Pro Tools users, already switching to the latest-and-greatest Mac or Windows operating system? Avid has added compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Windows 7 in the company’s 8.0.3 upgrade to Pro Tools. Oddly, some of the Windows support is still listed as “beta,” while the Mac support is “official.” Nonetheless, I’ve heard reports of people using Windows 7 unofficially without issue.

Here’s the status of the different operating systems and Pro Tools flavors:

Windows 7

Beta support, available to download today: Pro Tools HD 8, Pro Tools LE 8, Pro Tools M-Powered 8
Full “official” support, not yet ready for download, coming soon: Pro Tools M-Powered Essential

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Official support, available to download today: Pro Tools HD 8, Pro Tools LE 8, Pro Tools M-Powered 8
Full “official” support, not yet ready for download, coming soon: Pro Tools M-Powered Essential

Even if you don’t use Windows 7 or Snow Leopard, you should consider downloading 8.0.3; the release includes numerous bug fixes, including solutions for some significant issues and crashes and a whole bunch of video fixes.

I’m a little disappointed that Avid is this slow with Windows 7 support, given the relatively minor differences between Windows 7 and Vista, and, well, the fact that Windows 7 is an improvement over Vista. If you’re already on Windows 7 and try the “beta” 8.0.3, let us know how it works for you. As for Snow Leopard support, Leopard works well enough that it’s still the OS release on the Mac I’m most inclined to use; there aren’t any major changes in terms of audio and music support I’ve seen that would compel me to upgrade. That could change in the future, though, if developers take advantage of some of Apple’s under-the-hood improvements in the OS.

Pro Tools 8 Product Page with downloads, changelogs

Updated – this is not a “legacy”-compatible release. Note that 8.0.3 does not have support for PowerPC architectures or some older Digidesign hardware. 8.0.1 is the last release with support for that equipment. See, previously:

DAW Day – Pro Tools 8.0.1: No Windows 7 or 10.6 Support, End of the Road for Legacy

Upshot – if you want to support that hardware, you’ll likely need to stick with Mac OS X 10.5.x and earlier. (Some users have experienced good results with Windows 7 and earlier Pro Tools versions, because the OS is so similar to Windows Vista. That’s also an officially-unsupported configuration, however.)

See comments for some largely positive results with Windows 7 and 10.6, however.

  • dyscode

    the earliest date I am considering Snow Leopard/Win7 is July 2010. I don´t ruin my piece of mind for being on THIS edge of technology.

    If you don´t want to take it from me, take from them:

    BTW. 10.5.8 and everything else is working pretty stable here, so I´ll leave the 3rd party developers time to get things right.

    best 🙂

  • I have to disagree on Windows 7. The thing is, "older" does not necessarily mean "more mature." I find 7 more usable and more reliable than Vista, and while they're subtle, there are some performance improvements relevant to audio that could make it worth the upgrade.

    One major caveat: not all audio interfaces have Win7 drivers. Theoretically, they should work; the driver model is the same. But it is an indication of whether or not your device vendor has actually been testing the driver.

    To me, the main reason to hold off on an upgrade would be if the newer version introduces stability or compatibility issues. The latter could be true even with Windows 7 — you will want to wait to make sure drivers are compatible. But on the applications side, there just aren't changes relative to Vista that I've found that are likely to be relevant.

    So, I'll stick by my current recommendations: run Windows 7 on the PC side, assuming you've got a recent PC and you've verified driver compatibility. Run XP if you have an older PC or if it's happy and stable. On the Mac, run 10.5 if you can — for now, at least — because that's the best-supported OS.

    But yes, because newer versions do often fix bugs and incorporate fixes, older is not necessarily always better… just worth saying.

    I agree on 10.5.8, though. 😉

  • Armando

    I was actually pleasently surprised to find that a lot of my plugins transfered over to 10.6 with no additional need of an update. Sonalksis Vintage Warmer is the only plug I've seen with an issue. But its an easy fix to work around. Now if only presonus could get their chit together 😀

  • Armando

    I mean psp mix pack not sonalksis hehe 🙂

  • salamanderanagram

    xp ftw!

  • @Peter Kirn

    I definitely agree about upgrading to Snow Leopard… I am waiting on my main studio machine. Additionally, I run Windows 7 on a few of my laptops and I find it to be the best experience out of all of the past Windows operating systems.

  • Ableton 8 is still not officially supported on 10.6, correct?

  • @AMRAyw

    I am not sure whether they have finished their internal testing. I can tell you that I use it on my Macbook Pro with Snow Leopard and I have not had an issue related to the OS.

  • Human Plague

    I'm one of the guys that held on to OSX 10.4, never upgraded to 10.5 because frankly it was bloated. I welcome 10.6 and all software compatible with it.

  • I've been running Pro Tools 8.0.1 on Windows 7 with no problems for the past few months. I just upgraded to 8.0.3 and still no issues. Very stable.

  • I work at a music editing company moving up to PT 8.0.3. The reason for the upgrade really comes with the new laptop that we needed to buy. Macbook Pros only come with 10.6 and cannot be switched back. So PT 8.0.3 is the only version that will work with the laptops. Though there are two issues that others should know before upgrading.

    1 : with 8.0.3 comes the loss of using specific hardware with PT. Namely the original Mbox, Mac PPC processors and the Expansion|HD Chassis. A big drawback since now 8.0.1 or 2 is the highest you can go with these. But should not be a problem with a new computer.

    2 : some of the plug ins that we use have not jumped to 10.6. This is not a big issue since 8.0.3 will still work with 10.5… so upgrading should still work for most plug ins, but if you want to buy a new mac, you should check to see that the plug in will work with Snow Leopard. Remember this release is very recent so many other things may not be supported yet.

    A bit of a catch twenty two for now with so many contingencies. Do your research before you upgrade!

  • dyscode


    I totally agree that upgrading from Vista can only improve things.

    (I am on XP SP3 (Bootccamp) and things running nicely still.)


  • Tom Ellard

    There is no good reason to remove support for the MBox1 in this minor point release. It is entirely designed to force a new hardware purchase.

  • s ford

    +1 for 10.6, it seems quicker and uses less RAM than 10.5

    Live8 works on 10.6 btw, and to my impressions it seems very slick so far.

    I have had few to no problems with 10.6 on my Macbook White 2.4ghz so far. My set up isn't that massively complicated and the few progs I do use (DP/Live/Kontakt) seem to work better than in in 10.5. For worry's sake though, maybe it best to upgrade to 10.6 when everything has been certified and stuff.

    I too am a fan of Win7, haven't used it for making music but it seems the most stable of Windows releases for a good while.

  • @s ford: re memory use, you mean the OS itself? I need to confirm what the source of this may be. Or are you also updating other software?

    And yes, I'm generally enthusiastic about what 10.6 brings; I'd just right now generally recommend the better-supported, more mature 10.5 branch on a computer that isn't a new machine with 10.6 pre-installed.

    @CFlickster: My bad; I should have linked to this previous story —

    This is the unfortunate thing, of course, that 8.0.1 doesn't officially support 10.6 or Win7 (though it does appear to work on Win7), but it is the last legacy release. The basic upshot as I see it is that you want to run an older Pro Tools version on an older machine if you need legacy equipment, and gradually migrate to the newer machine.

  • mondv

    which is better mac or pc when it comes to protools i found a hp more powerful than the mac will that pc work btter

  • Tom Ellard

    There is almost no difference in PT on Mac or PC, so long as it's a computer approved by Digidesign. Long ago I ran PT under Bootcamp beta on a Mac. Strangely in PT you could use keys that were not yet supported under Bootcamp – PT wedges deep into the OS.

  • s ford

    @ Peter Kirn

    Yes, in OS I think it 10.6 uses less memory than 10.5 did. The bar on my Istat menu (which I do accept is no surefire certainty) indicates lower RAM usage than 10.5 did at a resting level. It seems to back my general concensus that 10.6 runs faster than 10.5 did.

    For the best part of the time, I use a fairly minimal recording setup (often just a few microphones plugged into a soundcard and digital performer) which was fine to run on 10.6. For those in a similar situation I would recommend using 10.6 too instead of 10.5.

  • dubremix

    I noticed that after installing this update that CoreMIDI.framework bounces in the Dock!? WTF? So I looked into this further and something about the Digidesign drivers has tweaked CoreMIDI in a negative way. Screwed up my system. Fortunately an uninstall fixed this.

    Why can't they just use the built in drivers? Another wrinkle. If I ever by accident unplug my mbox, my system will kernel panic.

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  • @dubremix

    If you use the mbox as your system sound device it will crash if you do not switch it back to integrated or no sound before you remove the device. At least that is what was told to me from Digidesign. It seems to be true.



  • R.A.

    does anybody know if digidesign has change it's mind on supporting the lagacy hardward after all protools 8 was released while osx ppc were still active and there were still bugs that were not addressed , one would think they would have fixed the bugs and given the the heads up as of protools 9 if you want a good product shouldn't you deliver first! software and hardware is not cheap !