Reading Live Crash Reports
- Live Versions: All
- Operating System: All
It’s possible to identify and troubleshoot some crashes by looking into Live's Log.txt file (available on all operating systems), and System Crash Logs (macOS). Information in these files is most relevant to third-party plug-in and Max for Live related crashes.
- Live's Log.txt file
- Common crash scenarios identified in the Log.txt file
- macOS System Crash Logs
Live's Log.txt file
The Log.txt file documents activity during recent runs of Live. Identifying the specific process underway at the time of a crash may point to the cause and relevant troubleshooting.
How to find the Log.txt file
The Log.txt file can be found inside these "hidden" locations:
How to access hidden folders
Windows: C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Roaming\Ableton\Live x.x.x\Preferences\Log.txt
macOS: Macintosh HD/Users/[Username]/Library/Preferences/Ableton/Live x.x.x/Log.txt
Reading the Log.txt file for Information about the Crash
Live's processes are logged chronologically, and organized into "runs," or periods of time during which the Live application was open. Each time Live is launched, the Log.txt records two lines of hashmarks, like this:
To find information about the most recent run of Live, look for the very last lines of hashmarks, close to the end of the Log.txt file.
When Live is quit normally (without crashing), the last line of the run is logged as:
Live App: GlobalExit( ): End or Exit: End
In context, the end of a normal run looks like this:
If a line of hashmarks appears without the entry Exit: End just before it, this indicates Live crashed or quit unexpectedly.
Once a crash is identified in this way, work backwards to find the very last process logged before the hashmarks. This can show what Live was attempting to do when it crashed, and provide helpful clues for relevant troubleshooting.
Common crash scenarios identified in the Log.txt file:
Crashes Related to Plug-ins
In the Log.txt excerpt below, the last process logged is the restoration of a (hypothetical) third-party plug-in called "ReChorder":
yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss.SSS: info: AU: Going to restore: ReChorder
This entry points to ReChorder causing the crash, since the hashmarks show Live ended its run without logging "Exit: End." Note that plug-ins are loaded within the Live application, so a crashed VST or Audio Unit device can cause the entire Live application to crash along with it.
To Troubleshoot Plug-In Crashes:
- Download and install any available software updates for the crashing plug-in directly from the developer.
- If the problem persists, remove it from the plug-ins folder, and contact the plug-in manufacturer regarding the crash.
- If available, test the plug-in in another format: VST2, VST3, or Audio Unit (macOS only).
Note: The word "error" in the Log.txt file, especially when logged for VST3 plug-ins, is not always cause for concern. This type of error often relates to non-essential configuration protocols that will not cause crashes.
- For help troubleshooting other crashed processes, or for general errors like "Windows Exception," please upload a Crash Report to email@example.com, and file a Technical Support request, with the Crash Report attached, in the Ableton Help Center
- For freezing and hanging, which may not be easily identified from the Log.txt, use the troubleshooting steps listed here: Live is slow to start or hangs on launch.
System Crash Logs
On macOS, the Mac System Crash Logs may offer further insights. Windows Crash Logs are only readable by our crash analysis tools, when contained within a Crash Report package. If Live generates a Crash Report, please send the entire package to firstname.lastname@example.org, where it will be logged automatically, with no reply. To receive a reply from Technical Support, please also contact us directly via the Support portal, and include the Crash Report as an attachment.
Reading macOS System Crash Logs
The location of macOS system crash logs is:
- macOS 12: View Reports in Console
- macOS X 10.6 - macOS 11: Macintosh HD/Users/[username]/Library/Logs/Diagnostic Reports/Live.xxxx.crash
Note: the user-level Library folder on macOS is hidden by default. To make this folder visible, open Finder. Open the "Go" application menu, then press and hold the “option” key to reveal the hidden user-level Library folder.
To interpret a crash log:
- Check which thread crashed. This is mentioned in the upper section of a crash log, with the label "Crashed Thread," for example:
Crashed Thread: 0 Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread
- Next, scroll down to locate the section of the log related to the crashed thread named above, and note the name of the last (uppermost) process. Here, for example, it is "com.cycling74.MaxPlugLib," a process related to Max for Live:
The excerpt below lists, from bottom to top, the code libraries and functions called just before the crash happened, ending with the final process logged before the crash:
3. Compare the crashed thread from the macOS crash log with the time of the crash in Live's Log.txt file:
2021-04-21T11:58:01.900499: info: Audio time allocations: Max Remote Automation Events: Capacity/Used/Failures: 5041/0/0
2021-04-21T11:58:01.900539: info: Audio time allocations: Max Device Automation Events: Capacity/Used/Failures: 3196/0/0
2021-04-21T11:58:01.900577: info: Audio time allocations: Max Device Midi Events: Capacity/Used/Failures: 7710/0/0
2021-04-21T11:58:01.911677: info: Audio time allocations: Midi Delay: Capacity/Used/Failures: 21845/0/0
2021-04-21T11:58:01.911764: info: Audio time allocations: EventBuffering: Capacity/Used/Failures: 18724/18/0
2021-04-21T11:58:14.617797: info: #######################################
Taken together, these entries indicate that the crash was associated with Max for Live. Suggested troubleshooting is described here: How to reset Max for Live
The same process can be used to check the macOS crash log for crash fingerprints associated with third-party plug-ins. To troubleshoot plug-in related crashes, follow this guide: Plug-ins Tips and Troubleshooting