Final Cut Express: Troubleshooting Basics

If Final Cut Express isn't starting up properly or performing normally, try these basic troubleshooting steps to remedy the situation. Please note that these steps aren't exhaustive and are not intended to cover any specific issue. They are fundamental, basic steps that are most effective in getting Final Cut Express into good working order, and are the steps most often suggested by AppleCare Technical Support.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Confirm requirements and versions

  1. Check system requirements
    Make sure that you haven't overlooked any hardware aspect that's required to use Final Cut Express. You can view the system requirements on the Final Cut Express Technical Specifications page.

  2. Update to the latest software versions
    Choose Apple > Software Update and make sure that you have the most recent updates for your versions of Final Cut Express, QuickTime, and other important system files. Installing the latest updates ensures that your software has the latest improvements and enhancements.

  3. Check compatibility and driver versions for third-party devices
    If you're using a third-party storage system, input device, or something else, check the support area on the manufacturer's website to be sure that you're using the latest version of the relevant driver or other software for your device, if necessary. To see if your video device has been qualified for use with Final Cut Express, review: Final Cut Express: Camcorder support.

Delete the User Preferences

You can resolve many issues by restoring Final Cut Express back to its original settings. This will not impact your project files, but you should verify your Scratch Disk location setting after doing this. To reset your Final Cut Express user preference settings to their original state, do the following:

  1. In the Finder, go to ~/Library/Preferences
    Note: The tilde (~) represents your Home folder.
  2. Remove the "" file from the Preferences folder.
  3. Remove the "Final Cut Express User Data" folder from the Preferences folder.

Final Cut Express

Another approach you might consider is reinstalling Final Cut Express. To do this effectively, you need to remove the application then install Final Cut Express and use Software Update to install additional updates. You don't have to remove everything that was installed with Final Cut Express. Follow the steps below to completely reinstall a fresh copy of Final Cut Express.

Note: Make sure that you have your installation discs handy before starting this.

On Mac OS X v10.5

  1. Open the Applications folder. Drag the Final Cut Express application to the Trash.
  2. Go to /Library/Receipts.
  3. In the Receipts folder, select the FinalCutExpress.pkg file.
  4. Choose View > as List to view the contents in a list.
  5. Click the Date Modified column header so you can easily see all of the receipts that were installed at the same time as Final Cut Express.
  6. Drag the FinalCutExpress.pkg receipt to the Trash, as well as any other items that have the same modification date within 3 minutes of the FinalCutExpress.pkg's modification date.
  7. Click the Name column header to sort the list alphabetically.
  8. Drag any other receipts whose names begin with "Final Cut Express" to the Trash.
  9. Insert your Final Cut Express installation disc and install Final Cut Express.
  10. When finished, choose Software Update from the Apple () menu to update your software to the latest version.

On Mac OS X v10.6

  1. Open the Applications folder. Drag the Final Cut Express application to the Trash.
  2. Insert your Final Cut Express installation disc and install FInal Cut Express.
  3. When finished, choose Software Update from the Apple () menu to update your software to the latest version.

For further information on settings or installation, please refer to the Final Cut Express documentation available on your installation discs.

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