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Opening Corrupt Cakewalk Sonar Project Files in Safe Mode

Written by Scott R. Garrigus - 2005, Thomson Course Technology PTR. Reprinted with Permission.
If you've used Microsoft Windows for any length of time, you've no doubt come across its notorious Safe Mode, which allows you to start the OS in a somewhat crippled state if you're having trouble booting up your PC. Basically, Safe Mode lets you start Windows with only the bare essentials needed to run the OS. For instance, all unnecessary device drivers are disabled, which enables you to troubleshoot Windows and attempt to find the source of your faulty start-up.

SONAR provides a similar feature (also called Safe Mode) for use when opening project files. Like any computer data, project files can become corrupt occasionally, preventing you from opening them. This corruption can be caused by computer resource limitations or bad DirectX (audio effect), MFX (MIDI effect), or DXi (DirectX Instrument) plug-ins. (I'll talk more about these plug-ins in Chapter 11, "Exploring Effects.") Using Safe Mode, SONAR loads a project file with only the Track view (in its default layout) open. If you had any other open views in the project, they will not open in Safe Mode. You are also prompted for each and every plug-in that you have assigned to your tracks in the project. This feature lets you determine whether a particular plug-in is preventing you from opening your project. Here is how Safe Mode works:

1. When opening a project using one of the methods described earlier, hold down the Shift key on your computer keyboard. This tells SONAR to open the project in Safe Mode and displays the File Open - Safe Mode dialog box.
2. If your project contains any plug-ins assigned to your tracks, the Safe Mode dialog box will ask you whether you want to load the plug-ins. You have four choices: Yes, Yes to All, No, and No to All. Choosing Yes will load the currently displayed plug-in. Choosing No will not load the currently displayed plug-in. Choosing Yes to All will close the dialog box and load all plug-ins. Choosing No to All will close the dialog box and open the project without any plug-ins.
3. If you don't choose either Yes to All or No to All, the Safe Mode dialog box will ask you about each individual plug-in contained in the project, and you will have to answer either Yes or No to each one. This method allows you to determine whether a certain plug-in is causing trouble, and which plug-in it is.

QUICKTIP: Safe Saving
If you load a project in Safe Mode with some or all of the plug-ins disabled, be careful when you save the project to disk. You should save the project using a different name so the original file remains intact. If you save the file using the same name, the original file will be overwritten, and all your plug-in assignments will be lost.

Personally, I've found the best way to use Safe Mode is to load a project and individually determine whether or not each plug-in should be loaded. This lets me narrow down the problem to a specific plug-in. I may lose the settings for that troublesome plug-in, but I can keep all the settings for any other plug-ins I have assigned to my tracks in the project.

For more information: Cakewalk and Sonar Power books

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