How to fix corrupted Ableton files on Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Ableton is a software music sequencer, very popular among artists that work with EDM and electronic music.
  • A corrupted Ableton document prevents the file from being opened. Fix this issue by restoring a temporary copy of the project file. Learn how to do this in the article.
  • If you are looking for more audio-related articles, check out the Audio Editors section on the site.
  • The PC Software Troubleshooting Hub has fixes for many Windows programs that you can encounter an issue with.
fix corrupt ableton files
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There is nothing worse than getting an error message when trying to open your Ableton Live set. All the hard work you put in seems lost. Your files got corrupted and you can no longer access them. In this case, you need to find out what the issue is.

The best way to avoid these situations is by keeping your system clean and up to date. Even if you do this, there might be situations in which files can become corrupted due to unexpected events such as a computer crash, power cut, software bugs, etc.

It’s also recommended to create back-ups of your files regularly. The most efficient way of doing so is by using a cloud-based backup software. This allows you to access you files remotely and keeps them safe from any hardware failure.

If your Ableton Live files got corrupted, you will see this error message : The document […] is corrupt.

Ableton Corrupted file- How to fix

This message is followed by a more specific reason for the file corruption issue, such as:

  • First automation event has invalid time
  • Track grouping corrupt
  • Non-unique list IDs
  • Unknown Compound Stream Type
  • Invalid Pointee ID
  • Not well-formed (invalid token)
  • Unexpected node “Default Color”
  • Member “Track Device” of Class PreHearTrackDeviceChain is missing

Steps to fix Ableton Live corrupt files

Solution 1 – Re-trigger the file recovery process

In some cases, it might be possible to restore a temporary copy of the Project file in one of Ableton Live’s crash report folders. The temporary file is usually an older version of your set that was successfully saved.

Important note: If you want to recover your corrupted files, the recovery must be done with the same version of Ableton Live which created the save, and also the same Windows platform.

To re-trigger the file recovery process, please follow these instructions :

  1. Go to the following location, which is normally a hidden folder – C:Users[Username]AppDataRoamingAbletonLive x.x.xPreferencesCrash. If you need information regarding how to see hidden folders on your PC, go to Ableton’s support page.
  2. In the Crash folder, the files and folders will have the date and time of the crash in their names :
  • “2018_12_12__16_02_35_BaseFiles” (this is a folder)
  • “2018_12_12__16_02_35_Crash.als”
  • “2018_12_12__16_02_35_CrashRecoveryInfo.cfg”
  • “2018_12_12__16_02_35_Undo” (this is a folder)
  1. Remove the dates from the file names. After doing so, they will look like this :
  • Basefiles
  • Undo
  • CrashRecoveryInfo.cfg

Note: Crash.als does not need to be renamed and can be left in the same folder

  1. Drag the 3 files mentioned above into the source Preferences folder and replace the correspondent files
  2. Now you can start Ableton Live. The file recovery process should be reactivated.

Solution 2 – Switch to Adobe Audition

adobe audition

If you’ve stuck with Ableton for some time now but the thing keeps crashes and makes you lose your work then, maybe it’s time to consider a switch?

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A cross-compatible audio editing and recording software, offering non-destructive mix environment, multitrack and other tools for accelerating video production workflows and polishing the audio sounds like a good choice, doesn’t it?

Here are the key features of Adobe Audition:

  • Adaptive Recording inputs.
  • Essential sound and categorizing audio in multi-track mode.
  • An excellent choice for making podcasts or radio shows.
  • Part of the Adobe family means great integration with Premiere Pro and a familiar interface from other programs.

Download Adobe Audition free

Solution 3 – Ask Ableton for support

If the first solution presented in this article doesn’t work, it is recommended that you ask for help from Ableton. The Ableton team will try and fix your Live Set .

You can send the corrupted ‘.als’ file to Ableton Support. This option doesn’t guarantee a fix but they will try to help you recover your corrupted file as best as possible.

Ableton corrupted files can cause you to lose your precious audio projects, and after working so hard on them, it is a very frustrating problem.

We hope that the solutions presented in this article solved your issue and that now you can go back to creating amazing music in Ableton Live .

Let us know if this fix worked for you in the comment section below.

FAQ: Learn more about Ableton files

  • What audio files does Ableton support?

Ableton native supports these file formats: FLAC, OGG Vorbis, WAV, AIFF and AIFF-C.

  • Where is the Ableton folder?

Typically the location of the folder is in

  • Can Ableton use mp4?

MP4 is not natively supported on Windows. Therefore, you need to make it work with mp4.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2018 and was revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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