Moving Halion 6 to a new PC build

Hi, I’m in the process of moving computers. I’ve got a lot of Steinberg products to migrate, the one that concerns me slightly is Halion 6 as there’s 30GB of samples to move.

I have all my samples on a separate SSD disk which I’m planning to move across. IS it as easy as installing the basic shell program on my new C drive then plugging in my samples D drive and I’m good to go? Has anyone done this recently? Any pitfalls to be aware of?

MAny thanks,

Steve

In theory that should work. At least it did with my Windows 10 setup (64x Home Edition).

Stuff stored in HALion’s default search path (programdata\steinberg) gets scanned. Anything you had in other places that was missed, double click a vstsound file, and Steinberg Library Manager should pop up, list all the libraries in that folder, and give you options to register it, move it, and more. For samples and stuff that’s not contained in a vstsound archive, HALion will ask if it finds out something a vstpreset needs isn’t there, but if you mirror the drive arrangement (volume letters) from your old system, it should find them just fine. I think there are also methods to add content directories in the browser tab of HALion itself, as well as in the Cubase Media Bay.

Windows 10 seems to be MUCH better at moving the system drive to new machines than the days of 7 and before. I was dreading having to hunt down and reinstall dozens of apps and plugins, so I gave it a try. My old PC died, so I had no way to clone it first then move it…I didn’t even have a chance to run a sysprep on the drive in the old PC first (was a something of a requirement for XP and Windows 7 to make sure enough drivers for a boot were setup)…yet plugging the old system drive into a new machine worked rather well. On the first boot a blue screen came up, windows did a dance for a few minutes to find enough drivers for a session with the new hardware, and there it was! I made sure my new motherboard drivers and all were up to date, cloned the old drive to a new one, and so far it’s worked perfectly.

If you can release all your non dongle based software registration keys (software eLicesner, iLok, Waves, etc.) and clone the drive BEFORE you hook it up to a new system, that’d probably be better. That wasn’t an option in my case, but it still worked out well.

In the new machine, I cloned the system drive from an older SATA6 SSD drive to a new NVME M.2 SSD in a brand new PC. I also had HALion content spread out across multiple drives which I have physically installed in the new machine (some archived into true vstsound format, and some still unregistered raw data not yet packed…that includes marcos with their relative images and scripts scattered about various drives).

I also keep ALL of my Steinberg license keys on a USB Dongle (which simplified transferring things Steinberg to different machines considerably…all I had to do was move the dongle). It’s also worth mention that I can also run the original system SSD on the new rig but would need to re-activate it with Microsoft for long term usage (I elected to clone it to a newer/faster drive, and reactivated that newer copy with Microsoft instead of keeping the old system drive).

Also note, if you intend to keep that old system that you’re cloning around and operational, you can still do the clone process (preferably using the original PC to make the cloned copy), and change the Product keys for Windows accordingly in machines using the cloned partition(s).

The only hiccup I ran across was with keys for plugins that use iLok and Waves licensing security (I had the keys on my old system drive rather than USB dongles, and changing that much hardware in one go broke them). So…If you use iLok or Waves stuff and registered keys to a specific computer (rather than moveable USB dongles)…be sure to release your keys with the old system first if possible. If you can’t do that (old PC died), you can ask your plugin publishers to release the keys assigned to your dead PC. In the case of Waves plugins, they have an option built into the key manager where once per year, you can do a one click operation that totally frees ALL your wave keys in the account so you can reassign them to your new hardware.

As a side note, if you keep your HALion license key on a system drive rather than using a eLiscenser dongle…if possible, be sure to release the key on the old system first so you can move it to your new machine. If you can release your keys BEFORE changing hardware, it’ll save you jumping through some hoops. I think that stuff is done through your MySteinberg account, and through the Steinberg eLisencer app.

Abbreviated word for the wise. BEFORE you change the CPU, motherboard, or migrate the system drive…RELEASE any software license keys assigned directly to a specific machine first if possible! Steinberg, AVID, iLok, Waves, inMusic, Akai, Finale, whatever…if it’s a package that links your software to a specific machine, release the keys before making the hardware change! It can save you a few headaches down the road.

I checked out my new drive array, and it would seem that Windows managed to preserve the same volume information as before. I.E. My old drive D, with the name SATA Drone 1, still comes up in Windows on the new machine as Drive D, and still has my original volume name. Since I have a 6 sled hot-swap cage in my new machine, and dozens of SATA drives to juggle, I tried the drives in different orders (hooked to different SATA ports), and I’m delighted to learn that Windows seems smart enough to keep the volumes arranged and named properly. Despite changing the SATA ports I connect them to…with windows…Drive D stays drive D. Drive E stays drive E, and so forth. I’m assuming that will always be the case unless I add a new drive that said installation of windows has never seen before, or I attempt to plug in two drives that had the same volume letter last time Windows saw them (guessing the second one plugged in would then simply take on the next unused drive letter, or it might even throw up a dialog letting you choose? Either way, you can manually sort it out so it mirrors your old setup in Window’s Drive Management Options).

If for some reason HALion can’t find something that’s registered, it’ll give you a pop up where you can either find it, ignore it, or remove the registration. So, if for some reason Windows lost track of things as you moved it to the new rig, or if you happen to be starting with a totally fresh installation of windows, you get a chance to hunt down stuff in its new location.

If that fails, or if you are working with a fresh installation (not a clone of your entire system drive) you can use the Steinberg Library Manager to check things out and move them around. If something is obviously missing from the Library Manager, double clicking on any vstsound file should call up the Library Manager and provide options to register any/all vstsound archives living in that folder (if they aren’t already registered). You’ll also get options to move those around to a different location if you prefer.

As for unpacked content that you might have scattered about, like WAV, AIF, MP3, scripts, macro XMLs, ISOs of old AKAI or Roland sample disks, etc…Anytime you ask HALion to load something that uses that sort of stuff (I.E. Load a vstpreset into an instrument slot that was using “G:\My Project\Samples\HitIt.WAV”)…if it’s not there, it’ll give you options to locate it. You can either point HALion to the new location then overwrite, or save a fresh copy of the preset once you’ve found it again, OR, you could simply find the content and move it to the hard linked location HALion is trying to find it (often it’s just a case of pulling up storage/drive management in Windows and making sure the volume letters match what you had in your old rig).

If your setup grows to span across many systems and drives, perhaps even with LAN networking involved, don’t forget that windows file shortcuts, or better yet, NTFS file system junctions and symbolic links can be VERY HELPFUL. This allows you to make links in one partition that’ll point to folders or files living in other partitions. While HALion recognizes windows file shortcuts, I personally prefer to just pop open a DOS shell in admin mode and use mklink (-j option for directories seems the most compatible with even very old apps that don’t recognize true soft links very well).
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/windows-commands/mklink