How to quickly create a list of VST plugins , Samples or general files on your system

How to quickly create a list of VST plugins , Samples or general files on your system

Get your VST plugins in order!

Recently, whilst backing up my latest work to various external hard-drives I started pondering if I could truly be prepared for my computer dying on me.
I made a mental check-list of the things I had backed up: Projects (check), Patches (check), my custom loops and SFX (check) and then it dawned on me – I had no back-ups for the various VST plugins and samples that I have collected on a weekly basis over the years. I set out to find a simple, reliable and quick way to back up the list of VST plugins and samples on my system.
I considered simply backing up my VST plugins and loops to another second hard drive, but this method had two flaws: –

  • The price it would cost for a new,reliable hard drive big enough to hold the almost 1.5tb of data I needed to back up
  • The time it would take to create and maintain these back-ups

Even if I did regularly back everything up to yet another drive, come judgement day I would still need to reinstall all of the VST plugins and transfer the samples across to my new computer (both of which I already have on DVD) so I would only save a relatively small amount of time.

I decided to create a text-list backup of all the relevant files on my system so that I could recreate an exact replica of my current set-up and maintain my current work-flow.

I created a simple batch process which lists all of the .dll files in my VST plugins directory like so:

Directory of C:Program FilesVstpluginsPITCH ALTERATION

15/02/2010  15:46           494,592 autotalent.dll
01/05/2007  18:58           388,608 dblue_Stretch.dll

Directory of C:Program FilesVstpluginsUTILITIES

07/12/2009  02:44         1,127,936 Hum Removal.dll
09/03/2010  15:59           151,552 latencyfixer.dll


To do this open notepad and copy in the following text

@echo off
dir “C:Program FilesVstplugins*.dll” /s > “C:Program FilesVstpluginslist.txt”

I am reliably informed that @echo off is the standard way of beginning a batch process – @echo off stops the commands in the batch file from being written to the CMD window that will appear on the screen when you run the process (making it more efficient – especially for larger, more complex processes)
The next part of the command goes to my VST plugins directory and lists all of the dll files (*.dll where * is a wildcard). /s instructs the process to include files from any sub-folders. The second part of the command then defines where the results should written – in the example above the results will be written to a text-file called list.
Copy and paste the example from above into notepad, then change the 1st directory to the location of your plug-ins and the second to the location you would like to save the text file too (Personally I save mine to a sky-drive folder which then gets automatically backed up to cloud storage.)
When you have made the changes select file > save as. In the new window that opens click the Save as type and change the option to all files – now type in the name of your new process followed by .bat (mine is VST-database.bat)

To create a back-up of my samples I used a slightly different process to list only the folder structure

@echo off
dir “C:UsersRyanSamples” /S /B /A:D > “C:UsersRyanSamplessamples structure.txt”

/B tells the command to use bare formatting – removing this will give more data on the folder (amount of files within, size etc) while /A:D tells the command to only list folders.  Again save this as a batch file and you should be good to go.

You could go even further with this system by having your computer automatically run these batch processes on shutdown (see here) and if you write the file to a folder that gets backed up to the cloud (I recommend SugarSync for this you would have a completely automated process.

As always comments are available below – Let me know if this is helpful to you or if you have an even better way of backing up/organising your VST plugins or samples.

Ryan Davies is a Freelance Composer & Sound Designer for Video Games, Film and multimedia. If you need sound or music for a project you are working on, you can find Ryan on Google+ or get in touch via Twitter (@rynde) or LinkedIn