I just figured out a solution for a problem setting up a piece of Windows freeware on my computer, and I’m recording it here as robobait so that others can benefit from it.

I use the wonderful Exact Audio Copy (EAC) software to rip my CDs to FLAC files, as part of moving our music collection onto a media server.  I had just uninstalled version 0.99pb3 (this thing has been “pre-beta” and version 0.99 for years!) and installed version 0.99pb5. I set the directory to which EAC writes its extracted files to be on my Samba file server. When I tried 0.99pb5, though, I observed that whenever I tried to copy tracks from the CD, an “Error Message” alert box would pop up, saying “File Creation Error !” What I expected, and what I recalled from using 0.99pb3, was that EAC would write the compressed files happily to the server directory.

The minimal test case to produce the error was to select one track from the CD, and then select the menu item “Action“… “Copy selected tracks” “Uncompressed“. The Windows system in question is a virtual machine running Windows XP on my Macbook Pro laptop.  I had set up EAC’s “Standard directory for extraction” to a UNC server path, let’s call it “\\samba\media\Music\untagged_flac\“.  I observed, by the way, that when I changed the destination directory to be something on my Windows C:\ drive, then EAC wrote the file with no problem. And interestingly, EAC had no trouble writing log files and cue files to the server directory using the UNC path, but it refused to write audio data files.

The workaround which succeeded for me was to map a drive letter to the UNC path. In my case, I mapped the letter “Z:\” to “\\samba\media\Music\“. Then, I set EAC’s “Standard directory for extraction” (under “EAC“… “EAC options“… “Directories” tab…) to “Z:\untagged_flac\“.  Then EAC happily wrote compressed music files to my network directory.

I think this write failure is a regression from 0.99pb3; I recall the UNC path working then. But I haven’t reinstalled 0.99pb3 to prove the point. If you try that experiment, please leave me a comment and tell me what you found.

There are other possible causes for the “File Creation Error !” alert box.  A couple I found were:

May no-one else have to spend the time I spent diagnosing this problem! Happy exact audio copying!

P.S. my thanks to the developers of EAC, and of FLAC.exe, and all the other pieces of software in this marvelous free tool chain.