Standalone Error: APPCRASH - Solution

The Standalone Version (2020.5 -, WIN 8.1 64) just crashed while i was tinkering around with the “basic emiter” and some deflection tests. What i did before the crash happened was following:

I replaced the shape in the “basic emiter” with a custom png and set it to single particle , also put 1 pixie dust particle on the stage, animated the pixie particle left to right and got a crash after a few animation replays.

After the crash i could not reboot into Particle Illusion anymore (“APPCRASH”), so i got my inner sherlock holmes on and found what was causing the error:

C:\ProgramData\BorisFX\UserEmitterLibraries\Custom.il3 got corrupted and Particle Illusion booted right after i removed the file, but for whatever reason the “basic emiter” preset was nowhere to be found.

So i deleted Custom.il3 and reinstalled Particle Illusions and got a brand new Custom.il3-File which also restored the “basic emiter”. for safety/pathing reasons also reinstalled the Continuum Libs.

Hope this may help others in the future.


Interesting. Did you add an emitter to the custom library? Strange that it could get corrupted when it wasn’t being written to.


i havent had the chance to save my project before the crash, so from my understanding there is no autosave in this software, right? or does it autoupdate the Custom.il3 in general when changing stuff?

The only time the Custom.il3 would be updated (saved to):

  • If you updated the thumbnail image for any emitter inside Custom.il3
  • If you added an emitter to the stage and then selected “Save to Emitter Library” from the hamburger menu.

Note that the emitter libraries are separate from the project files that you can save.

Thank you for your update on the matter!

Strangely i didnt do any of the actions that cause an update of Custom.il3. Do you know how the Standalone Version handles custom animations that might cause a weaker computer/cpu to hang up and/or crash the software? Is there a kind of recovery/backup file after crash in place, since this is basically what happened?

No, there are no backups or recovery files.

So did PI actually crash, or did it just appear to lock up? If you added a custom particle shape (sprite) that was large or had a large number of frames, it’s possible that it was just taking a long time to render the particles. This can also happen when you jump far into the timeline or have created a very large number of particles.


yes, it appeared to lock up since my custom emiter was pretty cpu heavy. after a while the software stopped responding to any mouse input, i then killed the process via task manager and thats probably when unexpected things happened.

Hi Franz
I had the exact same problem on my Mac. I followed your solution and it worked. That was a life saver:-)

Thank 1000 times
Kind regards from Martin