Recommendations for using VST plug-ins on Windows

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: Win


A VST plug-in often has two separate installation locations. The stand-alone version usually gets installed into a subfolder of "Program Files". This subfolder is normally named after the plug-in developer. The second location is for the VST plug-in DLL.

We recommend to use the following folder as installation location for VST plug-in DLLs:

64 bit plugins: C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Vstplugins\

32 bit plugins (on 64 bit systems): C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\Vstplugins\

Most plug-ins will install into the above mentioned folder(s) by default, but in certain cases it might be necessary to manually point the installer to this location.

Note: The stand-alone version of a plug-in should not be installed into the VST plug-in DLL folder.

Setting a custom folder for VST plug-ins

If you rather use a custom (non-system) folder to store your plugins, you can set this in your preferences:

  • Open Live's preferences by pressing [ctrl][,] on your keyboard.
  • Navigate to the File/Folder tab.
  • Under "Plug-In Sources" please select the folder, where the VST plug-in DLLs have been installed to (see above). Note: selecting a whole drive, a Windows system folder or the whole "Program Files" folder as plug-in location can cause Live to crash at launch.
  • Then switch "Use VST Plug-In Custom Folder" On.


  • It's recommended to always install the latest update of a plug-in.
  • If Live crashes at launch after installing a plug-in, you can press and hold the [alt] key while the splash screen is shown when Live is launching. This will skip the plug-in scanning process and temporarily disable 3rd party plug-in support.
  • VST plug-ins might stop working when the stand-alone application of the plug-in gets moved, renamed or uninstalled.
  • 32-bit plugins will not show up in the 64-bit version of Live, and vice versa. It's also not recommended to store the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of plugins in the same folder. Note: Kontakt 5 is now only available as a 64-bit plugin
  • It's recommended to always install VSTs directly to the correct destination folder, rather than manually moving the DLL file afterwards.
  • 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.
  • External article on how to run an application on Windows 7 as administrator. We recommend using "Option 5" of the aforementioned knowledge base article.
  • External article on how to run an application on Windows 8 as administrator. We recommend using "Option 5" of the aforementioned knowledge base article.
  • External article on how to run an application on Windows 10 as administrator. We recommend using "Option 9" of the aforementioned knowledge base article