So recently, I finally decided to make the plunge to an SSD. I have been eyeing one for a while, but they were far too expensive for the past couple years. But recently Amazon had a deal of the day, and I got a Samsung 830 256gb SSD for HALF PRICE. Yes please! When I saw this awesome deal, I immediately pulled the trigger on one and also bought a data doubler from OWC. I installed it and believe me, it absolutely screams! ~400mbs write speeds and 475mbs read!

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A couple days afterwards, I noticed that whenever I was trying to open up project files (that I had worked on successfully the week before) in FCP7, it would throw up the error “This project is unreadable or may be too new for this version of Final Cut” and wouldn’t let me load the project at all. This was very troublesome and concerning, and none of the normal steps I usually take in times of FCP trouble would fix it (blowing away preferences, repairing permissions, PRAM resets, even reinstalling FCP wouldn’t do it. But thankfully, I have finally found out exactly how to fix it (or at least work around it).

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Here’s what happened. When I installed the SSD, I made a bootable backup of my hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner. I Installed the SSD in the HD bay, and then took my DVD drive out of my 2011 Macbook Pro and installed the HD & Data Doubler into the DVD bay. Then I booted from the HD in the DVD bay and made another bootable backup of my system onto the SSD. I then symlinked most of my important data-write-intensive folders (My editing cache, Desktop, Downloads, Movies, Pictures, Music, and Mobile Data folders among others) on the SSD on to the hard drive.

I did all of this so that I could get my computer back and running exactly the way I left it and I would not have to spend tons of time, re-installing files and applications on my laptop and could start working right away.

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What this meant is that my user account on the SSD was for all intents and purposes exactly the same name as on the original HD. The reason the FCP7 would not open my project files and was giving me the error “This project is unreadable or may be too new for this version of Final Cut”, drew from this fact. 

From reading on line, it looks like there is a bug (or a feature? I’m not sure which.) where Final Cut Pro uses absolute paths within the project file to point to footage. Because my user account had exactly the same name as the old one but had a different HD (or in this case SSD) name, FCP thought that the project was unreadable and wouldn’t open it because the absolute paths were off.

In other cases where you are using a different user account name, Final Cut Pro normally ignores the incorrect paths when the project’s user account doesn’t match, and tries to relink the project files.

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So the easiest way to resolve the “project is unreadable” error is as follows:

  1. Open up the User & Groups pane in System Preferences
  2. Create a administrator user account with a different name than what was originally used to create the project
  3. Log into this new administrator account.
  4. Open the project and reconnect the media. (and just to be safe I would recommend exporting an XML of the project right now)
  5. Now you can log out of this new user account you just made and go to your normal user account and work as you normally do. FCP should open up the project file just fine and you will just need to relink the files once again.

Voilà! Hope this helps!

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