Guide to: Clean OS + bulk VST install + backup & recovery?

Discussion in 'PC' started by molatov, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. molatov

    molatov Newbie

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    First post after years lurking, so hi all and yea.. just built a new PC and would like your input.

    Particularly want to make it as painless and quick as possible to install everything (hundreds of plugins, instruments etc.) so any tips on setting default install paths, registry hacks and perhaps symbolic links etc. would be nice. I'd like to keep the apps, vsts and libraries off the C drive.

    Also like to know how to manage restore points or similar so if i screw it up in the future with a dodgy plugin i'm not back to the start. Can I just mirror the system drive + VST folders? Anyone actually had to restore and confirm it worked?

    Also if you have any tips on the organisation of the installed plugins and synths themselves, so that they are grouped by function rather than alphabetically etc. when you boot up the DAW I'd love to know. Previously I've always installed them into folders such as compressors, reverbs, eqs, delays etc. but this isn't always replicated in the DAW plugin browsers.

    About to switch over to Studio One (and possibly Live) after using Bitwig, Floops and Nuendo over the years in case that's relevant.

    If it all sounds a bit virgo then yea.. totally guilty. But indulge me ;-)
     
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  3. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    I don't know of any shortcuts for a first installation on a system.


    Enable System Restore Points.

    I use Revo Uninstaller for plugs and stuff (but not for firewall, this could get messy).

    Deselecting vst3 helps in most cases, but nor in all, to install to reverb, delay, etc, so that the DAW shows it only there. But that doesn't affect stock pluggies, of course.

    I also use two main folders, FX and Instruments (and subfolders for reverb..., synths, bass...).
     
  4. beetgod

    beetgod Newbie

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    Good luck bro, hate having to do this every two years or so
     
  5. molatov

    molatov Newbie

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    What i REALLY don't want to do is to have to browse the target install path manually for each plugin / synth install. Life is too short. Last time i tried this I found a nice registry hack to change the default path for vst installs. This meant for the most part i could skip through the install process by spamming next next next next and bingo. Unfortunately a few installers just ignored this and installed to C:\VST or something instead but for the most part it was gold. Can't remember how i did that though.. few years a ago.
     
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  6. molatov

    molatov Newbie

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    Okay, from what I'm reading it works like this...

    VST3 Plug-in path
    The VST3 format has a dedicated installation path all VST3 plug-ins must comply with. All your VST3 plug-ins should be installed here:

    C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3
    ...and 32-bit VST3 plug-ins on 64-bit Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\VST3

    ...so I'll be creating symbolic links for those folders on other drives (more info on symlinks here: https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/16226/complete-guide-to-symbolic-links-symlinks-on-windows-or-linux/)


    VST2 Plug-in path
    To prevent a plug-in mess, it is recommended to decide on a single installation folder for all VST2 plug-ins and stick with it as far as possible. Since it corresponds to the defined VST3 plug-in folder, this path is a good choice for all VST2 plug-ins:​

    C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST2
    ...and 32-bit plug-ins on 64-bit Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\VST2

    ..and same with these ^^

    From there I'll use sub-folders for Synth and FX and then branch into child folders inside these for grouping.

    Unless anyone knows better I think I'll go for the OS restore points for maintaining the registry settings and use drive mirroring to maintain the VST folders. The libraries will just be backed up as a separate task every few months using incremental backups to an external drive.
     
  7. JudoLudo

    JudoLudo Ultrasonic

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    you should change VST directory in the registry (register?)

    https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=362555

    https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=319194

    http://forum.cakewalk.com/Changing-the-default-VST-location-for-Windows-m2849686.aspx

    I usually create a "VST" folder (and a "Libraries" one) on the root of my SSD system drive (C:\VST and C:\Libraries), so it's simple to reach them during plugins installation.

    be careful with windows optimization and don't economize on System Restore Points. I often make a mess and have to reinstall everything. because i'm stupid. :)
     
  8. Dr Pablito

    Dr Pablito Noisemaker

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    Don't rely on restore points. They never work when you need them the most. I use Macrium Reflect (there is a free version) and do daily backups of drice C. I use full backup once every 2 weeks and on the other days incremental backups. They never fail. I have no problem messing with my setup because if anything goes wrong I just need to restore the last backup. Is very, very easy.
     
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  9. Pinkman

    Pinkman Audiosexual

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    I install all my plugins and their respective program files on an external drive (V:\) and then clone and backup my primary drive (C:\).
    This way I never have to go through the installation of every plugin when reformatting or upgrading hardware.

    This will only work if you keep the same drive letter names.
    If you only have one hard drive, partition it and you can clone a partition as if it were an actual, physical hard drive ONTO an actual physical hard drive.

    You WILL have to reauthorize some of the more capitalist plugins.
     
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  10. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    I use Symlink/No install plugins since I discovered them. They work like a charm, even I do some with the help of a powerful uninstaller (Total Uninstaller).

    If you have your old computer you could do a symlink-like backup of the plugins with the same program (Total Uninstall).

    If you don't have experience with Total Uninstall/Symlinks I'd recommend you to go with @Pinkman advice.

    Also, the VST2 folder is ofc useful if you can define it since the start, but you can freely move all VST2 plugins once installed. Not talking about other parts of the installation (possible standalone, data libs,...).
     
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  11. wasgedn

    wasgedn Rock Star

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    symlink system you raise in lightspeed thats for sure...
    ................................
    bulk crap uninstaller is worthy competitor freeware to revo...
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    i keep focus on fast reraise able system....samples and projects always on external...many ppl run kontakt libs from external and i will try that too...

    i kno you can run OS long time but refresh OS yearly is so much better imo but its shitty job without symlink and if you are plugin addicted
    -------------
    make vst install file archive with all the stuff in order for just copy and paste
    and yes vst always on short path....c:vst boom...not xyz/steinberg/vst plugins he he
    ----------------
    if you have os and system on c all symlinks are super easy to install...no altering of .cmd necessary
    -------------
    dont fck with vst3....stay with vst2...alone cause it forces install path but also cause they have no really benefit over vst2
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  12. midi-man

    midi-man Rock Star

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    Good Point Pinkman. Makiing a iso / clone is the way to go.
     
  13. wasgedn

    wasgedn Rock Star

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    def good point
     
  14. wasgedn

    wasgedn Rock Star

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    i was dreaming bout to intergrate all vst with rt7 lite into my win7 lite...:woot::banned::hillbilly:
     
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  15. Nana Banana

    Nana Banana Producer

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    What I do, and have done in the past, is spend time doing a fresh install of Windows, making sure that it is updated to the point needed, (i.e. like the updates needed to run Kontakt etc ...Microsoft C++ Redistributals etc...). I then spend time taking out any service or unnecessary Windows service or application I won't need to run my DAW. After Windows is finally streamlined, I install all the VST/VSTi's (Synths, FX, etc...) and activate them. If it's iLOK, I make sure it's activated on the USB stick so I don't ever need to be online for the instruments to work. I then install my DAW of choice, as well as my external Audio Editor of choice (Audition in this case).

    Long story short: I create the "perfect" PC Audio Workstation, make sure it's all working correctly, then I use Acronis to store an image of this "Perfect DAW" on an external HD, and put it in the closet. As time goes by, and I install new applications, I just keep a log of what was added incrementally for future reference. If Windows ever crashes out, I throw that previously saved image back onto my PC, and open the incremental log I made to see what needs to be added. This method has worked for me flawlessly, and has saved many headaches and time during digital disasters. https://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/computer-backup/ :wink:
     
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  16. DoubleTake

    DoubleTake Producer

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    Best thing I can think of is a good backup program (I use Easeus Todo backup - paid for it for faster speed and custom exclusions,etc.)
    Exclude hiberfil.sys & pagefile.sys, "Windows.old" folder (or any backup folder - you are MAKING the backups).
    (Assuming SSD, the backups should be quick to make and to restore, too - mine are only 15 minutes even with around 60 Gig to backup on OS drive- default compression in the backup prog = around 37 Gig)
    I have saved nearly every backup because i have a large backup drive. I save a few "perfect, cleaned up & organized" as I go.
    I have returned to letting much stuff go to default locations whereas "back in the day" (Windows XP), I used to try to keep everything off the OS drive. I avoided "Documents" folders for my "personal" stuff like presets etc,too. I really "fought" with
    Now, as long as it's not Libraries or other large things, I let it go default.
    -------
    I tend to "reload" more slowly as I am still learning most of this stuff (and testing plenty,too) and since May when i began this setup I have restored about 20 times or so. Nothing beats loading it up and having everything exactly as it was!
    ---------
    ----------
    I keep an install spreadsheet to track stuff with 2 "sheets" 1)a log by date 2)list by type/vendor.
    I keep this on my personal SSD but keep a copy in my "documents" folder. I make the changes on the SSD copy & made a .bat file that overwrites the "Documents" copy, so when i browse a backup I can also easily see @ what point I was with my DAW software.
    [xCopy "E:\[ Desk L10 ]\[ Comp Info ]\[L10CU] info\[ L10CU Config ].ods" "C:\Users\Lloyd\Documents"]
    ---------
    I use symlinks a lot, but might not have started to do that as much if I hadn't found THIS so handy:
    http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/linkshellextension.html
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    I put my VSTs in C:\64vst & C:\32vst, making subfolders as I install. I find it is so easy to easier to browse (scroll) to that location.
    I also have C:\64vst hold & C:\32vst hold for holding plugs i do not want scanned (my 32 folders are actually empty as I don't use any and just delete them if they install.
    ---------
    I also use Classic Shell that allows great start menu organization, dragging & dropping & etc.
    It is one of the first things i do on a new install, and it makes the rest of the installs go much easier.
    It might not be around forever, as the dev stopped working on it, but there are others like it.
    Here's what mine looks like at the moment, with the bottom section shortcuts to my Daw & "studio" folders: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  17. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    well done. This should be the 101 for everyone using many applications or updating them frequently. And it's never early enough to not make the first system backup (I do mine only after fresh Windows installation and drivers ).

    The documents folder in Windows is tricky, many programs write stuff that shouldn't be there (typically in program files or program data). I always include it in my system backup.
    I have a documents folder named "[WIP]" (could be Workshop) for my personal documents, stuff I make like project daws and so on). You have to change for every program one or several settings but you avoid breaking your workflow when restoring system backups.

    I did this for quite a while but I ended making shortcuts to the VST2 and VST3 locations.

    Another must-have for me, a classic shell app. In my case I use StartIsBack, faster but not free.

    BTW, your image links are broken or they seem so.
     
  18. wasgedn

    wasgedn Rock Star

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    Classic Shell , StartIsBack....thats some cool stuff:like:
     
  19. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Member

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    I find a bit difficult the second point.

    However if you clean install an OS and all vsts required + daws etc., then it's easy to backup the whole thing with image backup sw, like acronis, or paragon, or whatever you like.

    If the machine is isolated from network, you can add an incremetal backup just when you install new vsts, if not it's better to backup every major system update or antivirus or firewall etc.

    It takes just a bunch of minutes to restore a whole system, provided it's on the same hardware.

    Cloning the system to other hw it could lead to missing licensing infos, meaning you have to register again the vsts / daws.
     
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  20. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    You're right, but I think when cloning has been mentioned in this topic was about data only (non system) partitions, so it should be fine.
     
  21. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Member

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    The important thing is that you don't change hardware.

    My peronal experience: I changed system hdd and many vsts lost their licensing (but some not), while windows 7 didn't bother.

    Making backup of the VST folders doesn't help much even if you save registry entries, cause they're tied to hardware serials (cpu, motherboard, or, the damn hdd).

    So the safest way to go is the system image (that includes user data), but always on the SAME hardware.
     
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