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Google Chrome Update Caused Shutdown of Mac Pros Running Avid Across Hollywood [UPDATED]

It impacts those who have disabled System Integrity Protection on their Macs, used by some Avid users to enable third-party video cards.

Avid

Editor’s note: The root cause for a reboot issue affecting some Avid Media Composer users is unrelated to Avid software, the company confirmed Wednesday morning. The issue, which has impacted film and TV post production, stems from a Chrome update that “may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines.”

Google has pulled the update and provided instructions for impacted users. It affects only users running older versions of macOS who have disabled System Integrity Protection, a move while not recommended by Apple, is used by some Avid users to enable third-party video cards.

“Avid is pleased that the reboot issue facing some customers is solved and while Avid products are not the root cause, we’re keeping an intense focus on bringing all of our customers back online and back to work,” Avid CEO Jeff Rosica said. “Over the past 36 hours, the deep dive of due diligence working closely with Apple, PACE and other partners exhausted all options and we’ve landed in the right place as quickly as possible. We owe our special thanks to Avid’s customer and user community for their typically strong show of support at this time, especially to those who welcomed our engineers into their studios to troubleshoot.”

Avid executives released a video Tuesday afternoon reiterating their earlier statement and offering tips for Mac Pro Media Composer users affected by the reboot issue.

CEO Jeff Rosica said the company is working with Apple and other third party vendors to identify the cause of the issue.

“We’re already on site at a number of sites and we’ve found some interesting information that’s getting us, hopefully, to a root cause as quickly as we can,” he said.

Chief Product Officer Dana Ruzicka said the problem presents itself as a licensing error message upon launch of Media Composer. Users who reboot after seeing that message may get caught in a reboot cycle.

He said some affected users have fixed the problem by reinstalling macOS, but he cautioned users not to format their hard drives if they opt to take that route — or else risk losing their files.

Those Mac Pro Avid users who haven’t experienced the issue should avoid restarting their computer or updating their computer or Avid software. They should also back up their important files as a precaution, Ruzicka said.

The executives said the company will send dispatches with more information as it becomes available.

Meantime, a detailed post on the Mr. Macintosh blog says the problem isn’t actually Avid-related. The post says that it appears to affect all Macs that have System Integrity Protection disabled — used by some Avid users to support third-party video cards. The blog says the issue actually stems from a Google Chrome update.

Film and TV editors are reporting that their Mac Pro computers running Avid’s Media Composer software have suddenly refused to reboot after shutting down, leading them to search for workarounds to avoid major disruptions to post production around Hollywood as Avid’s own engineers are making it their “top priority” to find a fix.

Editors took to social media starting Monday to report the problem, which some say is affecting computers running older versions of macOS. Some have speculated that the culprit may be a virus, an issue with Avid’s licensing USB dongle, or files that have been corrupted after a recent software update.

Avid hasn’t yet figured out the cause of the problem, the company said in a Tuesday statement:

“Avid is aware of the reboot issue affecting Apple Mac Pro devices running some Avid products, which arose late yesterday. This issue is top priority for our engineering and support teams, who have been working diligently to determine and resolve the root cause. As we learn more, we will immediately publish information — directly to our customers and via our community forums and social media platforms — in order to resolve this issue for all affected customers and prevent any further issues.”

For now, the best piece of advice editors have is to avoid shutting down Mac Pros running Media Composer and speak with the vendor who supplied the system.

Others say they’ve been able to start their computers by booting up in single-user mode and entering certain commands, or by reinstalling the operating system. Both could support the theory that the issue stems not from a virus, but rather is a software problem.

However, there is no clear consensus on social media on what exactly caused the problem or agreement on how users can fix it.

PC Magazine reported that users can determine if they’re affected by the problem by going into “System Preferences and then Users & Groups. If you know your account is set as admin, but the preferences only show you as a regular user, your system has been compromised and will likely fail to reboot if shut down.”

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