Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Plug-in hosts and other software applications discussion
DannyDep
KVRist
63 posts since 3 Jan, 2008 from Tampa, FL

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:51 am

I need to cleanup my DLL plugin folders.
I have more than one DAW installed on my machine (Cubase 8 & 9, STUDIO ONE 2 Pro).

My first rule, from now on, when adding a new plugin on my machine is as follows:
  • * Install the DAWs own plugins in their default folders.
For 3rd party plugins I have seen two different stragegies:
Assumption: The DAW mfg. will handle putting VST3 plugins in a unique VST3 folder.
(If this is not true please advise).

Install all 3rd party plugins in:
  • * C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins, or
    * C:\Program Files\Common Files
Such is my problem right now in that i have plugins installed in both Common Files and VSTPlugins.
For rule two, s there an advantage or disadvantage to choosing either of these folder paths?

Now I have to clean up 3rd party plugins already installed.
For instance, back in 2009 when I only had Cubase installed, I was putting 3rd party plugins into
my Cubase 6 (at the time) VSTPlugins folder.

This is an important cleanup point:
Depending on which strategy I choose, Common Files or VSTPlugins, can I simply cut and paste these
DLLs that are currently in my Cubase 6 path into either of the Common Files or VSTPlugins path?

As well, after choosing a Common Files or VSTPlugins path, can I cut and paste plugins from one and put them into the other folder?

Any advise would be appreciated.

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Googly Smythe
KVRAF
2148 posts since 12 May, 2011 from Not where I was just now.

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:13 am

Although a good many of us put our plugins in the Program Files folder, a lot of devs advise users not to (u-He, for example) because of permissions issues. If you install plugins there you'll have to run your DAW as an Administrator to avoid those issues.
Other than that, VST2 plugins can go anywhere you like.
VST3 - I don't remember ever having the option to tell the installer where to put them.
Some devs (Waves etc) don't give you a choice.
Copying and pasting depends on the plugin, unfortunately.

No_Use
KVRAF
2310 posts since 13 Mar, 2004

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:25 am

In the VST3 SDK Steinberg says the place for VST3 plugins is supposed to be C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3 (or Program Files (x86)\Common Files\VST3 for 32 bit plugins) that's why for most (all ?) VST3 plugins there's no option to choose install location.

Because of the 'fixed' VST3 location I think not many DAW's have an option to scan VST3 plugins outside this location, I only know Reaper does.

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rod_zero
KVRAF
2877 posts since 28 Jan, 2011 from MEXICO

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:06 am

For VST2 I use C:\VST\*Developer*

Easier to get to, easy to remember
dedication to flying

chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:26 am

What NoUse wrote. VST3's are all installed in C:\ProgramFiles\Common Files\VST3. You can put the VST2 in any other place (i wouldn't put them into Common Files...). I usually install my audio stuff in D:\, and create 2 folders there, VST, and VST (x86), for vendors, which only let you install both 32- and 64-bit versions of their plugins (shame on them! :P).

Also, the read/write rights is a thing with the folders in C:\. Both he Program Files, and Common Files folders require admin rights, to write into them. Meaning that you HAVE to run your DAW with admin rights, when you use it, so the plugin files can be modified when you use them. Or, the plugins create folders for the admin user only, in Documents, or the AppData user folders. It's a bit tricky, and a few developers seem to have a real issue with the user account thing in Windows. For example, Waldorf Largo just crashes the DAW, if you installed it, and open your DAW with normal user rights then, because it creates a folder in AppData/Roaming, but only for the admin user. :D So, the way to go is copy that folder in your normal user's AppData/Roaming folder. Works fine then. Eventide is another thing, their installers only create Eventide folders in the admin, or installing user's Documents folder, and you have to copy those to your user Documents folder too. I grew accustomed with such kind of things with the years... it is beyond me nonetheless, how you can be able to code a complicated plugin, but have no idea about user account stuff. Even told Waldorf about that a year ago. Nothing happened.

yellowmix
KVRian
695 posts since 11 Aug, 2012

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:30 am

If the installer allows, I put all VST in \Program Files\VSTplugins\*Manufacturer*\. Including DAW VSTs.

VST3 gets installed to \Program Files\Common Files\VST3\*Manufacturer*\ per Steinberg's spec.

Some installers do not allow custom paths. I then forcefully move the DLLs and relative files (resources, presets) to the appropriate location. This messes with uninstallers (they can't find it but will complete anyway) but it does not matter because I know where they are and can manually delete them when the time comes. Otherwise I've had no problems with DAWs or VSThosts finding and loading them.

My VST folder is empty save for subfolders. I know where everything is. I have to point my VST hosts to 2 folders at the most and I can memorize them and they are easy to type. If I am cleaning out plugins it's easy as well.

As for file permissions and admin rights. I (as admin) set read/write permission on the VST folders for my user account so I do not have to run the DAW as admin. Any newly-installed folders will inherit the permission.

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Googly Smythe
KVRAF
2148 posts since 12 May, 2011 from Not where I was just now.

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:01 pm

It's a lot of faffing around, ennit. And this is the best Windows yet. :dog:

DannyDep
KVRist
63 posts since 3 Jan, 2008 from Tampa, FL

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:17 pm

yellowmix wrote:................................
I then forcefully move the DLLs and relative files (resources, presets) to the appropriate location.
.................................
Thanks for the reply yellowmix.
Do you mean that you, for example, cut and paste DLLs from and where ever you want to place them?
I'm going to be keeping them somewhere inside of Program Files because I always sign in with my admin userid.

DannyDep
KVRist
63 posts since 3 Jan, 2008 from Tampa, FL

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:20 pm

Googly Smythe wrote:................................
Copying and pasting depends on the plugin, unfortunately.
I sure hope I don't run into any problems via cut and paste.
But I suppose that's what backups are for, right?
thx for the reply.

DannyDep
KVRist
63 posts since 3 Jan, 2008 from Tampa, FL

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:22 pm

Googly Smythe wrote:It's a lot of faffing around, ennit. And this is the best Windows yet. :dog:
Sure is.... and I'd rather play music than faff...
Heck... I'm talking about Windows 7.
Maybe that was the best Windows yet. :wink:

Multicellular
KVRist
35 posts since 17 Oct, 2017 from Washington, D.C.

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:53 pm

rod_zero wrote:For VST2 I use C:\VST\*Developer*

Easier to get to, easy to remember
Same. c:plugins

Annoys me so much with vst3. And ive found some differences across Win 7 v 10 (may be where Ive monkeyed with stuff)

But Ive had this organization for a decade, a good backup/sync system for hardrives and the cloud for that folder across a few computers.

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shidostrife
KVRist
498 posts since 22 Nov, 2016 from Tokyo, Japan

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:24 pm

Some of the first plugins I installed as a newbie defaulted to C://Program Files/VSTPlugins, I then use that folder for everything else, even on the new computer.

yellowmix
KVRian
695 posts since 11 Aug, 2012

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:22 pm

DannyDep wrote:
yellowmix wrote:................................
I then forcefully move the DLLs and relative files (resources, presets) to the appropriate location.
.................................
Thanks for the reply yellowmix.
Do you mean that you, for example, cut and paste DLLs from and where ever you want to place them?
I'm going to be keeping them somewhere inside of Program Files because I always sign in with my admin userid.
Yes, cut and paste will work. Move if you're oldschool and do it via commandline.

Be aware of resource folders. Plugins will often look for them relative to where the dll/vst3 is. So if the, for example Blue Cat FreqAnalyst 2.dll is in the root of VSTplugins and you see a "BC FreqAnalyst 2 data" folder, when you move the DLL to VSTplugins\Blue Cat Audio\, move the data folder there too. Then have your DAW rescan your plugin folders.

DarkStar
KVRAF
8542 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:06 am

Googly Smythe wrote:It's a lot of faffing around, ennit. And this is the best Windows yet. :dog:
The faffing around is down to the plug-in developers using inflexible installers, not Microsoft.

My common beef is those additional folders being created in "My Documents" (14 so far) and the Shortcut menu folders in "Start Menu / Programs" (many of them), without any chance for me to select somewhere-else. :(

Given that Reaper will use VST3 plug-ins installed in non-default locations, is the use of C:\ProgramFiles\Common Files\VST3 just a Steinberg idea (just as it did for VST2 plug-ins)?
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Plugin placement strategy (64-bit only)

Post Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:12 am

DarkStar wrote:
Googly Smythe wrote:It's a lot of faffing around, ennit. And this is the best Windows yet. :dog:
The faffing around is down to the plug-in developers using inflexible installers, not Microsoft.
Exactly. If plugin developers have no idea how to write installers, or handle the user account control in Windows, there's nothing the OS can do about that.

And, my personal opinion is, yes, Windows 10 is indeed the best Windows so far. ;)

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