Fix preferences file issues

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Learn how to fix preferences file issues in Illustrator.

If Illustrator crashes or stops responding or intermittently slows down, or displays an error message about the Preferences folder being read-only, try resetting or deleting preferences. Before you proceed, create a backup copy of your existing preferences file.

Reset preferences

When you reset preferences, the previous preferences file is saved as Adobe Illustrator Prefs.err.


Do one of the following:

  • In the Illustrator > Preferences > General dialog:
    1. Click Reset Preferences and then click OK.
    2. Restart Illustrator.
  • Press Option+Command+Shift when you start Illustrator. 


Do one of the following:

  • In the Edit > Preferences > General dialog, 
    1. Click Reset Preferences and then click OK.
    2. Restart Illustrator.
  • Press Alt+Ctrl+Shift when you start Illustrator. 

Delete preferences

You may require read and write permission to delete the preferences folder. If the issue persists, change the preferences folder permission to read and write or fix damaged preferences files in Windows.

Delete the preferences file at:


  • /Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator version-number Settings
  • /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator version number
Delete the preferences file at:


  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator <version> Settings

Example/Users/<Username>/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator 25 Settings

Folder names may vary based on the installed language version. A new preferences file is automatically created the next time you launch Illustrator.

Change the Preferences folder permissions to read and write

Follow the instructions given below to provide read and write permissions to Adobe folders.


Perform this procedure, once each for the following folders:

  • /Users/<user>/Library/Preferences/
  • /Users/<user>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/
  1. Open Finder, and navigate to the path given above.
  2. Control-click the folder and choose Get Info.
  3. If the item is locked, click the lock icon () to enter an administrator’s name and password.
  4. In the Sharing & Permissions section, from the Name column, select your name (or a user profile).
  5. From the Privilege column, choose Read & Write.
  6. In any subsequent prompt, choose to apply the permission to all subfolders as well.
  7. Click the lock icon () to save your preferences.
  8. Launch Illustrator.


Perform this procedure, once each for the following folders:

  • C:\Program Files\Adobe
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe
  • C:\ProgramData\Adobe
  • C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe
  • C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator <version> Settings
  1. Open the File Explorer window. Click the View tab, and select Hidden items check box.
  2. Navigate to the folder using the paths given above.
  3. Right-click the folder and choose Properties.
  4. Click the Security tab, and then click Edit to set permissions.
  5. In the Permissions dialog, select your user name. In the Permissions area, deselect the Deny check box.
  6. Click OK twice.
  7. Launch Adobe Illustrator.

In folder paths or names listed in the procedures, replace the parts between angular brackets '<>' with the details required:

  • Replace <user> with your account name.
  • Replace <version> with the version of Illustrator you are using.

[Windows only] Fix corrupted preferences file

You may need Administrator permissions on your computer to complete the following procedure.

  1. On your Windows-based computer, choose Windows > Run or press Windows+R.

  2. In the Run dialog, type intl.cpl and press Enter.

  3. In the Region dialog, select Administrative tab, click Change system locale.

  4. In the Current system locale drop-down, select English (United States), and press OK twice.

  5. Start Illustrator. The steps performed so far should fix the issue with the Preferences file in Adobe Illustrator. Proceed to the next step if you continue to experience an error with the corrupted Preferences file.

  6. Repeat Steps 1 and 2. In the Region and Language dialog > Formats tab, click Additional settings.

  7. In the Customize Format dialog, ensure that the:

    • Decimal symbol field is set to the decimal point (otherwise referred to as the period symbol). Press OK twice.
    • Digital grouping symbol field is set to comma.
  8. Restart Illustrator.

Tips to avoid preferences-related issues

To avoid preferences-related issues in the future:

  • Be cautious while installing a third-party plug-in as it may auto-update your preferences file.
  • Ensure that Illustrator quits properly. An abnormal exit may result in damaging your preferences file.
  • Do not modify the preferences file manually.

To preempt any performance issues after updating to a new version,

  • Click Update in the Creative Cloud desktop app.
  •  Deselect Advanced Options > Import Previous Settings And Preferences in the confirmation dialog.

Have a question or an idea?

If you have a question to ask or an idea to share, come and participate in Adobe Illustrator Community. We'd love to hear from you.

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