How to Reset your PRAM and Delete your Site Settings

After two years, it has occurred to me that I have been remiss in my duties.  Up until now I've failed to mention the most basic troubleshooting techniques for dealing with Avid:  Resetting your PRAM and Deleting your Site Settings.  Seriously, what's wrong with my brain?

Basically whenever you're getting weird errors, or multiple bus thread error crashes in a row, or "you can't write to drive X" message when pretty fucking clearly you have write permissions, the problem isn't you; it's Avid.  That's a shocker, I know, and wholly unexpected, but the fact of the matter is that Avid is the only program I've ever used that required regular resetting of your Mac's PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory).  Avid is also one of the rare pieces of software that corrupts it's own fucking settings.  Seriously, how is that even possible, Avid?  you generate the settings on launch, so can't you do a goddamn checksum to make sure the existing ones are fucking valid?

Anyway, these are the first steps anyone dealing with Avid should take when their machine starts acting all wonky:

First, reset your PRAM using the following steps:
1)  Shut down the computer.
2)  Unplug the fucker for a good 30 seconds to clear residual memory.
3)  Power back on.
4)  While the system is booting up, hold down Command+Option+P+R.  Keep holding these down through the next steps.
5)  The computer will chime and then restart.  Keep holding down the keys.
6)  Continue holding down the keys until the computer has chimed and restarted 3 times.

I should mention that for some reason I find that I always have to tell people (I mean Producers) that the "apple" key is called the fucking Command key - What gives?  There's no apple on it and the word "Command" is pretty clearly goddamn written right there!

Also, don't hold down the buttons for more than 5 chimes.  Eventually it will start resetting all kinds of weird shit inside the computer that will break the thing for reals, yo.

After resetting your PRAM, it's a good idea to trash your site settings:
1)  Navigate to MacHD / Applications / Avid Media Composer / Settings /
2)  Delete the following four files:
Site Settings.avs
Site Settings.xml
3)  Relaunch Avid!

I've noticed that in Avid 6.5 and 7.x the PRAM and Site Settings resets tend to fix 90% of the errors you get.  In earlier versions, well, see my previous posts.

I'll get back to my regularly scheduled ranting soon, I promise.


  1. I've run into a weird Avid error, and while desperately hunting on Google for a solution I found your blog and this post. Unfortunately, your suggestions didn't work for me.

    So I was wondering if you've ever run into this before, or if you have any ideas...

    I have a 2 hour timeline that seems to have one or more corrupted effects (based on what I've been able to find via Google). After rendering a section, when I go to save, I get this:

    Assertion failed: len == strm -> GetPosition() - pos
    /Snapshots/relengsnow5_1319677901/coresw/core/Projects/Mac/../../src/objsys/AObjDoc.c, Line: 516

    This is all in the big gray error popup that has the exclamation point in the red octagon, with the buttons "Create Report", "Exit Application", "Continue", and "Debugger" at the bottom.
    I haven't been able to find any info on this "Line: 516" error ANYWHERE online.
    PLEASE HELP! I have an insanely important deadline approaching next week, and this error has all but crippled me, as I can't save the bin this sequence is in!

    BTW, I'm running MC 6.0 on a Mac OS X 10.8.



  2. Hi Don. What that error box tells me is that the error you're getting is crashing Avid to Debug Mode. Generally, that's a bad thing. I'd suggest two things first, just to see if you can save your work:

    1) Make a new bin, move the sequence into it, and see if you can save that one.
    2) If #1 doesn't work, you may just have too many items in your bin (especially if you're very effect-heavy). Try splitting the sequence in half and saving two bins as part 1 and part 2. You can always put them back together for an output and then split them again to save your work.

    If you still can't save, then the problem isn't a corrupt bin, it's something in your sequence itself. The code makes it sound like Avid is looking for a frame that doesn't exist, so you've probably got a fade transition dangling over the end frame (or head frame) of a clip. The best way to find this is to use the "play in to out" button (default is the "6" key) to test different sections of your sequence and see if any errors come up during playback. I detail this method in one of my earlier posts... I'll reply here with the link.

  3. Here's the post with the method for finding corrupt effects using Play in to Out:

  4. Judd, thanks for your input. I have tried #1 (new bin), but that didn't work. I'm in the process of trying #2 (splitting up the timeline). I will also try the "play in to out" thing too.

  5. Hey. I downlaod permission reset. Did as instructed and then set by PRAM
    Still can't use my mac hard disk. WHat to do?

    1. Newer versions of Avid won't let you use the launch disc as your media drive no matter what. You can either make a second partition using Disc Utility or use an external disc.

      If that's not what you're getting at, I apologize. I am having trouble understanding what you wrote, to be honest.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. The ⌘ key used to be the  key ;)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Please do not link to ad sites in responses to my posts.


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