If emacs can't reach or create .emacs.d it gets into a sort of half-loaded state.
I often have processes spawn emacs for me using sudo.
My home directory has 700 permissions and exists on a root-squashed NFS share. Consequently root can't reach it.
As a result, whenever I run sudo emacs on a file, it throws the error:
"Creating directory: Permission denied, /home/rprije/.emacs.d/"
in my minibuffer. It fails to load my file and I have to do C-x C-f on the file to open it manually. If it's a temporarily created file, it often loses the file completely and I can't regain it.
I'd have expected running with -Q or -q would help but it sadly makes no difference.
$ emacs --version
GNU Emacs 23.2.1