Need OS X equivalent of WinXP "Restore Points"
February 19, 2007 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Help me track down a bug that is causing one of my OS X applications to continually crash!

I am reinstalling the OS and Applications on my main Dual 2.7 G5 at work, because I need to get around some unknown issue which is causing Adobe After Effects 7.0 to continually crash at random moments, for no apparant reason.

What I'm looking for is some sort of utility which will allow me to automatically track what software I install on my machine, and when it was installed, so I have some sort of paper/bit-trail which can aid in pinpointing what program/extension is causing AE to bomb out so often.

Does such a utility exist?

I'm pretty much an (unwitting) OSX troubleshooting guru by now, so I've been down all the usual roads already (i.e. repair permissions, safe booting, switching to a new user, cache clearing, font folder clearing, memory testing, PRAM zapping, Diskwarrior, TTP, Applejack, Onyx, et. al.), but this is the only problem that continues to plague me. I've installed the latest AE 7.0.1 updater, as well as killed all AE preference files and disabled OpenGL. Nothing solves the problem.

What I'm looking to do is to start fresh from a completely naked system, and one by one, install the little things that I normally usually want to use in addition to my main applications (of which AE 7 is one of the most important), and then at the point where AE starts acking wonky, I can more easily track down what I recently installed before the wonkiness.
posted by melorama to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Response by poster: I should mention that AE 7 is the only application I use which exhibits any serious wonkiness. I have no problems with Final Cut Studio, Shake, Photoshop, etc etc.
posted by melorama at 1:47 PM on February 19, 2007

Have you looked at the Console (Applications > Utilities > Console) log to determine what happens when AE crashes?

Do you run Application Enhancer to enable certain hacks of the operating system? This can conflict with established applications. Either upgrade or remove it.

You mentioned repairing permissions. Did you run Disk Utility to Verify and Repair the hard drive data structure?

Is there anything repeatable about the timing of AE crashing? Are you perfoming any specific action within AE when it crashes?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:50 PM on February 19, 2007

Response by poster: Nope...the crashing is completely random. It will sometimes happen when I'm not even touching the app. Sometimes it will crash in the middle of a RAM Preview. Sometimes it will crash just slipping a layer in time.

My initial hunches so far has been bad RAM, but every test I've thrown at my RAM, including swapping out the current RAM with RAM from one of our other workstations which is running AE 7 fine, seems to indicate that the RAM isnt the issue.

And I avoid all APE-dependent apps like the plague on any of my production systems. APE is downright evil (even though I do enjoy it on my non-work Macs :P)
posted by melorama at 1:56 PM on February 19, 2007

Have you tried reading the log files from CrashReporter? It's part of OS X and the log files are in your user directory under ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/ .

Don't know how much that will help you since I don't understand anything that's written in these log files.
posted by Cog at 1:58 PM on February 19, 2007

Are you using any third party plugins?
posted by filmgeek at 1:59 PM on February 19, 2007

Response by poster: I always comb through the crashReporter logs, but they are more often than not way too obfuscated for my pea-sized brain to grok. But in any case, I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary in them.
posted by melorama at 2:15 PM on February 19, 2007

Response by poster: filmgeek:

I do use third party plugins, but the first thing I do whenever I have AE problems is that I remove all thirdparty plugins from AE (in fact, I just delete the AE folder and reinstall the app from scratch)
posted by melorama at 2:22 PM on February 19, 2007

but they are more often than not way too obfuscated for my pea-sized brain

Have a look at the lines immediately after where it says "Thread n Crashed". Those are the exact bits of code that are making it crash, and if you're lucky they'll have informative names.
posted by cillit bang at 3:03 PM on February 19, 2007

Another vote for "post the crash report".

Also, repairing permissions is a waste of time, generally, in real crash troubleshooting.
posted by secret about box at 7:22 PM on February 19, 2007

Response by poster: As requested, here's the crashlog from the most recent crash from 7 minutes ago.

This is on a system which I wiped clean this morning, reinstalled the OS from scratch, and installed only the default options for After Effects and Final Cut Studio 5.1.3 (and dont get me started about the nightmare that 5.1.3 is causing!)
posted by melorama at 7:41 PM on February 19, 2007

Nuke all your plugins. See if it still crashes.

If it still does, then I think something small (likely related to QT) might be hosed in your system. An easy way to test without nuking what you have, would be to reinstall OSX, update it to the nth degree (and only osx - no other real apps) and then instal AE 7 on an external HD.

This also gives you an emergency OSX backup. But the idea would be to see how AE behaves there.

If it's fine - then it's likely your current system that's screwy. If it's bad (stil) then it's likely the RAM.
posted by filmgeek at 7:43 PM on February 19, 2007

Response by poster: I also kept a log of everything I did when reinstalling my system (which...err...was kinda the original point of this post, but I'll take what i can get as long as I can get this crashing problem fixed), up until the point where it started crashing.

Just as a note, everything up to the Automatic Duck plugins are absolutely essential to my setup, and we have a similarly configured system which runs AE7 fine. The AE7 instability on my system, however, preceded our purchase and installation of the Automatic Duck plugins by many many months.

heres the log:

installed 10.4 from scratch
installed 10.4.8 combo updater
installed Wacom 5.0 pen tablet driver
installed all Software updates
installed FCP 5.1.2 studio from DVD
installed FCP 5.1.3 updater via SU
installed AE 7 + 7.0.1 updater
installed Blackmagic Decklink 5.9.2 drivers
inslaled Blackmagic Workgroup videohub 2.31 driver
installed Sharepoints prefpane
changed energy saver settings to "never" for all options
installed Automatic Duck - free xml exporter
installed Automatic Duck Pro Import AE 3.04

posted by melorama at 7:47 PM on February 19, 2007

Try creating a new user and run After Effects when logged in as that user. If it never crashes, troll around in the /Users/you/Library/ folder for After Effects related files and delete them.
posted by todbot at 12:01 AM on February 20, 2007

Response by poster: todbot:

Thanks, but I already addressed that in my question.
posted by melorama at 1:50 AM on February 20, 2007

Do the other crash logs you have also mention DVA_release at the top of the Thread Crashed section? If so you've found your culprit. It appears to be part of After Effects itself:

/Applications/Adobe After Effects 7.0/Adobe After Effects

My first guess is the file is corrupt, maybe during the 7.01 update process. Try grabbing another copy from a working Mac, either of the whole application, or right click the app and choose Show Bundle Contents to get just that file.
posted by cillit bang at 2:07 AM on February 20, 2007


I came across more info here , and would have emailed you directly...

but it's not in your profile.
posted by filmgeek at 3:06 PM on February 25, 2007

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