Custom Content Path Configuration

The purpose of this article is to help users configure content correctly. It is especially aimed for users who wish to use a custom content path.   Since custom configuration can be open-ended, this article does not give you step-by-step instructions.  Instead, this article explains some key points in order to help you avoid pitfalls of custom content configuration.  The purpose is to help you have a sound understanding so that you will have the ability to use a custom content path with success.  If the length of this article scares you, you may want to consider using the default content path rather than a custom content path.  This article provides critical pointers that apply to all methods of content installation (Install Manager, Bitrock, or manual extraction.)   Custom content configuration is not recommended for new users.


Why you may need to have two or more content folders

There are some good reasons for having one or more custom content folders.  Here are some:

* You're running out of hard drive space on your c drive and need to have content installed to a different drive.

* We encourage users to keep content installed by DIM (Install Manager) separate from content installed by other methods.  The reasons for this are discussed later in this article.  The default content path that DIM uses encourages this also.  For this reason, you'll probably need two content paths, one for content installed by DIM and one for content installed by Bitrock or manual extraction.

* You want to have different content configurations when working on different projects.  You can change the content mapped easily in Studio and with some effort in Poser.  This is not recommended for new users.



Properly configured content can be found and used right.  With the benefit of Install Manager, it is easy to install, uninstall, and update content.  It is also possible find content, usually with the aid of the readme. Often, improperly installed content cannot be found. If found, it will usually not work correctly.  It can be much more work to fix improperly installed content than it is to do it right the first time.


It is important to understand that there are several different kinds of products that you can install and use:


* Applications

* Plugins

* Content


This article is only about installing content.  Additionally, you can configure Install Manager to install plugins and applications.  This article only deals with content and specifically content for DAZ Studio and Poser.  Content for Carrara and Bryce are treated differently and outside the scope of this article.


There are three components with installing content:


1) Choosing a valid content Path.

2) Method used to install content

3) Mapping the content


The content path is the folder used by you or Install Manager when installing content.  This is a very important choice and by default, Install Manager installs content here:


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library


Unless you have a good reason to change it, you should use the above path.  However, you may find that your c drive doesn’t have much space available.  You may want to install content to a different folder, such as on your d: drive.

Choosing a custom path is open-ended.  In other words, there are potentially hundreds of paths you could choose.


For example, any of the following paths could be a valid content path:



c:/My DAZ 3D Content

c:/DAZ 3D Content

d:/My Content

d:/My DAZ 3D Content

d:/Digital Software/DAZ 3D Content



MacHD/My DAZ 3D Content

MacHD/DAZ 3D Content

MacHD External/My Content

MacHD External/My DAZ 3D Content

MacHD External/Digital Software/DAZ 3D Content


As you can see, the possibilities are open-ended.  Any of the above paths could work beautifully.  There are dozens more you could choose.  Please note that when we speak of the path, we mean the whole path, not just the end folder.  


For example, these paths:


d:/Digital Software/DAZ 3D Content

MacHD/Digital Software/DAZ 3D Content


are *NOT* the same as these paths below


d:/Digital Software/

MacHD/Digital Software/


and the above paths are not the same as these below:


d:/DAZ 3D Content

MacHD/DAZ 3D Content


At this point, you may be thinking that this is really confusing.  Please understand that we’re not saying you need to have three, four, five or more different content paths.  I recommend that you only have two paths maximum.  In fact, if you use the default path given above, you really don’t have to sweat over all these details.  But some users like the ability to install content to multiple install paths.  This is supported in Studio, Poser, and Install Manager, and it places the burden of understanding how to do this on the user.  If you stray from the default setup, then you must understand what pitfalls to avoid.



There are a few places, however, where you should *never* install content.  Let’s look at these so we can avoid them.


Avoid Program Files and Program Files (x86), Applications

Windows users, especially those in Windows Vista or later, should not install content into the Program Files or Program Files (x86).  Windows Vista, Windows 7, and now Windows 8 have a feature known as WFP or Windows File Protection.  WFP can prevent Studio (or Poser for that matter) from accessing content files in these folders.  Installing content into these folders is a big no-no for this reason.  Microsoft encourages you to install content which they would regard as documents into your users folder.  You actually don’t have to, but you definitely should not install content into the Program Files folders.


Please understand that this includes any folder within the Program Files folders.  If you install content to c:/Program Files/My Content/ or c:/Program Files/DAZ 3D/My Content, they are equally invalid, bad, and subject to all the problems mentioned above.


Mac Users may configure content to be installed into the Applications folder.  However, this is not recommended as some users may end up mixing content with application files that could cause confusion down the road.  Since content is really a kind of ‘document’ for use in Poser or Studio, you would be better off putting it in the user documents folder or somewhere outside of the applications folder.


Do not Embed your content in an existing content folder.

This issue applies equally to Mac users and Windows users.  Embedding content is when you install a content product in a subdirectory of an existing content path.  This is also called ‘nesting.’  Let’s make this perfectly clear.


If your chosen content path is one of these below:


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library

d:/My DAZ 3D Content/

MacHD/My DAZ 3D Content


Then you should not install content into any folder within them.  A subdirectory (or subfolder) is any folder inside of the target folder.  The paths below are respective examples of subdirectories.  You should never install content into a subdirectory.


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library\runtime

d:/My DAZ 3D Content/People

d:/My DAZ 3D Content/runtime


MacHD/My DAZ 3D Content/People

MacHD/My DAZ 3D Content/runtime

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library\People

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library\runtime


If you install content into a subdirectory, you will cause several problems with content.  Morphs for Genesis, Genesis 2, and fourth generation figures (V4.2, M4, K4) can and usually will be broken.  Content discovery will also be messed up.  You may find content folders, but not see any content inside of them.


Also, you should not install content into a higher directory of the folder you’ve chosen.  In other words, if this is your chosen content directory:


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library


You should not install content directly into ‘Documents’ or ‘Users.’  This would have the same effect on content.


Choose a valid path and use it consistently.  Once you choose a valid content folder, all subdirectories are off limits for content installation.


As a final note, if you use (DIM) Install Manager to install content, you are strongly encouraged not to mix content installation methods with the same folder.  In other words, if you are using DIM to install content here:


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library


Then do not use another method like manual installation or Bitrock install to install to the above path.  Use a completely different (valid) path for those methods.  The reason will be come clear after you read the following.



The second issue is the method you use to install content.  Most DAZ 3D content users know that DAZ 3D has converted its content over to Install Manager format.  There are very few if any content products left in our digital warehouse that are not available in DIM (Install Manager) Format.   Likewise, there are very few if any content products left in our store that can be installed by means of the Bitrock installer.


The reason that DAZ 3D encourages  the DIM method is ease and speed of use.  With DIM a user can install a dozen products in the time that it would take a Bitrock installer to install one or two products.  DIM is lightning fast compared to Bitrock installers.  Additionally, DIM can uninstall content with the same speed.


The alternative is to do a manual installation.  This means you download the IM file and extract it to the right place.  This article just deals with content configuration and doesn’t teach you how to extract IM files manually.  As you can see, we encourage you to use DIM.  Here’s a strong reason why.  If you install a content product by hand to the wrong place, you get to uninstall it.  DIM only uninstalls content which it installed.  Uninstalling a content product manually means browsing to each file and folder and deleting (or trashing) it manually.  If you’ve incorrectly extracted a file into existing content, this can be a nightmare because you could delete the wrong file or not delete all the files.  If you use DIM to install content to the wrong folder, you can at least use DIM to uninstall that content easily.  With a manual installation, you may find yourself looking for over a thousand files to remove.


If you have content installed both by Install Manager and by manual installation, you are strongly encouraged to use two different folders for them.


You can see paths you have configured for content in DIM by going to Configuration Settings (Gear in the upper right) → Installation → Label/Path (in the lower half of the window).



In Studio, you must have the content folder mapped.  In Poser, this is called ‘adding a runtime.’  Once you’ve done this correctly, you don’t have to keep doing it again and again, unless you choose to change your content folder.  If you’ve chosen the correct content folder, you shouldn’t have to do this again.



In Studio, the path to which you install content must be mapped.  It’s the same exact path.  If you’ve installed content here:


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library


Then the folder you need to have mapped in Studio is this folder:


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library


You’ll note that they’re the same paths.  Pretty simple.


You can map a content folder in Studio in EDIT (or DAZStudio on the Mac) → Preferences → Content Library → Content Directory Manager → Content Sets.



In Poser, you must add the runtime.  This is nearly as easy as mapping the path in Studio.  


If you have your content installed here:

C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library


Then you need to add this runtime:


C:\Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library\runtime

Users\Public\Documents\My DAZ 3D Library\runtime




* Only use a custom path if you really need it.  Understand what is a valid content path *before* you do it.


* WINDOWS Users should not install content into Program Files or Program Files (x86)


* Do not embed content into another content path or vice versa!


*  You do not need a unique path for each different content product.  The simpler, the better.


* Reserve a path for content installed by Install Manager.  Keep it separate from content installed by other methods (Bitrock, manual)


* Avoid installing content manually if there is a DIM installer available (and there is for most content in the DAZ 3D Store).


* Make sure the content path is properly mapped in Studio or the relevant runtime is added in Poser.


* Once you have the path chosen and mapped (or runtime added) correctly, you can keep using it for new content without having to go through this whole procedure again!


By following the pointers given in this article, you can ensure that you’ll be able to install content and that it will show up properly in your content library for DAZ Studio or Poser.  This article was designed for users who want a custom content path.   If you have questions about this procedure or are not sure of something, please ask DAZ 3D Customer Service for more help.


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