Dark side of ITB – maintenance and reinstallation

however cool is ITB — but sooner or later THAT moment comes.

something stops working properly, upgrades don’t fix the issues, and finally you decide that enough is enough, time to start from scratch.

this is how i’m spending this weekend.
was going to learn Bitwig — but got soooooo annoyed with one issue with my working Ubuntu installation that is unlikely to be ever fixed. i dealt with it daily since the spring lockdown started.

the progress is inevitable, so i decided to install newer Ubuntu from scratch — it does not have that particular issue. of course, this means reinstalling all the software.

and i thought: it’s more fun to do all those tedious moves while chatting about that. so here we have this thread. i bet you have something to say about those moments!

I’m ITB. After adventures in Win world and jumping through Linux distros I settled with Apple ecosystem (meh I know), but not in a spoiled, rich kid way. My first MacBook Pro was a used one way back in 2010. My current is MacBook Air model from 2015 bought in 2017 from clearance sale. I’m keeping my system clean, with software I only use and try not to demo any hyped crap too much.
It all comes from a mouth of former IT support bloke for Microsoft products.
To sum up, I feel your pain but as they say, no pain no gain :smiley: Let’s also not forget that OTB is far from perfection.


All is fine at the moment but the eventual inevitable clean installation of my custom hackintosh is going to suck. I’ve forgotten how I got it all working in the first place.

Good luck! It is for exactly these reasons (plus others) why I can’t use a modern computer in a major role in my music. I simply don’t have the patience, or the faith that it isn’t going to be a big old time suck on an ongoing basis, I’d rather use the time creating than configurating :laughing:

But that said I’d love to see a computer OS dedicated to music with none of the other crap of a desktop OS, but it will never happen.

BTW - before anyone jumps in and says well if using a computer for music you should not put other software on, I never have. I have used windows and mac, even linux, various versions, never used the computer for anything other than music, no games or internet browsing etc.
I think the core problem lies in lack of standards both in hardware and software compatibility, I think that the ios eco system is probably the most reliable recent system, but I don’t enjoy it for music.

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Having had at least 10 major rebuilds of OS from scratch over 20+ years, I sometimes wonder if I just need to get to know how to better run a full system ghost backup schedule.

Problem is you don’t know how far back the sweet spot should be, or when your backup already contains that new instability that will inevitably take down the system or BSOD at some point.

I often suspect the wonders of Registry Cleaners are the root cause of many problems. My occasionally running them seems to be the first coincidental nail in the coffin to later strange system behaviours.


i totally agree that OTB is a lot more fun, but there are some things where computer excels.

arrangement of something complex is better with computer.
it’s doable with button-based interface and small screen of hardware, but it’s more hassle and less fun.

mixing and mastering jobs are better with computer too, unless you’re rich :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

after all, computer is important to backup your hardware boxes and update their OSes.

also, laptop is almost always with me – unlike my grooveboxes & synths. so, it’s natural to make some beats with it when i’m away from my machines.

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Ha, both have their dark sides. OTB dealing with wires everywhere and clock hassles and so on… especially if you ever want to merge OTB with ITB and keep it all in sync, heh.

Personally making music is just a hobby that I do to relax/have fun and I find OTB gear more enjoyable after a day at the computer (I am a software dev). However if I was looking to “finish tracks”/make music professionally I’d probably go with ITB, total recall and detailed editing capabilities etc. make it a lot more convenient.


Still using my 2012 macbook pro daily and the only issue is my HD is beginning to fill. Could probably do with a new battery at some point but still holds charge.

Have had few windows machines in that time and sold each one. Constant updates are torture. Each time I go back to my macbook pro and it just works.

Never got how people get stressed about computers as they do so many things in one practical unit. Best thing I’ve ever bought

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i am senior system administrator (mostly Linux).

so reinstalling everything from scratch is sort of against my principles :tongue:
but sometimes it’s still the shortest way to fix things.


And my macbook is used less since getting an ipad pro. Beautiful machine and the apps are innovative and affordable

Currently using at as a sound source to create sounds to sample into my polyend tracker. Lovely combo

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It’s interesting that people have such issues though.

I know it is a cliche but I’ve been using MacBooks for the last 10 years or so and aside from the crappy hardware of the 2017 model (keyboard and screen broke twice, Apple replaced it with a 2019 in the end) I really haven’t had many software issues. Used to have more trouble with Windows back in the XP days as it was very susceptible to crapware I guess. Would hope it’s better now.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a clean install of my Mac aside from when getting a new computer and I don’t recall any massive problems with audio stuff aside from one time Focusrite drivers had a bug. I guess sometimes you get unlucky though.

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Yeah - a necessary evil right? :wink:

Death, taxes, computers.

taxation is theft, and computers are theft of time :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Yeah iPad feels like an interesting middle ground between computer and hardware to me. Just the way the apps are often designed to be used standalone full screen with touch etc. seems to lead to more “hardware like” design. Of course iPad also has its own set of hassles :joy: though as iOS matures it is getting better.

As a device the iPad is great though, the limitations of the OS do mean it runs super smoothly. I use my iPad for most of my “outside of work” computer use now, web browsing etc. and it feels great.

My brother :laughing:

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I just built a new computer from my original which in the middle of its life became music centered. So how to manage projects, vsts and samples and such eluded me and became a big mess.

This time Ive tried to make folder management as clean as possible without hacks and demos and freeware (which I never really used anyway). Crystal clean.

It’s definitely nice having a grip on where and what all things are.

But I can’t say I had many issues being ITB: win10, reaper and RME work beautifully Imo. OB works much more smoothly now, though, so that’s nice.

I thought I’d be more into iOS but I’m not. Cant say that’s due to a lack of options because those apps are phenomenonal. Maybe I need something other than a mini.

Can’t say I’m not a little jealous of those M1 processors. Good lord.

I haven’t done a full reinstall in a very long time. Back when I was still using a normal desktop pc with Windows XP I had to do it 2-3 times a year but it was all just cracked software from A-Z since I just couldn’t afford originals. I hated it so much since it took almost an entire weekend to finish it with all the rebooting in between and switching installation discs.
Funny sidenote: I used Cool Edit for recording/arranging and everytime I had to reinstall it I just had to visit the profile of a forum member because his name was Peter Quistgard and the serial was his signature. Cool guy.

But what OP describes is basically what gave the final push to focus on OTB for the creative aspect and ITB for recording and editing. All the updates that had to be done right when you feel the creative spark and thus completely killing it throughout the process has happened several times and especially when you haven’t touched your gear in a week or two.

if i can recall correctly, it takes about 4 years between full reinstallations of my home system (Ubuntu).

at my job i have my system working since 2012 or 2013 (Ubuntuu too).

fun fact: my Windoze installation on this laptop is workng since 2014. but the secret is simple — i actually use it very rarely and disallowed updates from the start.

finally, i’m done with reinstall.
could be done faster, but i took my time documenting everything i changed from default settings to something else.

did not do that with previous installation that i did in 2016 — and regretted many times.

Ubuntu 20.04 is really nice, feels significantly more mature than 16.04 or 18.04 in their first year.