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Startup Files and Defaults  

When you start 3ds Max, several auxiliary files load, setting things like program defaults and UI layout. You can even create a scene, named maxstart.max, that automatically loads when you start or reset the program. In some cases, the program updates files when you change settings and when you quit the program.

Note 3ds Max comes with several different market-specific defaults. These set different program defaults on startup, based on the type of files you expect to work on most often. You can load the preset defaults that come with 3ds Max, or you can create your own.

In general, you don't need to work directly with the auxiliary files, but it's good to know about them. Among the auxiliary files the program uses are:

  • 3dsmax.ini : This file gets updated when you start and exit 3ds Max, as well as when you change most Preferences settings. It contains values relating to program defaults, including the graphics driver, directories used to access external files such as sounds and images, preset render sizes, dialog positions, snap settings, and other preferences and default settings. If you edit this file, be sure to make a copy first, so you can return to the original if anything goes wrong.
Note Many program defaults are set in currentdefaults.ini, found within the \defaults directory. For more information on this file, see Market-Specific Defaults.

  • maxstart.max: At startup and when you reset the program, 3ds Max looks for this file in the MaxStart folder specified in Configure User Paths > File I/O panel, and if found, loads it. This allows you to specify the default state of the workspace whenever you start or reset the program. For example, if you always use a ground plane, you can make it the default setup by creating one, and then saving it as maxstart.max.

If you save a different file over maxstart.max, you can return to program defaults by deleting the maxstart.max file, and then resetting the program.

  • maxstart.cui: This is the default custom user interface file. You can load and save CUI files, and set the program to use a different default CUI file. See Customize Menu.
  • plugin.ini: This file contains directory paths for plug-ins. Most other paths are kept in the program INI file, but plugin.ini is maintained as a separate file because third-party plug-ins often add entries to the list at installation.
Note It is possible to use multiple plug-in configuration files by nesting additional paths in your plugin.ini file. This can be very useful for allowing an entire network of users to share one plugin.ini file, making the system easier to maintain for the network administrator. For more information, see Network Plug-In Configuration.

  • A MAXScript file that automatically executes at startup time. For more information, see Startup Script.
  • splash.bmp: To substitute a custom splash screen (startup screen) for the default image, copy any Windows Bitmap (.bmp) file into the program root directory and rename it splash.bmp. The program will thereafter use this image at startup.

source: Autodesk 3ds Max Help

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