What Is A Clean Pro Tools Install On A Windows 7 And 8 Machine?
When a new update to Pro Tools 11 comes along it is often said that a “clean” installation is the best way to go about the update on your Pro Tools computer, But what does this actually mean?
Well, when you run the packaged uninstaller for Pro Tools regardless of whether you chose the option to uninstall everything or not some files are actually left behind, not removed or deleted as part of the uninstall process and are not even overwritten by the update installer.
If these leftover files are not cleaned up manually and left to remain after the new update they can cause issues and instabilities for Pro Tools so are best dealt with before any new updated installation is carried out.
You can of course just run a new installer over the top of a current installation but there could be file version mis-matches with what remains and what is replaced all causing quite a mess and potential instability, but this isnt always the case and you may get away without any trouble at all but best practices recommended by Avid and Myself are to keep things tidy so heres how….
Before getting into the actual uninstall you might want to backup your carefully crafted IO and Plugin Settings, Track Hack Presets and Session Templates amongst other things so step 1 is to familiarise yourself with Trasher, An application worth its virtual weight in Gold made by My Buddy in the USA and fellow Pro Tools PC colleague Steven Gilliland.
Trasher is donationware so if you like it and use it a lot (you certainly should) please consider making a donation to help Steven keep it in development.
So take a look at the options the pages of Trasher give you and backup all the things you think you might want to keep, once we are done with the reinstall you can use Trasher to restore these things.
Once you are all backed up you can go ahead and run the uninstaller from the “Programs and Features” module found in the Windows “Control Panel”
Just right click the Pro Tools 11 item and select “Change”
The Uninstaller Wizard will appear, Click “Next”……..
Check the “Remove” option and click “Next”…….
Check the third option, This will remove everything it lists and click “Next”…..
…..And Click “Remove”.
Once the removal process is complete you can restart your computer.
Now It’s Time For The Manual Clean Up
First of all browse to C:\Program Files and Delete the “Avid” folder.
Next, browse to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid and Delete the Pro Tools Folder, BUT keep the “Audio” folder (This is where your 3rd Party Plugins live and you might not want to have to install these from scratch especially if you have as many as I do !)
Next, browse to C:\users\*Your Username*\AppData\Roaming\Avid and Delete the “Pro Tools” folder, Take care not to delete the Pro Tools 10 folder (unless you are “clean” uninstalling that too).
If you can’t find this folder you might need to go to “Control Panel” and “Folder Options”
….and on the “View” tab check the box that says “Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives”
Next, browse to C:\users\*Your Username*\AppData\Local and Delete the “Avid” folder
Finally you might want to brows to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins just to double check your 3rd Party Plugins are still intact.
You might even want to make a copy/backup of this whole folder somewhere else on another drive just in case something goes wrong with it at some point in the future.
You might want to empty your Recycle Bin and Reboot, but from there you now have are now ready to perform a new install of Pro Tools 11
Once the new install is complete you can restore the setting you had previosly backed up with Trasher and you should be back in business.
As a side note (although its not usually necessary) before installing Pro Tools again you might want to go back into the “Programs and Features” module and uninstall “Pace License Support”
This is the ilok driver which gets updated with the Pro Tools installer anyway but you might want to do this to cover all bases.
I hope that helps you with a bit of good housekeeping and goes towards keeping your Pro Tools Workstation in tip top shape!
Unitil next time…… Neil Hester