Arduor 8 Zamaudio plugins disappearing Windows 11 [solved]

Windows defender silently removes stuff. I have an admin and a user account and there are no notifications on the user account when defender swings into action.

It took a lot of effort before I found the source of the strangeness and step one in any future troubleshooting will be to check the activity of defender before looking elsewhere.

The following command takes you to the defender history page

explorer windowsdefender://History

Sticking the line in notepad and saving with the extension .bat turns it into a clickable shortcut for the desktop.

These files have been flagged in some update and I have checked the download with virustotal and when you send it the download link it is all clear but a different result shows when you upload the download to virustotal it and yet another result after you unzip it. The majority vote is “in the clear” but It becomes a judgement call.

When setting up Win11 you have to create a Mirosoft account but I set up a second admin account and deleted the account I linked to the Microsoft account and this had worked well to reduce disruptions. Windows defender refuses to launch in the admin account without signing in and that is just rude. The workaround is to create the same .bat file on the admin account and clicking it goes round the rude message. I am especially fond of the ZamTube plugin as it gives you a large variety of distortion algorithms, It is well worth the hassle.

I forgot to mention that I also scanned the downloaded zip in the download folder in the user account and it was given the all clear by defender. I also did the same when unzipped and same pass approval. When the folder is moved to the “admin area” C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3 defender makes a different decision and removes some of the plugins. There is no notification that this is happening when you do the move being logged into the user account.


I created VST3 folder in …\Common
example: C:\Users\MyUserName\AppData\Local\Programs\Common\VST3

placed the zip in the VST3 folder and extracted

I added the path to “VST3 add path” in the plugin manager of Ardour 8 and did a new plugin scan and it worked.

I did a folder scan on \Common\VST3 and there was no complaint from Windows Defender

Hopefully this will prevent Defender from “disappearing” my Zam plugins again.

Could there be some new ransomware protection “border guards” that are new in Windows 11 that have “hair trigger heuristics” that we have to find workarounds for? Is this the beginning of a new set of difficulties for Windows plugins?


This link inside Ardour edit > preferences > VST ;

I tested to see if …Local\Programs\Common\VST3 is a hard coded path in Ardour 8
and it is not, It must be added manually.

I checked if …Local\Programs\Common\LV2 is a hard coded path in Ardour 8 and it is not, you cannot add a LV2 path in the preferences. I have experimented with LV2 folders on Debian and Ardour lets you decide on LV2 folder if you start Ardour from a script. maybe something similar is possible in the Windows version.

There are LV2 Windows versions in the Zam zip and I manually moved them to

C:\Program Files\Common Files\LV2

and this works fine.

The x42 collection also lives in there and I look forward to the promised Windows port of


I have downloaded the package on a GNU/Linux box and the checksum is the same sha256sum on Windows and GNU, I also did a Tor download and it corresponded:


Could it be that uninvited guests on my Windows 11 machine decompile and recompile the binary on the fly as it is moved from user to admin and that this is what makes Windows Defender change its mind?

We have multiple delivery systems and routes and the ZaMaximX2.vst3 plugin is the same everywhere so the binary does not change

87d765f7d5cc949e2b7a6aacdf33720fe9695f245487201609725907b972b74a ZaMaximX2.vst3


That is as far as it is possible to take cation with my level of skill, The local as an install option should make it less challenging to set up the plugins. It is good that Ardour included the ability to add a custom path for VST3, there is always going to be edge cases.

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