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Global settings changed after 3.01 Firmware update

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Hi,

 

I just updated the firmware  on a Helix LT and it changed my footswitch global settings. Was it supposed to do that? What else might it have changed? I didn't set this Helix up, someone at the church did it, so I don't know what other changes from default in global settings might have been made.

 

Any insight is greatly appreciated!

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That's why you do a backup as directed BEFORE the upgrade.  That way you can just restore your globals from the backup.  You did follow those directions didn't you????

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Yes, a firmware update resets the globals to their default values. It doesn’t change anything else. You can use HX Edit to restore only the Global Settings from your backup that was created during the update procedure.

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Actually, it's always been the case, but it's a bit annoying!  Is there a real reason?

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18 minutes ago, rvroberts said:

Actually, it's always been the case, but it's a bit annoying!  Is there a real reason?

 

Good question. I have always assumed that returning the global settings to their "defaults" was to make sure that global settings are updated to a stable state in the event that there were modifications to the global settings in the new firmware version. Returning them to a stable state after a firmware update could probably be done while retaining at least the majority of the user's previous firmware version's global settings but maybe Line6 deemed it not worth the programming effort or low priority.

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I guess I've never wondered about why this is the case.  I just figure that a firmware update is a fresh installation so everything will revert to a consistent state as defined by the base firmware.  I guess I assumed that because, unlike a software update on a computer operating system, there is no real "scratch space" on the Helix to save the existing state of something in order to restore it after the update as there is on a PC with a hard drive.  I'm sure it could be done I suppose, but it does present some potentially tough problems considering that the number and type of global parameters change with almost every update so that could present a lot of dicey problems for how one would handle it.  I'm perfectly happy with the system of simply backing up and restoring things.

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4 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

I guess I've never wondered about why this is the case.  I just figure that a firmware update is a fresh installation so everything will revert to a consistent state as defined by the base firmware.  I guess I assumed that because, unlike a software update on a computer operating system, there is no real "scratch space" on the Helix to save the existing state of something in order to restore it after the update as there is on a PC with a hard drive.  I'm sure it could be done I suppose, but it does present some potentially tough problems considering that the number and type of global parameters change with almost every update so that could present a lot of dicey problems for how one would handle it.  I'm perfectly happy with the system of simply backing up and restoring things.

 

I agree trying to make this happen could introduce some challenges depending on how a previous global setting was modified in a new firmware version. I think the lack of "scratch space" on the device could be gotten around as the update process could store your prior firmware's global settings in a temp/backup file on your hard drive and then restore them automatically as part of the update process after setting the global settings to the new firmware's defaults(stable state). Any global setting that was significantly changed in the new firmware might require some kind of message or firmware note(which half the users wouldn't read) though to the user informing them that they would have to set it manually in the new firmware.

 

Again, maybe more trouble than Line6 thought it was worth to reconcile the old settings to the new, and programming hours better spent elsewhere. Still, many software companies face this issue with updates and err on the side of preserving as many global settings as possible between updates. Line6 may have good reason why they don't currently do this as I am sure they are aware it causes some churn after a certain percentage of users can't figure out why their device is functioning differently after an update .

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2 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

I agree trying to make this happen could introduce some challenges depending on how a previous global setting was modified in a new firmware version. I think the lack of "scratch space" could be gotten around as the update process could store your prior firmware's global settings in a temp file on your hard drive and then restore them automatically as part of the update process after setting the global settings to the new firmware's defaults(stable state). Any global setting that was significantly changed in the new firmware might require some kind of message or firmware note(which half the users wouldn't read) though to the user informing them that they would have to set it manually in the new firmware. Again, maybe more trouble than Line6 thought it was worth to reconcile the old settings to the new, and programming hours better spent elsewhere. Still, many software companies face this issue with updates and err on the side of preserving as many global settings as possible between updates. With that said Line6 may have good reason why they don't currently do this as I am sure they are aware it causes some churn after a certain percentage of users update and can't figure out why their device is functioning differently.

I'm just guessing here, but I suspect it may be that the Helix itself doesn't really have any direct knowledge about or access to a connected computer's hard drive to do any such operations like what you're describing.  Once the computer hands over control to the Helix to do the update, it's all in the hands of the Helix.  The reason I suspect that may be the case is because the Helix can't do it's own backup/restore/export/import without intervention from HX Edit which runs within the computer's OS.  From everything I've observed the Helix pretty much seems to be in the same role as a printer might be that's attached to a PC and dependent upon the PC for file access.  At best it can probably send alerts or messages to the host, but that's about all it can do.

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1 hour ago, DunedinDragon said:

I'm just guessing here, but I suspect it may be that the Helix itself doesn't really have any direct knowledge about or access to a connected computer's hard drive to do any such operations like what you're describing.  Once the computer hands over control to the Helix to do the update, it's all in the hands of the Helix.  The reason I suspect that may be the case is because the Helix can't do it's own backup/restore/export/import without intervention from HX Edit which runs within the computer's OS.  From everything I've observed the Helix pretty much seems to be in the same role as a printer might be that's attached to a PC and dependent upon the PC for file access.  At best it can probably send alerts or messages to the host, but that's about all it can do.

 

The update can be an overarching process that first downloads the new firmware, does a backup(as it currently does), hands control over to the Helix for the duration of the device's firmware update, and then takes it back at the end to reconcile and restore the global settings. The fact that the firmware process currently prompts the user to do a backup indicates some knowledge of or ability to use the file system. Another approach would be to use the computer's RAM but if the update failed midstream that could mean losing the prior firmware's update settings stored only in volatile memory.  Another potential complication is that until HX Edit updates its own version along with the firmware there will remain a certain number of users who have their firmware and HX Edit versions out of synch when they execute the update. Just batting this around as we are now though you can see it might not have been quite as straightforward a process to retain these settings as it might appear and hence their decision, for better or worse, not to.

 

One note, the fact that you can currently manually restore your global settings from a previous backup points to some kind of reconciliation process already in place for prior --> new global settings. Maybe they don't anticipate this always being the case but if it were perhaps it could be as simple as triggering this manual restore process automatically at the end of the update.

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But why should they put any resources into this?

It says quite clearly in the instructions that you need to restore your global settings, if you don't do that then more fool you as my mam would say!

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6 minutes ago, CraigGT said:

But why should they put any resources into this?

It says quite clearly in the instructions that you need to restore your global settings, if you don't do that then more fool you as my mam would say!

 

LOL, if people only read the instructions. And yup, it often comes back to resource allocation. Gotta get that new Helix Wireless out to market ;-)

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2 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

LOL, if people only read the instructions. And yup, it often comes back to resource allocation. Gotta get that new Helix Wireless out to market ;-)

Well they do make them quite visible during the process, it's not like you have to find a readme.txt file buried in an archive.

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8 minutes ago, CraigGT said:

Well they do make them quite visible during the process, it's not like you have to find a readme.txt file buried in an archive.

 

And yet a fair number of people remain convinced that some arcane change in the new firmware is responsible for their, for example, stomps not showing up in the bottom row any more or their output levels changing, rather than a change to a global setting. IMHO even if it is due to a user's lack of thoroughness any improvement to the update process that does not detract substantially from other more interesting developments is not a bad idea.

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So someone mentioned that 3.1 is coming and we're already get wound up about it :-)

At least if everyone has already updated to HX Edit 3.01 then the other issue should not present itself any more!

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On 3/11/2021 at 4:45 PM, DunedinDragon said:

That's why you do a backup as directed BEFORE the upgrade.  That way you can just restore your globals from the backup.  You did follow those directions didn't you????

 

Not at all helpful sweetie.

 

On 3/11/2021 at 4:51 PM, silverhead said:

Yes, a firmware update resets the globals to their default values. It doesn’t change anything else. You can use HX Edit to restore only the Global Settings from your backup that was created during the update procedure.

 

Thank you for your kind, accurate and concise answer.

 

On 3/12/2021 at 3:47 PM, CraigGT said:

But why should they put any resources into this?

It says quite clearly in the instructions that you need to restore your global settings, if you don't do that then more fool you as my mam would say!

 

I have to disagree. I'm not a Helix owner, I was doing this for my church, so I was starting cold. I downloaded the latest version of HXEdit  as instructed by the info on the Line 6 web site ( have you used this latest version for a firmware upgrade, out of curiosity? Perhaps things have changed or I'm blind as a bat) and ran the update through that. While it was very clear that I should make a backup, which I did, it was not at all clear I would need to use it to restore global settings.

 

If you google "Line 6 Helix Firmware update", which I did before the update,  none of the top hits mentions having to restore Global settings as a normal part of the process.

 

I've done firmware updates on more device than I can count over the last 25 years, and this is the first time I've ever had to use restore as a normal part of the process. Restore has always a disaster recovery process, so my mind went to "last resort". And while a really nice feature, I wasn't expecting the restore feature to have selectivity of what can be restored. So experience, intuition and unclear install instructions all worked against this Helix newb. 

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OK - we find a few problems with Line 6 and updates - and it's improved dramatically since the start I have to say - but still plenty of room for improvements.

We have computers to make life easy.........well at least that's a possibility!!

So smart programming tries to do that - why have a computer and do all the work yourself?  (Helix is a computer!)

I actually think most upgrades could keep global settings - but there might be the occasional time where software/firmware improvements need a backup and install of globals.  Again it's something a computer is good at - better than people generally.

So I suspect what is really going on is Line 6, when designing the OS and hardware for the Helix did not want to allow space for all that storing if information while replacing stuff in upgrades - so they moved some of those jobs to the user.  It's a compromise.  Probably let them give us more bang for the buck, as far as memory goes while needing us to do a bit more work administering the update process.

Unfortunately, Helix knowhow is acquired over time, and there's always stuff that catches the new user out.  That's why there is always a long (and a bit frightening for first time users) set of "How to" notes with every upgrade.  All this could be potentially handled by really good update software(Mac andWindows versions)........but that's resources being used to write and test stuff that we can do manually - so they leave it to us, and it always results in long chains of "I bricked my Helix" or "everything sounds bad after update"  "No sound on XLRs" type of discussions.

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The recent release of HX Edit v3.01 promised an improvement to the Helix firmware update process. Helix firmware v3.10 should arrive fairly soon, according to Line 6. So I guess we’ll see what the improvement looks like.

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It's not really that complicated is it?

 

Make sure HX Edit is up to date  (automated in V3.01)

Perform a backup (automated in HX Edit)

Update your Helix device (handled by HX edit)

Reset your Helix device 

Restore your backup.

 

Job done. 

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