It can be frustrating when Ableton becomes unresponsive, and we have to force quit the program. Thankfully, we can get back to work quickly with this simple fix. Right-click the application icon in the taskbar/dock and hit “force quit.” Now you can reopen Ableton and get back to producing!
What To Do When Ableton Freezes
Nothing kills creativity more than having technical issues while in the middle of your flow. Ableton is a powerful tool, but it can break during use like any tool.
By learning how to fix Ableton as quickly as possible, you will be able to get back to making music with only minor interruptions.
I will show you step-by-step what you need to do to get Ableton working again and address some common causes for frequent crashes.
What you will need to follow this tutorial
Luckily, all you’ll need to follow this tutorial is your computer, mouse/trackpad, and some patience.
Step-By-Step Instructions To Force Quit Ableton
While the basics of force-quitting Ableton are similar across Mac OS and Windows, some of the specifics will vary slightly.
Regardless of which operating system you use, your first course of action should be to right-click the Ableton software icon in your taskbar/dock and click ‘close window’ (‘force quit’ on Mac OS).
In many cases, this will work, and you should be able to open up the program again from there.
If this does not work, your next step will be to open up the task manager by hitting the ‘control,’ ‘alt,’ and ‘delete’ (‘option,’ ‘command,’ ‘escape‘ on Mac) simultaneously.
From here, you will have the ability to select Ableton and force the software to quit.
If this doesn’t work, you will have to restart your computer.
In my personal experience, if I have to restart my computer because Ableton is not responding, it is down to a more significant issue.
I recommend addressing that before opening the program back up.
Once you reopen the program, you will be given the option to resume your previous project file.
Hopefully, you will not have lost much progress on your set, and it will be about where you left it before your program crashed.
At this point, you will also be prompted to send a crash report back to the Ableton team.
By doing this, you will be sending essential data about the crash back to the developers so that they can release updates that patch common causes of crashes in older versions of the program.
Common Causes Of Ableton Crashes
Two things that I find frequently cause my Ableton sessions to crash are running my computer with too little space and running Ableton at too low a buffer size.
Thankfully, these issues are both straightforward to fix.
You can check how much free space is left on your system on a Mac by clicking the apple icon in the top left corner of your screen, clicking on the ‘About this Mac’ button, then navigating to ‘storage.’
Here, you’ll be able to see the size of your hard drive and how much space is left.
On Windows, you will need to open your file explorer and right-click on your primary storage device to see the amount of free space left.
I would not recommend running Ableton with less than 3GB of free space in either case.
You should leave even more space free if you are recording.
Running out of space is especially common on a computer you have been recording on, as all of those .wav files can start to add up quickly.
The buffer size can be adjusted in Ableton by opening up the ‘preferences‘ menu and navigating to the ‘audio preferences‘ menu.
You can change the buffer size here. Remember that the lower the sample rate, the more effort your computer makes, and thus the more likely it is to freeze.
Low sample rates can be a problem if you already run a high CPU set.
You can lessen the amount of work your CPU has to do by bouncing some of your more involved synths.
If you are not recording, you should keep your sample rate pretty high. I keep mine at about 2048.
Sample rate also affects latency.
I have often found myself in the position where I have my song written and arranged in Ableton. When it is finally time to record the vocals, I go into my preferences and lower the sample rate to eliminate any latency.
Still, once I hit record, my computer freezes up, unable to handle all the tracks filled with complex instrument racks at a lower sample rate.
My solution for this is to export my instrumental before recording vocals.
This makes recording easier on my computer and saves me from worrying about tweaking the arrangement or mix when I should be focusing on performance.
How Do I Fix Ableton Not Responding?
If Ableton has stopped responding, you should force quit the program.
Why Does Ableton Keep Freezing?
If Ableton is repeatedly freezing on you, it could be caused by several issues. These can include running too low of a sample rate, insufficient disk space, or too complex of an arrangement for your computer to handle. Your first step in getting Ableton to run smoothly again should be to isolate the issue.
What to Do if Ableton Keeps Crashing?
If Ableton keeps crashing, it could be several issues. It would help if you began by checking your memory to ensure you have enough free space to run Ableton.
How Do I Reset My Ableton?
Ableton can be reset by force quitting the program and reopening it.
Why Is My Ableton Running Slow?
Ableton might be running slow if you have the sample rate too low or too high. Think of sample rate as the audio equivalent to frame rate. The sample rate dictates how often your computer takes an audio snapshot, so a low rate is more ‘frame‘ and a high rate is less. A low rate may run smoother but takes more effort from your computer.
How Do I Stop Ableton Scanning VSTs?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent Ableton from automatically scanning for VSTs on launch. If you think that Ableton checking for VSTs is causing your program to freeze, you can isolate the issue by temporarily uninstalling the VST before launching Ableton back up.
Is Ableton Stable?
Ableton would not be the industry standard performance tool if it weren’t a very reliable program. Still, even the best tools get jammed from time to time.
Click here to read an in-depth guide on how to stop Ableton from crashing.