When Final Cut Won't Open

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the May, 2007, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Here’s a technique to try when Final Cut Pro won’t open.

Many Final Cut Pro plug-ins were written exclusively for the PowerPC processor. As FCP is opening, it checks all it’s plug-ins to make sure everything is OK. If you have moved PowerPC plug-ins to an Intel/Mac, FCP will often freeze as it tries to figure out how to deal with these older plug-ins.

The long-term solution, of course, is to upgrade your plug-ins so they support both PowerPC and Intel processors. But that won’t help you while Final Cut is freezing during start-up.

What you need to do is remove the offending plug-ins. While deleting them is a permanent, though somewhat drastic, solution, all you really need to do is move them where FCP can’t find them. Then, later, you can figure out which of these is causing the problem.

You will find Final Cut plug-ins stored in:

[Macintosh HD] > Library > Application Support > Final Cut Pro System Support > Plugins.

Open the Plugins folder and drag the contents outside of the Library folder. Final Cut should then start up with no problems.

If you want to find out which plug-in is causing the problem, quit Final Cut, then add only a few plugins at a time back into the Plugins folder and restart FCP. When it freezes again, the offending plugin will be one of the most recently added files to the plugin folder. Keep repeating this process until you find the offending plugin(s).


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8 Responses to When Final Cut Won't Open

  1. Danielle says:

    Hi Larry. This may be a terrible dumb question. But, where do I find my “Library,” file? Because I can’t find it anywhere to get to the rest of the steps I need to take. When I try to open FCPX it keeps freezing on the page that says its restoring the layout.

    My power keeps going out, and this has happened I’m guessing because of that. Any help would be great! Thank you.

  2. Ciaran O'Connor says:

    Hey Larry
    I deleted all the plug in files, but FCPX still quits right after it opens. Very frustrating.

    • Larry says:


      It would be helpful to know what version of FCP X you are running, as it makes a difference. Same thing for the OS.

      However, assuming you are running FCP X 10.3.x, press and hold Option + Command while clicking the FCP X icon in the dock.

      Then, click the blue “Delete Preferences” button. FCP X should now start.

      If not, read this article:



      • Ciaran O'Connor says:

        The application opened and then quit 5 seconds later. All of this has been happening ever since I installed a plug in from Pixel Studios. Now FCP won’t open since then. i think this is the problem. And when I try to do the first step of removing FCP (to reinstall), I can’t even drag it to the trash because “some of the extensions are still in use.” I really need help. Nothing is working. 10.11.6 OS X El Capitan is my mac. FCP is on the latest update. But nothing is working. Plz help.

        • Larry says:


          First, deleting FCP X won’t delete the plug-in, only deleting the plug-in will do that.

          Second, to get control of your system:
          * Shut down your computer. IF it won’t shut-down, press the power button for 7 – 10 seconds to force it to shut-down.
          * Restart your computer while holding the Shift key. This launches it in Safe mode and disable all plug-ins.
          * Log in using your user ID and password.
          * You can now delete any plug-ins, or FCP X
          * DO NOT try to edit in Safe mode, it won’t work
          * Restart your computer without holding any keys down
          * At this point, you’ll need to reinstall whatever you removed – with the exception of the plugin you think may be causing the problem.

          If all this doesn’t work, then it is time to call Apple Support.


          • Ciaran O’Connor says:

            Will doing all of this delete anything off my computer? (Videos in QuickTimeplayer, different files, etc) thank you so much for your time i greatly appreciate it.

          • Larry says:


            Safe boot? No. It will optimize file storage on your hard disk, temporarily disable all 3rd-party plug-ins (until you reboot), and terminate any software that thinks its still running. But not delete anything, no.


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