Colchester goalkeeper Mark Cousins was in fine form as Preston and the U's shared a point on the opening day.
Jeffrey Monakana was twice frustrated by Cousins, while Nicky Wroe and Scott Laird were also denied by the U's man.
Colchester midfielder John-Joe O'Toole wasted a chance to upset the run of play when he shot tamely into Thorsten Stuckmann's hands.
Preston always looked the more likely to score and Cousins denied David Amoo from scoring a winner late on.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Colchester United manager John Ward told BBC Essex:
"I'm really pleased with that, particularly after (losing at Yeovil on) Tuesday - that was a disappointment and we let ourselves down.
"We talked about it over the few days before coming here and said we owe ourselves one as well as those supporters who travelled all this distance, because I guess some of those were at Yeovil too.
"It's been a good, strong effort from my team - if it hadn't been we'd have been beaten - and it's got a reward for us.
"The people I've brought in, like Marcus Bean and Clinton (Morrison), showed their mettle and why we've got them at this football club."
Catch up with all the latest highlights from League One on the Football League Show
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +3:57
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Anthony Wordsworth, John White takes a shot. Save made by Thorsten Stuckmann.90:00 +2:39 Substitution
Substitution John White on for Clinton Morrison.90:00 +2:39
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Mark Cousins.89:24
Anthony Wordsworth takes a inswinging corner.85:04
Inswinging corner taken by Nicky Wroe from the left by-line.82:28
Andy Procter gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Freddie Sears. Mark Cousins takes the direct free kick.81:19
Andy Procter gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Clinton Morrison. Direct free kick taken by Anthony Wordsworth.79:29
Chris Beardsley fouled by Tom Eastman, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Scott Laird from right wing.75:20 Substitution
Substitution Andy Bond on for John-Joe O'Toole.75:20
Inswinging corner taken by Nicky Wroe from the left by-line.74:53
David Amoo takes a shot. Save by Mark Cousins.71:41
Foul by Anthony Wordsworth on John Welsh, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Shane Cansdell-Sherriff.70:23
Chris Beardsley takes a shot. Save made by Mark Cousins.69:57
Ian Henderson is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Direct free kick taken by Thorsten Stuckmann.68:59 Substitution
Substitution Andy Procter joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jack King.67:36
Freddie Sears takes a shot. Save by Mark Cousins.66:20
Shot from close range by Clinton Morrison misses to the right of the target.64:57
Shot from just outside the area by Jeffrey Monakana misses to the left of the target.62:48
John Welsh takes a shot. Save by Mark Cousins.
John-Joe O'Toole takes a shot. Save made by Thorsten Stuckmann.60:15 Substitution
Substitution John Welsh joins the action as a substitute, replacing John Mousinho.60:15
Foul by Marcus Bean on John Mousinho, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Keith Keane.59:27
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jack King on Magnus Okuonghae. Free kick taken by Mark Cousins.57:53
Jack King takes a shot. Mark Cousins makes a save. Inswinging corner taken by Nicky Wroe from the left by-line.57:16 Substitution
Substitution Matt Heath leaves the field to be replaced by Tom Eastman.56:00 Substitution
Substitution David Amoo is brought on as a substitute for David Buchanan.52:33
David Buchanan takes the inswinging corner, John-Joe O'Toole makes a clearance. Corner from the left by-line taken by David Buchanan, Magnus Okuonghae manages to make a clearance.52:03
Jeffrey Monakana takes a shot. Save by Mark Cousins.49:25
Foul by Clinton Morrison on Keith Keane, free kick awarded. Keith Keane delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from own half.48:31
Ian Henderson has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.47:09
Unfair challenge on Clinton Morrison by Shane Cansdell-Sherriff results in a free kick. Anthony Wordsworth restarts play with the free kick.46:34
Paul Huntington takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand post.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:00 +3:07 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.45:00 +1:14
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Shane Cansdell-Sherriff by John-Joe O'Toole. Direct free kick taken by Thorsten Stuckmann.45:00 +0:21
Scott Laird concedes a free kick for a foul on Ian Henderson. Mark Cousins restarts play with the free kick.43:52
Jeffrey Monakana takes a shot. Mark Cousins gets a block in.38:37
John Mousinho gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John-Joe O'Toole. Michael Rose takes the free kick.38:37 Booking
Booking John Mousinho booked.36:12
Ian Henderson fouled by David Buchanan, the ref awards a free kick. Anthony Wordsworth delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, clearance made by David Buchanan.34:58
Chris Beardsley is caught offside. Direct free kick taken by Matt Heath.33:20
Foul by Magnus Okuonghae on Chris Beardsley, free kick awarded. Scott Laird takes the direct free kick.32:00
Nicky Wroe takes the inswinging corner, Brian Wilson makes a clearance.26:20
Anthony Wordsworth concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack King. Keith Keane delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, Paul Huntington gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Magnus Okuonghae. Free kick taken by Mark Cousins. Foul by David Buchanan on Marcus Bean, free kick awarded. Anthony Wordsworth delivers the ball, Ian Henderson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.23:27
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jeffrey Monakana on Mark Cousins. Mark Cousins takes the direct free kick.23:27 Booking
Booking Jeffrey Monakana shown a yellow card.20:43
Corner taken by Anthony Wordsworth from the left by-line, clearance made by Keith Keane. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Keith Keane by Matt Heath. Thorsten Stuckmann restarts play with the free kick.20:03
Keith Keane takes a shot. Save by Mark Cousins.16:06
Ian Henderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Keith Keane. Keith Keane takes the direct free kick.14:54
Corner taken right-footed by Nicky Wroe from the right by-line, Mark Cousins makes a save.13:29
Nicky Wroe fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save made by Mark Cousins.13:29 Booking
Booking Marcus Bean goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.13:02
Unfair challenge on John Mousinho by Marcus Bean results in a free kick.12:09
Chris Beardsley is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Mark Cousins.10:13
Scott Laird takes a shot. Inswinging corner taken by Nicky Wroe. Clearance made by Mark Cousins.5:51
Effort from deep inside the area by Keith Keane misses to the left of the target.0:00
The referee gets the match started.
Live data and text provided by our data suppliers