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Resetting computer and preserving personal Pyramix settings

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 18:03
by Andreas Klein
Hello everyone,

as we Pyramix users all have to face the occasional crashes, weird software/plug-ins/Windows behaviors and similar nuisances and try to resolve any issues through personal knowledge of "how-to", through the support team and help from this Forum, wouldn't it be just great if there is a way to turn back the clock (not "Wordclock", "MadiClock" :) ) and go back to the original "factory" settings of computer and/or software components?

As I am not a computer or software tech, I find myself occasionally stranded. I envision a possibility to save Pyramix projects, save personal parameters within Pyramix (e.g. desktop layout, preferences, macros) and then reset Windows and all files to the state when the new computer was delivered (and worked flawlessly ...hopefully). It seems to me that over time, the computer stores too many temp files (I know how to delete them) and perhaps other junk which slows down the performance or causes corrupted files.

Provided we have made copies of all pertinent data, we should able to reset everything in order to start from a clean slate. Any suggestions?

Greetings from New York!
Andreas Klein
Ultimo Productions

Re: Resetting computer and preserving personal Pyramix setti

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 22:20
by DJS
Yes, this applies to the whole IT industry and most software in general. There is a screaming need for remembering the last settings of everything in a simple single file structure and not the registry (which gets trashed on rebuild) which one can save and then restore. We use to have this before the registry days where program settings were in an INI file and you could pick up the install folder and move it somewhere else and the program would still work.

For example, I wish PMX would just remember where I last put all the windows (Tracks, Track Groups, Fade Windows etc) instead of the frustrating docking system which I find dysfunctional. I now save all settings files on my data drive so I can restore PMX and recall most of the settings I need. I can then rebuild C drive and not lose much at all.

But most software doesn't remember nearly enough from instance to instance. It should be mandatory in good software design to retain everything that the user can set.

Re: Resetting computer and preserving personal Pyramix setti

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 18:15
by fl
As David points out, it's finicky and confusing, but I have a suggestion to greatly simplify system restoration in future.

If you've been working with Pyramix for any amount of time, you'll have made a number of customizations. These can include all the Settings set in the Settings windows, as well as individual files for Desktop Layouts, Keyboard Shortcuts, Macros, Templates, DiskWrite's Report forms and various Presets. If you have a stable, working system now, which you are confident does not contain any corruptions, go through the program and save anything that has a Save button associated with it, especially some of the individual windows in the Settings. Also, don't forget to right-click on any of the Toolbars you have installed at the top of the Timeline, and then "Save Toolbars Layout".

All these saved configurations get stored in the C:/Program Files/Merging Technologies/Pyramix Virtual Studio/ folder - well, most of them. If you've chosen to maintain Pyramix's database on a separate disk (like a scratch disk), you might want to manually stick a copy in the Pyramix folder as well before doing what I'm about to suggest, and then re-copy it back to the external disk following a rebuild of your system.

When you've saved and copied everything you can think of, go to Windows' Add/Remove Programs, and uninstall Pyramix. "Yike!", you say, "This guy's crazy!" but bear with me. Once the de-installation is complete, there will still be a folder in your Program Files folder, which contains any and all of the custom settings and files you've created. Make a backup copy of this folder to a safe location - maybe make a .zip archive of it. Now go ahead and reinstall Pyramix. Incidently, Merging recommends that you do this de-install - re-install any time they issue a program update. Just remember that any file that was not put in place by the Pyramix installer will not be removed by de-installation, and will not be over-written by re-installation.

Should you ever get things into such a tangle that you need to completely remove Pyramix, and any of its created files, then you need to use the MTCleanup Utility which is specific to each version of Pyramix, and is available directly from Merging Support. Running this program WILL remove all the customization files mentioned above, as well as anything Pyramix has ever touched, so locate your backup copy of the post-uninstall Pyramix folder, in some offline location. Use of the Cleanup Utility is really the "scorched earth" option, only for use when you are certain that there is some corruption in a file that was not installed by the Pyramix installer. Most of the time, the normal "Add/Remove Programs" method allows you to retain all the individually customized Settings, Toolbars, Desktop Layouts, Keyboard Shortcuts, Macros, Templates, Reports, and the all important Pyramix Database, through the whole re-installation process.

Re: Resetting computer and preserving personal Pyramix setti

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 19:32
by Andreas Klein
Thanks Gentlemen from Australia and Canada (truly an international community!) for your reply.

Of course, I understand all the suggestions concerning saving personal preferences and settings and uninstalling Pyramix to "clean up" the computer. However, my question - why the computer gets slower over time or why would I get corrupted files - was not addressed in your comments. As I (almost) NEVER connect with my separate Pyramix computer to the internet and the computer is not used for any other software - aside from Izotope RX5 or Flux Ircam plugins - I don't understand how files get corrupted and then cause problems with the system. The explanation by the Pyramix support team that this Windows XP running computer is old is not helpful. I assume the most drastic - and time consuming - procedure would be to save all media, Pyramix projects, settings, and then reinstall Windows XP, after which one builds the whole system from scratch again. As I don't know the pitfalls of doing just that, I am hesitant to go that route. If there would be a detailed blueprint how to build up the computer system with all necessary BIOS settings and similar parameters, I perhaps would do that when I have nothing else to do...

Thanks again!
Andreas Klein

Re: Resetting computer and preserving personal Pyramix setti

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 17:14
by fl
Andreas Klein wrote:However, my question - why the computer gets slower over time or why would I get corrupted files - was not addressed in your comments.

I guess I missed that part, but in order to receive even the least amount of helpful advice, you'll have to provide a lot more information. You say that you run Pyramix on an XP system? Which version of Pyramix? For that matter, which version of XP? SP3? 32 bit? Pro? What audio interface are you using? Does it connect to Pyramix via ASIO? What about the hardware connection - USB? Firewire? Cardbus? Do you record, and store your projects on an external disk, or to your C:/ drive? If external, which hardware connection protocol?

When have you encountered file corruption - during recording, or later in the post-production phases? Which files get corrupted - Pyramix Project files? Audio files (PMF? WAV?)? Is there any regular circumstance where you encounter system slowdown? What is the nature of the slowdown - sluggish response to commands, or something else? What is your AC power situation - any chance that brownouts or interruptions are occurring? Spikes or surges?

How old and what kind is the computer? Is it capable of running a more recent version of Windows (I'm thinking Win7, as a not too distant jump from XP)? It seems to me that IF you are faced with doing a complete rebuild of your system, you might find that moving to a more recent version of Windows might solve some issues. Certainly, you won't be able to expect more than the terse replies you've already received from Merging's support until you at least upgrade to a system they support. However, maybe your computer is not able to run Win7 or later - I know how annoying it is to be faced with a large bill for a hardware upgrade, which will not result in any new business coming through the door - I tend to postpone such acquisitions as long as I can. Have you a backup plan for your Projects, and not just your system (C:/ drive) backups? Are you using a recent enough version of Pyramix that it has the Backup Recorder function (which has saved my butt on a number of occasions)? Do you use any other method of recording redundancy while on location? (Do you do location recording?)

The bottom line is that your system seems to have developed its own idiosyncratic issues, and without more information from you regarding your system, interface and everything else which pertains to running Pyramix, I doubt that you'll find much help here. For what it's worth, I've only encountered audio file corruption, maybe three or four times in the last decade of using Pyramix, and those were the result of power interruptions or system crashes, resulting in audio files which could not be rescued by Merging's Media Recovery tool (the version of which is specific to the version of Pyramix that made the recording). Any time I've encountered a computer slow-down, a simple re-boot was all that was required to get things back to snappy condition.

If there would be a detailed blueprint how to build up the computer system with all necessary BIOS settings and similar parameters

Well, there's the Installation Guide for Pyramix itself. In addition, there are any number of websites out there detailing how to configure Windows for use with Audio applications, although most are targeted at more recent versions of Windows. Nevertheless, try Googling "Configure Windows XP for DAW" and see what comes up.

Re: Resetting computer and preserving personal Pyramix setti

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 19:32
by Andreas Klein
Dear Frank,

thank you very much for your interest and diligence to advise me with my Pyramix system. I had not expected to receive a long answer outlining all the possibilities. May I call you at some time this week? It would be more efficient and productive. Chances are we might have similar experiences in classical music production?

Thanks again!