Screw Project Folders, screw User Profiles!

loocas | 3ds Max | Friday, March 28th, 2008

O my man! How annoying those project folders can get in Max 9+. I’ve been used to NOT using any “Autodesk predefined” and mainly “Autodesk sealed” project folders and settings all the way. Now, they, yet again, FORCE you to use the project folders. I mean, it’s definitely not a bad idea to get organized (about which I’ll write later, believe me, I have a lot to say on the subject) and have specific settings on a user basis. Certainly, this was partially “enforced” by Microsoft and its Vista user data management system. But hey, at least Autodesk could have done it right! They DIDN’T, yet again. Now, while I certainly don’t mind setting up projects in Maya, I thoroughly hate it, essentially the same feature, in Max. The naming conventions enforced upon me were just a bit too much. I’m used to setting up my own project folders with my own, production proven, naming conventions and such. Besides, I still use quite a lot of heavy max tweaking in terms of ini files etc… so all this was a big pain in my ass when I just recently started using 3ds Max 2008 (I know, a bit late, but hey, I love Max 8 and if it was 64bit, I wouldn’t update in any way!).

The other reason I got infuriated was the 3ds Max UI. Something you don’t change that often, I know, but when you’re freshly switching to a new version of Max, it’s smarter to re-do the UI from scratch and not just re-import it from the older version (I DON’T RECOMMEND THIS, if you didn’t get the message). So, instead of Max searching for its UI in the installation directory it searches for it in the, totally idiotic, if you ask me, app data folder, which, by the way, isn’t normally accessible, how clever! This is the path:

C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsmax\2008 – 64bit\enu\UI

How is that for a system path? You get everything in there, you get white space characters, cap/non-cap letters, dashes, it’s wonderful! Especially for scripting purposes. Good job Autodesk engineeers! I hope this was one of those “corporate decisions” as opposed to “intelligent, thoughtful and well discussed decision”.

Anyways, that’s a bit off topic. While I still haven’t found a 100% way of making Max to NOT created the stupid default project folders for me, each time I start it up, at least there’s a way to get rid of the individual user setting folders. It’s fairly easy and straight forward, but I still have to warn you: DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING, you may actually cripple your installation of Max (but don’t worry, you won’t, in any way, affect your max files). So, unless you know what you’re doing or you’re too cool to care :) open up InstallSettings.ini in the 3ds Max installation root folder and edit the following:

[Least User Privilege]

only change the useUserProfiles to 0. Restart Max and that’s it. Max won’t be using the %APPDATA% folder for searching its settings.

So that’s one thing nailed down, now you have a unified space where you can be 100% sure Max will be searching for its components and settings. You can, of course, override that to your likings using the inis, but that’s a different story.


  1. Interesting, thanks for the hint! That topic it’s annoying me too. And it’s not only max …

    Comment by Dom — May 6, 2008 @ 23:45

  2. well spoken!

    Comment by D-Tang — September 29, 2008 @ 21:26

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