Portable DAW+VST solution

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irro94
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2024 2:39 pm

Portable DAW+VST solution

Post by irro94 »

Hi everyone,
I'm Paolo and I need to find a portable solution to transport my entire DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) configuration together with all the plugins (VST), samples and so on, all in a virtual area stored in a VHDX virtual disk. This would allow me to move between my computers and tablets, with the advantage of being able to load projects bounded by plugins, without problems of missing content.
This means starting by installing Ableton 12.0.0 and with it the setups of my VSTs.
I get to the problem: everything goes smoothly until I move to another PC that uses a different username, this is a problem, the vst writes its service files in X:\testals\drive\C\Users\pc1\ Documents\Rob Papen. (On the other computer I proceed to copy and mount the VHDX on the portable SSD and configure a new box with the wizard, then copying the .inf file of the primary PC, this loads the entire configuration, I will be careful to ensure that that the folder paths are ok.)
Since the PC is logged in with a different user than the first, the software reads on the path of the current user that does not exist X:\testals\drive\C\Users\pc2\Documents\Rob Papen.
Is it possible to tell Sandboxie to start with a user that is always the same across the various PCs and does not depend on the host system? (which must not exist on the host system).
The brute way would be to rename the user folder with the user with which I want to open the software, but it seems unreliable.

I ask you if you have any suggestions, I would be grateful! ..If necessary I can carry out a sort of beta testing in this area and provide my experiences. :D

Many greetings,
p.

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bastik-1001
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Re: Portable DAW+VST solution

Post by bastik-1001 »

Hello Paolo,

when you set the path for a new sandbox, it should not contain "%USER%" as those will create folders for each user that uses the sandbox, like PC1 and PC2. This is desired for instances in which a system is shared and sandboxes are supposed to be different for each user.

From what I can see, "Pathto\Sandbox\New_Box_title\" will write user files in the sandbox to "Pathto\Sandbox\New_Box_title\user\current" for every user. So when files are stored in the sandbox in "user\current\subpath" (like Documents) they are shared between users.

irro94
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2024 2:39 pm

Re: Portable DAW+VST solution

Post by irro94 »

Hi Bastik,
I'm sorry if I'm only replying now but I preferred to delve deeper before writing.
I have already followed what you suggest, the path is FileRootPath=X:\testals (this last folder is the Box folder).

Before I described the problem without the "user folder separation" function, i was hoping Sandboxie recognize the user folder simply renamed with the new user (of the second PC), but this was not the case when I renamed the "X:\" folder testals\drive\C\Users\pc1" to "\...pc2". New program configuration files (Ableton) are recreated, with the folder path that the pc1 user had (the one from which I created the box), e.g. X:\testals\drive\C\Users\pc1\Documents\Ableton instead of X:\testals\drive\C\Users\pc2\Documents\Ableton. This not happen, so it doesn't work. :(

Sorry but I can't explain more than that.

In the second scenario, with user folder separation, a strange thing happens. As you were saying, the structure should be of the type x:\testals\user\current\Documents\Ableton. With PC1 everything is ok, while if I move to PC2 I see that if I open Ableton, it doesn't go to read the path above but goes to read and then write its new configuration files (the program returns to the default settings, it doesn't find files) in x:\testals\drive\C\Users\cmb\Documents\Ableton, this is very strange, the user folder separation option is activated!
In the first post I spoke confusingly about a path of a VST, but the phenomenon happens on both.
I think the solution would be if I could somehow start the box programs with the PC1 user, i.e. a sort of "user spoofing".
Everything with virtualization scheme ver. 2. Could be ver. 1 the game changer?

I don't know if I was clear enough, if so please ask, thank you very much.

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bastik-1001
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Re: Portable DAW+VST solution

Post by bastik-1001 »

I don't know if switching from scheme 2 to scheme 1 would make a different, but maybe this in indeed the case, if this use-case was not considered.

If it does not fix it, I am sorry, I don't think I can help you. If it does, then I consider it a bug, which should be fixed.

I don't know enough about the folder structure and just use the tool, so if scheme 1 fixed it, consider creating a bug report, if it isn't a workaround, you'd have to wait for someone, possibly David, to help you further. Or you reach out to other support channels, although this is the forum made by the developer.

irro94
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Re: Portable DAW+VST solution

Post by irro94 »

Hi, after days I managed to find a workaround, a trick that I don't feel like definitive but which seems to work.
The definitive solution would be to implement a prompt or a setting in sbie that allows you to set a global "run As" to the "box" of a windows user managed by sandboxie (which for portability purposes must always be the same and must not depend on the presence within the host system).
The problem arises when a setup writes its system files inside the C:\users\abc\... folders, causing problems only when you move to a different PC or log in with a different user (eg. def). The program will read a path other than the installation one, C:\users\def\..., causing file not found errors.

How did I solve it? Simply via Symlink, a function present in the NTFS File System: it creates symbolic links that physically refer to the contents of a folder or file. All I need to do is create symlinks of the folders present in C:\users\abc (the user with whom I originally installed the software) inside the new folder C:\users\def (def is the user with whom I am logged in ).
It can be done via cmd/pshell commands or via the SymlinkCreator tool on GitHub.
Once done, the contents of the abc are inside the def (in a symbolic way), both reading and writing should therefore work, so everything would actually go into the user "abc" folder.

It clearly works by disabling the "user folder separation" sandbox option, the virtualization version should not do anything, so leave 2.

I repeat for now I have found this trick, but I infinitely pray to the developer David to take this need into consideration, it would be really useful for those who move from PC to PC to bring their own software environment already ready and configured, and be able to upload their own projects without having missing software problems.
In my opinion it could open up a world of possibilities and I think it attracts a lot of people!

If further clarity is needed, please let me know. A thousand thanks.

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