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Waves Plugins Crashing Your 64 Bit DAW? A Solution

Waves Logo

I had a 15 hour struggle in the studio recently. All my Cubase 7 (64 Bit) projects refused to load without crashing. Even projects that I was working on the very day before.

I re-installed, searched, cleaned, refreshed preferences, you name it, I tried it…

15 hours later I was still unable to load any of my projects without Cubase disappearing into the dark depths where all dead project go.

The next morning I woke up and with a fresh head, found myself a cure within 30 minutes (based on the research I had done the day before). So I thought this would be worth sharing, as during my search I found many folks with similar trouble and no solution.

The first step was realising that if I removed the Waves plugins from my system the problem went away.

Waves Logo
Waves Logo

Symptoms:

  • Windows 64 Bit System
  • 64 Bit DAW Host
  • Usually Windows 8 but can be Windows 7 – Must be 64 Bit
  • Cubase crashes when loading a project that contains ANY Waves plugins
  • Cubase crashes when inserting ANY Waves plugin into a fresh project
  • I am using Cubase here but it could be any 64 Bit DAW host application

I found a post related to a different issue that suggested renaming the WaveShell-VST3 9.2_x64 file. This file is found here and this put me on the right path:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3

I renamed the file to WaveShell-VST3 9.2_x64_BLAH.vst3

Wow! Success!

All my projects loaded again… But it is not over yet.

Waveshell crashes again and now the projects will not load again even with the renamed file, unless it was renamed yet again. Renaming it back to the original WaveShell-VST3 9.2_x64.vst3 still causes crashes… What is going on?

I had already done a clean install of all related applications, Waves, Cubase etc., And also cleaned registry of everything that mentioned Waves before re-installing…

Finally I decided to search the registry for WaveShell-VST3… Low and behold the solution – A very odd registry key gets added if the Waveshell crashes. After which, any subsequent load of the Waveshell causes the host (Cubase) to crash.

Full Solution:
  • Windows 64 Bit is affected (although it mentioned 8 it can also be 7)
  • Waves (shell) crashes once
  • Waveshell gets added to the reg key with “IgnoreFreeLibraries” with reference to Cubase (or whatever caused the crash).
  • Waveshell will now crash every time it is loaded / used (unless the shell is renamed)
  • Solution – DELETE the registry DATA contained in this key (as highlighted in my screenshot) that relates to your DAW host

How to find the key: Search registry for “WaveShell-VST3 9.2_x64” and you will find the odd key with IgnoreFreeLibrary associated.

Do not search for AppCompatFlags as it will bring up tons of irrelevant stuff.

Ignore Free Library - Registry Key
Ignore Free Library – Registry Key

Here is my reg key area:

HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-109435730-111443509-2875027308-1001\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers

This may of course be different for another machine so it probably better to use the search method as mentioned above. Notice in my screenshot that Wavelab also had the same problem.

Bookmark this key and if you suffer this problem go back and DELETE the registry DATA contained in this key that relates to your DAW host.

Back It up first if you are concerned.

So anyone on Win 64 experiencing Waves crashes – And I mean total Waves crashes – ie. Nothing VST3 works. It may be worth checking.

I have contacted Waves and they are working on a solution.

OK that is all. Thank you and goodnight.