FATpick on Windows

Getting FATpick up and running on Microsoft Windows is pretty straightforward: simply download the FATpick installer and run it.

However the rest of this document provides more detailed instructions and some related tips you may find helpful.

Supported Platforms

While we recommend using Windows 10 and relatively modern hardware, FATpick works with any version of Windows Microsoft has released in the past decade: Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

FATpick is available as both a 32-bit (x86) and a 64-bit (amd64) application. The installer will automatically select the right version for your computer.

To be clear, FATpick is also available for Mac OSX and other platforms, but this page is focused on the Windows version.

Installing FATpick on Windows

Getting the Installer

Visit support/downloads to get FATpick for Windows (and other platforms). Or download the Windows installer directly.

When the download is complete you will find an application called FATpick-win-latest.exe, probably in your "Downloads" folder. This installer will set up the right version of FATpick on your computer.

Validating the Installer (Optional)

If you are extraordinarily cautious - or if you obtained the installer from an untrusted source - you can verify that the application you are about to run is exactly the same as the application that the FATpick team created, and has not been tampered with, corrupted in transit, or modified in any way. (But to be clear Windows should also validate this for you, automatically.)

Each version of FATpick is cryptographically signed with a "digital signature" that you (and the Windows OS) can use to verify that the installer was actually created by the FATpick team and hasn't been modified since. This signature is sorta like a wax seal stamped onto an envelope, but substatially more secure. If there is a valid signature on an application it was almost certainly created by the specified publisher.

To check this digital signature right-click on the FATpick-win-latest.exe file and select "Properties" from the context menu. This will open a small, multi-tab dialog box with additional information about the application. Click the "Digital Signatures" tab to view a list of "seals" attached to the file. Select one and hit the "Details" button for more information. You should expect to see a message like "This digital signature is OK", and information about the signer (FATPICK LLC, our support email address, etc.). You can use the "Advanced" tab and "View Certificate" button to dive into the even more technical detail if you're so inclined.

You can also check the integrity of the FATpick installer "manually". Follow these instructions to compute an MD5 or SHA256 checksum for the installer and compare it to the expected values.

Running the Installer

Double-click the red pick icon to launch the installer. This will automatically install the appropriate version of FATpick on your computer, create a shortcut on your desktop and in the start menu, and then launch the FATpick app itself.

Once the application has been installed you no longer need the setup application, so you can delete the FATpick-win-latest.exe installer app.

When you first launch the installer you may be asked to confirm that FATpick has your permission to install files on your computer. If this happens simply grant the permission and the installation will procede automatically.

SmartScreen Pop-up

(For a more comprehensive discssion of this topic, see this blog post.)

During the installation process some early-access users may encounter a dialog box like the following, stating that "Windows protected your PC" from an "unrecognized app". This is warning generated by Microsoft Defender SmartScreen.

As discussed in Microsoft's own FAQ on the topic this does NOT mean the installer contains malware or will otherwise harm your computer. This is simply a warning to encourage you to make sure you trust the source before proceeding. (Note that if you are concerned that the installer has been tampered with by a third party you can double check the integrity of the program.)

This is a side effect of your "early adoper" status. The warning indicates that Microsoft hasn't encountered the installer, software publisher or website from which you obtained the installer (whether FATpick.com or some third-party software directory) often enough to consider the program "commonly downloaded".

To tell SmartScreen that you trust the FATpick installer, click the "More info" link, confirm that the (cryptographically verified) publisher is "FATPICK LLC", and then click the button labelled "Run anyway" to launch the installer.

This message will stop appearing once what Microsoft considers to be a statistically signficant number of users have installed the app.

Running the Application

After a few seconds the installation process will complete and your new FATpick app will automatically launch.

Follow the prompts to create a new account or log in to an existing one and you're off to the races.

Once the installation is complete you can delete the installer (FATpick-win-latest.exe). You won't need it anymore. Use the Start Menu or desktop shortcut the next time you want to launch FATpick.

Upgrading FATpick on Windows

New versions of FATpick are released frequently - about twice a month on average - and are announced on our our Twitter account and our blog.

But you don't really need to worry about that. Your FATpick app will update itself automatically as new versions are released.

You can check which version of FATpick you have by selecting "About FATpick" from the "FATpick" menu, or clicking the version number in the lower-right corner of the main FATpick screen.

You can also download the latest version and re-run the installer if the auto-update isn't working for some reason, or you're just impatient and can't wait to see the latest features. Note that you don't need to uninstall your current version first, the installer will upgrade your current app "in-place".

Uninstalling

You can completely remove FATpick from your computer at any time by running the un-installer. To do this you can: right-click the app icon and select "Uninstall"; or visit the Windows "Programs and Features" control panel; or run "Uninstall FATpick.exe" from the location in which the FATpick app was installed. Typically this is something like:

C:\Users\<YOUR_USERNAME>\AppData\Local\Programs\fatpick

on Windows 10. The app installed "per user" not "per machine".

Note that uninstalling FATpick should remove all traces of the application from your computer. All account information, application-settings, and cached files will be removed. It should be as if FATpick was never installed on your computer when the uninstall process is complete. (NOTE: Windows makes that tricky sometimes, so we can't guarantee ever byte of FATpick-related data will be removed, but that's our intent. Let us know if you happen to find some orphaned data or files after a complete uninstall.)

"Server-side" data like your account information, personal song library, play history, etc. will be preserved when you un-install. All you need to do is log in again to restore them. Only local information like your persistent log-in credentials and application settings are deleted by an uninstall.

BTW there is a convienient way to transfer your application settings from one computer to another, or to restore them after uninstalling and re-installing the app. Use the "Back Up Settings" button under General Settings to save your current configuration to the cloud and "Restore Settings" to apply your previously saved configuration your local application instance.

Tips and Tricks

Hardware Acceleration

If your computer supports hardware accelerated GPU scheduling or similiar performance optimizations you may have the option to run an application with or without hardware acceleration. For example you may find an option like "Run with graphics processor > High-performance NVIDIA processor" in the context menu when you right-click on an application icon.

A graphics-intensive application like FATpick can benefit from this sort of hardware-accelerated video processing.

You should consider running FATpick under a high-performance graphics processing mode if one is available. This will improve the gameplay experience for the tablature viewer and similar visually-intensive screens.

ASIO Audio

Many professional-quality and higher-end amatuer-quality audio input interfaces for Windows - devices like the Focusrite Scarlett or Behringer UMC product lines - support a high-performance, proprietary protocol called ASIO.

ASIO is one of several audio "drivers" supported on Windows. WDM, WASAPI, DirectSound, and MME are some others.

ASIO is a low-level protocol. It essentially bypasses the OS audio mixer to interact with the soundcard directly. The primary advantage of this approach is that it is very low latency: there is little unnecessary delay between the sound-waves hitting the microphone and the audio signal being delivered to the software (or vice versa, from software to speaker). For this reason ASIO is the preferred driver for latency-sensitive audio processing software like DAWs and professional-grade recording interfaces.

Unfortunately, FATpick - among other audio processing apps - doesn't always work cleanly with ASIO-based audio interfaces.

Fortunately virtually all ASIO-supporting devices are also support other protocols like WDM.

If you run into problems getting FATpick to "hear" your ASIO-based audio signal try configuring your interface to use WDM or another non-ASIO driver with FATpick. Your audio device manufacturer's website probably has instructions on how to do this. "non-ASIO" and even "Audacity" are useful keywords to search for.

Note that you can continue to use your pro-am hardware as an input device, and the ASIO protocol to interact with compatiable software. But you can almost always fall back to a more broadly supporter driver protocol, precisely because it's not always fully supported by applications.

For what it's worth, modestly higher audio latency isn't a big problem for FATpick. As long as it's measured accurately FATpick isn't especially sensitive to latency in the audio signal. The primary and by far the most noticable impact is that high latency increases the delay before FATpick can "grade" a note as hit or missed. When calibrated properly, high latency does not have a signficant negative impact on the accuracy of pitch and note onset/offset detection. It simply means that a note will be scored 0.10 seconds after it hit the playhead rather than 0.02 seconds, for example. The feedback is slightly less "real-time", but the end result is essentially the same.

Multi-Channel Audio

Some direct-injection boxes and input devices include ports or jacks for several XLR mic or 1/4" instrument cables in order to support simultaneous recording of multiple audio inputs.

Inside the computer this hardware looks like a single "input device" with multiple "inputs", and possibly multiple "channels" per input. For example the instrument plugged into the first jack may be connnected to input 1 (channels 1 and 2), the second to input 2 (channels 3 and 4), etc., all on the same "device".

Currently there is no simple, user-facing way to tell FATpick to listen to an arbitrary input or channel on a given device. The first input and at most two channels (left and right) are used by default. If you are using a multi-input/multi-channel audio interface FATpick probably won't detect a signal from anything other than the first input. If you have your guitar plugged in to the second jack and FATpick isn't picking it up, if possible try using the first jack instead.

Note that you can usually configure a "virtual" input device that makes a given port on the multi-port interface appear as a distinct device. For example this Focusrite knowledge base article describes how to do this with a Scarlett audio interface. If you have a compelling reason to keep your guitar plugged in to the second port on your input device you can use this technique to connect FATpick to something other than the first port.

Also note that while something like a guitar-to-USB or guitar-to-AUX interface is a little more effective, FATpick works reasonably well with a conventional microphone signal. Your computer's built-in mic, a webcam mic, and especially an instrument mic (e.g. XLR or AUX in front of an amp) may be a satisfactory alternative to ASIO or a multi-channel audio device if you're having trouble using them with FATpick.