!!!!!God Bless You!
    Thank you !!!!!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this, I was afraid to do it, but what did I have to lose as PS6 wasn’t working anyway. Very helpful!

  12. I am getting the message ” ”Could not load actions because an unexpected end-of-file was encountered.” in Adobe photoshop 7.0 . My problem was not solved by deleting ” Adobe Photoshop settings ” . I am getting message arm.dll file was corrupt. Sir , Please help me .

    My mail id : pushparaj_ece@yahoo.com

  13. Thank you so much! I would never of considered deleting MORE Photoshop folders in order to solve the problem! Thanks!!!

  14. I cannot figure out step 3 on Mac. I also typed out what the folder could have been and looked at each one and couldn’t figure out step 4 as well. Thanks for all the help in advanced.

    Cheers

    • Sounds like you are just having some trouble getting to the User Library.

      Another way to access it is, from Finder, click Go (on the top menu), hold Alt and then click on Library.

    • Hi Laura.

      You will have to reload them yes. Due to the deletion of the preference folder this will have removed all preferences of the program. This will include any plug-ins and actions that were priorly available.

      Deleting the preferences has essentially reset the program. Only updates and major modifications should remain unchanged.

  15. Hey!
    I can’t find the User Library folder, when I go to my personal folder i can’t find anything with this name. I have also tried to find the photoshop setting document but i can’t find it! i’M DESESPERATE!!! ARGHHHHH

    • Apple removed the link by default in Lion and later. If you select the finder, click “go” in the top menu and hold the alt/option key to reveal the library link, details in this post. Alternatively follow this post.

      We will make the links more explicit in the article in the future to avoid confusion.

  16. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been messing with this for a couple of days, even tried uninstalling and reinstalling – LIFESAVER

  17. Thanks … it worked…… in fact… it sped up my photoshop App, didn’t realize how bloated I made it over time… thanks dude

  18. Thank You Very Much!!!! ive been finding the solution for about 2 months and no one seems to know!!!! until i get to this forum!!!! thank you very much :’>

  19. It worked like magic, was already thinking of how to how to get a setup for another installation. What can without people and the internet. Thanks a lot.

  20. OMG!!! THANKU, I had to force quit a file InDesign and my Photoshop started to display this message.

  21. OMGosh! Thank you SO much! I uninstalled and then reinstalled the entire suite, thinking somehow I had accidently deleted something…only to find out from you that it was a corrupted file. THANKS, my sanity has officially been restored. Life can continue as normal.

  22. OMG thankyou so much after a month of back and forth with ADOBE and no fix… i should have just googled it…. YOUR AMAZEBALLS… thankyou so much for this post!!!

  23. I am not seeing the preferences file at all in the library and I still get the “preferences file invalid and has been deleted” message every time I try and open you photoshop 6 on my main account. However when I login to the guest account it works fine. But all of my work is on the main account

  24. Thanks a ton buddy! I was feeling helpless when I could not initialize cs..I was not getting any error message…it was just giving NOT RESPONDING ….on the top….Also, I found AWSCommonUI.dll as a new folder that was created since the time when Photoshop could not initialize. I deleted that and later followed your instructions and……abra…ca…dabra……IT WORKED MAN…..thanks a lot

  25. Hi, it seems I don’t have a ” Adobe Photoshop CS5 Settings ” file in my preferences folder.. what do I do now ?

  26. This tip absolutely WORKS!!! Thanks for posting! This saves me from re install. Tip if you close your Photoshop don’t use a force quit to close it quickly, be patient and just wait. You sir just save my A$$ from a sure painful re-install and re-configure.

  27. si funciona con solo eso, en mi macbook y pensar que quería volver a instalarlo. Gracias por la solución.

    [if it works with just that, in my macbook and think you wanted to install it. Thanks for the solution.]

  28. Hi,
    I don’t find any file from photoshop in library/preferences. I have from Adobe illustrator, indesign, fireworks, pdfadminsettings. Could you help me?

    Thank you so much

    Anne.