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Electronic Theatre Controls Inc

Obsession I and II before v4.3 will not save show files to its internal hard drive in 2018 and 2020


When the internal clock is set to a date of 2018 or 2020, Obsession I and II systems before version 4.3 are unable to save shows to the internal hard drive.

Obsession II systems running 4.3 and higher (including the last version, 5.1.1) may be able to save to the internal hard drive, but DOS is unable to do any file operations like copying. If you need to move a show from the hard drive, you will need to change the system date, open the show in Obsession, and resave it in a valid year.


This is caused by the internal naming system of the hard drive shows – a letter corresponding to the year that the show was saved in is added to the beginning of the file name. In 1992, this was ‘A’. In 2017, this was ‘Z’. The next character in the ASCII character set is ‘[‘ (used in 2018), which is invalid in DOS/FAT file systems, as well as the later character ‘]’ (used in 2020).

In fact, non-alphanumeric characters are used in years 2018-2023 (ASCII character codes 91 thru 96). In year 2024, the letter ‘a’ will be used. This continues until 2049 with the letter ‘z’.

Workaround and How-To

The workaround would be to change the year back to a value between 1992 and 2017.

You can change the date by pressing [Setup / F9] -> [Set Date / Ctrl+F2] and typing the month – (dash) day – (dash) year [Enter]. (Example: 02-02-17 for February 2, 2017).

Compatible Calendars

If you would like to set the year that has the same calendar as the current year, please use this table below.

Additional years can be retrieved at this website:

2018 2001, 2007
2019 2002, 2013
2020 1992
2021 1993, 1999, 2010
2022 1994, 2005, 2011
2023 1995, 2006, 2017
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