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Multiple installations of FSX-SE ..... sort of


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I've been wondering if it would be possible to creat multiple installations of copies of FSX-SE. They would be "frozen in time" of the date I make them and would not be subject to periodic steam updates of course. There's a tutorial on flightsim about how to create multiple installs of FS2004 (and presumably FXS Classic) and it looks fairly easy.

So I'm wondering can I copy my FSX-SE installation (in my case on my I: drive, not the default location) into a new folder on my drive and rename the FSX.exe to something like FSXww2.exe. Will it create the necessary folders and files the first time I run it without conflicting with the base installation (e.g. Libraries-Documents-Microsoft Simulator X Files, ProgramData-Microsoft-FSX, AppData-Roaming-Microsoft-FSX, AppData-Local-Microsoft-FSX)? Or would I need to create the folders and modify names to eliminate conflict?

Since I won't be able to install DLC aircraft through the Steam process, should I load up my FSX-SE installation with all of them that I expect to use before I make my first copy, and then thin out the ones I don't want in a given copy (I plan to make more than one copy)?

Along those lines, is there any utility that exists to list all the files and their locations that were added in a specified historical time period? Say for example I download a DLC aircraft from Steam at 4pm and nothing else, and at 5pm could I query the new files added to my system between 3:58 and 4:58pm? It would be instructive to know what was added to effects, gauges, sound, etc in addition to SimObjects. Or is this not necessary because Steam puts everything added in the DLC folder? For other addons I plan to install into a "dummy" FSX install with empty folders for Addon Scenery, effects, gauges, Scenery, SimObjects and sound. Then transfer to my copied installation, leaving the dummy empty for the next use. That is, assuming the installer gives me the option of specifying another path.

My reason for wanting to do this (if possible) is that I would like one install that's all WW2 stuff, another for Vietnam era, and a modern era.

Does this sound doable? Am I overlooking something? Has anyone already done this and can share their experience?



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The easiest scenario I can imagine requires adequate space but you could copy your entire sim multiple times over in custom named folders and do a simple rename... so the proper one is referenced when you want... EXCEPT scenery must still be mostly managed separately. There is only one active scenery.cfg up in the user's folder so you would also have to make and keep several source versions to copy over the scenery.cfg for each environment. This is going to be the most difficult aspect of all. MUCH attention to detail will be required. If I were doing it now, I'd write several batch file scripts to precisely handle the renaming of files and folders reliably.


but read on...


First off, it is entirely reasonable to make a (or multiple) copies of your FSX install because if something is lost/trashed, Steam can only resore to the original state. Now, I haven't done exactly what you are thinking of... I did try to set up one regular FS9 and one with Australia 'coloring' but ended up screwing up the original anyway.


But let's talk about it. Probably the single most important thing is to copy your install when dramatic changes occur... sorta. You don't need to worry about the default files because Steam can always restore them. So what customization do you need to protect?


1. Aircraft, but only if they are not default or if they are modified default AC ( with edited config files/panels/cameras/additional textures).

Since I try to limit the number of aircraft in (or accessible to) FSX I keep a hangar folder with all of my aircraft in it; and I keep a small number of 'active' add-on aircraft in a separate folder that FSX can use. I COPY the aircraft from the hangar for use and delete them when I tire of them. I DO NOT alias panels or sounds and I keep gauges in the panel folders of each aircraft - occasional exceptions are made for sets of similar aircraft that all reference a single model. Copies of effects and such are kept with the aircraft so everything associated is kept intact and moves together. Effects need to be copied to the main folder but they are small; same for sounds that need to go in the main sound folder - don't fret about the small stuff.


The add-on aircraft folder is simply defined and accessed by adding to the normal simobects entries in FSX.cfg like so:











you could instead add





The sim doesn't care where they are, you just have to tell it where they are.


2 The BIG bugaboo is going to be SCENERY.

There is only one active scenery config file so you WILL have to carefully manage that.

Most scenery is additive, overlaying the default. A very small number may override the default and also be located in untypical locations. Here is where folder copying may be the more practical approach. For the standard stuff, enabling/disabling via the scenery.cfg would be sufficient. By "standard" I refer to scenery completely contained in a named folder with scenery and texture folders; you add to the scenery library and activate it and you're done -- nothing is added to the scenery\world\scenery or texture folders or anywhere else. If you wanted to build a WW2 install, you could do it perhaps with only a WW2-customized scenery.cfg and a folder for the aircraft to use. There may not be any NEED to copy the whole blasted thing.


Short digression (with a purpose). I despise having an addon that insists on installing directly to my sim, so I always unpack to dummy folders. For the few that will NOT install that way I have a dummy FSX folder with a copy of fsx.exe inside it.... named perhaps _FSX. At install time the real fsx becomes xFSX and _FSX temporarily become FSX, installers are happy, I am happy, the spirits are happy, the ancestors..... but now I can see what was installed and where.


The same can apply to your situation. You could have custom scenery mostly installed in a custom folder C:\WWII-scenery (or whatever) but in addition (if needed) you could have a small set of \world\scenery duplicate folders such as \worldWW2 and \worldNAM. A few moments to change names and you are ready to fly in a different environment.








and you'll have a WW2-scenery.txt and a NAM-scenery.txt and a Orig-scenery.txt any of which can become the active scenery.cfg for the configuration you want.


You shouldn't need to adjust many FSX.cfg parameters for the variations but you can still do that also within the sim and save named config files.


I really think most of what you want can be achieved with careful scenery management, emphasis on CAREFUL. Mistakes will happen. keep copies of your cfg files; make notes; don't rush; make backups; don't make changes when you're tired or in a hurry. Take you time - unless you're older than me you probably have LOTS of time; be patient.... gettin' there is half the fun.


I wish you luck and fun.


Hooked since FS4... now flying:

self-built i7-4790 at 4 GHz; GA-Z97X mobo; GTX 970; 16GB gskill;

quiet, fast and cool running.

Win 7/64: 840 EVO OS; 840 EVO (500G) game drive;

Win10/64: 850 EVO (500G) for OS and games

A few Flightsim videos on YouTube at CanyonCorners

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you might find the scenery config editor mentioned here to be of significant use. I prefer the manual approach so I always know what's going on but editor assistance is not to be overlooked. The main thing is to find what works for you.



Hooked since FS4... now flying:

self-built i7-4790 at 4 GHz; GA-Z97X mobo; GTX 970; 16GB gskill;

quiet, fast and cool running.

Win 7/64: 840 EVO OS; 840 EVO (500G) game drive;

Win10/64: 850 EVO (500G) for OS and games

A few Flightsim videos on YouTube at CanyonCorners

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