After Effects Preview not working? Here are 8 Ways to Fix it in 2023!

Sneha Zacharia


8 min read


After Effects Preview not working? Here are 8 Ways to Fix it in 2023!

Adobe After Effects is an industry favorite; a fantastic tool for professional and creative work. After Effects is beloved by graphic artists, animators, and editors due to its extensive selection of editing tools. 

Adobe After Effects may be the finest, but that fact does not make it immune to glitches, errors, and bugs. 

How To Fix After Effects Preview not working?

This isn’t an uncommon issue and many Adobe After Effects users face it. It gets in the way of getting results. When you’re on a deadline it’s the most annoying thing when the preview stops working. Here are a few ways to resolve your preview errors and get your project functioning properly again. We’ll go over them now. 

Restart your computer

A great and pretty obvious step and probably the first one you should do when you’re experiencing issues with After Effects is to restart your system. This could reset any potential errors that may have occurred that are getting in the way of your preview not working. 

Make sure you’ve closed all the programs you’ve got open before you begin the restart. Your operating system would determine how long the restarting process can take. Just sit back, relax, and let your system do its thing. Be sure to close all programs and applications before restarting. Once the computer is back up, launch After Effects and attempt a preview again.

Check for Updates

Another common cause could be that your software is out of date. To make sure you’re using the latest version you have to check for updates. The process to check for updates is pretty simple and requires just a few steps.

After Effects Preview not Working
  • First, launch After Effects and select “Help” in the main menu. 
  • You will see an option to “Updates…” Click this option. 
  • This will open the After Effects Updates window, which will check for updates and any available updates will be listed here.
  • If there are no updates available, you can click “Check Again” to check again in the future. 
  • If there are updates available, select the “Update Now” option to download and install the latest version. 

Once you have installed the updates, restart your computer and launch After Effects again to see if the issue has been resolved.

Update your graphics card drivers

A graphics card is essential when you want to use After Effects. What you need though is to make sure that you’re using the right graphics card. Here’s where you can check. The right graphics card drivers are essential for previews to render right.  

If you’re experiencing preview issues in After Effects, it’s important to make sure your graphics card drivers are up to date. Here are the steps to do so:

  • Go to the website of your graphics card manufacturer and download the latest version of the driver.
  • Once you download the driver, install it following the step-by-step instructions mentioned on-screen.
  • For the changes to take effect, make sure you restart your computer.

Ensure that you’re downloading the correct driver that is compatible with your system. Here’s how you can find what type of graphics card you need for your computer by going to ‘Device Manager’ in the control panel and look for the ‘Display Adapters’. 

Once you know your graphics card model, download the correct driver from the manufacturer’s website. It’s also important to note that graphics card manufacturers often release multiple versions of their drivers and they may not always be compatible with After Effects. 

If you’re having trouble getting After Effects to recognize your graphics card, try an older version of the driver.

Turn off Hardware Acceleration

Turning off hardware acceleration can sometimes solve your preview not working issue. This is an easy fix if you just go to your graphics card settings. This will allow you to use the software without needing to access the additional power of your graphics card. This is what you need to do:

  •  Navigate to your graphics card settings in the control panel
  •  Click on the ‘Advanced’ tab
  •  Look for a setting called ‘Hardware Acceleration
  •  If available, select ‘Disable’
  •  Select ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’
  •  Restart your computer to save the changes

Once you finish this hardware acceleration will be turned off. This Adobe After Effects Preview should work as normal. If it doesn’t solve your issue, you can then try the other steps we have for you. Be sure to check for updates, update your graphics card drivers, empty your disk cache, and try a different hard drive.

Change your Audio Output Settings

Not having the right audio output settings could also be a cause for your glitch. The fix to this though is pretty simple. All you’ve got to do to fix your audio output settings on After Effects is: 

After Effects Preview not working
  •  Open the ‘Edit’ menu from the top of your screen.
  •  Click on ‘Preferences’ and then ‘Audio Output Mapping’.
  •  Select the device you’re currently using for audio output.
  •  Choose the correct settings for this device.
  •  Make sure to check the ‘Enable Audio Output’ box.
  •  Click ‘OK’ to save the settings.

Once you’ve changed your audio output settings, try previewing your project in After Effects again.

Empty your disk cache

When After Effects Preview is not working, it may be due to a full disk cache. To empty your disk cache, you need to go into the After Effects preferences and manually delete the files. Here’s how:

After Effects Preview Not Working
  •  Open After Effects and go to ‘Preferences > Media & Disk Cache
  •  Under Disk Cache, click Empty Disk Cache
  •  In the dialog box that appears, click ‘OK’
  •  After the files have been deleted, restart After Effects

By following these steps, you can ensure that the disk cache has been emptied and that it will no longer be causing issues with After Effects Preview. It’s important to remember that when emptying the disk cache, all of the cached files will be permanently deleted. Be sure to backup any important files before deleting them.

Check your memory and storage

If you are experiencing After Effects preview not working, it might be related to your computer’s memory and storage capabilities. It is important to ensure that your system is capable of running After Effects and you have enough free disk space available.

  • To check your memory and storage:
  •  Go to your System Preferences
  •  Select the Memory tab
  •  Check the ‘Memory Pressure‘ bar to make sure you have enough available RAM for After Effects
  •  Select the ‘Storage‘ tab
  •  Check the ‘Available Storage‘ bar to make sure there is enough space for After Effects to store temporary files
  •  Delete any unnecessary files that might be taking up space if needed

If you need more memory and storage, you may need to upgrade your computer’s hardware in order to run After Effects efficiently.

Try a different hard drive

If all the above steps have not helped to fix the After Effects preview issue, then you may need to try a different hard drive. This could be an external hard drive or an internal SSD (Solid State Drive). An SSD is a type of drive that stores data in flash memory, which is faster and more reliable than a traditional HDD (Hard Disk Drive).

To set up a new hard drive:

  •  Back up your current hard drive to ensure you don’t lose any data.
  •  Install your new hard drive and make sure it is compatible with your computer’s hardware.
  •  Format the new hard drive and install the latest version of After Effects onto it.
  •  Test the new drive to make sure it is working properly with After Effects.
  •  Copy over any data or media files from your old hard drive to the new one.

Using a different hard drive can help to resolve any issues with the After Effects preview not working properly. This is due to the increased performance of an SSD compared to an HDD. Make sure to always back up your data in case something goes wrong!

After Effects on Postudio

 A lot of the issues we mentioned like memory, graphics card drivers, and updates can all be solved with just one smart move. That’s the move to using Postudio for all your editing needs. 

Postudio is an amazing on-demand cloud-based platform that gives you access to all the industry’s favorite post-production software and tools. From Adobe After Effects to DaVinci Resolve. Postudio has it all. 
Experience the ease of editing on a secure and safe platform, that has 256-bit AES encryption, and a project and task workflow that ensures you and your team can work from anywhere in the world. It offers that and so much more at an affordable price and all you need is an internet connection and a browser. Head on over to Postudio sign up for early access and say goodbye to preview issues for the most part.

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