Recently I wrote an article which describes in detail troubleshooting steps to resolve problems one may encounter when attempting to launch Microsoft Expression Design. I'm also publishing here on the support blog to make people more aware of how to troubleshoot Expression Design startup issues.

Problem: Expression Design locks up, hangs or crashes while in the process of starting up. During this time, the user may see the Expression Design splash screen remain on the screen, the splash screen may disappear and Expression Design never launches or the user may see an exception error the application will shut down or fail to launch.

Steps to Troubleshoot

A) Start the machine in Safe Mode:

1.Click the START button, and in the run line (or command line) type MSCONFIG and hit ENTER.

2.The System Configuration utility should launch. Click the Boot tab. Under "Boot Options" click to check the box for "Safe boot", then click Apply. The OK button will read "Close". Click close and click 'Yes' to restart the machine when prompted.

3. After the machine has booted into safe mode, try launching Expression Design again.

Note: If Expression Design launches successfully in Safe Mode, then the problem most likely is related to video drivers. If Expression Design still locks up in safe mode, this may be indicative of a bad install of the .NET Framework 3.0 (for Expression Design version 1) or .NET Framework 3.5 (for Expression Design version 2). See the section on "Reinstalling the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5" in this article. Failure to launch in safe mode could also be indicative of a hardware problem on the machine or a bad install of Expression Design - see the section on "Reinstalling Expression Design". If all of those steps to resolve do not fix the problem, contact Microsoft Technical Support (http://support.microsoft.com/ ).

4.Then Click START and in the run (command) line type MSCONFIG and click on the Boot tab again. Under Boot options, uncheck the box for Safe Boot and click Apply, Close and click 'Yes' to restart the machine when prompted.


B)If Expression Design launches successfully in Safe Mode:

This may indicate a problem with the video driver on the machine. To check, try reducing or disabling hardware acceleration on the video card by doing the following:

1. Right click on the Desktop > Properties > Settings tab > Advanced button > Troubleshooting tab.

2. Click and drag the Hardware Acceleration slider from its original maximum position to the lowest possible. Then try launching Expression Design again.
Note: If Expression Design launches with the Hardware Acceleration settings turned off or reduced, you will want to check the web site for your video card manufacturer for the latest driver update. You can also check the Microsoft Windows Update site and do a Custom search instead of the Express search, as the Custom search lists available hardware updates.

C) Reinstalling the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5

A Corrupt or missing install of the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5 can cause Expression Design to crash or hang when launched. To reinstall the .NET Framework 3.0 (For Expression Design version 1) or 3.5 (for Expression Design version 2), follow these steps:

1. Click START and launch the Control Panel.

2. Open Add or Remove Programs (in Vista open Programs and Features).

3. Look for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5 in the list of currently installed programs. If you do not see Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5 listed, this may be the cause of your startup issue with Expression Design as the .NET Framework 3.0 is required to run Expression Design 1 (Framework 3.5 for Expression Design 2).

4. If the .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5 is listed, click it and then click Add or Remove. If you encounter an error while uninstalling the .NET Framework, please refer to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article for in-depth troubleshooting help specific to the .NET Framework install and uninstall: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/908077

5. Reinstall the .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5. The .NET Framework is included on the Expression Studio disc and is also available for download from the Microsoft web site:
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Redistributable Package
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=10CC340B-F857-4A14-83F5-25634C3BF043&displaylang=en
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Redistributable Package
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=333325fd-ae52-4e35-b531-508d977d32a6&DisplayLang=en

6. Launch Expression Design 1 or 2 again. If Expression Design still fails to launch, contact Microsoft Technical Support (http://support.microsoft.com/ ).