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Organization of VST and their DLLs

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I want to install my VSTs on a different drive than my C drive.

This has been working when I create a new folder for each VST and then set the Preferences in Cakewalk to this specific folder. However this is creating a lot of paths in the VST preferences. Is there a better way to do this. 

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Put them all in one folder. 😀 And only the VST or DLL files go in the folder.

My personal preference is a folder VSTPlugIns, with subfolders: FX, VSTi, Sampler. Only VSTPlugIns is in the scan path because Cakewalk automatically does subfolders.

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Plug-ins take up relatively little space. Moving them off the system drive is not a good idea. In fact, the VST3 specification states plug-ins should be installed on the system drive and some program will not recognize them being installed elsewhere. If the system drive is too full, plug-in relocation is not the solution.

Data used by plug-ins is another matter. Sample-based synths usually provide a way to install their samples on another drive. Those lacking this feature often can be dealt with by using directory junctions.

When it comes to specifying paths for the scanner, keep in mind the scanner recursively search though the paths supplied.

 

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I have most of my VST 2s on my data drive without a problem though some - such as Air Xpand 2 -  would only work on the system drive

As mentioned above you only need one master folder for your VST2 's but do keep 32 bit VST' s in a separate subfolder from 64 bit ones

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VST3 64-bit: I have the plugins in the standard folder, but I made subfolders for plugin type (Dynamics, EQ, ...) for better overview and for Samplitude X3 that does not have a plugin manager but displays the names of the subdirectories.

VST2: I have 2 main folders a FX and an Instrument folder and under them I have the same subfolders as above. The advantage of separating FX and instruments is that I define both in DAWs, but only the FX folder in Editors (Sound Forge, RX-7, Audacity, SpectraLayers, ...; also for MixBus that I only use for mixing). This reduces the scanning time for the latter.

Actually this is not the whole truth! Physically I store the VST2 plugins in a 64-bit and a 32-bit folder with underfolders naming the plugin provider such as "Nomad Factory". In the FX and Instrument folders I have only symbolic file links (mklink) to the plugins in the provider folders. The big advantage is that I can define the "general" FX, instrument folders with the plugins that I want in all DAWs/editors. For plugins that run only in a single program I create special folders (e.g. for CbB/Sonar). Also I do not have to uninstall plugins that I currently don't use, I simply remove the link! Storing all the plugins of one provider in a single subfolder has also the advantage that they normally remember that folder if you install an additional plugin of them.

That it is easier to manage I have all my plugin folders out of the "Program" folders (no admin rights required), except VST3.

By the way this concept runs perfectly on more than 1 computer and using the same plugin properties on each computer and CbB/Sonar Platinum/X3!

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12 hours ago, user6818931298578542 said:

I want to install my VSTs on a different drive than my C drive.

This has been working when I create a new folder for each VST and then set the Preferences in Cakewalk to this specific folder. However this is creating a lot of paths in the VST preferences. Is there a better way to do this. 

Also, if you prefer to have different folders for different things, just put them all as a subfolder of a folder called VSTs, or plugins or what ever. Then you only have to list that folder - Cakewalk goes into subfolders automatically. Only 1 entry in Scan List, organised folder structure for when you want to add/remove etc.

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I have an old PC with a TINY ssd for system drive. I have moved everything onto a much larger extra/data drive, but use a junction point so it appears that it is all sitting on my system drive. I last installed Cakewalk itself into "C:\Program Files\Music Applications" which means its actually on H drive.

eg:

mklink /D /J "C:\Program Files\Music Applications" "H:\JunctionSources\C_Program Files_Music Applications"
 

In the above, C is my tiny system drive, and H is a huge additional drive. Everything "thinks" it running off C drive, but in reality, the files are really sitting and consuming the space on H drive.

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Posted (edited)

Creating a Strategic VST Plugin Folder Setup
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=
While VST3 plugins should be installed in the standard C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3  folder they can be moved into subfolders with no problems.  If you have a lot of them organizing them by vendor can help you keep track of what you own.  Indeed many vendors, such as Eventide, already do this automatically.

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 folder 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 on my Windows computers.
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.

This is my current setup (on my 2nd PC it's on D:\ and my Root folder is named D:\Audio not 'All VSTs')
C:\
├───All VSTs
│ ├───VST32
│ │ ├───32Main
│ │ └───Has 64 bit version
│ └───VST64
│      ├───64Main
│      ├───Has VST3 version
│      └───Demos
Note that since I no longer use 32bit DAWs  I don't need to have a separate "Has VST3 version" folder under VST32.

For Ableton my current scan path was:
C:\All VSTs\VST64
*once 10.1 was released with VST3 support my paths were changed to:
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 ancient older 32 bit 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 my designated folder fixed that issue.

Hope that you find this info helpful.

Edited by TheSteven

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