Mac and Windows Support Tools For Pro Tools Users
This page aims to give you links to some of our favourite and most used third party software tools for Pro Tools users. If you know of a cool application that you think we’ve missed then let us know!
We regularly get questions for the podcast about running Pro Tools with Mac OSX Mavericks on the Apple Mac platform like this one from Glenn Skinner who asks..
I’ve just bought a new MacBook that came with 10.9.2. Its very nice but Avid say its not authorised as a system yet. I’m running Pro Tools 10.3.8 native with an Mbox 2 Pro. What if any nasties await me? Is any one running Mavericks yet? I’m also having a couple of weird problems with some of the Air instruments but generally OK. Bit worried about doing professional sessions on it.
Glenn, you are absolutely right to be worried about running professional sessions with this combination.
Match Your Pro Tools Version with the version of your computers operating system.
We have lost count of the number of times we have had to explain to someone why their Pro Tools system isn’t working properly and it is often down to them trying to use an older version of Pro Tools with the much newer version of Pro Tools. This often happens when people upgrade their computer so it has the most recent version of the operating system OSX Mavericks or Windows 8 and they still want to use an old version of Pro Tools, and get most frustrated when it doesn’t work properly.
Older Version Of Pro Tools = Older Version Of Your Operating System
If you want to run an older version of Pro Tools go through the older compatibility charts on the Avid web site
- Compatibility & Upgrade Information for Pro Tools on Windows.
- Compatibility & Upgrade Information for Pro Tools on Mac.
Make sure you use the latest version of the OS that your version of Pro Tools is supported for. Anything else is going to cause you problems sooner or later.
Latest Version Of Pro Tools = Matching Version Of Your Operating System
Notice this equation doesn’t say “Latest Version Of Pro Tools = Latest Version of Your Operating System”. You must check the compatibility charts (see the links above) to establish what is the approved version of the operating system for that version of Pro Tools and stick to it.
If you have a new computer that can only run the latest version of the relevant OS, then you must have the latest version of Pro Tools. For example if you have a Mac with Mavericks on it, like Glenn, Pro Tools 11.1.2 or higher is what you need. Earlier versions will not play well with Mavericks. The reason for this is that any application like Pro Tools is designed to look for hooks in the operating system so that it works in conjunction with the OS the way Avid designed it to. These hooks change between different versions of an OS so it is essential that you run Pro Tools and the OS as a matched pair.
If you look at the Pro Tools 11 Mac OS Compatibility Chart on Avid’s web site then there is an expanding section that outlines exactly what version of the OS works with what version of of Pro Tools.
So coming back to Glenn’s question, Glenn you are absolutely correct in saying that 10.3.8 is not approved for OSX Mavericks. Avid specify this in the Pro Tools 10.3 compatibility charts…
Use Matched Pairs for Pro Tools And Your Operating System
All of which confirms the principle that you need to consider your version of Pro Tools and the version of your operating systems as a matched pair. Just as with speakers and microphones, you can work without using matched pairs, but you don’t get the best results. Using matched pairs gives the best results.
OSX Mavericks & Pro Tools
If you have to use Mavericks, and both Mike and Russ don’t recommend it if you have a choice. But if like Glenn you have no choice, because the computer is so new it can only run Mavericks, then you must have the matching version of Pro Tools, which currently is 11.1.2. That said there are still some known issues with Mavericks and Pro Tools and Avid have posted a document covering these issues for Pro Tools, Media Compser and Sibelius.
AIR Instruments And Mavericks
And finally to answer the last part of Glenn’s question about problems with the AIR Instruments, you will need to upgrade these to the latest versions too, to work with Pro tools 11 and Mavericks.
We recently highlighted PT Prefs in an ongoing thread looking at the best ways to do a clean de-install and re-install of Pro Tools.
Neil covered the Windows platform and shows how Trasher 11 can really help you to look after all the files and folders that you don’t want to loose.
I covered the same issues with the Mac and pointed out that there wasn’t the same options that Trasher 11 offers on the Windows platform and so listed the locations of all the files that I felt were important, made somewhat more complex as the files and their locations have changed with different versions of Pro Tools.
Then I remembered PT Prefs and covered what it could do. Well Pete Gates has been busy adding features to PT Prefs to give it the backup and restore options to make clean installers much easier on the Mac Platform.
It now covers I/O Settings, Plug-in Maps, Plug-In Settings and your Templates folders and so we now have a tool, thanks to Pete Gates’ hard work that will help all Mac users to do a full de-install and re-install of Pro Tools without loosing key settings and files.
Any problems/queries/suggestions, do let Pete know here or on the special thread on the DUC.
Neil provided a very comprehensive feature recently on How To Perform A “Clean” Uninstall Of Pro Tools 11 On Windows 7 And 8 and in the comments there were questions of how to do this for a Mac, so here are some guidelines.
You Need To Archive Files Manually
There is no Trasher 10 option to undertake the archive process in the Mac world so you need to do this manually. I have covered how to do this is detail in my Pro Tools Toolkit For Mac series in Groove 3. One of the videos covers this in detail.
However the file locations vary depending whether you have Pro Tools 10 or 11. My video covers Pro Tools 10 but some of the files and folders are in different locations for Pro Tools 11.
Files & Folders to Archive For Pro Tools 10
- Boot drive/Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-ins
- Boot drive/Library/Application Support/Pro Tools/Databases/Unicode/Catalogs
- Boot drive/Library/Application Support/Digidesign/Plug-ins
- Boot drive/Library/Application Support/Digidesign/Plug-ins Settings
- Boot drive/Applications/Avid/Pro Tools/Session Templates
- Boot drive/Applications/Avid/Pro Tools/IO Settings
- Boot drive/Users/Your user name/Library/Preferences/Pro Tools Prefs
- Boot drive/Users/Your user name/Library/Preferences/
Files & Folders to Archive For Pro Tools 11
- Boot drive/Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-ins
- Boot drive/Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-ins Settings
- Boot drive/Users/Your user name/Documents/Pro Tools
- Boot drive/Users/Your user name/Library/Preferences/Avid
Obviously replace Boot Drive with the name of whatever you have called your Macintosh HD drive, the drive with your OS on it and Replace Your User Name with the name of the User account that you are logged into.
Pro Tools Preferences are kept in the Preferences folder in the Library folder in your Home folder. It is not essential to archive these but they hold information like your favorite plug-ins, the Open Recent list and all the settings you changed in the Pro Tools Preferences window. The User Library folder is hidden by default. The easiest way to get to it is hold down the Alt key and access the Go menu in the Finder, select Library. A window showing what is in the User’s Library will open. Look for a folder called Avid. Inside that folder is a file called Pro Tools Prefs. That is where a lot of info is stored including Open Recent and what your Plug-in Favourites are. If you archive that before rebuilding the system and then put it back then that will keep all these settings.
Once you have copied these files to a safe location like your Desktop maybe inside Folders labelled Pro Tools 10 & Pro Tools 11, then for Pro Tools 10 you can use the Un-Installer in…
Boot drive/Applications/Avid/Pro Tools/Pro Tools Utilities/Uninstall Pro Tools
For Pro Tools 11 delete the Pro Tools application inside - Boot drive/Applications.
Now run the installers, run the Pro Tools 10 installer first and then Pro Tools 11.
Check both run fine before you reintroduce any of your backups. Once you are happy then copy back in your 3rd party plug-ins and presets as well as catalog and I/O settings but if there is a new fresh version, then use that, rather than your archived version.
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, 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
With Pro Tools 11, a number of the key files are no longer where they used to be. Which is why we need Pro Tools 10.3.6 as well, as that version of Pro Tools 10 is correctly pointed at the new locations for these files.
As you will see above, we have a Pro Tools folder in the Users - Documents folder and inside that folder are a number of key files and folders.
Documentation - All the documentation for Pro Tools 11 is now here because on the Mac the Pro Tools application is a single drag & drop application in the Applications folder. All the Pro Tools 10 documentation is still in the Avid folder in Applications.
Grooves, I/O Settings, Plug-in Maps & Session Templates - These have all been moved from Pro Tools folder in the Avid folder in Applications.
Plug-In Settings - This has been copied from the Digidesign folder in Application Support in the Library folder. The orginal has been left. This means that when you need to do a full uninstall, it is this Plug-In Setings folder you need to make a back up of, not the one in the Digidesign folder.
Video Test Patterns - This is a new folder and contains a number of still images that can be used to create video files. It is not referenced in the documentation, but we have a video in the member’s area to show you how you can use it.
We often get asked questions about what version of Pro Tools will work with what version of an operating system.
There are some basic guidelines we can offer….
If you want a reliable system stick to the approved systems.
- Compatibility & Upgrade Information for Pro Tools on Windows.
- Compatibility & Upgrade Information for Pro Tools on Mac.
Simply put the current versions of Pro Tools will work on the current versions of the operating systems, like Windows 7 & Mac OS 10.7 or 10.8.
Windows 8 - Nothing is currently supported for Windows 8. Some people are getting it to work, but it is uncharted territory. If you want a reliable system then use Windows 7.
Mac OS 10.8 - Mountain Lion. It is approved for the latest versions of Pro Tools but a lot of people are still having trouble with it. We would currently recommend Lion 10.7.5 is the most reliable solution for Pro Tools.
Pro Tools LE - If you want Pro Tools LE to work with a relatively current version of an operating system you need to get Pro Tools 8.0.5 LE. This should work with Mac OS 10.7, but may not be reliable with Mac OS 10.8.
So you have Pro Tools 8 or 9 etc and you want to find what the last update version was and download it?
The Avid website is an absolute nightmare to find what you are looking for so I’m linking to some very important pages that get you exactly what you need.
For Windows Users:
Compatibility & Upgrade Information for Pro Tools on Windows.
For Windows XP follow this guide:
For Windows 7 follow this one:
Getting Blue Screens or BSOD’s with the Windows Operating system can be a real PITA !
Diagnosing the problem can be like hunting for a needle in a haystack.
Heres a link to the Microsoft Community pages that gives some insight into how to try and narrow down the cause and then what to do about it. (Scroll down past the initial question and read the Answers)
Microsoft Community BSOD Troubleshooting
This great helper app from Jean-Charles Deshaies is currently not available. His site is down and has been for a while.
But the good news is we have a copies available to download.
Jean Charles, do get in touch with us if we help you.
For Pro Tools 10.3.5
This is a self contained installer that extracts the app to the correct places, It includes the option to update a previous Trasher 10 install, Read the ReadMe .pdf included for full details.
For Pro Tools 10.0 up to 10.3.4
Place inside your Documents folder (NOT public Documents folder) and run. a full Read Me will be available once launched.
Backs up and Restores Pro Tools Preferences and DAE Prefs.
Backs up and Restores Pro Tools I/O Settings.
Backs up and Restores Pro Tools Plug-Ins Settings.
Recycles Pro Tools Preferences and DAE Prefs.
Recycles Pro Tools Databases
Opens RTAS Used and Unused Plug-Ins folders.
Opens AAX Used and Unused Plug-Ins folders.
Opens Pro Tools 10 Reference Guide and Documentation - ReadMes folder.
Opens Avid Log Files folder.
For Pro Tools 8.04 through 9
For Pro Tools 8.01 and earlier
This is a nice quick reference table for when you hear somebody talking about a keyboard shortcut combo from a Mac or PC point of view and you want to know what it is from the other platforms point of view.
For an extensive list of Pro Tools key commands WikiAudio have done a fantastic job !
Convert sessions to/from ProTools, Audition, Vegas, Cubase, Nuendo, Samplitude/Sequoia, Reaper, Tracktion, Ardour, Studio One, Studio Live, Wavelab, Pyramix, Audiofile, Fairlight, Waveframe, DAR, N-Track, Sadie, Tascam, Logic, Logic Pro, Media Composer/Adrenaline, Paris, Soundscape, Sonar, Digital Performer, Grass Valley, Lightworks, Cool Edit Pro, Premiere, Final Cut Pro, SAW Studio, TripleDat, Ableton Live.
You have got some audio sampling CDs?
You’d like to have all samples in WAV format but you don’t want to spend countless hours cutting and trimming every sample manually using a WAV-editor?
Then WaveKnife is what you are looking for !
Get it here
Header Investigator will allow the user to open WAV audio files and display the header information and make changes. The actual audio data is never changed… simply the header information. This is useful if the user has accidentally recorded audio while locked to an external digital clock source so that the header sample rate is a mismatch to the actual sample rate of the data – which causes the sound file to play back at the wrong pitch. By simply changing the sample rate in the header – the WAV files can be corrected without having to retransfer or sample rate convert the file.
Full info and Download
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Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get the most out of their computers every day.
The application serves up a perfect mix of maintenance tools and tweaks, all accessible through a clean and easy to use interface. Cocktail’s features are arranged into five categories that helps you manage various aspects of your computer. It also comes with an automatic Pilot mode that allows you to simply press a button and relax, knowing that Cocktail will take care of the rest.
When unregistered, Cocktail (Mountain Lion Edition) for OS X 10.8, Cocktail (Lion Edition) for OS X 10.7 and Cocktail (Snow Leopard Edition) for OS X 10.6 runs in demo mode and will expire after the tenth launch. Cocktail (Leopard Edition) for OS X 10.5 is distributed as freeware and does not require a license.