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load-error-win

Missing Plug-Ins: Windows

OK, so you have a Windows PC. Locating plug-ins on Windows can take a bit of effort, because there are so many possibilities. However, you will only have to locate each plug-in once; Unify will remember where it is after that.

Why can't Unify find my plug-in?

Unlike most DAWs, Unify does not automatically scan your system for new plug-ins every time you run it. Unify puts you in control, but that means you have a few more steps to do after installing the plug-in on your PC.

Unify can scan your PC for plug-ins (see Scanning and using your own plug-ins, but there's a quicker way. At this point, Unify is probably only looking for one plug-in; you need only tell it where to find that one.

There are three reasons why Unify can't find a plug-in:

  1. You haven't installed it yet.
  2. You installed it, but you didn't install the particular version Unify needs.
  3. You installed everything correctly, but you didn't tell Unify where to find it.

Plug-in not installed yet

You might end up here because you're trying to use a “unified” library for some plug-in, and you didn't realize that Unify doesn't install the plug-in for you. You need to:

  1. Install the plug-in according to the vendor's instructions.
  2. Make sure to install the VST version, and make a note of where you installed it.
    • For plug-ins that don't have a VST version at all, install the VST3 version.

Many vendors' installer programs will give you the opportunity to choose which folder you want to install VST plug-ins into. A few will even let you do the same for VST3 plug-ins. It's very important to know where your plug-ins end up, because you'll need to provide that information to Unify. Skip ahead to Tell Unify where to find the plug-in.

Plug-in installed, but not the right version

As you may know, plug-ins come in various, mutually-incompatible versions called formats, including:

On Windows Unify can load plug-ins in VST and VST3 formats (64-bit only). We use the VST format (also referred to as VST2, VST2.4, or VST2.x) whenever possible, and Unify patches made for the VST version of a plug-in cannot be opened using the VST3 version, so if you chose not to install the VST version of the plug-in Unify needs today, you will have to run the vendor's install process again now.

  • Make sure to install the 64-bit VST, and
  • Make a note of where you installed it.

Many vendors' installer programs will give you the opportunity to choose which folder you want to install VST plug-ins into. A few will even let you do the same for VST3 plug-ins. It's very important to know where your plug-ins end up, because you'll need to provide that information to Unify. Skip ahead to Tell Unify where to find the plug-in (below).

Tell Unify where to find the plug-in

Once you're sure you have installed the plug-in Unify is looking for, in the format it's looking for, you need to tell Unify where to find it. Begin by clicking the “plug” icon at the bottom-right corner of the Unify GUI, to open Unify's Known Plug-In List.

  1. This will take you to Unify's Known Plug-Ins List view.
  2. Click the “Operations…” button at the bottom-left corner; this will pop up a menu (details below).
  3. Choose “Select plug-in file(s) to scan…” at the bottom of the menu; this will pop up a file-open dialog.
  4. Locate the plug-in file (see below), select it, and click Open to add it to the list.

The trickiest part of this is #4, “Locate the plug-in file”. This has two aspects:

  1. You need to know what to look for, and
  2. You need to know where to look.

What to look for

VST plug-ins are files with the extension .dll, which Windows Explorer will tag as “Application Extension”. The main part of the file name will begin with the common name of the plug-in, but there will often be some kind of suffix, e.g. the 64-bit VST version of Xfer Records' Serum is called Serum_x64.dll.

VST3 plug-ins are files with the extension .vst3. Windows Explorer will almost always tag these as “VST3 Plug-in File”, but in a few rare cases, it might say “File Folder”. The main part of the name will begin with the common name of the plug-in, but occasionally you might see a suffix like “x64” at the end.

Where to look

Plug-in folders are not fully standardized on Windows. Most plug-in installer programs will allow you to choose which folder to put VST plug-ins into, and a few do the same for VST3.

  • Almost all VST3 plug-ins go in C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3
  • For VST(2) plug-ins:
    • If the installer let you choose the install location, that's where you'll need to look.
    • If the installer didn't let you choose, the most likely locations are:
      • C:\Program Files\Vstplugins
      • C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins
      • C:\Program Files (x86)\Vstplugins
      • C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\Vstplugins
      • C:\Vstplugins
      • C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST2
  • Wherever the plug-in actually goes, many plug-in vendors will put it inside a sub-folder named after their company, e.g. “Big Fish Audio”, “Captain”, etc., so be on the lookout for such folders as you navigate around.

Make sure the plug-in is correctly registered

After you locate the right plug-in file and click “Open” to select it, you may want to scroll through Unify's Known Plug-Ins List to make sure it's there. The list is sorted in alphabetical order of the plug-in names. Make sure the “Format” item (2nd column) is correct. For example, here's what Unify's Known Plug-Ins List looks like after registering the VST version of Kilohearts' Phase Plant:

Click the plug icon again, and re-load the patch

When you're ready, click the plug icon at the bottom-right corner (it will have turned green) one more time, to return to Unify's layer-stack view.

Re-load the patch by clicking on its name again. You don't have to click INIT first, but you may if you wish. The patch should now load correctly.

If you're still having trouble, contact PlugInGuru customer support at UnifySupport@PlugInGuru.com.

load-error-win.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/16 17:04 by shane