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Installing VST Plugins on Windows Tutorial (.exe & .dll files)

In this Installing VST plugins on windows tutorial, we will cover an easy step by step tutorial guide explaining what to do to install the VST plugins to your workstation (PC)
When it comes to installing VST plugins to your windows desktop PC that can be quite tricky as this includes a .exe or .dll vst plugin file.
You will need to make sure your software is installed correctly on your workstation (.exe or .dll), both of these will install differently on your computer. (VST plugins come in either .exe or .dll file format)

  1. Installing .exe VST Plugins
  2. Installing .dll VST Plugins

 


1. Installing .exe VST plugins to your workstation (PC)

EXE and automatic installation VST plugins (these require one click to start the installer process)
If you have an EXE file extension of the VST plugin installer, then it will be super easy to install the vst plugin on your desktop PC.

this is what exe based vst plugins look like on Windows
this is what exe based vst plugins look like on Windows
For example, here we have OB-XD VST Plugin, when the installation file is clicked on, you will need to complete the installation process.
installing vst plugin using exe file
As you can see in the image above the location is set up automatically by the installer itself, in our case its location is;

C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins\discoDSP

Now most VST Plugins will be installed inside “Program Files” & “VstPlugins” folders
Other locations installers might automatically install your VST plugins

VST2 plug-ins: C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins
VST3 plug-ins: C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3
VST plug-ins (32-bit): C:\Program Files (x86)\VSTPlugins

 
In this case, you will not need to do anything else.
Just run the installer and boom you have successfully installed your VST plugin!
You will now need to find out how to enable your VST inside your DAW such as FL Studio, Cubase, or logic pro or other DAW’s available.
Good luck!


2. Installing DLL File-based VST Plugins

Dll File-based VST Plugins don’t have an automatic one-click installer like .exe file-based VST Plugins.
This is what a .dll file-based VST Plugin looks like;

dll based vst plugins
dll based vst plugins
As you can see from the image above, .dll files don’t look too appealing. Dll vst plugins cant be automatically run like .exe vst plugins.
If you try and double click on .dll vst plugin file you will get an error message, that the file could be unsafe.
opening vst plugin dll message
Opening VST plugin .dll message
However, this file is totally safe!
What you will need to do is manually move the VST plugins (DLL file) into the right location on your PC.
To do this you will need to.
Start off by going to your computer’s file location. and click on (C) Drive (local disk c)
Go to “This PC” and then select “Local Disk (C)” highlighted in red below.
Select local disk C
then select “program files”
 
select program files
Then locate a folder named “VstPlugins” inside “program files”
You might need to scroll down a bit to find it! as this folder contains all your software for your Windows Desktop PC.
Locate VstPlugins
You will then see many dll VST Plugin files inside this folder.
 

You will then need to go back to your installation file and copy and paste it over to this location.
first, you will need to copy the vst plugin .dll file, so go back to your download folder, and copy the VST plugin .dll file.
Right-click with your mouse over the file and select “copy”, highlighted in red below;
Right click and select copy
Right-click and select copy to copy the vst plugin
Then go back to your VstPlugin folder inside your program files

C:\Program Files\VstPlugins

Then right-click and select “Paste”
This will copy and paste the .dll Vst Plugin in your vst plugin folder which can be used by FL Studio.
Paste the .dll file in your VstPlugins
You might then see a notification for administrators permission, simply select “Continue”
permission for moving dll file
And boom! your VST plugin has been installed!

vst plugin has been successfully installed
vst plugin has been successfully installed
If your VST Plugin still doesn’t load up or won’t work, then simply follow all these steps again, but this time copy and paste the .dll file into the “Program Files (x86)” VstPlugins folder.

C:\Program Files (x86)\VstPlugins

As the .dll file might be x86 installation only.
And Boom!
You will now need to find out how to enable your VST inside your DAW such as FL Studio, Cubase, or logic pro or other DAW’s available.
Good luck!


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