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Autothumbnail with FSX Steam and disc versions


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Prior to installing FSX:SE Autothumbnail worked correctly with FSX disc version. After installing Steam and enabling Autothumbnail by editing EXE.xml it works in Steam but not in FSX disc. When I try to capture an image in FSX disc there's the normal, fraction of a second freeze but no thumbnail is created.

Anyone else run into this? And if so....?

Jim F.

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You are talking about a screenshot feature?


Obviously the paths for FSX boxed and FSX:SE are much different from each other.

If you can only set one path at a time, then only one or the other will work.



2 carrot salad, 10.41 liter bucket, electric doorbell, 17 inch fan, 12X14, 85 Dbm
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've got the same problem Jim. Rigged autothumbnail to work in FSX-SE and now it won't work in FSX Acceleration. I'd cleaned FSX Steam off my computer altogether, as well as cleared all registry entries for autothumbnail, did a reinstall but no dice.



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Hey Matt,

I haven't pursued it further. Short of removing FSX:SE, it sounds like you've done what I'd been meaning to do. It's such a great little program, I'd be very sorry if a solution isn't found.

It seems most likely that the problem is related to a registry entry but I don't want to exclude anything just yet.

Jim F.

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Jim - I "may" have figured this problem out.


Autothumbnail installs the RTM (release to market) version of simconnect.dll in the folder

Program Files (x86)/Autothumbnail...which of course worked fine before installing FSX Steam.


I happened to notice that autothumbnail had actually been dropping screenshots in the usual screenshot folder all along and had a hunch that perhaps there was a simconnect problem. I tried replacing the original simconnect.dll in the autothumbnail folder with the FSX Acceleration simconnect.dll (found in this folder on my system: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X SDK\SDK\Core Utilities Kit\SimConnect SDK\lib\managed) and it worked! So you might want to give that a shot.


Granted, I tried uninstalling and reinstalling autothumbnail a couple of times too prior to that so it might have been dumb luck. Worth a try/nothing to lose! Let me know if it works for you.

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Hi Matt,

I definitely intend to try it out. There is one thing that has me confused in your last post however. When you say "I happened to notice that autothumbnail had actually been dropping screenshots in the usual screenshot folder all along". I just tried it and sure enough the picture that I captured was in there. Due to the slight delay I suspected that a picture was being captured but never thought of checking the normal screenshot folder. Did you just happen to notice that they were in there? Good observation in any event! I have to take care of some other stuff but I'll try to replicate your efforts as soon as I'm able. Oh, one other thing; I'm assuming that Autothumbnail works properly (existing thumbnail replaced with a new one) in both FSX versions. If this is not the case, please let me know.

Jim F.

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Yes, it was pure coincidence that I noticed my thumbnail attempts landing in the normal screenshot folder!


I'm not running FSX-SE at the moment (uninstalled but at the ready in case my regular FSX fails me), so I can't tell you what the impact might be on that. Good news is that you can always just undo this fix attempt if it doesn't work or somehow impacts FSX-SE negatively.

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Hi Jim.

I'm no programmer, don't have steam, and never used Autothumbnail, but, you know me, I love a chalenge!

I downloaded autothumb from here, and see the source files are included. I'll have a look and see if I come up with something, you never know.


First some questions.

I assume you installed the box version first. Then autothumb. Then steam. Yes?


Then, you say you edited "the exe.xml". What do you mean exactly?

I read Steam does not have it's own exe.xml when the BOX version is already installed.

Do you have a exe.xml in "..\appdata\fsx" and one in "..\appdata\fsx-se"??

If you already had autothumbnail installed, and there is only one exe.xml, I don't see why editing was needed.

What edit did you do, and to what file?

(Sorry for these dumb questions, but I don't have steam and can't compare.)


Also I wonder;

You say after you edited the exe.xml, autothumb no longer works with box.

First I thought, simply undo the edit you did in the exe.xml then. It should then work again.

But maybe I misunderstood you. You would have thought of such a simple fix yourself.

Was the issue with autothumb not caused by that edit perhaps?

But for example by the process of installing steam? (So it may have even stopped working before you noticed maybe, stopped working before editing exe.xml)

Or perhaps by something that changed the first time you ran it with steam? (close on exit)

Or did you do a new install of autothumb after you had installed steam, and did it stop working because of installong autothumb?



I said I'm no programmer, but I had some programming lessons long ago. I downloaded autothumbnail and the source files are included, so I had a quick look. (I have not installed or run autothumbnail. Just downloaded from flightsim and extracted.)

I copied the file "autothumbnail.cs" from the 'source' folder to my desktop. Then I renamed it to "autothumbnail.txt" and opened it with Notepad++

(I think that is the autothumb program, before compiling)

I I did find one thing in there. see snippet.

       /// Finds the directory where FSX stores screenshots (My Documents/My Pictures/...)
       /// dir, null if not found
       private string FindScreenShotsDirectory()
           string myPicturesDir = System.Environment.GetFolderPath(Environment.SpecialFolder.MyPictures);
           if (myPicturesDir == null) return null;

           // list contents
           DirectoryInfo di = new DirectoryInfo(myPicturesDir);
           DirectoryInfo[] subdirs = di.GetDirectories();
           foreach (DirectoryInfo si in subdirs)
               if (si.Name.ToLower().Contains("flight simulator x"))
                   // found FSX my pictures dir
                   return si.FullName;


Notice how (in DOS terms) it:

-finds the My Pictures DIR.

-Then opens (-I'm guessing it opens the first thing it finds-) that contains "flight simulator x"


I think that's where thing sgo wrong. At that point... it finds the steam folder.

To test I created in a folder two files, "flight simulator x files.txt" and "flight simulator x - steam edition.txt"

"flight simulator x - steam edition.txt" comes first alphabetically!!

When I type in that folders Search box "flight simulator x" (with the quotes) it lists "flight simulator x - steam edition.txt" first in the results.


It seems to me that autothumbnail, when the steam edition is installed, will find the steam "My Pictures" folder from then on.

And that would mean that it must have stopped working with the disk version the moment steam was installed, and not afterwards, when you edited that exe.xml file.

-Of course this is just the part where autothumbnail Locates the screenshots folder. Further down in the .cs file I found this is the directory the screenshot file is retrieved from by autothumbnail. To be then put in the aircraft's folder.


How autothumb works (found by reading the .cs file):

fsx box saves the screenshot in "flight simulator x files". Also when autothumbnail saves the screenshot in box, it does so using a simconnect call. So that ends up in the box version's - "flight simulator x files" folder.

The timestamp of the moment the screenshot is taken, is temporarily stored by autothumb. (keeps it in memory)

Normally, with box-only, it will then find the correct screenshot folder, and locate the file with the nearest timestamp.

Then it renames it to thumbnail.jpg while copying it to the AC folder.

--I think with BOX and SE both installed, autothumb tries to retrieve it from "flight simulator x - steam edition" by mistake. Because it only looks for "flight simulator x".


Why does it not pick another pic from the steam screenshots then?? Well, if I understand the .cs file, Autothumb will only use a file from there if it is created within 30 seconds from the timestamp. In the steam screenshots if finds no file within that timespan, and fails.



It could be that this is the only error. (To find other locations, like the AC texture folder, autothumb uses Simconnect.)

So, you could try the following 'workaround' to test:

Rename the folder: \My Pictures\flight simulator x - steam edition

to: \My Pictures\Switched Off - flight simulator x - steam edition

Then run the box version and see if it will save a screenshot in the correct aircrafts folder directly.



If that was indeed the only problem, you may be able to correct and compile the source files to a new version of autothumb.

The Source files of autothumbnail are included.

To me that file "autothumbnail.cs" looks like the complete program. Just not compiled.

But, I have no idea what compiler to use.

Also, those other files in the .zip may be needed for compiling too. I really have no clue.


It would be easy enough to edit the .cs file to say "flight simulator x files". Compiling is beyond me though.

But that's not what you want anyway. Then it would no longer work with steam!

What you want is to make autothumbnail select the Steam pics when running steam. And you want it to find the box-pics when running box.

I'm stumped. That would take more programming skills then I have.

I would probably use the workaround of renaming the folder each time I was planning to use autothumbnail.


Actually, brainwave. If you can compile autothumbnail into a working program, you can create one that works exclusively with steam ("flight simulator x - steam edition" path in .cs file.)

And one that works exclusively with FSX boxed, (compiled with path set to "flight simulator x Files")



Crossing my fingers renaming the steam screenshot folder, different start of folder name, works.

If not, don't worry, I'm kindof starting to enjoy this. And I learned a lot about steam:)



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Sorry, it got a bit long.

Basically the only suggestion in there is:

With both box and stem installed. Autothumb will save the screenshot through fsx.

But it will find the fsx steam folder by mistake when it tries to retrieve the file. And fails to continue and generate a file "thumbnail.jpg".

to fix:

change the name of folder:

C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X Files - Steam edition


C:\Users\\Pictures\Switched off - Flight Simulator X Files - Steam edition

before starting box.


Then see if the "thumbnail.jpg" files end up in the correct AC folder when using the Box-version.


change back before using steam edition.

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I renamed the simconnect in the autothumbnail folder and copied the file from the SDK. Tried to update the existing thumbnail but once again only found the new image in the pictures folder. I checked FSX:SE and a new thumbnail was created without any problem. There was no new image in the SE pictures folder.

I suspect that the pictures folder is used as part of the thumbnail creation process. After the image is converted to a jpg, edited to conform to the recommended thumbnail aspect ratio, and used to replace the existing thumbnail it would normally be deleted.

I just previewed this post and saw a new reply from il88pp and it looks like it has some good info (and a little bad). I'll submit this and then check things out. By bad I saw something about a common exe.xml; each FSX version has its own exe.xml.

Jim F.

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Hang on, I said, change the folder name to:

switched off - flight simulator x - steam edition


but I tried that (with files instead of folders)


"switched off - flight simulator x - steam edition.txt" is still listed above

"switched off - flight simulator x files.txt"

when I use 'search'.



To be sure, when testing, change the name of:

C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X Files - Steam edition





(or to anything that does not contain "flight simulator x")

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Hi il88pp,

Haven't really done anything yet. I just want to make you aware that the original Autothumbnail does not work with anything newer than Windows XP. There is a "fix" available that replaces the original .exe" It's easily found. I wasn't sure if you were aware of this.

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I did not know that, thanks, I have been looking at v1 up till now.

But, I just downloaded v2

(from here->)



I had a quick look through the file "Autothumbnail.cs" in that.

It looks like the same applies.

The screenshot is still found by locating the screenshots folder simply looking for "microsoft flight simulator" in ..\Pictures folder.


So the same solution applies.

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I think what you downloaded was a file that addressed some problems with the original version, not the latest update. I think the update you need is on this page: (It's the second file on the page)



The latest update replaces the old exe and doesn't come with any new source code.

If you have any problems, post and I'll upload the proper update to Box.

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Ok, I'll have a look at that later, but, i'm not planning on using autothumb myself. And I don't have fsx-steam.

I was just trying to help out, got intrigued.

Let's first see if the temporary folder rename works. Curious to see the result.

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Hi il88,

With your inexactitude in naming folders, not having the latest source, and my not taking the time to review the old source code it took quite a leap of faith to try your suggestion. But, by golly, I did and it worked! Congratulations!

I changed the picture folder name from "Flight Simulator X - Steam Edition Files" to "QQQFlight Simulator X - Steam Edition Files". In FSX I went through the new thumbnail capture process, checked to see if that the new thumbnail was created, and after exiting FSX checked that the new image was properly deleted from the pictures folder. All good!

Short of editing and re-compiling autothumbnail or writing a batch file to appropriately name the picture folders as part of the FSX startup I can't think of any solution to the problem other than what you suggested. It seems that the original author bailed quite awhile ago.

Thanks for providing the solution!

Jim F.

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Now that I think of it, totally separate from the autothumbnail troubleshooting effort I had noticed that the Flight Simulator X - Steam Edition pictures folder was still on my hard drive even though I had uninstalled that sim...so I deleted it! Purely coincidental to messing with the simconnect.dll version I had also stumbled upon the solution but would never have known why it suddenly worked again! Thanks il88pp you are the man (or woman)!


FSX is crazy. I'm not much of a drinking man but if I needed a reason...

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Hey Matt,

It is nice when things come together. What also is strange about this (or so it seems to me) was that the exact folder name was not defined. Just the "flight simulator x" part. If the full folder name was specified the program never would have worked with Steam. There must have been a reason for that but I can't imagine what it could have been.

Jim F.

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Yes, some small typo's in that post probably. By the time I hit 'send' I had been working on this thing for 6 hours straight, working through the dead of night, and the sun starting to come up. I started with it after midnight, looking up the folder details of steam, then got stuck in some C# instructions that made my head ache. I had already rewritten the message a few times in that process, and the letters were starting to dance before my eyes.:)


Nevermind that though. SO glad it worked! Whammy Wham whazzle!!



I had a look at the avsim version.

Your link leads to a page with autothumb v2 (same on as simviation, I did MD5 checks.)

There is also a link there with a fix for win 7. The fix is .exe only, no source. (different MD5)


Earlier I looked into the simviation one. I googled ".cs file"

The .cs is a C# source file. It may be relatively easy to whack that throug a C# compiler.

Then again. On the Avsim page it says the fix 'makes autothumb v2 work with win7". So v2 itself does not seem to work with 7/Vista either!


That puts a spanner in the works. I was looking forward to my first C# compile!!


I have half a mind to install autothumb v2 without the fix. Then check to see for myself it doesn't work.

If that does not take a screenshot with my box version, well, without knowing what the win7-fix source, recompiling will not be an option.

But I'm in no rush. You have a workaround for now. Main goal achieved.


If recompiling is not possible with win7, only option left would be to create 2 bat files to start fsx with. (-use a bat file that starts Box and that also renames the screenshots folder while starting box. -And of course a batch file that starts steam and that names the folder back to the original when starting steam.)


At least we now know the cause, and have a workaround for the dual fsx situation.

Wiggle wiggle wiggle, yeah!




Thanks for the compliment WWA2218.:o Had a lot of fun with this. And your imput was very valuable.


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I just had an idea. Not sure if you will like it though. Because it will mean that screenshots from both sims will be stored to the same folder.


But, it's an option you had not thought of, so here goes. I think you could:


Rename the folder C:\\users\\Pictures\Fligh Simulator X Files



(This folder will not be used any further)



Create a symbolic link (symlink) in: C:\\users\\Pictures\


C:\\users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X - Steam edition



The name of the Symlink must be:

C:\\users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X Files


From then on, the screenshots taken by simconnect call, from both box and steam have their screenshots end up in the folder:

C:\\users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X - Steam edition


There autothumb v2 + Fix will find them. (!!!)

There you have the solution.

Disadvantage is of course that all screenshots end up in the same folder. I never use the V key to take screenshots anyway, so for me it wouldn't matter. Choice is yours.


If you never created symlinks, LOOK INTO IT!!

it involves using a cmd prompt with admin priviliges.

Also look into how to remove symlinks.


I'll try to write a small guide on symlinks, but it's all new to me to. So make sure you look into it for yourself and don't take my word for it.

-A Symlink like we use here, points to a folder. Files that get sent to the Symlink, end up in the Folder instead.

-That folder can be anywhere on the system.

-To create a symlink you use a admin CMD prompt.

-You use the command: mklink for this.

-Syntax at Prompt:

mklink /prefix link_path Target_file/folder_path

-There are several types of links you can create with mklink, depending on the switch used. (mklink /D -- or /J -- and others). In this case we use mklink /J

-For the difference between the types of link, you'll have to look that up yourself. I started learning about this 2 hours ago...


How to proceed:

*In this case you would first remove/rename the FSX box screenshot folder.

(by the way, don't worry about that. if you remove the folder, and start fsx, nothing bad happens. I just did that, and fsx recreated the "flight simulator x files" -folder automatically the next time I took a screenshot.)

* Then you open the cmd prompt as admin, and type:


( make sure to use your own username !!)

mklink /J "C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X Files" "C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X - steam edition"

*Hit: >Enter


You now see, in "C:\\.. ..Pictures", the new symlink. The icon looks like a folder with a small arrow. Name of the symlink will be "Flight Simulator X Files".

FSX (box) will send it's screenshots there, and they will end up in "C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X - Steam Edition" instead.

There autothumbnail will find them, and retrieve them fine.



--One Note. I read some scare stories about -"if you delete a symlink, the target folder gets deleted also"-. Well, I just tried, and removed the symlink I created to test using explorer, and the target folder was still there with all files intact.

--But, just to be sure, before you delete a symlink, rename the target folder.

--That way, if Win tries to delete the target, it can't find it, and only the symlink gets deleted.


You will notice that if you 'open' the symlink (double click) it will look like you are in the target folder. But don't worry, the files are not stored twice. They don't take up extra space.


Of course doing this will mean from now on the screenshots from box and steam will end up in the same folder.

Could be an issue, if you use the V key a lot and like taking pics. Could be a blessing too, if you don't want to have to search through both folders for that elusive screenshot you are sure you made yesterday....

I never use the V-key, so for me it would be a fine solution.

You'll have to decide that for yourself.


I could imagine only one real issue with this method. FSX sometimes tries to retrieve a screenshot. In thepostcards menu in the Logbook. It is possible that if FSX-box tries to retrieve a file from "C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X Files" (from the symlink) it runs into an issue.


More info on symlinks. (unfortunately mostly on mklink /J) (which is not what you want)


Conciderations for filesysten operations when programs use symlinks.


But there's many more sites with info. Google -symlink windows-.



I wrote this while skipping throug google searches.

I just tested it also.

I created a folder in Pictures, called: "Flight Simulator X - Steam Edition"

I deleted the box- "FLight Simulator X Files" -folder.

I created a Symlink, using:

mklink /J "C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X Files" "C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X - steam edition"

(same as instructions above.)

I started fsx box. Took a screenshot with the V-key.

The pic ended up in: "C:\Users\\Pictures\Flight Simulator X - steam edition" perfectly.


I tested if autothumb will find it there, and it does.


I have not tested for anomalies with "postcards" in the fsx logbook pages, again, something I don't use often.




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I updated all of the thumbnails I wanted to and have restored the Steam folder name. I'm pretty much finished with that. Regarding symbolic links here's a little guide I wrote a while back:


Symbolic links for Windows 7 (64bit anyway)

Re-locating files and having Windows treat them as if they were in the original location.

You simply MOVE the folder to the new location and then create a link to the new location in the original location.


Here's an example of moving the "SimObjects" folder from an SSD and to a HD:


1) MOVE the entire "SimObjects" folder to (the new location) - e.g. "Z:\"


2) With the mouse cursor in the main FSX folder, press shift and right click. From the menu that opens select "Open Command window here".


3) In the CMD window ENTER "mklink /J SimObjects Z:\SimObjects" to create the link. (use the complete path name to the new folder here)


4) That's all there is to it.


The only way you can tell the SimObjects folder is now a link is by a little arrow attached to the folder icon. Everything works as if the folder was in the original location.


General symbolic link syntax:


With Cmd window opened in the folder from which folder was moved:


mklink /J (name of moved folder) (full path to moved folder)


What I found that was a real time saver and eliminated a lot of typos was in step 2.

Jim F.

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