How to Rescan Plugins in Pro Tools

Pro Tools usually rescans your plugins for you when it launches, but your new plugin might not be on the list. You can’t do a manual rescan in Pro Tools like you can in other DAWs, but there’s still a way that you can force the system to do a rescan.

Luckily, this process is fairly straightforward; you should be back to making music in no time.

Step 1: Close Pro Tools

Pro Tools scans for plugins upon launch. To avoid any problems, close Pro Tools before you attempt to install a new plugin or before you do a rescan. Use your task manager to make sure the program is completely closed.

Step 2: Make Sure Your Plugins Are in the Right Location

Pro Tools comes with its own Plugins folder and many of your plugins will automatically install to it. Pro Tools 11 and later will only use plugins that are in one of these folders.

Your plugin is probably installed in one of the following locations:

Windows 10

  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins
  • C:\\Program Files\Common Files\\Digidesign\DAE\Plug-Ins
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins
  • C:\\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Digidesign\DAE\Plug-Ins

Mac Os X

  • Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-Ins
  • Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Digidesign/Plug-Ins

If your plugin is not in these folders, you might be able to find it in one of the following locations. Keep in mind that Pro Tools 11 only supports 64 bit AAX plugins; many early VST plugins may not work with a modern version of Pro Tools.

  • C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins
  • C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VSTPlugins
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\VST3
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST2
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Steinberg\VST2
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VstPlugins
  • Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST
  • Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST3
  • Users/*Username*/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST
  • Users/*Username*/Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST3

Step 3: Open Pro Tools

Once you’ve made sure that the plugin is in the correct folder, run Pro Tools and see if it shows up in your list. If it doesn’t, close Pro Tools again and move on to the next step.

Step 4: Delete Your Plugin Preferences

This process will delete preferences for all of your installed plugins. Back up anything that you want to keep before you proceed.

Windows 10

Go to your file explorer. Your plugin preferences may be hidden, so go to View and select Show Hidden Items.

The preferences should be in one of the following locations:

  • C\:Users\*Username*\AppData\Roaming\Avid\Pro Tools
  • C\:Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Digidesign\DAE\DAE Prefs

From here, you can delete the entire folder or delete a file titled. InstalledAAXPlugIns.

Mac OS X

Trashing your settings is a little simpler on a Mac. Go to the following location:

  • Macintosh HD\Library\Preferences\Avid

Now you can delete the entire Pro Tools folder or delete these files individually:

  • com.digidesign.ProTools.plist
  • com.digidesign.ProTools.plist.lockfile
  • DAE Prefs
  • DigiSetup.OSX
  • Pro Tools Prefs

Don’t forget to empty your trash bin after you’ve deleted the files.

Step 5: Open Pro Tools Again

Now that you’ve deleted your plugin settings, go ahead and run Pro Tools. The program has to rescan all of your plugins and will make new files for their preferences. Your missing plugin should show up in the list.

Step 6: Customize Your Plugins Menu

Pro Tools might have scanned your missing plugin but filed it somewhere you weren’t expecting. You can customize your plugins display and change the folders that you view.

From within Pro Tools, open up your Preferences menu. Select the Display tab. You should see a section titled “Organize Plug-In Menus By.” Try organizing by Category/Manufacturer to make it easier to find your missing plugin.

In summary, the only way to properly rescan your plugins in Pro Tools is to trash your existing plugin settings. If your plugins are in the correct folder and you’ve deleted the right settings profile, all of your plugins should appear the next time you run Pro Tools. Remember, older plugins may not be compatible with newer versions of Pro Tools.

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