Pro Tools Windows 7 Optimizations and Troubleshooting

Pro Tools Windows 7 Optimizations and Troubleshooting Pro Tools can be affected by system settings and other software and hardware drivers installed on your computer. For best performance, it is recommended that you take the following steps:

Optimizations

If you have performed all the optimizations above and are still having problems, please try the following troubleshooting steps:

Troubleshooting


Optimizations


Update Graphics Driver

In many cases, outdated graphics drivers will not effectively utilize the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), and will instead tax the computerís processor, stealing valuable resources from Pro Tools and causing a noticeable decrease in performance. Therefore, for optimal performance it is required that graphics drivers are kept up to date.

  • Nearly all computers use a graphics controller (or graphics card) from Nvidia, ATI, or Intel. To find the make and model of your graphics controller, do the following:
    • Click on the Windows Start button to bring up the Start Menu.
    • Right-click on Computer, and select ìProperties.î
    • Click on ìDevice Managerî in the upper-left corner.
    • Click the triangle next to ìDisplay Adapters.î
    • Your graphics card model will appear directly below.
    • Double-click this item to view its properties.
    • In the ìGeneralî tab, make a note of the model (shown at the top of the window), and the manufacturer.
    • Select the ìDriverî tab.
    • Make a note of the driver version and date.
  • To find the latest driver for your Graphics Controller, go to the appropriate manufacturerís web site:
  • Locate the appropriate driver for your graphics controller. If your current driver is earlier than the latest version offered on the manufacturerís website, download and install the latest version.

Update Network Adapter Driver

The quality of network adapter drivers may severely affect system performance. Outdated or poor quality drivers may cause Ethernet controllers to consume vital processing resources unnecessarily, limiting plug-in and track count and generating DAE errors during playback and record passes. It is therefor recommended to keep these drivers up to date at all times.

  • Follow the same procedure listed above to access the device manager, but instead look in the "Network Adapters" category.
  • Network adapters come from a variety of manufacturers. In many cases they are built into the computer's motherboard, but sometimes are installed as optional PCI or PCIe cards in the computer's chassis.
  • Locate and install the most current drivers for your network adapters by going to the adapter manufacturer's web site.
  • There will often be more than one network adapter listed in the device manager. Try and update all network adapter drivers to the latest versions.

Disable Turbo Boost and C-State Transition (BIOS)

These settings are not available on all computers, but it is very important to disable them if possible. Turbo Boost and C-State Transition affect the way the clock speed of the processor is managed. When either of these are enabled, the processor will dynamically change speeds depending on computing activity, and this throttling will generally cause errors in Pro Tools. You will need to access your computer's BIOS setup to change these settings.

  • Consult your computer or motherboard manufacturer to determine if either of these settings are available on your system, and learn how to disable them if so.

Adjust Power Options

This optimization prevents the computer from going into Sleep Mode, which can cause playback issues with audio interfaces. This will also prevent the hard drives from going to sleep, and disables USB Selective Suspend, which can cause pops and clicks during record and playback with USB interfaces when enabled.

  • Open the Start menu and click on Control Panel.
  • In Large icon View, click on Power Options.
  • Select the High Performance power plan. Click on the Change plan settings link.
  • Set the display's sleep time to Never.
  • Set the computer's sleep time to Never.
  • Click on the Change advanced power settings link.
  • Click on the + sign next to Hard Disk.
  • Click on the + sign next to Turn Off Hard Disk After.
  • Click in the value box; the text entry field will now be accessible.
  • In the text entry field, type Never.
  • Click on the + sign next to USB settings.
  • Click on the + sign next to USB selective suspend setting.
  • Double-click where it says Enabled and click on Disabled.
  • Click on the + sign next to Processor power management.
  • Click on the + sign next to Minimum processor state.
  • Type 100 in the Setting (%) text entry field.
  • Click Apply then OK.
  • Click Save Changes.
  • Close the Power Options window.

Watch the tutorial video on YouTube or Vimeo.

Supplemental: Disable USB Power Management (USB interfaces only)

This optimization frees up bandwidth on the USB bus and can help resolve problems with device recognition and driver installation.

  • Open the Start menu. Right-click on Computer and choose Properties.
  • Click on Device Manager in the upper left corner.
  • In the Device Manager window, double-click on Universal Serial Bus Controllers.
  • Double-click on the first USB Root Hub item.
  • Click on the Power Management tab.
  • Uncheck the box that says "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power." and click OK.
  • Repeat this process for all other USB Root Hub items.

Run as Administrator

This can help with various launch issues as well as a variety of MIDI issues (i.e., no MIDI output or control surface communication) and using the Avid/Digidesign hardware driver in third-party DAWs.

  • Right-click on the Pro Tools icon on your desktop.
    • If using a third-party DAW, right-click on that application's icon instead.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Click on the Compatibility tab.
  • Check the box that says "Run this program as an administrator."
  • Click Apply and then OK.

Hard Disk Optimizations

This optimization allows your hard drives to work more efficiently when recording and playing back audio files, and can sometimes resolve DAE Error -9073.

  • Open the Start menu and click on Computer.
  • Right-click on the first drive you intend to use for audio storage.
  • Choose Properties.
  • If checked, uncheck "Compress this drive to save disk space."
  • If checked, uncheck 'Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed.'
  • Click Apply and then OK.
  • Repeat the process for each of your audio drives.

Install Latest Device Drivers (Pro Tools 9 and later)

It is always important to install the latest drivers available for your audio interface to ensure maximum compatibility with Pro Tools.

  • If you have an Avid/Digidesign interface, visit this page to download the latest drivers compatible with Pro Tools.
  • For third-party interfaces, visit the manufacturer's website to download the latest drivers available for your audio interface.

Adjust Processor Scheduling

This optimization allows the computer to run Pro Tools more efficiently.

  • Click on the Start Menu, right-click on Computer.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Choose "Advanced System Settings."
  • Under the Performance section, click the Settings button.
  • In the Performance Options window, click the Advanced tab.
  • Under the Processor Scheduling section, select the Background Services option.
  • Hit Apply and then OK to close the Performance Options window.
  • Click OK to close the System Properties window.
  • Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

Disabling Screen Saver

This optimization will prevent a screen saver from starting. An error may occur if the screen saver starts while Pro Tools is open.

  • Right-click on the Desktop and select Personalize.
  • Click on Screen Saver.
  • In the Screen Saver menu, select None and click OK.

Troubleshooting


Not Hearing Input or Output

If you are unable to get input into or hear output from Pro Tools, the following troubleshooting steps may fix the problem.

Default I/O Setup:
  • Open a Pro Tools session.
  • Click on the Setup menu.
  • Click on I/O.
  • By default, you'll be on the Output tab. Click on the Default button towards the bottom left corner.
  • Click on the Input tab and then the Default button again.
  • Click on the Bus tab and then the Default button once again.
  • Click OK to save these changes.
  • The input and output paths for your audio interface should now be set to the default settings for your audio interface.
  • Double-check your input and output settings in the Mix window of Pro Tools to make sure that they're now set correctly, and test again.
Create New Session With Stereo Mix I/O Settings:
  • Launch Pro Tools.
  • From the Quick Start menu, choose 'Create Blank Session'.
  • Click on the '>>' button next to 'Session Parameters'.
  • Under 'I/O Settings' choose the 'Stereo Mix' option.
  • Click OK.
  • The session will now be created with the default input/output settings for your audio interface. Do a test recording or import some audio and see if your issue persists.

If you want, you can rename the I/O paths to how you had them set before as long as everything is working OK. In the I/O Setup, just double-click the name of the path that you want to rename, type in the new path name, and then hit Enter.


Delete Pro Tools Databases and Preferences

To delete the Pro Tools Databases folder in Windows 7:
  • Go to your Start menu and click on Computer.
  • Double-click on the C: drive.
  • Double-click on Program Files.
  • Go to the Digidesign folder.
  • Go to the Pro Tools folder.
  • Right-click on the Databases folder and delete it.
  • NOTE: If you are using Pro Tools HD, DV Toolkit 2 or Complete Production Toolkit, you will want to backup your Catalogs folder before deleting the Databases folder.
To delete Pro Tools preference files in Windows 7:
  • Go to your Start menu and click on Computer.
  • Double-click on the C: drive.
  • Double-click on Program Files (x86).
  • Go to the Common Files folder.
  • Go to the Digidesign folder.
  • Go to the DAE folder.
  • Right-click on the DAE Prefs folder and delete it.
  • Go back to your C: drive.
  • Double-click on Users.
  • Double-click on your user name.
  • Go to the AppData folder.
    • NOTE: If the Appdata folder is not showing, click on Organize and choose 'Folder and Search Options.'
    • Click on the View tab.
    • Select 'Show Hidden Files and Folders'.
    • Click Apply and OK. AppData should now be viewable.
  • Open the Roaming folder.
  • Open the Avid folder (Digidesign folder with Pro Tools 8 and 9)
  • Right-click on the Pro Tools Prefs.ptp file and delete it.

Disable Network Adapters

If you have updated your network adapter’s drivers and are still receiving DAE errors during playback or record, you can try disabling network adapters completely. In addition to freeing up system resources, disabling network adapters can sometimes alleviate some DAE Errors.

  • Open the Start menu. Right-click on Computer and choose Properties.
  • Click on Device Manager in the upper left corner.
  • In the Device Manager window, double-click Network adapters.
  • Right-click the Network Adapter you wish to deactivate, and choose Disable.
  • Close the Device Manager window.

Disable System Startup Items

In addition to freeing up system resources, this can resolve conflicts with other applications that automatically start up when you boot your computer.

  • Hold down the Windows key on your keyboard (or Start menu button) and press the letter "R" to open up the Run dialog.
  • Type msconfig and click OK.
  • The System Configuration Utility opens. Under the General tab, choose Selective Startup.
  • Deselect Load Startup Items.
  • Go to the Services tab and choose the option to Hide All Microsoft Services.
  • Click Disable All.
  • Click on the column labeled Manufacturer to sort items by manufacturer.
  • Locate all items with Avid/Digidesign/M-Audio/PACE listed as the manufacturer.
  • Check them and click Apply.
  • Close the System Configuration Utility.
  • Click Restart to restart the computer.
  • You can revert to the original settings by running "msconfig" and choosing Normal Startup.

To add the 'Run...' dialog to your Start menu:

  • Right-click on your Windows taskbar and choose Properties.
  • Click on the Start Menu tab.
  • Click on Customize.
  • Scroll down until you find 'Run command' and select it.
  • Click OK.

Enable Legacy FireWire Controller Driver (FireWire interfaces only)

This will change the FireWire controller on your system to the legacy controller previously used on Windows XP and Vista. In many cases, the legacy controller improves FireWire performance on Windows 7 and can resolve many Pro Tools issues such as DAE errors, freezes, and pops and clicks.

  • Open the Start menu. Right-click on Computer and choose Properties.
  • Click on Device Manager in the upper left corner.
  • In the Device Manager window, double-click on IEEE 1394 Bus host controllers.
  • Double-click on the controller (or port) that your FireWire interface is connected to.
  • Click on the Driver tab.
  • Click on Update Driver.
  • Choose 'Browse my computer for driver software'.
  • Choose 'Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer'.
  • Choose '1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller (Legacy)'.
  • Restart the computer.

Turn off User Account Control

Turning off UAC can help with the “Session must be on an audio record volume” error and various other issues when launching Pro Tools.

  • Open the Start menu and then click on 'Control Panel'.
  • In Large icon View, click User Accounts.
  • Click on 'Change User Account Control Settings'.
  • Set it to 'Never notify'.
  • Click OK.
  • Restart the computer.

Disable Desktop Composition

This troubleshooting step will disable Windows Aero and force the computer to run the Windows Basic theme while Pro Tools is running, reducing complex graphic processing during Pro Tools operation. This can help resolve pops and clicks during playback and record, as well as optimize the system further for use with Pro Tools. This is generally only necessary with older graphics cards that do not support the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM).

  • Right-click the Pro Tools icon on your desktop or Start menu.
  • Choose Properties.
  • Click on the Compatibility tab.
  • Check the box that says ‘Disable desktop composition.’
  • Click Apply and then OK.
  • Upon launching Pro Tools, you will get a notification at the bottom of your screen telling you that the graphics theme has changed. Click on that message and then check "Don't show this message" to prevent this message from popping up every time you launch Pro Tools.

Watch the tutorial video on YouTube or Vimeo


Disable Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery (Laptops only)

This will disable the battery management functionality in Windows. This can help alleviate playback and record errors and improve performance, even when the laptop is powered from an outlet. Please note that this will generally disable the battery alerts and charge meter in Windows, so it is a good idea to turn re-enable this when not using Pro Tools.

  • Open the Start menu. Right-click on Computer and choose Properties.
  • Click on Device Manager in the upper left corner.
  • In the Device Manager window, and double-click on Batteries.
  • Right-Click on Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery, and choose Disable.
  • Close the Device Manager window.

Install iLok / PACE drivers

Having up-to-date iLok drivers installed can help with any iLok/PACE related errors while launching or installing Pro Tools. It is also a good idea to update drivers if you are having authorization problems with any iLok-authorized plug-ins.

  • Download the latest iLok Driver Installer for Windows by clicking here.
  • Run the downloaded DriverSetup.exe file.
    • If a Warning window pops up, click Run.
  • The file will go through a short extraction process.
  • When the InstallShield Wizard pops up, click Next.
  • Wait for the installation to complete.
  • Restart the computer when prompted to do so.

Create a New User Account

This can be useful if there are conflicting or corrupt user preferences that are causing Pro Tools to be problematic. In many cases, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint what exactly is causing the problem due to the number of applications installed on the system. In these cases, creating a new user account will be free of these conflicting preferences and allow Pro Tools to run without conflicts.

  • Open the Start menu and click on 'Control Panel'.
  • In Category view, click on 'Add or remove user accounts' which can be found under 'User Accounts and Family Safety'.
  • Click on 'Create a new account'.
  • Type a name for the account.
  • Choose Administrator for the type of account.
  • Click on Create Account.

To log into the new user account:

  • Press ctrl+alt+delete.
  • Choose Log off.
  • Choose the new account that you just created.
  • Launch Pro Tools from the Start menu.

Enable DEP

This troubleshoot can sometimes help resolve issues with installing and launching Pro Tools software. If you have disabled this for any reason, it is often recommended to re-enable it.

  • Open the Start menu and type "cmd" (without the quotations). The Result you get should be "cmd.exe".
  • Right-click on "cmd.exe" and choose "Run as administrator".
  • Click the Allow button if it asks you for permission.
  • Type or copy and paste this into the command prompt window: bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx OptIn
  • Hit enter and you should see the confirmation: Operation Completed Successfully.
  • Restart the computer and DEP should be on for the entire system.

Other Configurations

  • Avoid connecting Digidesign interfaces to USB/FireWire hubs.
  • Avoid running any unneeded programs at the same time as Pro Tools.
  • Turn off any software utilities that run in the background, such as Windows Messenger, calendars, and disk maintenance programs. See Disabling System Startup Items above.
  • Turn off any non-essential USB devices while running Pro Tools.
  • If your video display card supports it, enable Bus Mastering in the manufacturer’s Control Panel.