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Troubleshooting Final Cut Pro X 10.1
These techniques have worked for me but there is no guarantee provided. Use at your own risk.
Always make a backup of important files before attempting any troubleshooting.

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I've assembled this list of troubleshooting techniques from my own experience as well as from multiple places on the internet, including Twitter, Facebook, Apple support forums, Creative Cow forums, etc.


Preliminary Steps

In Mavericks, make sure "Prevent App Nap" is checked in FCPX's Get Info window.

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A step-by-step tutorial to disable App Nap is located here. Also create optimized media before export.

If you are experiencing FCPX slowness, stuttering or the beach ball, read this article.

If FCPX won't launch or hangs or crashes on launch,
the first thing to try is to try to launch FCPX with a new Library. Hold down the option key while launching FCPX and create a new blank Library. If it launches OK then the problem is not the FCPX app but likely lies with one of your Libraries or external drives.

Disconnect all external drives. I've had problems launching FCPX with multiple external drives mounted. Disconnect all external drives and try again.

Try to replicate the problem when logged in as a different User.
This will let you know if there is a problem with your user account (fonts, 3rd party plugins are usual suspects).

01) Update FCPX to version 10.1.3 via the App store.
This update includes bug fixes and improves FCPX performance and stability.

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02) If you have issues updating FCPX from the App store, try these steps from Apple:

(I had an issue with the App store not recognizing the account which I was logged in to as the account that I bought FCPX from after deleting the app. I luckily made a copy of the FCPX app on removable drive and once I moved that copy back to the Application folder, in the App Store I was able to download the update. My advice, make a copy of your Final Cut Pro X app on a removable drive or flash drive before you delete FCPX.)

Important: Before attempting this process, ensure your system has a graphics card that meets system requirements for Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5 and Compressor 4. Graphics cards that do not meet system requirements are listed here; even if your current graphics card is working with Final Cut Pro X, please check the list first before deleting your application.

If the update is not listed under the Updates Tab:

1. Drag the FCPX application to the Trash from the /Applications folder.
2. Empty Trash by clicking Finder > Empty Trash.
....Note: This will permanently delete anything you have stored in the Trash.
3. Open the Mac App Store.
4. Click the Purchases tab.
5. Click Install for Final Cut Pro.

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Reinstalling the application does not affect your Libraries, Events or Projects since they are stored in a separate location.

Apple article link:
http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4057

Apple - Final Cut Pro X: How to remove and reinstall

Apple - How to remove the Final Cut Pro X Trial

Final Cut Pro X trial: FAQ

03) Make sure your machine and graphics card meets the Minimum System Requirements
The graphics card requirements for Final Cut Pro X are:
OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later and 256MB VRAM

http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/specs/

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4664

Some graphics cards are no longer supported by the 10.0.5 update. If your card is no longer supported, FCPX might not install or operate properly.

 

04) Back up your Libraries before you start troubleshooting.
Backing up should be part of your everyday workflow.

Apple's FCPX help section on backing up:

http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.1/#verac3af7b81

FCPX now creates an automatic Backup file that is updated every 15 minutes with any changes you've made to your Project or Event. This file will be used when launching FCPX if the original Event or Project file is corrupted.

 

05) Some symptoms can be fixed by simply quitting and restarting FCPX
or by shutting down your Mac, waiting 60 seconds and rebooting.

 

06) Trashing FCPX 10.1 preferences hold down option & command keys when launching FCPX 10.1.2.
 

07) Flickering Background Tasks icon in the Timeline.
Cancel the backgound task. Then try deleting all of your render files and restarting FCPX. If that doesn't work, copy and paste your timeline into a fresh project timeline.

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08) Final Cut Pro X freezes at Restoring the window layout or opens to a gray window.

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Deleting the Layouts folder can solve this problem.
See this article from Apple:

http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4169

 

09) Slowness (spinning beach ball) or hangs in FCPX,
Test your hard drive for speed. If it is less than around 90MBs, that could be your bottleneck. USB 2 and Firewire 800 external drives are just not fast enough. Next cancel background tasks and launch Activity Monitor to see what is taking up your system resources. It is located in your
user > Applications > Utilities folder.

BeachBall

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Pay special attention to Free memory and application % CPU usage. Low Free memory or an application with high % CPU numbers could be causing the spinning beach ball. Shut down most other applications while using FCPX to help if you have this problem. Two helpful articles about using the Activity Monitor are located here and here.

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10) Close windows that you are not using in Final Cut Pro.
If you are not using the Inspector, Video Scopes, Multicam Angles or the Library, close those windows.

11) If FCPX won't launch or hangs on launch,
Unmount all of your Libraries to eliminate the possibility of a corrupt media file. FCPX will create a new empty Library and Event on launch. If FCPX then launches OK, one of your Libraries could be causing the problem.

Try playing your Event media files in Quicktime. If you find one that won't open, that is your suspect. Remove it and try launching FCPX again.

Add your Libraries back one at a time and relaunch FCPX to try to determine the culprit. If you find a problem Library, try removing 50% of the media from it and then try to launch FCPX.

Continue to use the process of elimination by removing/replacing media to try to locate any specific problem causing media files.

You can also buy Digital Rebellion's Pro Maintenance Tools, a very comprehensive suite of maintenance tools for FCPX, that includes an FCPX Crash Analyzer, Project Repair and Corrupt Clip Finder.

12) Trash the Final Cut Pro Saved Application State folder(s) (thanks to @macseefoo for this one.)
In the Finder choose Go > Go to Folder or press Command+Shift+G and then enter
~/Library/Saved Application State/ and press Go

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or in the Finder, hold down the option key and in the Go menu and choose Library (your user Library). Trash the com.apple.FinalCutPro.savedState and com.apple.FinalCut.savedState folder(s) with the Final Cut Pro app closed and it will open with new fresh versions. You might only have one of these folders but I have two because I also have FCP7 installed.


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13) Only open the Libraries you will be using during your current session.
Opening too many Libraries, especially ones that you won't be working on, can bog FCPX down.

14) Trouble with Sharing/Exporting? (See this article).
This can be caused by a corrupt clip or render file or a problematic destination (such as not enough space or other problems). Use a process of elimination to zero in on the problem. Try sharing another timeline in another Project to see if your sharing problem is just with a certain timeline. Try setting a new destination with enough hard drive space. If sharing to an external drive, try a different known good drive. Try sharing one half of your timeline at a time. If one half will export but the other will not, you probably have a corrupt media file or render file in the failed half. Try removing media to narrow down the problematic clip(s).

If you get an error pointing to a specific frame, set your timeline preferences to show frames and look at the questionable one.

Copy all of the clips in the problematic timeline and paste them into a new timeline. Try exporting this new timeline.

15) A corrupt Project or Event render file could be a problem.
Delete Event Render files by selecting the Event and then going to the File menu and choosing
File > Delete Event Render Files. Choose All Render Files if you suspect an Event render file is causing your problem. Of course you will have to re-render everything if you choose this option.

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A Project can also have its own render files so repeat the process for Projects.
Select the Project and then go to File > Delete Project Render Files.

16) 3rd party plug-ins, Titles, Generators, Audio Unit plug-ins, Transitions and Effects
can cause FCPX problems including the undo being grayed out, hanging or crashing. Most of them are located in your user > Movies > Motion Templates folder.

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You can log into a new user account that only has FCPX installed. The chief suspect would be any recent 3rd party effect, title, generator or transition that you installed just prior to the problem revealing itself. Remove the most recent effect or all 3rd party folders there and resart FCPX to see if the problem still exists. If it does not, try adding your 3rd party effects back one at a time to find the culprit(s).

Audio Unit plug-ins are located here:

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Apple article on troubleshooting Audio Unit plugins (go to the middle of the page - manually removing plug-ins.)

 

17) If FCPX stalls or seems to freeze, cancel all Background Tasks.
What does Background mean? Background Tasks aren't always background in FCPX.

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I have found that Background Tasks in FCPX can overwhelm foreground tasks. They don't always operate in the background, as you might expect a background task to do, but will actually prevent, freeze or delay foreground tasks. They are supposed to pause when you are using FCPX but I've found this only happens with some tasks. For example, when background tasks are running on my 3.1 GHz Intel Core i5 iMac with 24 GBs of ram, I can't rename an Event or Project in the foreground. I have to wait until background tasks are finished or else cancel them.

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If you experience freezing or stalling in FCPX, and Background Tasks are running, my advice is to cancel Background Tasks until you want to engage them or when you take a coffee break.

18) Determine if the problem is with one specific project or with every project.
Try using a different Mac.

19 ) Clear potentially corrupted caches and fix some system problems by performing a Safe Boot.
Hold down the Shift key while starting your Mac until you see a gray progress bar under the Apple logo. Safe Mode is the state Mac OS X is in after a Safe Boot.

Starting up into Safe Mode:
a) Forces a directory check of the startup volume.
b) Loads only required kernel extensions
c) Disables all fonts other than those in /System/Library/Fonts
d) Moves font caches to the Trash.
e) Disables all startup items and login items.
Reboot after Safe Mode finishes starting up and try FCPX.

You can also try Repairing Disk Permissions

20) If you have Perian installed, uninstall it from System Preferences.
Perian has caused Mac video problems in the past. You can always reinstall it if it isn't causing a problem.

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21) If all of the above techniques fail to help with your FCPX problem, try a fresh install of FCPX.

Apple - Final Cut Pro X: How to remove and reinstall

After FCPX finishes downloading and installing, make a back up copy and store it on a removable hard drive or memory stick, for future troubleshooting. Apple recommends not having more than one copy of the FCPX app on any mounted partition.

Apple's Final Cut Pro X: Troubleshooting basics article:
http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3893

22) Visit the Final Cut Pro X Apple Support page or Support Forums
for additional troubleshooting advice.

 

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Taylor. All rights reserved.
Apple and Final Cut Pro X are registered trademarks of
Apple Inc
.