If either side looked likely to nick a winner, it was the hosts, with Ross Wallace hitting the bar twice, while Neil Mellor and Sam Parkin were both guilty of wasteful finishing.
The Rams also hit the woodwork as DJ Campbell, making his first start since joining on loan from Leicester, was unlucky to hit the underside of the crossbar from close range, although Stephen Pearson should have buried the rebound.
Campbell and Parkin both had further chances late on to snatch the points from a game that threatened to boil over once or twice, but found the respective keepers too good to beat.
The first action of the game came in the hosts' 18-yard box as the Rams were denied a possible penalty less than 10 minutes into the game as a weak backpass from Neill Collins sold Andy Lonergan short.
Campbell was alert to the danger and tapped the ball wide of the oncoming keeper only to be brought down by on an outstretched hand, although the striker's eagerness to go to ground probably put sufficient doubt in the referee's mind to award a goal-kick rather than a penalty.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Preston carved out their first opening which was a reflex header from Sam Parkin, after Richard Chaplow had scuffed his shot straight into the ground.
Wallace then broke with the ball straight from a Derby corner to kickstart a dangerous counter-attack that ended with Chris Sedgwick volleying over the bar.
After half an hour, Wallace then came closest to breaking the deadlock with a free-kick from 20 yards out, but his curling left-foot effort hit the angle of post and bar.
That was the last of the first-half action, but it was Preston who again looked most dangerous after the break as Neil Mellor drew a low save from Stephen Bywater in the Derby goal with two minutes of the second period played.
Just five minutes later, the Rams keeper again came to his side's rescue, tipping the ball off the head of Parkin, who would otherwise have had an open goal from five yards out.
Nigel Clough's men responded well to the loss of Dean Leacock to injury and nearly snatched the lead when Campbell forced his way through the Preston backline, only to see his shot hit the underside of the bar.
The ball rebounded to Pearson, but the Scot could only volley into the ground and wide.
With seven minutes to go, Wallace again then hit the woodwork, this time the post, as he was played in behind the Derby defence, but could not find a way past Bywater's near side.
Both sides had half chances in the closing stages, but there was to be no breakthrough as the points were shared.