[SOLVED] Premiere Pro: “The importer returned a generic error” when loading media

(Fellow video dudes: while you’re here for help with Premiere Pro’s bad behavior, maybe you’d also be interested in my article about why you shouldn’t be shooting with flat, log, or “cinema” picture profiles. It’s the second most popular article on the site. The one on disabling Adobe’s ever-growing log files might also be of interest.)

I recently had a Premiere Pro project I’d been working on for a couple of weeks that refused to import some clips. When I attempted to link the media again, I’d get a box that said “the importer returned a generic error.” What’s especially annoying is that the failing clips were from the same camera as several successful clips; there seemed to be no reason for these three or four clips to simply not work and I could play them in a media player just fine. The failure didn’t even happen after an update because I’d been working in the project using the latest updated version.

I checked file permissions on the network server and everything was good.

I deleted all of the Adobe caches and manually killed all Adobe processes in Task Manager.

I restarted the computer and even tried opening an auto-save of the project, yet all of these failed to resolve the problem.

Adobe suggests that these generic errors on import can be caused by activation issues, so I signed out of my Creative Cloud account and signed back in. Didn’t work.

In the end, what I had to do was open Creative Cloud, uninstall Premiere Pro (keeping preferences), and reinstall Premiere Pro. No reboot needed! I still don’t know why this worked, but it did. Maybe my experience and solution will save you some valuable time troubleshooting this odd error.

17 thoughts on “[SOLVED] Premiere Pro: “The importer returned a generic error” when loading media

    1. You may have to remove all Creative Cloud software and completely delete all of your profile information in the various AppData folders. There are threads on Adobe support that explain how to purge everything.

      1. Do you have a link to the adobe support page you mentioned? I cannot find it. I deinstalled via a tool I had to download and deleted all adobe folders in the appdata subfolders.

        1. Unfortunately I don’t. If you type the exact error directly into the Adobe Premiere Pro support forum then it should come up somewhere in the list.

  1. Hi there everybody,

    SOLVED VERY SIMPLY.

    I also encountered this same problem… many times and with lots of files. Basically, all you need to do is let Premiere search for the files again. if what works for you is to rename the file extension then go for it, if you want to move the files to a new folder that’s fine, I just changed the Drive letter (Disk management in windows) and let Premiere locate all the footage once more. Everything relinked just fine, NO “importer reported generic error” thing and nothing to do with QuickTime and codecs. DON’T convert your files or uninstall and reinstall anything, I did that and wasted my time.

    Cheers.

  2. I had been struggling since few days due to this issue. Updated drivers, reverted back to PP-2018, deleted preferences, deleted cache files and what not.
    You saved me dude. Just renaming the folder worked like wonder.
    Thank you for giving such a simple solution.

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