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Starship Krupa

Clean up duplicate plug-ins (A|A|S, Melda, iZotope, Native users take note)

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(Note: The following assumes that you know where your default VST2 directory is. If for some reason it's on this list, do not delete the files in it unless they are duplicates of plug-ins that are installed as VST3's)

Some of my favorite plug-in companies use installers that unfortunately, install versions of their products that I won't use and/or duplicate versions. I only ever wish to install 64-bit plug-ins, and I give precedence to VST3's if they are available.

The installers will install 32-bit versions, VST2's alongside VST3's, (Pro Tools) AAX (and RTAS!).

I can be persuaded to party like it's 1999, but I do not wish to produce like it's 1999, so I have no hosts that require 32-bit plug-ins. Nor do I use Pro Tools.

Why clean up these directories?

  1. If you've never deleted these redundant files, it can free up as much as 2 or 3 Gigs of space on your system drive. I do it after every A|A|S install/update, and most Meldaproduction and iZotope as well. Native Access will indicate an error condition if you remove their 32-bit versions, but this won't affect anything in the actual use of the software. Typically, NI's duplicates take up almost 400M, and the rest can make it add up to about 750M, so if, like me, you have a system disk you'd like to keep clean, this is a good thing to do.
  2. For the 32-bit VST3's and any other duplicates that Cakewalk and your other audio programs scan, scanning them can slow down program startup times while the plug-in subsystem sorts out the duplicates.
  3. Some programs, Cakewalk included, will only hide duplicates if the manufacturer has given them the same VST ID, and only about half of developers do that. So you run the risk of using the wrong version in a project
  4. It's low risk, if you delete a redundant version of a plug-in and it stops working, just reinstall it and it should work fine. Otherwise, opinions are only those of me and if you are the sort that complains, delete nothing and move along

This is a list of directories where A|A|S installs copies of its software that I have no use for. I use A|A|S as the example, but Meldaproduction, iZotope, Native Instruments, and IK Multimedia are all guilty of installing redundant versions of their software.

First, the ones I find least necessary, the Pro Tools versions. A couple of them are also 32-bit, so doubly useless to me. If you don't use Pro Tools and have no plans to, you can delete everything any manufacturer puts in these:

  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Digidesign
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins

The next are where they install 32-bit versions. If you use 32-bit plug-ins, heaven help you, but you probably know what to leave alone and what to keep:

  • C:\Program Files(86)\Common Files\VST3
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VstPlugins
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Native Instruments\VSTPlugins
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Cakewalk\VstPlugins
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Applied Acoustics Systems\VST Plug-ins (A|A|S and NI put copies of their VST2's in their program folders, presumably so support staff can restore them from that location)

Clearing out the above will gain you back the most space and eliminate the scanning of redundant plug-ins. Do the below ones if you are the ornery sort (like me) who just doesn't like installers cluttering up their drives.

The following are quasi "standard" locations for VST2 .DLL's so the installers put them in these directories as another "just in case." If one of these is your own VST2 directory, or if you have plug-ins in it that Cakewalk scans (that aren't in your default VST directory), then leave them alone. Otherwise, they're just duplicates, and you can get rid of whatever .DLL's you find there:

  • C:\Program Files\VSTPlugIns
  • C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins

The next are manufacturer specific and likely only exist so that their support staff can copy them over in case the user deletes them from the main location:

  • C:\Program Files\Applied Acoustics Systems\VST Plug-ins
  • C:\Program Files\Native Instruments\VSTPlugins

Last, A|A|S, maybe due to their former bundling relationship with Cakewalk, stick extra copies of their .DLL's here:

  • C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\VstPlugins (do NOT delete the folders you may find here, they contain Cakewalk's own bundled plug-ins. Only A|A|S' are likely to be safe to delete, to my knowledge)

Post how much cruft you've gotten rid of, and especially post if you know of any other locations where installers put redundant plug-ins.

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Well thought out post.  Don't forget to delete the plugin installers that like to hide in your browser download folder.

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2 hours ago, Jim Fogle said:

Don't forget to delete the plugin installers that like to hide in your browser download folder.

I actually save them to a spinny storage drive folder that I have shared on my home network so that I can install them on my other systems.

However....iZotope Product Portal does save all of its installers to your Downloads folder, so unless you've remapped your Downloads folder elsewhere, get those outta there. They are not surprisingly, huge.

 

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Some plugins (waves, etc) don't let you choose a target path. One option that I have found useful is, choosing one location as "the good one" and then replacing all the other folders with directory links to this "good one".

E.g., if I decide to use c:\Program Files\Common\VST2 as the "good location" I would

a) Check c:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins, and move anything in there to c:\Program Files\Common\VST2

b) Delete the empty c:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins

c) Open a command prompt and run:

   cd c:\Program Files\Steinberg

   mklink /d Vstplugins "c:\Program Files\Common\VST2"

d) repeat the above procedure for all other alternate vst plugin folder locations

After replacing folders with links, for anything that allows specifying VST location (DAW, plugin installers) use the "good" location (because some plugins do check and give you an error if they are scanned at a linked location, e.g., XLN) . Remove all other paths (e.g., in your DAW you don't want to have it scan all linked locations, because that will just multiply the time it takes to scan plugins and not add anything useful)

 

Edited by Eusebio Rufian-Zilbermann
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6 hours ago, Eusebio Rufian-Zilbermann said:

Some plugins (waves, etc) don't let you choose a target path. One option that I have found useful is, choosing one location as "the good one" and then replacing all the other folders with directory links to this "good one".

E.g., if I decide to use c:\Program Files\Common\VST2 as the "good location" I would

a) Check c:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins, and move anything in there to c:\Program Files\Common\VST2

b) Delete the empty c:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins

c) Open a command prompt and run:

   cd c:\Program Files\Steinberg

   mklink /d Vstplugins "c:\Program Files\Common\VST2"

d) repeat the above procedure for all other alternate vst plugin folder locations

After replacing folders with links, for anything that allows specifying VST location (DAW, plugin installers) use the "good" location (because some plugins do check and give you an error if they are scanned at a linked location, e.g., XLN) . Remove all other paths (e.g., in your DAW you don't want to have it scan all linked locations, because that will just multiply the time it takes to scan plugins and not add anything useful)

 

For Waves plugins, you have to manually move the multiple WavesShell wrapper files to where you want.

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9 hours ago, Bruno de Souza Lino said:

For Waves plugins, you have to manually move the multiple WavesShell wrapper files to where you want

Yes, when you first set up the link (in step a), however, when you run the waves installer afterwards (e.g., to update or add more plugins), it will get automatically redirected to the linked location

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Note: just now, after installing a single A|A|S sound pack, I went around and deleted a total of 15 instances of the A|A|S player plug-in in various locations and formats that are unused on my system. Total 2.7M. This is pretty ridiculous.

Edited by Starship Krupa
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Two specific Waves questions 1) can I remove all files with aax designation, assuming I don’t use protools; and 2) can I remove earlier versions of the same plugin? Thx.

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The hard part is getting your system to recognize 2 "different" plugins with the same  ID.

____________________________________________

:ph34r: (I don't always produce like it's 1999, but when I do, I use 32 bit plugins. I also use 32 bit Sonar.)

- the most uninteresting man in daw world

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10 hours ago, LAGinz said:

Two specific Waves questions 1) can I remove all files with aax designation, assuming I don’t use protools; and 2) can I remove earlier versions of the same plugin? 1) Thx.

1) Yes.

2) Use Utilities -> Plug-In Manager to make sure which ones Cakewalk is using.

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10 hours ago, LAGinz said:

Two specific Waves questions 1) can I remove all files with aax designation, assuming I don’t use protools; and 2) can I remove earlier versions of the same plugin? Thx.

You can remove any company's .aax files if you don't use Pro Tools (and if you decide to check out Pro Tools at some point, just run the installers again).

As far as removing different versions of Waves plug-ins, I tend to be the most hands-off with them because they hide so much of the process from the user, and they use those shells and all that. Are all your Waves plug-ins WUPped into the newest versions? 'cause mine aren't, one's on 10, a couple more on 11, and the rest on 12. I'm pretty sure that due to that situation, I need to keep all of those older version WavesHells around.

I know they keep other folders around in their program directory for older plug-ins, but I just leave them alone.

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2 hours ago, Nigel Mackay said:

can I remove earlier versions of the same plugin?

You should do this only from the Waves installers and only for major versions (e.g., if you're no longer running any v9 plugins, run the v9 installer and choose the uninstall option)

You do not want to manually delete minor versions, because waves doesn't always update all the plugins in sync. E.g., some plugins may be version 9.82 and some 9.89, and if you delete the 9.82 waveshell then your list of available plugins will become incomplete. The waves installer will handle this for you (and this may sometimes complicate the "just copy over the files to your preferred folder" approach, because it will keep around in your preferred folder some obsolete versions that can cause issues, in addition to copying files you need to also track which waveshells have been removed and do the manual removal in your preferred folder)

Edited by Eusebio Rufian-Zilbermann

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10 hours ago, Eusebio Rufian-Zilbermann said:

You should do this only from the Waves installers and only for major versions (e.g., if you're no longer running any v9 plugins, run the v9 installer and choose the uninstall option)

You do not want to manually delete minor versions, because waves doesn't always update all the plugins in sync. E.g., some plugins may be version 9.82 and some 9.89, and if you delete the 9.82 waveshell then your list of available plugins will become incomplete. The waves installer will handle this for you (and this may sometimes complicate the "just copy over the files to your preferred folder" approach, because it will keep around in your preferred folder some obsolete versions that can cause issues, in addition to copying files you need to also track which waveshells have been removed and do the manual removal in your preferred folder)

Thx, but I’m asking more about files under Programs (86) Waves such as “Plugins V9”. If I click on that, it shows many “bundle” files such as eg. “Bass Rider bundle”. Can I delete that file if I’m running a higher than 9 version of Bass Rider?
 

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