Pro Tools systems are expensive, so it’s especially annoying when one of them won’t work for some reason. Most dreaded of all is the “Hardware not found, Pro Tools is shutting down” error that some Pro Tools users see, despite the fact that they’ve installed the Pro Tools hardware and the right version of Pro Tools, and there really shouldn’t be a problem. Here’s a look at what it means when Pro Tools won’t start up, and how to fix the problem.
Dongles – Yes, that’s a real word. A dongle is something in the hardware that interacts with Pro Tools to tell the computer that it’s OK to open up Pro Tools, and that it’s a legitimate, legal copy of the software. The first issue that you might have in failing to get Pro Tools to run is if you don’t actually have a legal version of the software–tough luck, you need to buy hardware that works with Pro Tools, and it’s usually bundled. But a dongle can also fail to be recognized if there’s a driver conflict or other issue on the system in question. In short, if the computer can’t see the hardware connected and identify it as associated with Pro Tools 100% correctly, Pro Tools won’t start up.
Conflicts – You may be able to see the hardware that you’ve installed in your Device Manager (if you’re using Windows) and you can even verify that it’s working properly. Still, it might not be enough for Pro Tools if there’s another piece of audio hardware installed that conflicts with your new, Pro Tools hardware’s functionality. Try disconnecting all other audio devices and restarting your computer to see if Pro Tools will start up. If it does, you’ve got a device conflict that you need to sort out, or you can simply leave your additional audio hardware unplugged.
Software – The final reason that Pro Tools may not start up is a problem with the software itself. You can try completely deleting Pro Tools, uninstalling the program and then deleting its Program Files folder, and reinstalling it to see if the issue is cleared up. You should also verify that you’ve got the right version of Pro Tools for the hardware that you’re trying to use. For instance, M-Audio devices will only work with Pro Tools M-Powered, etc. Verify that you’re using the right software and that it’s properly installed, and if there are no other conflicts, there should be no reason that Pro Tools won’t start up.
Do you have any questions about getting Pro Tools to start up? Post in our comments section below.