I haven’t followed this thread all the way through but I feel compelled to add my two cents.
Yes, the structure of Poser & DAZ model file heirarchy is complicated. Made worse by evolutionary changes within Poser and compounded further by evolutionary changes within DAZ Studio too.
I’ve tried to write a complete tutorial identifying all the issues but my brain short-circuited and battery acid leaked into my shorts. Needless to say, the tutorial remains unfinished and only scatterings of my wisdom(sic) are found in the old DAZ forums.
To add grit into the watchworks it must be realized that some 3rd-party models (and even a couple of DAZ models) don’t unpack into exactly the right spots.
I used to have multiple “runtime” folders (for Poser stuff) and multiple “content” folders for various types of Studio stuff but I’m sure that led to my eventual cranial explosion, and was the root cause of my decision to completely re-install my entire library from scratch. I now have only one “content” folder with one “runtime” folder within it for my Studio3 library. I also have an installation of Studio4 on a separate machine and it has a completely separate, but much smaller selection of my models installed into the “<user>/Documents/.../MyLibrary” folder. (I’m still experimenting with Studio4 and don’t trust it completely yet.)
My current approach when installing models is to weed out the odd-ball models that are incomplete or hard to install, and simply not deal with them. The installation of “zip"ed files is done by unzipping them into an easily located folder (i.e. c:/DAZtmp) to see how they were structured, then if the structure looks OK I simply cut & paste the structure into the appropriate folder (i.e. “My Library” or “content” or “runtime”). The installation of DAZ “exe” files is done by making sure that I actually observe the installation path and determine that it is the right spot before I blindly say “OK” to the installation. THEN after it’s installed I go back into my model hierarchy and see if the installer inadvertently gave me a “content” within my “content” or similar boo-boo. If so, then I simply cut & paste the errant sub-folder and put it where it belongs. THEN I actually test the loading of the models and its major textures or associated props.
All this, of course, assumes that one knows what the “correct” hierarchy structure is supposed to look like and that only comes with experience.
However, to get back to what I was originally going to say…
I have found that Studio4 installed on Windows7 in a “STANDARD” user login account (rather than an “ADMINISTRATOR” account), simply doesn’t do the right thing regarding the choice of default installation path! (*grrr). It asks for the Administrator password and then proceeds to define the DEFAULT installation path as the “.../users/Administator/Documents/...” branch NOT the “.../users/<my login>/Documents/...” branch. Subsequently when one executes DAZ Studio and tries to point the preferences to the model tree in the Administrator’s account it doesn’t work because a STANDARD user can’t view the ADMINISTRATOR’s files. (oy!) I guess one could disable all sorts of permissions protections or start running DAZ Studio in the Administrator’s account but that’s cheating.
I have found that if you manually set the model installer’s installation path to your personal Documents/... path instead of letting it default to the Administator’s Documents/... path, then the models install just fine and Studio can find them.
So, in summary (yeah, I know, I talk too much) If you are running Studio4 as a STANDARD user in Windows7 be cognizant of where your models are being installed. As a side note, the problem with the default path arises because when you try to install DAZ Studio it needs administrator privileges to install the applications so it asks for the Administrator’s password then assumes that the Administrator is the user who is going to be running the system and sets the default paths to point to the Administrator. Point being, if you like the security of running as a STANDARD user, please be aware that DAZ Studio4 gets confused unless you hold it’s hand while installing models.