VST/AU plug-in doesn't appear in Live's Browser

This guide includes steps to follow if a third-party VST, VST3, or Audio Unit plug-in device is missing from the Browser in Ableton Live.

Quit and restart Live and your computer
Update and confirm compatibility
Check device installation
Check the plug-in path in Live's preferences
Troubleshooting steps
Troubleshooting on Windows

Quit and restart Live and your computer

  1. Quit all instances of Live and allow them to fully close down. You can check Task Manager / Activity Monitor to make sure all Live processes have finished. Opening multiple instances of the Live application, even momentarily, can interfere with Live's indexing process. 
  2. Restart your computer. Restarting is the safest way to make sure all background processes are terminated, and Live can re-launch properly. 
  3. If opening Live for the first time, allow several minutes for the Browser indexing process to finish adding new devices.

Update and confirm compatibility

On Windows, Live supports VST2 and VST3 formats. On macOS, Live supports VST2, VST3 and  AU formats. As of Live 10.1, only 64-bit plug-ins are supported, therefore 32-bit plug-ins will not appear in the Browser.

  1. Update Live.
  2. Update the affected plug-in to the latest available version.
  3. Check via the developer's website that the plug-in is supported with respect to your specific:
    - Operating system
    - Version of Live
    - Computer processor
  4. On Apple Silicon computers, as of Live 11.1, the Universal Build of Live only recognises VST2 and VST3 plug-ins that are natively compiled for Silicon processors. Certain AU devices also require running Live as an Intel application, via Rosetta 2. For several popular plug-ins, the developers only support VST3 versions (not VST2) natively on Apple Silicon. Learn more in the guide Plug-ins on Mac in Live 11.1 and above. If a VST2 device is not appearing in Live on a Silicon Mac, check with the developer that this format is supported.
  5. For Waves plug-ins, the WaveShell file is installed to the default plug-in folder. If you're using a custom VST folder, locate the WaveShell file and move it to that folder. See the dedicated article: Using Waves plug-ins with a custom VST folder.
    Note: On macOS, Waves plug-ins are not supported in Audio Unit format.

Check device installation

  1. Check carefully that each device is installed correctly as recommended in these guides:
    Using VST plug-ins on Windows
    Using AU and VST plug-ins on macOS
  2. Uninstall and re-install the device following the instructions for your operating system. If possible, install and update plug-ins using the developer's product portal or application manager.
  3. On Windows, do not move or rename the standalone version of a plug-in you're using as a VST in Live. VST plug-ins may stop working if the standalone version of the device gets moved, renamed or uninstalled.

Check the plug-in path in Live's preferences

  1. Open Live's Preferences → Plug-ins → Plug-In Sources:



    Enable the folders where your plug-ins are installed. Typically on Windows, you can set these folders as follows:

    • VST2 Custom Folder: ON
    • VST3 System Folders: ON
    • VST3 Custom Folder OFF



    Enable folders where your plug-ins are installed. Typically on macOS, you can set these folders as follows:

    • Use Audio Units v2: ON
    • Use Audio Units v3: OFF
    • VST2 System Folders ON
    • VST2 Custom Folder OFF
    • VST3 System Folders ON
    • VST3 Custom Folder OFF

  2. Do not install VST2 and VST3 plug-ins inside the same folder.
  3. Do not set VST2 and VST3 custom folders to the same path.
  4. Verify that the missing plug-in is installed to the correct folder enabled in Plug-In Sources.
  5. On Windows, if the plug-in is not in the correct location, we recommend you un-install it, and re-install it directly to the destination folder.

Troubleshooting steps

Follow the steps below if the device still doesn't appear after you've checked each step listed above and confirmed correct installation according to these guides:

Using VST plug-ins on Windows
Using AU and VST plug-ins on macOS
Plug-ins Tips and Troubleshooting

  1. Open Live's Preferences → Plug-ins. Turn the relevant plug-in folder off and on again.
  2. Wait for the plug-in scanning to complete, then check the Browser list again.
  3. Deep-rescan all installed plug-ins. To start a deep rescan, hold ALT/Option and click "Rescan."

Troubleshooting on Windows

  1. On Windows, also make sure to have installed Visual C++ 2010 SP1. This is required to run 64-bit applications that have been developed with Visual C++ 2010 SP1.
  2. Certain plug-ins require Live to run with admin rights. For example plug-ins which offer the possibility to drag MIDI clips from the plug-in into Live, like Toontrack's EZDrummer.

Ableton offers these in-depth help and learning resources: