Microsoft Flight Simulator X

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Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Microsoft Flight Simulator X cover
Developers
ACES Studio
Steam Edition Dovetail Games
Publishers
Microsoft Game Studios
Release dates
Windows October 17, 2006
Microsoft Flight Simulator X on Wikipedia

Warnings

GameSpy online services have been shut down (see Network for solutions).
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator 1982
Microsoft Flight Simulator Version 2.0 1983
Microsoft Flight Simulator (Mac) 1986
Microsoft Flight Simulator Version 3.0 1988
Microsoft Flight Simulator Version 4.0 1989
Microsoft Flight Simulator Version 5.0 1993
Microsoft Flight Simulator Version 5.1 1995
Microsoft Flight Simulator for Windows 95 1996
Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 1997
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 1999
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 2001
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 2003
Microsoft Flight Simulator X 2006
Microsoft Flight 2012
Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) 2020

Key points

Re-released as Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition on Steam. Multiplayer has been patched to work with Steam, and a few bugs have been fixed. No other major changes.
Extensive modding community.
Notoriously unstable, CPU and GPU-intensive.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition requires administrator privileges to run, which requires Steam to run as an administrator.

General information

Official website (Steam Edition)
AVSIM - a very active fan forum.
FlightSim.com - a very active fan forum.
Steam Community Discussions

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Requires online activation
Gold Edition is fully updated and contains all previously released expansions and enhancements.
Windows
Amazon.com
Requires online activation
Gold Edition is fully updated and contains all previously released expansions and enhancements.
Windows
Steam
Icon overlay.png
Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition
Windows

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Name Notes
Flight Simulator X: Acceleration Included with the Gold Edition and Steam Edition. The expansion also comes with both Service Packs.
Windows
Around The World In 80 Flights Add-On Steam Edition only.
Windows
Early Years of Flight Add-On Steam Edition only.
Windows
Discover Arabia Add-On Steam Edition only.
Windows

Essential improvements[edit]

Service Packs[edit]

After installing FSX download and install Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2. Gold Edition users do NOT need this update, as the game is fully updated.

Mods[edit]

Flight Simulator X is known for its extensive modding community. There are many freeware and payware add-ons available. Be cautious when installing and research other users experiences along with check for compatibility with other addons you may have.

Game data[edit]

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.
In-game realism settings.
In-game realism settings.

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Flight Simulator X\FSX.cfg
%APPDATA%\Microsoft\FSX\FSX.cfg
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/314160/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Flight Simulator X Files\
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/314160/pfx/[Note 1]
Screenshots are saved in %USERPROFILE%\My Pictures\Flight Simulator X Files\

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

In-game general video/options menu.
In-game general video/options menu.
Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Widescreen resolution.
Multi-monitor
See Widescreen resolution.
Ultra-widescreen
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Set Widescreen resolution aspect for a slightly wider (but still fixed) FOV.
Windowed
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Built-in antialiasing is generally bad. Use Nvidia Inspector or similar for best results.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
As with antialiasing, built in V-Sync is generally bad.
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
FPS cap can be removed.

Widescreen resolution[edit]

Enabling wide view aspect also increases the in-flight FOV.
Set WideViewAspect in FSX.cfg[citation needed]
  1. Edit %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Flight Simulator X\FSX.cfg
  2. Change WideViewAspect=False to WideViewAspect=True
  3. Save your changes.

Input settings[edit]

In-game control calibration settings.
In-game control calibration settings.

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Airplane's engine, cockpit, environment, and voice.
Surround sound
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Can be enabled in settings.

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English

Network[edit]

Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
Local play
LAN play
Online play
Server browser in non-Steam versions no longer works.

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Matchmaking
Peer-to-peer
Dedicated
Must use Direct-IP option on non-Steam version
Self-hosting
Direct IP

Ports

Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 3783, 6500, 6515, 6667, 13139, 27900, 28900, 29900-29901
UDP 6073, 6515, 13139, 23456, 27900
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
Fix: Helix Mod by Bo3b, some lights do not render.
TriDef 3D
DirectX 9 only.
iZ3D
vorpX
G3D
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
Headsets Native Notes
HTC Vive
Use FlyInside.
Oculus Rift
Use FlyInside.
OSVR
Windows Mixed Reality
This game might be playable with the Revive Compatibility Layer (compatibility list).
Devices Native Notes
Tracked motion controllers
Traditional controller
See Input settings for details.
Keyboard/Mouse
TrackIR
Tobii Eye Tracking
Use Tobii Game Hub. Supports head tracking.
Play area Native Notes
Seated

Issues fixed[edit]

"1628: Failed to complete installation" error when installing[edit]

Force Windows Vista compatibility mode[1][2]
  1. Run Setup.exe on the installation DVD with the Windows Vista (Service Pack 1) Windows Compatibility Mode.

"Error Code 1-80004005" on launch[edit]

Error message: "We're sorry, an unexpected error occurred which is preventing product activation from being completed. ERROR CODE: 1-80004005"
Change registry setting[2][3]
  1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e967-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}
  2. Open UpperFilters
  3. Change the contents to PartMgr (this is case sensitive[2]).
  4. Run the game normally. The activation window should appear.

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9, 10
Shader Model support 1.1, 4 [citation needed]
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Multiplayer GameSpy, Steamworks GameSpy no longer available. Steam version uses Steamworks.

Game settings tweaks[edit]

Click Expand on the right to show the section.

Graphics[edit]

  • Set resolution to your monitors default resolution.
  • The frame rate can either be locked with the internal limiter or an external limiter. External limiters may yield higher performance but have been linked to blurries and stutters
  • Anti-Aliasing is dependent on whether you are using another utility such as Nvidia Inspector to force higher anti-aliasing
  • Global texture resolution should be set to Very High. This will allow FSX to load texture sheets up to 1024x1024
  • Preview DX10 enables DirectX 10. Many addons and even default objects will not display properly and anti-aliasing does not work. Advantages are increased performance, enhanced lighting, and cockpit shadows
  • Lens flare enables a camera-like flare when looking at the sun
  • Light bloom adds a subtle bloom but decreases performance. A better option is the ENB Series mod
  • Advanced animations allows many object animations to display, leave this checked

Aircraft[edit]

  • High resolution 3-D virtual cockpit should be left enabled for best detail
  • Aircraft shadows add depth to the sim but are somewhat bugged and decrease performance
  • Aircraft self-shadowing is also bugged and decreases performance but adds depth and shading to aircraft

Scenery[edit]

  • Level of detail radius impacts the sharpness of terrain around the user. The higher this is set the less blurry distant terrain will be at the expense of increased memory usage and decreased performance
  • Mesh complexity impacts how far away mesh will retain a high resolution. A lower number will load lower resolution mesh at a distance
  • Mesh resolution is the resolution of the terrain mesh itself. Many addons require a certain resolution but there is no default FSX mesh of a higher resolution than 10m
  • Texture resolution determines the maximum resolution that terrain textures will be loaded. Set to 7 cm so that all terrain textures and photoreal overlays will display at their highest potential resolution. Default FSX terrain textures are 1m
  • Water effects controls the wave action and reflection in water. Higher settings impact performance but look better. Low 2.X or higher is advised for best graphics. Max 2.X is known to be bugged
  • Land detail textures, leave this checked
  • Scenery complexity determines how many non-autogen objects are loaded. Extremely dense can be used on most systems
  • Autogen density determines how much autogen is loaded by FSX. This setting will have the most impact on performance. Adjust accordingly to your system
  • Ground scenery shadows allows objects to cast shadows. This setting takes a heavy toll on performance and is very buggy
  • Special effects include moving waves, fireworks and other effects.

Weather[edit]

  • Cloud draw distance determines how far away clouds are displayed. The highest setting is often beyond what a human eye can see in real life. Between 60 and 90 mi is a realistic setting for most conditions
  • Thermal visualization will show markers for thermals. If enabled either natural or artificial markers are used. Natural markers are birds flying in the thermal while artificial markers show a coil following the thermal upwards
  • Simple or detailed clouds affects the quality of clouds. Detailed clouds appear much better but take a harder hit on performance
  • Cloud coverage density will set the number of clouds to be displayed. A higher setting will decrease performance
  • The simulations settings box adjusts the affect of weather on the users aircraft and how often real world weather is downloaded

Traffic[edit]

  • Adjust traffic settings according to your system. All AI traffic requires CPU power and will decrease performance.
  • Road traffic should be kept at a low number or disabled as it is a heavy performance hit.

CFG tweaks[edit]

To reset the settings, delete the FSX.cfg file and launch FSX. A new configuration file will be generated.
Multi-core Fix[citation needed]
Changes how FSX uses multiple cores.

Open the configuration file (.cfg) and add the following:

[JOBSCHEDULER]
AffinityMask=n
Where n is a number that will depend on the amount of physical CPU cores you have:
  • 3 for a dual-core CPU.
  • 7 for a tri-core CPU.
  • 15 for a quad-core CPU.
  • 63 for a hexa-core CPU.

Notes

This tweak will move FSX's main thread from core 0, where the OS puts most processes, to core 1.
This tweak is reported to improve performance.
Removes core 0 from use and so fewer threads are available to load scenery and textures.
FSX does not support simultaneous multithreading (e.g. Intel's Hyper-threading), so virtual cores are not to be factored in to this tweak. Simultaneous multithreading has been reported to increase stutters and decrease performance.
HighMemFix[citation needed]
A recommended tweak from Microsoft for all FSX users.

Open the configuration file (.cfg) and add the following:

[GRAPHICS]
HIGHMEMFIX=1
Turn Off Red Warning Messages[citation needed]

Open the configuration file (.cfg) and change the following lines from True to False:

InfoBrakesEnable=False
InfoParkingBrakesEnable=False
InfoPauseEnable=False
InfoSlewEnable=False
InfoStallEnable=False
InfoOverspeedEnable=False
Bufferpool[citation needed]

Open the configuration file (.cfg) and add the following:

[BufferPools]
PoolSize=0

Notes

Set "Water Effects" to High 2.X or higher to prevent flashes with this tweak
Setting to 0 bypasses the internal bufferpool and sends data directly from the CPU to the GPU.
This tweak improves smoothness while turning in flight.
Some users may experience artifacts from this tweak.
The default value is 1000000.
Texture Bandwidth[citation needed]
Do not modify this line of the configuration file!
In Flight Simulator 2004 it was recommended to change this value to 400 but this does not apply for FSX and will degrade performance.
[DISPLAY]
TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=40
Increase Maximum Texture Size[citation needed]
By default FSX will only display textures up to 1024x1024. Any larger textures will be downsized.

Open the configuration file (.cfg) and change the following line to 2048 or 4096 to use higher resolution textures.

[GRAPHICS]
TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD=4096

Notes

Any size larger than 1024 will be reset to 1024 if settings are changed in-game.
Sharper Distant Textures[citation needed]
This tweak forces FSX to load textures that are farther away, making them appear sharper.
It places a heavy load on memory and may result in out of memory errors.
[TERRAIN]
LOD_RADIUS=4.500000

Notes

The default maximum in FSX is 4.5. Settings beyond 6.5 were shown to cause a drastic rise in errors and artifacts during FSX beta testing and user testing. This value will also be reset to the default maximum if settings are changed in game.
Autogen Density[citation needed]
Autogen is the trees and buildings automatically generated by the game engine. Autogen is resource intensive and so decreasing it will increase performance.

Open the configuration file (.cfg) and add the following lines to the [TERRAIN] section. The default values are as shown.

TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=4500
TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL=3000

Notes

These two values work very differently from each other. For buildings the in-game autogen slider loads autogen in intervals of 20% meaning that the highest setting loads 100% of autogen available and the lowest loads 0% available. If there are 1500 buildings on the terrain tile then a setting of Very Dense will load 80% of the 1500 buildings or 1200 buildings. Recommended values for TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL are between 700 and 1000.
Autogen trees may be placed in the sim in different ways but the number of trees can override the TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL line. For those seeking more performance it is best to create an artificial cap for buildings and use the autogen slider to adjust trees.
Scenery Loading and Blurries[citation needed]

Open the configuration file (.cfg) and add the following to increase CPU time dedicated to loading scenery data:

[MAIN]
FIBER_FRAME_TIME_FRACTION=0.33

Notes

This variable determines the amount of CPU time given to loading scenery data as a fraction of the time spent rendering. The default value of 0.33 means that for ever 3 milliseconds spent rendering, FS will give 1 millisecond to the scenery loader. If this value is set to 0 scenery will not be loaded. The lower this value is set the higher performance will be, but at the expense of blurry terrain and autogen loss.

System requirements[edit]

Retail version[edit]

Windows
Minimum
Operating system (OS) XP SP2, Vista
Processor (CPU) 2.0 GHz dual-core
System memory (RAM) 256 MB for XP SP2, 512 MB for Vista
Hard disk drive (HDD) 14 GB (Acceleration expansion [Included in Gold Edition] requires an additional 4 GB)
Video card (GPU) 32 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9 compatible
Shader model 1.1 support

Steam version[edit]

Windows
Minimum
Operating system (OS) XP SP2
Processor (CPU) 2.0 GHz Single Core
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 30 GB
Video card (GPU) 256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 1.1 support

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/314160/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (314160) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.

References