Issue

When you try to save or export files from Adobe Illustrator CS3 on Windows, the application returns the error "An unknown error has occurred."

Solution

Do one or more of the following solutions.

If Microsoft Zune software is installed on your computer, then start with Solution 1. If Microsoft Zune software is not installed on your computer, then skip Solution 1 and start with Solution 2.

Solution 1: Update or remove Zune software.

If Microsoft Zune software is installed on your computer, then you may have an older version of the Zune software which conflicts with Illustrator CS3.

Download the latest version of the Zune software from www.zune.net or choose Check For Updates in the Zune software to start the automatic updater.

If the error continues to occur after you have installed the latest version of the Zune software, then remove the Zune software and restart your computer.

To remove Zune software, use Add Or Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs And Features (Windows Vista) in the Control Panel.

Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support third-party software and provides these procedures as a courtesy only. For further assistance with updating or removing Zune software, contact Microsoft.

If the error continues to occur after you have removed Zune software from your computer, then reinstall the Zune software and proceed to Solution 2.

Solution 2: Run Illustrator with startup items and non-essential services disabled.

Startup items (which start automatically with Windows) and services (specialized programs that perform functions to support other programs) may conflict with Illustrator and cause an "unknown error" message. To determine whether a startup item or service is causing the error, disable all startup items and non-essential services before you start Illustrator.

To disable startup items and non-essential services, follow the instructions in one of these TechNotes:

  • "Disable startup items and services (Windows XP)" (TechNote kb404984)
  • "Restart Windows in a modified mode (Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb404913)

When you have restarted your computer with startup items and non-essential services disabled, open Illustrator and try to reproduce the error.

If the error continues to occur, then startup items and services are not the cause, and you can re-enable startup items and services.

To re-enable startup items and services:

  1. Open the System Configuration utility by doing one of the following:



    • Windows XP: Choose Start > Run, type msconfig in the Open text box, and press Enter.
    • Windows Vista: Click Start, type msconfig in the Start Search text box, and press Enter.
  2. Choose the General tab, and select Normal Startup.
  3. Deselect any items that were previously disabled (items that you wrote down in Step 3 of either TechNote kb404984 or TechNote kb404913).
  4. Click OK, and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

If the error no longer occurs after you have disabled startup items and services, then one of the startup items or services is the cause.

To identify the specific startup item or service that is causing the error:

  1. Open the System Configuration utility by doing one of the following:



    • Windows XP: Choose Start > Run, type msconfig in the Open text box, and press Enter.
    • Windows Vista: Click Start, type msconfig in the Start Search text box, and press Enter.
  2. Re-enable approximately half of the items that were disabled.
  3. Click OK, and then restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
  4. Try to reproduce the error in Illustrator. Then do one of the following:



    • If the error continues to occur, then open the System Configuration utility and disable half of the most recently enabled items.
    • If the error no longer occurs, then open the System Configuration utility and re-enable half of the remaining items.
  5. Go back to Step 3, and continue dividing the items into halves until you have determined which startup item or service is causing the error.
  6. Once you have isolated the problematic startup item or service, contact its manufacturer for information about available updates, or leave it disabled.

Solution 3: Re-create the Illustrator preferences folder.

An "unknown error" message may appear because one of the Illustrator preferences files has become damaged. Follow the instructions below to re-create the preferences files.

Warning: When you re-create the preferences files, you will lose any unsaved actions that you created. To save actions that you created, choose Save Actions from the Actions palette menu in Illustrator before you follow the instructions below. To load your custom actions in Illustrator after you have re-created the preferences folder, choose Load Actions from the Actions palette menu.

Note: This solution requires you to locate hidden files and hidden folders. By default, Windows Explorer doesn't show hidden files or hidden folders. To make these items visible, see "Show hidden files and folders (Windows XP, Vista)" (TechNote kb402324).

To re-create the Illustrator preferences files:

  1. Close Illustrator.
  2. Do one of the following:



    • Windows XP: Rename the Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings folder (for example, to Old Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings) in the C:\Documents and Settings\[your user name]\Application Data\Adobe folder.
    • Windows Vista: Rename the Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings folder (for example, to Old Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings) in the C:\Users\[your user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe folder.
  3. Open Illustrator. Illustrator will create new preferences files.

If the error continue to occur, then a damaged preferences file is not the cause. To restore your custom settings, delete the new preferences folder and restore the original name of the previous preferences folder.

4. Run Illustrator in a new local administrator account.

Damaged or incorrect permissions in your user account may be causing the "unknown error" message. Create a new local administrator account, log on to it, and then run Illustrator while logged on to the new account.

To create a new local administrator account:

  • Windows XP: Choose Start > Help And Support and see the article "To add a new user to the computer"; or contact your system administrator.
  • Windows Vista: See "Create new local administrator account (Windows Vista)" (TechNote kb404912).

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