why are VST3's installed in different paths/locations?

I’ve decided to go Cubase 64-bit and I will try to stick to VST3 plugins as far as possible. I have a new SSD disk and installed a fresh Windows 7 64-bit. :slight_smile:

Now, I’m installing all VST plugins with care. I do not want to have a chaotic filesystem. I want to be sure on what Folder and Files I should keep backup of (in a cloud storage for example).

I just installed HALion 5 and I can see it is installed in this folder:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3\Steinberg
(together with Padshop, Retrologue and Halion Sonic)

Now, for some reason there is another VST3 folder where Cubase has installed other plugins (Curve EQ, Groove Agent ONE, LoopMash, VST Connect and others):
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase 7.5\VST3

Question 1:
I didn’t get a chance to choose where I wanted these plugins to install. So my question is WHY are the official Steinberg plugin installed at different locations? Is there a reason?
Where should I install third party VST3 plugins? Does it matter? Does it change where the presets are stored?

Question 2:
Also, it seems almost impossible to keep track on all locations where presets are stored. I just realized that I lost alot of old presets even though I backed up the Cubase folders.
WHY aren’t ALL presets within Cubase (Track presets, Insert presets or whatever) ALWAYS stored in the same subfolder location?
Why are some presets stored under obscure hidden folders for example, far away in a subfolder?
Is there a good reason why it is overly complicated and time consuming to backup these files? This is also an issue when you want to move between laptop and workstation…
Why separate VST-plugin presets and settings in different locations? Why not store them in the same place subfolder? Like this:

Question 3:
Is there a COMPLETE list available somewhere of all the current folders that stores presets, preferences, settings?
Including presets for VST plugins. I mean everything that one might want to backup.

The reason why Cubase internal plugins are installed in a different location may be because they don’t work in other programs. There’s no need to other programs to see them or mess with them. I think it’s reasonable.

I have no answers for your other questions… I gave up about that long time ago :confused: too messy.

Also that one could change the base folder (C:\WHATEVER) to be in a different location.

I install all VST2 plugins to my shared data drive, D:, which is what I backup, but I would like to install VST3s as well.

One can always use MS SysInternal’s junction.exe to create hard links from those C: drive locations to actually store them on a D: drive. At least with Win 8+, the hard links now include an arrow, so you can know they exist. However, it is tedious to find and link them, and again when upgrading OS or getting a new computer.

Sharing system folders on dual boot system
Because I have a dual boot system and don’t want to have two sets of everything stored in multiple places on each C: drive, I keep all the stuff I want to backup on one drive (my D:). So with Windows, I change the location of the subfolders for Documents, Desktop (separate folder for each), Favourites (default=C:\Users_username_\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Favourites), Music, Pictures, Videos to subfolders on the D:\drive. This way, I can modify each from either boot.

(To do each of these:

  1. Right-click on the folder – usually has a custom sub-symbol on its lower right corner.
  2. Select the Properties option.
  3. Select the Location tab.
  4. Click the Move… button.
  5. Navigate to the required folder, creating a new folder if required.
  6. Click the Select Folder button to close that dialog and put the new path in the field on the Location panel.
  7. Click the OK button.
  8. Click the Yes button in the displayed Move Folder dialog, to move the contents to the new folder and close the dialogs.
    Note that the folder will be displayed with the content type name – Music, Downloads, regardless of the name given to the folder.)

Technically it doesn’t really matter, since you can add any path to the Plug-in Information screen under the Devices menu in Cubase. The same thing goes for presets, since you can add media locations in MediaBay.

As far as the plugins that ship with Cubase, why even bother, they’ll get reinstalled when Cubase is reinstalled.

If you are using the Cubase VST preset system (the toolbar at the top of a plugin window with an icon that looks like a cube), then the presets should be stored in your Documents folder under a sub-folder named “VST3 Presets”. In the Documents folder is also another folder (default) named “Cubase Projects”, which contains your projects. One could go with defaults and backup these two folders and be fine.

If you are using a plugin’s own preset system, then it depends on where the vendor is choosing to save presets.

Under the Steinberg menu (in the Start Menu in W7 or the Start Screen in W8) there should be a “User Settings Data Folder” shortcut to Cubase settings/preferences. The presets and projects are stored in the folders I mentioned above (by default, that is).

I haven’t used W7 in a long time now, so they could be different than those above.

My advice would be to leave VST3 plugins until the problems that 3rd party developers have are sorted. Apparenty the coding is very complicated and developers feel that they are not getting enough support from Steinberg.

One of my favoured developers:


Make of that what you will.

Aloha m,

Why not just ‘clone’ you entire drive(s)?

I do this nightly; so that if anything goes south,
in just a few minutes the system can be back
up-and-running exactly the way it was left the day before.

I use ‘Carbon Copy Cloner’ (no longer free on the Mac) but in the past I have also used

There are a number of cloning strategies available for both platforms
and some of them are free.

I find that Cnet is a good starting/looking place.

Good Luck!