by Craig Anderton
Computers are stupid . . . they just seem smart because they’re so fast, but they have no creativity whatsoever. And as luck would have it, we can turn that to our advantage. Here are some computer problems you can fix by simply renaming some files or folders by adding the letter “x,” and fooling your computer into not seeing something it normally sees. Here are two practical examples of how to use this technique.
Problem: You have 32- and 64-bit plug-ins installed on your 64-bit Windows computer, because not all your hosts are 64-bit (yet). But when your 64-bit host scans VST plug-ins, because it can “bridge” 32-bit plug-ins it sees the 32-bit ones first, and gets stuck on loading them instead of the 64-bit ones.
Solution: The 32-bit versions will be in one Vstplugsins folder in the x86 section, and the 64-bit ones in a different Vstplugins folder (you probably specified where these were when you installed the plug-ins). Re-name the 32-bit folder to xVstplugins, then tell your host to re-scan its VST plug-ins. It will now scan only the 64-bit folder, and recognize the 64-bit versions of the plug-ins. Go back and rename xVstplugins to Vstplugins, and the next time you open the host, it will re-scan the 32-bit plug-ins it missed last time around. However, the 64-bit plug-ins it saw previously will be retained, as it already recognized plug-ins with those names.
Problem: You have several soundbanks from Ueberschall, including their cool Inspire series sound libraries that let you randomize different loops among libraries. However, there’s a catch: Randomizing among only Inspire libraries guarantees all loops will be the correct tempo and key, but that’s not always the case with non-Inspire soundbanks. And currently, there’s no way to tell the Inspire libraries to randomize only from other Inspire libraries.
Solution: The worst solution is to disable the non-Inspire soundbanks, as you’ll have to use up an activation to re-activate them. A better option is to simply find the non-Inspire soundbanks where you installed them (they’ll have a .elastik suffix) and rename it with an x at the beginning (e.g., Pop Charts.elastik to xPop Charts.elastik). When you load the Elastik plug-in or use it stand-alone, under Setup it will list the renamed soundbanks as “missing” (Fig. 1), and the Browser will recognize only the Inspire libraries. When you remove the “x,” Elastik will recognize the non-Inspire soundbanks again.
Fig. 1: The Elastik browser to the left doesn't recognize the soundbanks seen as "missing" in the Setup menu.
The examples are just two ways to use this technique. Any time the computer looks for something in a particular file path or using a particular filename, and you don’t want it recognized, just rename it—and you can always revert to the original name when you want it recognized again.
Craig Anderton is Editor in Chief of Harmony Central and Executive Editor of Electronic Musician magazine. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.