Could not initialize Photoshop because the preferences file was invalid


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).”


This is caused by corrupt preference files.


Select the tab below with your operating system:


  1. Go to your home folder.
  2. Go to your User Library folder. If you are unable to see your User Library folder, please follow this post.
  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)


  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.


    1. Wow! I was dying to find this solution yesterday but today I got to you somehow and you saved my life! Thanks!

    2. Hi this is really workable now, thank you so much for this imported information…mindblowing and easy to understand solution…

    1. The home folder’s name will usually be your username in lowercase. It contains the folders Documents, Pictures, Movies, Downloads etc. The icon for it is a house.

      To find it, open a folder and you should see it on the left sidebar. In my case the folder is called “carl”.

      I have attached a screenshot below. Click it to enlarge.
      The home folder is highlighted in blue.

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



      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. Thank You Carl N.

    That was right on the money!!!! you helped save the day and meet deadlines………!

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

  8. how about if the photoshop says, “Could not initialise Photoshop because of a program error”. plsss

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

  9. 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.


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

  11. 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.


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

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

  13. 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!

  14. 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 :

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

  16. 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.


    1. 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.

  17. i deleted my preference folder but my actions are gone all of them :/ am I going to have to re load them??

    1. 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.

  18. 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

    1. 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.

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

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

  21. 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 :’>

  22. 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.

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

  24. Just wanted to say thank you very much for the advice. It works fine now. You are AWESOME!

  25. 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.

  26. 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!!!

  27. 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

  28. 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

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.]

  32. 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


  33. no sweat, no sweat! thank you so much for the fix. i am the latest victim of this error in July2015 hahaha!

  34. Thank you so much… damn IT hasn’t responded and just spent an hour restarting my computer over and over again!

  35. What a lifesaver that was! So fast compared to reinstalling my old CS5 and losing the updates. Look at all the years full of thanks and compliments from other thankful people.

  36. THANK yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. OMG I feel like a broken record but that literally saved me from a mini panic attack. I’m not going to lie… I didn’t believe this post at first so I didn’t delete it, I just moved the file. Can anyone explain what exactly what is in that file and how it gets corrupted? I’m confused how Photoshop works without all those files in that folder minus the corrupted one(s)? Thanks!

  38. I almost cried when my CS5 was not working. Thank you so much! It works just as it did before… you’re awesome!

  39. THIS WORKED FOR ME… I had a 2-part issue. Apparantly my “Actions Palette.psp” file in the Adobe settings was corrupted. It showed 0kb in the file size.

    Deleting the photoshop settings folder worked. I’m on Photoshop CS6, and here is where I found my photoshop settings folder:

    C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6

  40. Phew – thanks for the lead: I found my preferences folder (running Windows 10 and Photoshop CC5.5). Too chicken to delete it, just renamed it ‘old’. Started just fine

  41. Thank you so much! You saved me a lot of stress, I’d been clearing things out on my computer and must have done something, it’s working again now, I really appreciate your helpful instructions!

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

  43. Could not load actions because an unexpected end-of-file was encountered ERROR
    Windows users this advice works 100%
    Thanks so much

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