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Old 10-12-2021, 01:31 AM
Undead Goat Undead Goat is offline
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Default Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

This post will be a slightly more comprehensive list of the pro tools optimizations for the Windows platform, or lack thereof. Although most of the issues that will be listed here are superficial, there are some problems that have an adverse effect on the usability of Pro Tools itself. Moreover, I cannot stress enough just how important it is for a well established piece of professional software such as Pro Tools having a considerable amount of problems with UX design (specifically on Windows) that ultimately does not bode well for what should be regarded as a modern, reliable, and ultimately stable experience.

OS Edition: Windows 11 Pro x64
Version: 21H2
OS Build: 22000.194

Pro Tools version: 2021.7.0

Firstly, the elephant in the room: the title in this post describes an underlying element of the way Pro Tools windows are managed. Nowhere else in the OS is this Windows Vista element shown, which initially led me to believe that Pro Tools itself was specifically coded to have the vista style borders. So it stands to reason that, the way you get rid of the Vista borders is to just update the UI. However, every subsequent pro tools update then on that changed the UI, including the addition of a dark theme overhaul, it did not change the vista borders at all. Upon further reading, I believe this is actually the result of how windows are managed within Pro Tools. Unlike most modern creative apps, Pro Tools does not offer a meaningful degree of multi monitor support at all. Instead, it relies on a parent / child window style of management that forces this legacy element onto the Pro Tools experience. This is only restrictive and counterintuitive for production and efficiency, seeing as having multiple monitors is not something that pro tools has the ability to take advantage of. It seems that the way to solve this is to redesign the pro tools windows to have multi monitor support.

Secondly, the new additions to window management in Windows 11, have added a comprehensive set of features to split screen UI between two or more apps. This part’s a bit more difficult to put into words so I’ll provide some screenshots. In Windows 11, you can “pin” each window to the left or right side of the display. There, you can drag the line between each window like a seam to resize both windows simultaneously as if the seam glues both windows together. Because Pro Tools is not designed to take advantage of this feature, attempting to pin Pro Tools to one side of the display monitor will not let you resize the window with the seam.

Thirdly, retina displays and high DPI or high resolution monitors do not play nice with Pro Tools. This is a more prominent example for how one of the more superficial attributes adversely affects the functionality. When you leave everything in its default state, with Pro Tools adhering to the native resolution, everything is simply too small to see globally. So, the solution is to set display scaling preferences from within Windows to whatever its recommended setting is (i.e. 150%). In my experience, Pro Tools is the only program I have ever used that would distort the UI to such an extent that the file menu and other context menus get cut off, thus making it impossible to actually use. (Screenshots will be provided). Thus, the only way to get Pro Tools in a usable state is to dig into the properties menu and force the program to run in a special low-res mode. This is a known bug in Pro Tools that has persisted for a considerable time and has not been fixed or addressed.

Here is a link to the Avid knowledgebase detailing the known issue with Pro Tools and high DPI settings: https://avid.secure.force.com/pkb/ar..._US&popup=true

I continue to be baffled how Pro Tools natively supports 4k video playback, but Pro Tools itself cannot run properly* in 4k. I can only speculate as to why this is an ongoing issue that has never been properly addressed, and I believe it might have to do with how plugin windows work. Perhaps some plugins are able to run with a high DPI setting while others do not. If that’s the case, just let us adjust plugin window scaling independent of Pro Tools window scaling.

Lastly, this is more of an aside. When I first upgraded to Pro Tools HD many years ago, I was disappointed to see that Windows does not natively see the HD / HDX pcie cards as a Windows sound device. That is to say, there really is no elegant way to use a Pro Tools HD interface with anything other than Pro Tools. It’s possible to use the HD / HDX cards in another DAW, but for routing audio through anything else, be that of conference calls, lectures, podcasts, or anything else, it’s a lot more cumbersome. It’s certainly possible, but unnecessarily restrictive. There could be a special driver that allows Windows to “talk” directly to the HD / HDX cards and, by extension, the audio interfaces connected to those pcie cards, and then it would just be possible to toggle between taking advantage of all the hardware acceleration you get for Pro Tools, and then switching back to Windows audio without additional hardware or routing.


Last edited by Undead Goat; 10-12-2021 at 07:11 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2021, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

Good update suggestions!

I run 3 monitors @1080p. I suppose these issues don't really bother me all that much - probably because I'm simply used to the way it displays. I'm more concerned with overall functionality & stability. My 2 cents.
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2021, 02:10 PM
Skwaidu Skwaidu is offline
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

The Win UI state is totally embarassing, both the Vista borders and parent/child design and no multimonitor support. The High DPI issue is bad as well.

I'm currently looking at switching to an Alder Lake Win machine from my antique Mac Pro, but knowing the sorry state of Windows PT does not make it easy (I already have a Win 10 PT system to compare to) - on the other hand waiting for whatever Apple decides to provide us pro users in 6-12 months is equally frustrating (not even considering the fact that whatever they will bring will cost 3-4 times more for less power of the Win system...)
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Old 10-22-2021, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skwaidu View Post
... the sorry state of Windows PT ...
Stable workhorse for me. I use three monitors at 1080p. Works!
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Old 10-22-2021, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

Stable workhorse for me too. 29 inch, 21:9 monitor at 2560x1440. I don't care about the borders, I care about the workflow and audio quality.
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Old 10-22-2021, 04:03 PM
Undead Goat Undead Goat is offline
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weed View Post
I don't care about the borders, I care about the workflow and audio quality.
The borders themselves are moot, it's the fact that I can't drag and drop the edit page outside of the main pro tools window onto a separate display. Or that I can't click on the file menu if my resolution is too high. Not sure what you mean by audio quality, that has more to do with your project settings / converters than it does the feature set of the daw you use.

At the bare minimum I don't think these feedback suggestions would be a net negative to anyone.
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Old 10-23-2021, 11:26 AM
ecru ecru is offline
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

In addition to the "Vista style" window borders, file dialog boxes (open, save as, etc.) are also outdated in Pro Tools on Windows. If you have Windows set to dark mode for File Explorer, you'll notice that Pro Tools file dialogs ignore that setting. Actually, Pro Tools is using "Vista/XP" era file dialogs as well which pre-date the dark mode option (select File-Open in Pro Tools, and File-Open in Windows Notepad to see the difference). My assumption is that they're using older Windows libraries to instantiate things like file dialogs and window borders. While it still "works" for the time being, you'd imagine that at some point Microsoft might deprecate those libraries, so Avid should address it. In addition to being aesthetically unpleasing, it's just seems a bit lazy (Windows 8/10 have been out for several years) or potentially indicative of some other deeper issue with being able to update that code within the application.
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Old 10-23-2021, 09:59 PM
Undead Goat Undead Goat is offline
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecru View Post
In addition to the "Vista style" window borders, file dialog boxes (open, save as, etc.) are also outdated in Pro Tools on Windows. If you have Windows set to dark mode for File Explorer, you'll notice that Pro Tools file dialogs ignore that setting. Actually, Pro Tools is using "Vista/XP" era file dialogs as well which pre-date the dark mode option (select File-Open in Pro Tools, and File-Open in Windows Notepad to see the difference). My assumption is that they're using older Windows libraries to instantiate things like file dialogs and window borders. While it still "works" for the time being, you'd imagine that at some point Microsoft might deprecate those libraries, so Avid should address it. In addition to being aesthetically unpleasing, it's just seems a bit lazy (Windows 8/10 have been out for several years) or potentially indicative of some other deeper issue with being able to update that code within the application.
I'll be honest - I hadn't really noticed all that much from that type of thing. I typically spend the majority of my time on the actual edit window and the file browser is just something you occasionally throw up on the screen haphazardly while you load in new projects. That said, I see exactly the type of thing you are talking about. If the Windows version of Pro Tools just used the default file browser, it not only gives you your dark theme, but it also gives you an actual search bar. That could be useful, no?

I'll be in favor of any small tweak to optimize the Windows experience. Regardless of how it aesthetically looks, the program should at least be consistent.


Last edited by Undead Goat; 10-23-2021 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 10-24-2021, 03:21 AM
Skwaidu Skwaidu is offline
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weed View Post
Stable workhorse for me too. 29 inch, 21:9 monitor at 2560x1440. I don't care about the borders, I care about the workflow and audio quality.
Yes, I'm certain it works great, and is why I'm considering the switch. The aesthetics and usability factors are still embarassing, it's also an issue with clients for me - mostly a mac musician crowd who see the dated PT Win UI and remember how much they hate old Windows computers, not understanding that Win 10 functions extremely well.

But most importantly, I lament needing to change my current workflow with a main 1440p screen in front, where I keep documents on the right edge if needed, and a 2nd 1080p screen to the right where I keep the mix window - this setup would become impossible.
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Last edited by Skwaidu; 11-18-2021 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 10-30-2021, 10:11 AM
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Default Re: Windows 11 Pro Tools still has Windows Vista style box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skwaidu View Post
... they hate old Windows computers, not understanding that Win 10 functions extremely well...
If your rig functions extremely well, they'll get over it & be happy.
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