Can I freely move dll files from plugins to other folders?

Discussion in 'Software' started by waverider, Jul 29, 2020 at 12:35 AM.

  1. waverider

    waverider Platinum Record

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    I wanted to ask if the install path of a VST .dll plugin file matters, or if I can freely move them to another folder (as long as I let my DAW scan that other folder)?
    I did this with a bunch of .dlls in the past when my DAW would not scan them, and it would work. Sometimes I also copied them (and left the old one intact) and it would also work. But I am not sure if this was basically luck, or if the location of the .dll indeed doesn't matter after you move it from its original install location.
    I would think that for plugins that come as single .dll files, it shouldn't matter at all. But if there's an .exe or .msi install package where you not only give a .dll install path, but also a program file installation path, I could imagine that the .dll location might matter a bit more.
     
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  3. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Platinum Record

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    I think you mostly answered your own question by describing all the possibilities and adopting a cautious 'try it and see' approach. I think the chances of a problem are low but I would never say never.

    With almost every VST instrument (not FX) that I install, if it doesn't already have a stand-alone version, I make a copy of the dll in some other folder, then add the ultra tiny SaviHost to the same folder and that lets me use it as a standalone instrument. I've done that with hundreds of VSTi dlls and I can't remember the last time it failed.

    An issue you didn't mention but I'm sure you know about is dependencies that some dlls require.
    So, sometimes there are other files in the same folder as the dll and these would need to be moved (or copied) along with the dll so that the dll can still find them in its new location.

    It can sometimes be a different story for plugins that work only within the DAW that they got installed with.

    So, I guess my answer is as non-conclusive as the question.:wink:
     
  4. minozheros

    minozheros Kapellmeister

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    In my experience it does work most of the time. Creating symbolic links might be the even better option because you dont change the actual structure of the files on disk so any potential link to the file in the registry or hard coded into some other file should stay intact.
     
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  5. The Freq

    The Freq Ultrasonic

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    The only ones that it tends not to work on are absolute paths that have been installed into the registry if Windows or an installation path in Lib/Preferences often in a file on MAC. So you have pretty much answered most of it. As people have mentioned above, there are ways around a lot of that by telling the dependent files the location of necessary files.
     
  6. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Producer

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    In my personal experience, I can say YES. It worked also with VST3 too, even deleting the original location.
     
  7. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    As @minozheros said you can move them almost always. Even if they install data on another folders, even if they write the plugin path in the registry. No matter if they're .dll or .vst3.

    The only ones you can't are the ones that come with more data in the same .dll/.vst3 folder (very rare and bad practice).
    Also, if they have an standalone format maybe the standalone won't find them.
     
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  8. waverider

    waverider Platinum Record

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    Thank you guys, very helpful.
    It didn't even occur to me to use symbolic links.
    Wouldn't they slow down the operation of the plugins, or does that only matter upon the first load of the plugin?

    Good to know though, because I really want to clear out my plugin folder, I have way too much junk there and it's slowing me down.
     
  9. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Platinum Record

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    Organising your VST folders (plural) so that only the plugins you use get loaded - really beneficial.
    I maintain a folder called "VSTPlugins-Offline" (an arbitrary name) - It's huge, but no DAWs ever scan that folder.
    The VST folders that the DAWs do scan have selective copies of the dlls from "VSTPlugins-Offline"
    and the contents of the scanned VST folders change regularly (and are kept small) based on current projects.

    Using symbolic links - at least one nanosecond slower - :):):)
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020 at 2:05 PM
  10. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    That's right. All the plugins I use use symbolic links. These no install releases.
    As for keeping only the ones you use. I just zip the ones I don't use.
    For instance I only want to use Fabfilter effects, so in the VST folder:
    pro-q2.dll
    pro-something.dll
    this is a synth saturn.dll -> saturn.dll.rar
    ans so on.
     
  11. DoubleTake

    DoubleTake Rock Star

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    Yeah-I have seperate folders for plugins i might use with Video progs & audio editors.
    Inside those i "drop" symlinks to either folders or individual files.
    I have "64vst 4 Audio Edit" & "64vst 4 Vid". I also have a "64vst-Hold" for anything I want to avoid scanning but keep installed.
    Using symlinks keeps makes it so that if you update the .DLL, you'll have the same updated version in each other vst folder without having to copy anything.
    Only if you drop a symlink for a single .DLL (instead of a folder) and the NAME of the .DLL changes ...
    ... then you have to create a new symlink.

    I know how to create symlinks manually, but i use https://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/linkshellextension.html.
    It adds a right-click context menu item to "Pick link source" and then right-click context item to "Drop as..." symbolic link, hard link, etc.
    It ALSO is easy to remove the right-click context menu item in OPTIONS, as EVERY program SHOULD.
     
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