How to Fix Final Cut Pro X When It Freezes

How to Fix Final Cut Pro X When It Freezes

Please note: This advice is for a previous version of FCPX and does not apply to new versions.

Final Cut Pro X doesn’t really crash that often for me. I expected some of that when it was new, and with 10.0.3 I really don’t have many crashes. When it does crash it just stops working and you can restart where you left off.

Recently I had a crash where FCPX didn’t crash, it froze, and I got the dreaded whirly beach ball of death. Then when I restarted FCPX right where it left off, with the whirly ball. Even restarting the computer did the same thing. Others have occasionally experienced the same thing.

So I have prepared this video so that if it happens to you, you will know how to recover. It can be stressful. You can’t get your project done and you start worrying about losing the project entirely. What you need to do to fix it is move your active project and/or event out of the folders of your current projects and get them off line. You then can restart FCPX successfully. Afterwards you can move your project/event back and you will be back to work.

To make things easier I use and recommend the $4.99 Event Manager X. If you don’t have it you really need to get it. What are you waiting for? Get here from This video tutorial shows you how to use it to recover from a freezing crash with Final Cut Pro X.

One note regarding the video: you can actually use Event Manager to move your events and projects without stopping FCPX. In the video I quit FCPX before restarting with Event Manager. I did that for training purposes. If FCPX freezes then you have to force quit and Event Manager can’t do its magic unless FCPX quits. Once everything is working right you can rely on Event Manager to quit FCPX, move events and projects, and restart FCPX.

BTW I got FCPX to actually crash for the video, so it was a live recording of an actual event. In a future post I’ll let you know just how I got it to crash so you can avoid it yourself.

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  1. Daniel
    November 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Christopher, Hope you’re well. I’ve just come across your Youtube video ( on having crashes with FCPX. If you have a couple of spare minutes could you please help me out with the below; I’ve been having crashes with 10.0.5 for a while so prior to seeing your video I decided to upgrade to 10.0.6 in hope that the crashing problems would disspear. Instead FCPX 10.0.6 now opens up but gives me the below errors: Projects and Events must be updated to work with this version of Final Cut Pro. Updated Projects and Events cannot be opened in earlier versions of Final Cut Pro. To update your Projects and Events, click OK. To leave your Projects and Events untouched, click Ignore. (You will be prompted to update the next time you open the application.) If I hit ok – the spinning wheel of death comes back and I need to force quit the program, If I hit ok FCPX 10.0.6 appears but without none my projects or events. (I have tried to go to movies, FCPX events/ projects to make sure that FCPX has saved the projects as I didn’t back them up via external drive. I’ve found the project but when I go to open up the file/ import the file using FCPX 10.0.6 it give me the below error message: No importable files: None of the selected files or folders can be imported. Change the section and try again. Before this error message comes up the spinning wheel of death shows up again and activity monitor notes FCPX is not responding and I have to force quit. If I purchase event manager X and follow your steps on the youtube upload – do you think I’ll have the same success? Or should I speak with someone at apple? Bit about my computer/laptop: Mac OS X 10.7.5, 2.8 Ghz intel core i7, memory 8gb 1333 Mhz DDR3 late 2011 mac 13inc laptop. Any help would be greatly appreciated. (I’m hoping that I haven’t lost weeks of work) All the best, Daniel

    • Swainhart
      November 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm


      I would move the project/events out of their folders. Using the Event Manager is the best way to do that. Then restart FCPX.

      After that, I would make sure FCPX is working. Stop and restart FCPX. Make sure it is working. Repeat.

      Once all seems OK, then use Event Manager to move events back, one at a time. Stop and restart FCPX. Make sure it is working. Move the next event back. Repeat restart.

      Once all the events are back, move projects back, one at a time, starting with the smallest project. Make sure FCPX is working. Then repeat.

      Once you go through this process you may be ok. But if one project just won’t work, then you’ll know that project is damaged. At that point you may have to rebuild it from scratch.

      One more point: I duplicate each project every 4 hours while I am working to keep a backup so that I don’t lose more than 1/2 a day’s work. So far I have never completely lost any project, but I may be just lucky.

  2. November 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Hi Christopher, I’ve had a major crash that I cannot repair. I watched your video and diligently tried everything you suggested using Event Manager X for the past 9 hours. No luck.

    Here’s what happened: I was putting the finishing touches on a 70-minute video that I have about 100 hours in. I wanted to make the exposure of the main storyline (a Still picture background) a little darker. I let it render overnight. When I woke up, I found that it was only 27% completed. I hit undo and it started rendering right back to 0%. So, to avoid another 8 hours of ‘unrendering’, I dragged a custom black frame from the Generator menu into the timelime into the existing picture clip. I immediately got the beachball. Now every time I open it, I unavoidably the beachball.

    In short the project is hung up on my last command and I cannot open it or revert to a previous version.

    Any more suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Sherif Shaalan

  3. Swainhart
    November 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm


    First, be sure to make lots of backups to other drives before you do anything.

    I would move all projects and events out of the Events and Projects directories using Event Manager X. Then I would open a blank project and new event and do a couple of minor edits to make sure FCPX is working. Then I would run Disk Utilities to check your disk drive for errors. Rebuild as needed. Disk Warrior is the next step and can repair your disk if Disk Utility can’t.

    Next I would try to bring in your project events and see if you can restart FCPX successfully. If not, you know it is an event issue. Events get hosed every once in a while. It could be a multicam clip, combined clip, or something like that. I do not know how to fix such problems but Apple has a Pro support division for FCPX and although it costs money they could help you.

    If the event doesn’t crash FCPX then try introducing a backup of your project. If that works, then try your final project.

    Good luck. We would love to hear how it works out for you.

  4. Sherif Shaalan
    November 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks for the quick response, Chris!

    I’ll try everything you suggested and let you know what if anything fixes the problem. I CAN open FCPX with the all events, it’s just that one particular project that hangs up.

    BTW, would you recommend this product?:

    I did a 30-day trial once last February, but now I have to buy it to try it again.

    • Swainhart
      November 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Good thing the events are OK. Hopefully you can find one project backup that will work for you. You could also try the whole thing on another computer. Don’t know about the software you mentioned. If it works for you perhaps you could let us know.

      I would still back up my files and try the disk utility. Unfortunately you are living an editor’s ultimate nightmare.

  5. Julien
    November 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Hello , so i had my final cut pro freezed and i followed your instruction , and i bought your software aswell because it didnt work , and ……. i lost everything my two file event and project was erased by some new empty files !! i worked a lot on this video it dramatik for me , i dont know what to do please help me

    • Swainhart
      November 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      So sorry to hear about you losing your work. Make sure you make multiple duplicate copies on multiple drives, both of events and projects. So far I have not lost anything permanently but I may just be lucky. But backing up a lot is the way to stay lucky.

  6. Ronald Johnson
    March 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    how can i fix this problem using finder

    • Swainhart
      March 12, 2013 at 7:48 am

      Best bet is to use Event Manager as indicated above. Very cheap and well worth the $$$.

  7. Jennifer
    April 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Hey Chris,
    Thanks for the helpful post and site. I downloaded Event Manager and did exactly what you showed in the video, but when I reopened my project & event in FCP, the round ball is appearing again. What does this mean and what do I need to do next?
    Your help will be very much appreciated!!

    • Swainhart
      April 30, 2013 at 9:07 am


      A lot has happened with FCPX since I made this video, but this still is the recommended method. The problem with your project most probably lies in a plugin effect that is FCPX is trying to render. I had the same problem recently and when I finally got the project reopened I trashed the plugin effect as quick as I could to eliminate it. Some third party plugins are prone to this issue.

      A way to get around this could be:
      1. Use EMX to move project & events offline
      2. Start FCPX make sure it runs normally, test with a new or other project
      3. Make sure you have your test project open and are working on it
      4. Close FCPX while the test project is open
      5. Use EMX to move project ONLY back on line
      6. Start FCPX and go to project manager, duplicate the project only (no render files, etc.)
      7. Open the duplicate project (your media will be missing)
      8. Delete any offending effects that are crashing the project (look for 3rd party, or processor intensive effects)
      9. Reopen your test project, quit FCPX, move your event file back online, restart and give it a try

      Good luck and let me know how you make out.

  8. Jordan Cain
    April 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    This did not work at all. Your explanation is not clear in the video. When you say “isolate” what does that mean? Checked, not checked? I need help, I feel like I just wasted 6 dollars. I have plenty of room on my external hard drives, and my main hard drive. On this particular project, every time I do anything I get the spinning ball for about 10 seconds. This means simply moving the slider, changing the zoom….ANYTHING…I have to wait and wait. Start up takes FOREVER and sometimes it freezes completely, or shuts down by itself…..PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Swainhart
      April 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      First let me say that I have no connection with Apple or Event Manager X. Apple tech support is always an option. You need to get your crashing project out of the active timeline. You could look at my written instructions to Jen, it may be more helpful to you. Also, as you work in FCPX you should make backups by duplicating the project (project ONLY, no render files, etc.) so that you can always go back to an earlier version. I back my projects up often enough so that I only would lose a couple hours of work in a worse case scenario.

  9. Mason
    January 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Hey Chris, I know this was posted awhile ago, but hopefully u will respond. I was just wondering what exactly is EMX and is it really necessary/different from finder? Does it save everything offline or do you have to do that on your own? Thanks

    • Swainhart
      January 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      You can do everything yourself with the finder that EMX does, but EMX makes it easier. It is now free and is not necessary if you upgrade to FCPX 10.1.

  10. Jacob Quigley
    January 25, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Hey, I did exactly what the video told me to, and when I opened my project back up with the event it stopped rendering again and beachballed. How it started was FCP X had a minor crash when i was almost done a project. Then, I opened it back up, and before the project I was working on had time to render to 100%(so I could begin editing again), I began to start editing my project again. When i did this it froze again and beach balled and I was forced to force quit FCP X. Now i am here with the project stuck at 11% and Ive been trying to fix it for hours. Please if you have a solution tell me! Thanks!!

  11. January 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I LOVE YOU!!!!
    Thank you so much! This video saved my life!


    • Christopher Swainhart
      January 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Thanks for the love! 🙂 I am surprised this still helps, as FCPX has changed so much since this was written. Still though, I have not yet lost a project due to corruption in all that time.

  12. lena
    February 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I know your post is really old, but the problem with FCPX unfortunately still exists. I’m working with an OS X Yosemite laptop so Event Manager X is not working on my computer. The website for the download you gave advised me to download Final Cut Library Manager so I downloaded that one but now I don’t understand what to do as it looks completely different from the program you use in your video. I’m sorry to annoy with my problem in the year 2015 but I’m completely panicking at the moment and you’re the only one who seems to know how to solve my problem and save my project. Would you please help me out??

    Kind regards, Lena

    • Christopher Swainhart
      February 23, 2015 at 9:35 am

      I haven’t had the new FCP crash, however, the principles may be the same. First, is the whole program crashing, or just your project? My guess is that you may have some plugins causing you problems. Here is a link from Larry Jordan that will allow you to restore from one of your automatic backups.

      If you get the working, I suggest backing up your library, then continue work. You need to retrace your steps, you may have a conflict between plugins.

      Hope this helps.

  13. Tamia
    April 1, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Hi I recently had a fcp crash it’s the most up to date version, but it’s only a trial. I tried to drag in an audio but then it crashed and every time I open it, it still has the spinning circle. I tried uninstalling it and reinstalling it, but it still is frozen. I honestly have no idea what to do, I don’t know if you will see this because this is kind of an old post.

    • Christopher Swainhart
      April 18, 2015 at 9:14 am

      See the comment below yours. Deleting render files should help you.

  14. Peter Marsh
    April 18, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I have had a nightmare with FCP – reinstalled OS X reinstalled FCPX. Someone suggested to delete the render files and I just deleted UNUSED RENDER FILES and it came good just like that! – no more spinning wheel of death, freezing up and crashing – it was even shutting the whole computer down. Hope this works for other people.

    • Christopher Swainhart
      April 18, 2015 at 9:15 am

      This is a great tip… and you can use the new Final Cut Library Manager to delete render files from outside the application. You can also delete USED render files as well, no harm in that. They can easily be regenerated.

  15. ART RUIZ
    February 17, 2021 at 5:57 am

    Hi Chris, I was working on a project and I was about to export it, so I played it back just to cjeck my edit one last time. I saw that tje playback was getting “tired”(missing frames on playback, so I let my laptop rest. Tje following the day my final cut app wouldnt open. So I asked a tech guy and helped us open it, bit my project was, it seemed in a perpetual state of reloading, but no images were reloading, not in the events, not in the project…my auestion is is my project lost? (I saved its file,in an exyernal drive, but when I tried, and retried reopebing it tje project seemed to reload but no images were coning back. My laptop and final cut is quite old (2013). Another factor is this project is my longest so far, about 25 mins with a lot of edit effects, scene divisions,layerings. I usually make videos that are kust 12 mins long. Do you thing my final cut “passed out” considering its version age.

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