Missing Plug-ins/ProChannel modules resulting from 8.3 (Short Name) file optimizations

Last updated on 3/22/2016

The information in this article applies to:

  • SONAR X1 Producer Expanded (regarding ProChannel & VST Plug-ins)
  • SONAR X2 Producer (regarding ProChannel & VST Plug-ins )
  • Any version of SONAR that officially supports VST plug-ins (regarding VST Plug-ins only)

In SONAR, you may experience a rare issue where you cannot locate a particular VST Plug-in despite correctly scanning it with the VST Scanner. In SONAR X1 Producer Expanded and SONAR X2 Producer specifically, you may not be able to remove, insert, or replace ProChannel modules accurately.

The problem behavior to look out for:

There are some different warning signs to look for to see if things have gone wrong.

Behavior specific to any VST plug-in:

The plug-in is a VST plug-in (not a DirectX plug-in) and has been accurately scanned by the locations determined in your VST Scan Folders settings. Despite scanning correctly, it is still not appearing in the Cakewalk Plug-in Manager.

If you do not know if you're accurately scanning for your plug-in, please see the article found here regarding scanning your plug-ins correctly.

Behavior specific to ProChannel:

  • When you right-click on a ProChannel strip to insert a new module, you should never see "Gloss EQ" listed. The EQ is not removable/insert-able, so if it is listed as a module something has already gone wrong
  • When you try to replace the PC76 U-Type Compressor with the PC4K S-Type Bus Compressor, it should allow you to. If the option to do so is there, but the modules do not actually swap, then something has gone wrong
  • Console Channel emulator is not listed as being available although it is indeed installed. Similarly, loading certain demo projects or templates might trigger a missing ProChannel modules message (such as missing the Console Emulator)


Why this is happening:

To understand this, you need to understand how SONAR creates a CLSID for plug-ins. ProChannel plug-ins are not managed in SONAR the same way typical VST plug-ins are managed. For starters, their install location is C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\Internal unlike other VST plug-ins. This path isn't listed in the VST Scan Folder(s) option in SONAR itself, but it is hard coded behind the scenes to always check this path.
One thing these modules DO have in common with VST plug-ins, is that when the VST Scanner scans them for the first time, it creates a unique CLSID behind the scenes. The Cakewalk Plug-in Manager/VST Scanner is what creates this CLSID, but this is specific to a few different factors. The biggest contributing factor to what determines the CLSID is the "short name" of the file.



What is the "short name" of a file?

This is also referred to as an  "8.3 file name". Essentially Windows stores a "short name" and a" long name" of files. Ultimately this has to do with different file system formats and differences in regards to how they manage this. You can read more about the technical details of this on MSDN at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa365247%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
An example of how this impacts ProChannel modules is below:
Short File Name: PCS-BU~1.dll
Long File Name: PCS-BusCM.dll



So, what does this have to do with the weird behavior explained above?

There is a specific "optimization" some OEM manufacturers or optimization utilities run where short file names are disabled. Unfortunately, the short file name is what the Cakewalk Plug-in Manager uses to generate the CLSID. We're working on moving away from this in future versions of SONAR, however for backwards compatibility with older projects & plug-ins we cannot break ties with this method completely.

In short, if your system has disabled 8.3 short file names, the VST Scanner doesn't correctly create CLSIDs, resulting in the problem behavior above.



How do I fix this issue?


STOP! This is important.

Before attempting to "fix" anything, you should first investigate if this is indeed what is happening on your system. If you don't know if this is enabled in your system, you should check first. Here's how to check:
1) Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories
2) Right-click over Command Prompt and select "Run as Administrator"
3) In command prompt, copy and paste the following exactly: cd "C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\Internal"
4) Press Enter on your keyboard
5) Type in the following exactly: dir /x
6) Press Enter on your keyboard again
At this point, you're checking for both short names and long names for the files in that directory. A directory listing both short names and long names should look like the below:

A directory listing only the long file names will look like this:

Notice that the directory above does not list the short names. This means that the 8.3 short names have been disabled per this optimization.

If you can confirm short names are disabled, then you will want to do the following to resolve the issue:

1) Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories
2) Right-click over Command Prompt and select "Run as Administrator"
3) In command prompt, copy and paste the following exactly: fsutil 8dot3name set 2
If you'd like to read more about this, Microsoft has a good article that discusses how to enable/disable 8.3 file names here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc778996%28WS.10%29.aspx
4) Press Enter on your keyboard. It will not look like anything happened, but it should create a new line in Command Prompt
5) At this point, restart the computer completely
6) When the computer has restarted, navigate to the following location on the computer: C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities
7) Right-click over the "Internal" folder and select "Cut"  (do NOT select "Copy")
8) Right-click over the desktop and select "Paste"
9) Right-click over the Internal folder on the desktop and select "Copy"NOTE: it is important that you select Copy. If you select Cut again, it will not work.
10) Right-click back into the  C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities and select "Paste"
10b) Repeat steps 6-10 on your VST Plug-ins Folder as well. By default this location is C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Vstplugins however if you have a custom location you will want to do it to that location as well. 

At this point, the files should be created with both the short names and long names. If you would like to confirm this, you can use the method explained above again.  You're not done yet, however. To resolve this 100% in SONAR, you MUST take the additional steps:
11) Launch SONAR (do not create a project. If a project is open you might crash SONAR when you do this)
12) Go to Edit > Preferences > File - VST Settings
13) Click on the [Reset All VST Plug-ins] button and click [OK] to confirm
14) Click on the [Scan VST Folders] button
At this point, you should be able to create a new project and the ProChannel modules and VST plug-ins should work as intended.


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