Fix the Ableton “Generic Unix Executable” Problem on a Mac

Ableton on Mac

When you download and decompress an Ableton Live Rack (.adg), Set (.als), or Pack (.alp) file that was created and zipped in Windows, then try to open it on a Mac system, OS X occasionally has trouble dealing with the file format. Instead of associating the rack, pack or set with Ableton and opening it therein, the operating system marks the file as a “Generic Unix Executable,” meaning that it doesn’t really know what it is. Here’s how to fix the problem and open an ADG, ALS, or ALP file that you’ve downloaded to a Mac:

  • Open the location of the downloaded ADG, ALS, or ALP file in Finder.
  • Manually add the appropriate file extension to the filename. For example, if you’re trying to open an Ableton rack, you’d add an “.adg” extension, like so: “awesome-bass-fx-rack.adg”.
  • Control-click the file. Select “Open With” from the context menu and click “Ableton Live.” Live should launch and open the rack, pack, or set correctly.

Why this happens, I have no idea; if I had to guess, I’d imagine that some part of the zipping process in Windows removes some kind of identifying information that OS X needs to recognize the rack as an Ableton file. There doesn’t seem to be any problem moving zipped Ableton files from one Windows system to another, or transferring an uncompressed Ableton file from Windows to Mac.