Creating a Strategic VST Plugin Folder Setup

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KVRian
657 posts since 5 Jul, 2005 from Southern California

Post Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:14 pm

Creating a Strategic VST Plugin Folder Setup
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There is no hard standard for where to store your VST2 plugins on your computer.
The more popular or common places listed by Steinberg are:
C:\Program Files\VSTPlugIns
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins
C:\Program Files (x86)\VSTPlugIns
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VstPlugins
C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST2
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Steinberg\VST2
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\VST2
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Steinberg\VST2

The problem with all of these locations is that C:\Program Files, C:\Program Files (x86) and anything under them is what Windows defines as a system folders which means elevation (admin rights) are required to make changes. This can make it a pain to organize and to activate or register your plugins. As your VST collection grows updating and handling duplicates can become a real headache.

A better strategy is to take control of how your organize and store your VSTs.
This is the system that I currently use for managing my VST plugins in Windows.
It optimizes scanning, simplifies updating as well as backing things up, and eliminates almost all dupes AND it works across multiple DAWS.
Also since none of my VSTs (except VST3s) are in system folders this setup also eliminates the need to run any of my DAWs in Admin mode so overall less headaches and oddball issues.

C:\
├───All VSTs
│ ├───VST32
│ │ ├───32Main
│ │ └───Has 64 bit version
│ └───VST64
│ ├───64Main
│ └───Has VST3 version

For Ableton my current scan path is:
C:\All VSTs\VST64
*once 10.1 is released with VST3 support my paths will be:
C:\All VSTs\VST64\64Main
C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3

For Cakewalk my scan path is:
C:\All VSTs\VST32\32Main
C:\All VSTs\VST64\64Main
C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3

For other DAWS I just select the appropriate paths.

Note: Some older VSTs plugins need to run in the same folder that they were installed in.
I've only run into a couple of plugins where this was an issue and reinstalling them into the appropriate designated folder fixed that issue.

Hope that you find this info helpful.

...Steven
ImageCakewalk/Sonar Plugin Management Tools

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