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Introduction ► Setup

You can install SONAR on any computer that runs Windows 7 and has a sound card or built-in sound module. If you want to hook up other devices, like a MIDI keyboard, an electric guitar, or a microphone, you need the right cables, and you need to find the right connectors on your computer.
Note: SONAR X2 Producer and Studio provide native Windows x64 support. SONAR X2 Essential runs as a 32-bit program on a Windows x64 system.
Before you install SONAR, take a minute to register the software so we can let you know when updates become available and provide you with technical support. To register anytime log onto, or call 1.888.CAKEWALK (+1.617.423.9004 outside the U.S.) between 1 PM and 6 PM Eastern Standard Time. If you live outside of North America, please visit our distributor’s page at to get the telephone number of your local distributor. You’ll need to supply your serial number, your name, and a valid email address.
To connect a MIDI keyboard to your computer you will need a MIDI interface. Some sound cards include a builti-in MIDI interface. If your model does not, there are many options available at your local music store. Many of these will connect to your computer via USB.
If you have a dedicated MIDI interface, lots of electronic music gear, or work with many different music software packages, see Hardware setup.Before you attach or detach any cables from your computer, you should shut down your computer and turn off the power to all your equipment. This greatly reduces the chance of electrical damage to your equipment while plugging and unplugging cables.
Previous versions of SONAR required a user to have Windows Administrator status. This is no longer the case. Any level of user can now install and run SONAR. Only one copy of SONAR per machine is necessary for multiple users to run SONAR with each user’s personal settings.
When you launch SONAR for the first time, all content files (such as track templates and project templates) will be copied from the global application data folder (All Users) to the user application data folder (User Account), before the program launches.
If you install a SONAR patch on top of the original installation, any updated content files in the patch will not overwrite existing content files in your personal user application data folder. However, you can force SONAR to update the default content files in your personal user data folder.
Warning: The following action will overwrite any SONAR data files such as track templates and project templates that you may have customized. A message box will prompt you if you want to continue or cancel. Only proceed if you are certain that you will not overwrite any important customized files.
To force SONAR to update and overwrite any default content files, hold down the CTRL key while starting SONAR.Data in the Program Files folder will be common to all users.

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