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Direct Link To This Post Topic: THE FSX COMPUTER SYSTEM: THE BIBLE - BY: NickN
    Posted: July-01-2013 at 11:19pm





Let me make something perfectly clear, and believe me when I say this, its with a wide open SMILE Big smile; this is my BOOK, my OUTLINE and MY way of approaching a computer system and Flight Simulator and always has been. If you don't like my book, don't read it! Big smile  LOL 

I have made clarification edits to this outline recently in both the introduction sections and in the technical sections in order to make sure what I originally posted is made clear in its intent.
Given some of the immature reviews about what I said and my motives, I am now making this very clear:

Coming here and reading this is the same as asking to borrow the book and guide I have followed for years which consolidates my approach and my technical path to success and building a sim. That includes my approach and opinions to addons as well as what takes priority in render AND what their potential is to reduce a users performance. Many users have asked for this in-depth knowledge and my opinions for years and that is what I am providing here.

There is no difference between what is presented below and how I would answer a individual topic question in a forum. If you want my opinion or my insight, you are going to get it here and remember by reading this what you are asking me for isMy Experienced Opinions.


The biblical references are for comic relief. If you cant take a joke, leave.  LOL


I will consider a PDF version after this is complete. As it stands today it is incomplete due to real world responsibilities we all have. In that PDF I will remove the biblical references as to not 'offend' Wacko anyone even though that was never the intent.

No one is 'below' me.. we are all a community and the knowledge I have around the subject, including my 'opinions' are being shared for the first time in a fully consolidated outline with details.
I originally had this outline scripted as I would have released to a peer review group but instead decided based on the diverse world of users Flight Sim has and the wide range of users, including the 'fan-boy' mentality, that calling on my military background which defines cutting RIGHT through the BS and simply telling it like it is was a far better way to approach this subject.
Writing this up any other way would leave too many subjects unclear and may not get the points across the same way.
I know the more mature crowd may not like that approach and I did labor over that decision, but given the realities around the personalities I think we 'old bucks' see in the forums everyday in order to make a point in this hobby sometimes it takes a little more of a direct approach with strong emphasis where its needed.
I grew up during the 'Duck and Cover' era..   that meant 2 things:
1. If you hear the sirens for air or nuke attack, duck and cover!
2. If you 'smart-off' to your mother or father, you best do the same!   Big smile LOL
I don't put up with nonsense and the forums are full of it. So THE REAL ISSUES AND THE GOAL section of this outline was written with that in mind..
First things first..    The issues and the goals must be understood above all else.


This is my last 'hurrah' to the Flight Sim Community. - and I do mean my last.


Anyone is welcome to bookmark and use (without duplication or reproduction) the information in this document and supporting links however like anything else you read online use of this information is at your own risk.

This document is designed for those who prefer to fly Flight Simulator X instead of endlessly tweaking it. It defines a methodology to building and tuning a Flight Simulator system in which that methodology is proven in years of testing and is based on the application itself. After going through this information and following along, and, with a little practice, you should find it fairly easy to deal with Flight Simulator and how to approach tuning it in the future as more addons are introduced to your sim.

If you came here looking for a 'fast-and-dirty' way to make Flight Sim run better with a few silly tweaks (most of the tweaks you see online ARE silly!), you came to the wrong place and you will not find it. Success with Flight Sim starts with the hardware selections at purchase and ends with the user understanding the issues and how to optimize their system, correct issues before or when they appear, and, tune their sim correctly with the right methodology in mind.

I have been asked many times over the last decade how I personally build a Flight Sim tower and set it up. This document outlines how I establish, setup, install and optimize a computer system. I have doing this since the days of Windows95 with outstanding results. Over the years I have posted thousands of support solutions to common issues users face daily and I have provided outlines/guidelines for users to follow. I have worked with people 1-on-1 and provided direct support for those I considered would learn from the experience and pass it on.

The difference between this document and outlines I have posted in the past is that this document will explain in far greater detail the logic and engineering behind a methodology that will not fail as long as a user follows this guide and the defined criteria is met. This document supersedes all other Flight Sim, Windows and hardware optimizing guides that I have provided in the past. It includes a comprehensive list that touches on every topic I have addressed with users in support forums for nearly a decade and adds new information that has been generated in recent years.

Past its use for Flight Simulator, this outline provides an exceptionally optimized computer platform from which to run any performance application. It will improve system performance regardless of the systems primary use. Any user who follows this outline and who does not ignore or skip steps will establish a base system which addresses the primary reasons for poor system performance which in turn is directly related to how well the Flight Simulator application runs.

I have provided a very comprehensive checklist below of prerequisites that will define success when building a system and optimizing it for high performance. Do not skip the "Preflight Checklist" as it outlines critical areas in a defined sequential order so that users can target many problems that will fix Flight Sim crashes and system performance issues before they ever appear! These are issues users report in forums everyday and who do not know where to start in order to correct them. After the Preflight  Checklist you can proceed to the Windows 7 Optimizing Guide below it.



NOTE: The Windows 7 optimizing section of this document does not apply to Windows 8. The optimizing list presented is designed specifically for Windows 7 ONLY.  Windows 8 users are welcome to look over this document and focus on the preflight section as that defines building and setting up any system however the specific operating system settings changes outline for the OS for performance were not considered for Windows 8!

I have no desire nor any reason to run Windows 8..   nor FSX on Windows 8. I tried it, it makes NO difference to FSX and there are too many nonsense issues with the OS at this time.



Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
- Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837�1919)


Before you begin this process, understand the following:

This methodology has displayed instant visual results to users in the past decade and they understood immediately on the first flight the benefits of using it. The latest and newer hardware of the last few years masks issues of the past that slowed a system down. That overhead is still there and still influences performance, its just that the hardware and technology are masking users from instantly recognizing the loss.

People assume problems of the past are no longer an issue and in that users assume too much. What this outline provides is removal of that behind-the-scenes overhead and shifts the majority of the resources back to the application in which we all know that Flight Simulator can use all the resources it can muster. That can not be done by simply shutting down services and boot programs, as a matter of fact with Windows 7 shutting down a lot of Windows services is nonsense. Unlike XP, that all changed with Windows 7 and how it works with services.

Think of this entire outline as a chain.

If you have correctly worked through the Preflight Checklist and followed the advice then you have established the beginning of a strong chain. Now consider each step forward from that point in the order presented another single link in the chain as its made. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so with that in that in mind lets move onward and upward...

There is a lot of information in this document, please do not let that influence or deter reviewing it and giving it a try. Think of it as a fun project instead of a lot of reading. I have written this outline in a way that anyone can understand. I avoided the engineering 'tech-speak' and present the information in easy-to-follow-along terms and 1-2-3 sequential list. Once you have done this a few times it will take about a day to install a OS from scratch, set it up and install Flight Sim with 2 or 3 'base' primary addons and have it running smooth.

I will discuss good hardware choices for Flight Simulator X. The same information can be applied to future hardware as it is released to the market. You can then make informed decisions but users will be hard pressed to be satisfied with Flight Simulator X running large payware scenery and payware aircraft on laptops, cheap video cards, cheap memory and all around low budget hardware. Under those conditions you will be far better off running Flight Simulator 9 however you can still obtain results using the methodology outlined here.

With cheaper hardware and unrealistic expectations a user will be constantly spending money to upgrade, in other words you will spend more! with no long term satisfaction or true 'cash-savings' in the long run. Its better to spend a little more now than spend it again and again trying to upgrade cheap hardware over time. If a user selects the right hardware they can expect a 3-4 year minimum useful life with few or no upgrades required and will actually spend far less money over that same period of time since they won't be endlessly looking for replacement upgrade parts. ...and crabbing at the screen!

Last, but certainly not least Phil Taylor from Aces said it best;

"You get what you pay for!" - Phil Taylor, Aces Project Manager

..and I must add to that statement:

"If you know how to use it!" - which is what this document and supporting Flight Simulator X setup tutorial is all about.

That being said...

Your results good or bad depends on the type (quality) and condition of your hardware, your ability to run a clean of spyware, malware and virus free system, a reasonable amount of boot programs in your OS, and, your ability to maintain proper maintenance on your system... and of course your ability to follow along and do not skip-through the information presented here. I will guide you though all of the above.


As always please remember: You're Mileage May Vary !!




This is an exceptionally important subject because it will enlighten the general public to the real technical issues they are facing for which they may not at this time understand. As you use your sim you will come to understand why the image blurs, shimmers, stutters, crashes and out of memory problems occur even with a properly setup and tuned Flight Simulator in use when all the hardware support is installed and correct.

I never had any performance problems with Flight Sim I could not trim out when I was running WindowsXP x64 on a old QX6 series processor and DDR3 1600 memory in 2007. The only reason I moved from XPx64 at that time was because of the Nvidia driver issue with the new video cards when I installed a 480GTX into a newer tower a few years later. I worked with Nvidia to get those driver issues resolved and in the process managed to nudge Nvidia to start using FSX in their driver testing program system and today we all reap the rewards of that in Nvidia driver development. By the time they solved the WindowsXP 400 series driver issues I had moved to Windows7 x64 so I simply stayed there.

I have never had performance problems with FSX that I could not trim out on the 980/480GTX system I had been using since March of 2010 and I did not 'absolutely need' a hardware upgrade today in which I moved to a Haswell and a GTX 780.

I have been asked many times over the years how I have been able to run Flight Simulator on older operating systems such as Windows XP and older hardware reasonably smooth and stable with the kind of flowing smoothness in most scenery situations one should expect from flying, as well as the images/scenery my computers produce when other users are running CPU and video card hardware that is far better than mine or clocked higher and they still complain about performance and image quality. This next section when applied to the rest of this document will clearly answer that question.

The ultimate goal is to: establish a stable, functioning, smooth flying simulation in DX9 mode and then backup a good running simulator install. All things being equal, lets assume this is a perfect word and everyone has done that and everyone has a correctly optimized system with all the correct fixes installed, and everyone uses top grade hardware ..... 

The top 3 reasons for Flight Sim performance and visual issues are:


Lets forget for a moment that you screwed up and bought cheaper or unbalanced hardware for the application (a lot of people are in this boat right now) and lets assume you run the right hardware and set it all up correctly....

The primary problem with Flight Simulator, regardless of its code, and even with the best of the best in hardware running top CPU clock speeds and 'Titan grade' video adapters are the users who want to look at wavy blades of grass, cows mooing in pastures, birdies, people waving, busy gas stations, highways full of cars, airports full of non-flight deck related animations, and, who want to see 'HD' 2048/4096 32bit or DXT texture resolutions coupled with overblown artistic lighting/shadow effects in a application that was coded in 2005-2006.

The name of the application is: Flight Simulator. If that is what people want to look at instead of being 3000ft in the air or higher in a quality, 'correctly' designed for graphics, aircraft simulation then my opinion is they have picked the wrong rendering platform for that purpose and that includes the changes currently being implemented with the product based on the outdated ESP code, Prepar3D. 

What I find amusing (and sad too) is that people actually pay developers to provide them with blurs, stutters, shimmers, glitches, crashes and out of memory issues. What needs to happen is a SHIFT in thinking about the goal; The eye candy that is unrelated to piloting an aircraft, to flying a quality simulation plane and land it. That is the bottom-line choice.

If a user can render more scenery out of their system after the aircraft has taken full priority, then fine! I too like a good scene and it is a wonderful perk! But all too often the primary goal for 'Flight Simulator' is lost to a users endless spiral of tweaking and searching for ways to see far MORE than their system can properly render and in the process end up frustrated and .... eventually if they are fortunate enough they may end up here reading this document! 

(You are here, right?)

If a correctly setup system will not run smooth flight in just about all scenery situations with a few simplistic slider changes to account for the aircraft and scenery being rendered, the user is simply overdriving their hardware.

Standing on a barrel chanting Voodoo spells with a chicken and then trying or trading 'Affinity Mask' numbers along with tweak values with other users in forums will not make the sim run any better. All the user will accomplish is to eventually bring on another stutter, crash and the out of memory error. And every time you see a user post; "This tweak worked and my sim is perfect"  within 1-2-3 months that same user is right back in that forum looking for another fix or boost... it NEVER ENDS and the tweaks and settings they claimed were perfect in the past now seem to need another round of changes.!

Those who do this need to take their next paycheck and buy a clue.


I do not have very good things to say about visual rendering utilities that adds DLLs to the FSX directory to alter colors tones and shadows other than they may be great for advertising and screenshots so lets get that said strait up-front. Those tools are widely used for the marketing of addon products so the addon looks far better in marketing than it really does in-sim. If you wish to add those things to your sim do not add them when using this outline and setting up FSX. Items like that add overhead and 'wild cards' to the render and that is the last thing you want when setting up and tuning FSX. If you are going to demand their use, then add them in later and if you start seeing issues appear after adding them to your sim, get them out of the install as many times they are the problem and you simply refuse to believe they are or have not realized it.

My goal here is to impress the importance of being REALISTIC and learn to settle for what the hardware can run smooth on a minimal set of configuration file values, even if that means eliminating the eye candy that has nothing to do with a plane or its operation.

After that goal has been accomplished, if you wish to apply unrealistic scenery settings over outrageously stuffed 'eye candy' scenery products, apply shader hacks, add in things like SweetFX, ENB, or, apply some kind of FSX.cfg tweak you found on the net, that is up to you.

I will help get you where you should be and need to be, first!  Past that point, you are on the:

Flight Simulator Hamster Wheel

AND right back at the flight sim site looking for another useless set of tweak values 

or tweaks that might look great today, and crash you tomorrow.. 
Please enjoy the ride!
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.    - Albert Einstein


I wish to preface this next subject with important statements that qualifies what I am about to say;


Not all scenery and aircraft developers make the following mistakes but there are a very large number of freeware and payware addons out there on the market as well as developers and artists who work for a company who still make these serious technical mistakes today.

Freeware developers have an excuse (to a certain extent) its called 'inexperienced'.. You 'professional' developers who do this nonsense know who you are and it is high time someone with some clout and extensive background around this rendering engine and hardware told you just how ignorant your graphics production habits really are and how they really effect the sim and ultimately a users sanity.

 I have a suggestion for you developers who do this.. please make your BASE release product RIGHT and only use high quality designed 1024 scale graphics with properly mip-mapped DXT or DDS textures and then 'offer' a separate so called 'HD' version with your silly graphics habits included. That way the user can decide how much nonsense they will personally put up with.

This issue is a two way street - You users who run everything from environmental graphics to planes and airports that render 2048/4096 resolution, 32bit, or include graphics that are not properly mip-mapped for 'so called' quality are actually responsible for your own performance and shimmer problems. You are being snookered by so called 'HD' texture marketing nonsense. If that is what you want to look at, then live with your decision because that is why you must run 2x Sparse Grid Super Sample (or higher) as well as why your performance tanks.

Some of you have been paying a developer for your own performance/visual issues and its sad that users are not educated around this. If enough users who fully understood this got together and did not support it, the developers who release base addons with no other alternative would have no choice but to STOP the nonsense.

The graphics card design since the early 2000's and especially today is designed to effectively work with mip-mapping for high performance and high visual quality. The ESP render engine, regardless of if it will display above 1024x, was NOT ever optimized to run above that resolution, nor run 32bit or unmapped texture efficiently.

There are models in the FSX autogen system that are predefined in FSX that have issues which developers can not change. For example autogen trees the way they are made and rendered as well as some fences and certain building models which the developer could be using from the FSX database can shimmer and that is not the developers fault but any custom items they make or add textures to that does not have a 1024 DXT mip-mapped texture can 'hard' shimmer as you fly away from it or closer to it or view from a certain distance, and, will create performance issues regardless of anything you do.

I am not pointing fingers here but I have been silent for the most part about this subject for far too long and today I break my silence and address this in public.


The second problem with Flight Simulator which perpetuates performance and visual crippling issues and has been around for over a decade is the developer or artists of freeware or payware who do not understand rendering engine and how to properly optimize models and especially graphics for the hardware and its technical ability.


If I were to take every improperly designed addon aircraft, AI package and scenery package such as airports and then proceed to repair their graphics file and then repost those products with the corrections

.........(drum roll)....... 

It would fix more than 75% of the visual shimmer and 50% of the performance problems that users of Flight Simulator see everyday.

That is a bold statement, and it is not a exaggeration!


The number one issue with Flight Sim is the user and their demand for more eye candy, but the number two issue is the developers in this industry who insist on making addon scenery or planes that come by default with 32bit textures, 2048/4096 scale textures, and/or who do not properly mip-map their graphics, and, who do not properly make DXT files. There are some developers who insist none of that matters or that it reduces image quality, they are flat out wrong.

A properly made 1024 DXT5/DDS exterior model mip-mapped graphic will display exceptionally high visual quality in compare to 32bit or higher resolution DTX without a performance hit. The quality is in how the artist MAKES the source texture for the resolution to be displayed and not rest solely on the resolution or the lack of mip-mapping.

Furthermore, ALL textures regardless of scenery, AI, or addon aircraft should be DXT or DDS and mip-mapped with two exceptions: Interior aircraft or virtual cockpit textures, and, exterior night textures that are not 'light maps' and all DXT textures other than the two defined here, must be mip-mapped.

Never strip DXT5/DTX3 textures down to DXT1 for performance.. this is a myth and it will kill the quality of  your sim. It will also destroy the alpha layer in the graphic. FURTHER: I have seen people post tools that convert DDS to DXt with the explanation the DDS graphics are 'flipped' in FSX and converting them stops the 'flipping' and makes for better performance; DEBUNK ALERT: FYI: The DirectX pipe will flip ALL textures regardless of DDS or DXT and the DX pipe handles this quite efficiently. This is another FSX forum nonsense hack and it will destroy the features DDS allows for graphics!

You would be amazed to see just how many graphics artists and developers do not make graphics correctly and will insist till they are blue in the face that what they are doing has no impact or presents no issue. This has been a serious controversy in Flight Sim with developers since the days of FS2K. You seasoned users may have witnessed some of these arguments in forums over the years. Today you may not read about it as much because the hardware is masking the real issue. New users or the user who does not understand the technical side are clueless that it even exists today and it continues to be a major factor to complaints about visual shimmering and performance.

With modern hardware the 'performance' issues created by these poorly designed graphics are masked by the faster CPUs, video cards and memory products now available on the market but the performance problem is still present.

What happens today, in example, is a user purchases a scenery product or aircraft and then installs it. It looks good in the marketing, but in-sim real time render the product displays 'hard' or 'twinkle' shimmering on the exterior of the model that user just cant seem to tweak out except with ridiculously high Transparency or other AA settings (clue!) and the user likes like the scenery or plane.. its gorgeous  until,...   the user adds their traffic, starts flying a high-end aircraft simulation in/out of addon airport made the same way or over high impact scenery and all of a sudden, the performance tanks, OR, the frames seem ok but the stutters just won't let up.

The user goes back to the developer and of course its not their scenery or plane! Its your scenery settings, and your hardware, and your high AA settings you are forced to run to clean up the 'hard' twinkle shimmers and although all of those items do present a combined impact and can be part of the reason, if this developer is not requiring their artist mip-map textures and confirm DXT1/3/5 DDS files are made right and/or the addon incorporates silly high resolution graphics, what they are telling you is in many respects false and misleading as their product design has a direct responsibility and relationship to the issues you are seeing.

There ARE some predefined models in FSX that a developer can not control, but that is not what this issue is about.. it is about everything else they custom make and do not design textures correctly for.

In order to correct these issues it requires knowledge in proper flight sim graphics production, a few developer tools and taking the time to review a scenery or aircraft products graphics files, one by one, and then if issues exist in the graphics, repair them one by one correctly.

This is what myself and MANY others who are aware of this problem have done for a decade with every addon we have obtained We verify it and repair if necessary, reducing the scale of the graphics and adding the mip-maps if required, and this is one of if not the primary reason some users even on older hardware and operating system do not have performance issues, did not need the latest operating system, did not need the latest processor running 4.8GHz or the latest and greatest video adapter.

Sounds like a lot of work? It is! There are a lot of people like myself who have been fixing these badly made addons when we get them and wish to use them in our simulators since FS9. We still do it today!

You may ask..   What can I do about this on my system?

There is no easy answer for that. The best way if you do not know or understand the technical part and want to learn is to locate someone who does and who will assist you in learning how to review addons before installing them (or after if you think there is a problem) and verify it for correct graphics engineering. (sorry, however I am not available for that tutorial)



For those who just don't want to deal with that and do not wish to lower the complexity of a render in a scene, then you will have to deal with the issues and wait for the processors that run 5GHz with the video cards that will keep up or not be bottlenecked by the CPUs. The problem will still be there.. you simply wont notice it or notice it as much.

I just defined IGNORANT DEVELOPER #1 the primary and lead Neanderthal of the pack however there are others...
IGNORANT DEVELOPER #2 - is the developer who alters your FSX.cfg file without your knowledge or input with a addon manager or installer.
IGNORANT DEVELOPER #3 - is the developer who does not design their scenery to layer independently or be self contained effectively corrupting default core default files by overwriting them in FSX which then makes other developers products produce visual issues.


IGNORANT DEVELOPER #5 - is the developer who does not provided proper automated uninstallers or makes removal of their product cumbersome in a shameless attempt to force a user to not remove their product or force them to buy another.
IGNORANT DEVELOPER #6 - is the developer who places so many draw calls and render elements into their scenery that the computer on the USS Enterprise from Star Trek would choke on and then pass it off to the unwitting public with a marketing video loaded with faked post-production clarity and smoothness no one could achieve and is also reasonable for a a large portion of reported OOM's
IGNORANT DEVELOPER #7 - is the developer who uses color, shadow and tone altering to still images and craftily creates screenshots that may blow your mind until you install the product and realize the product you saw barely resembles those screenshots.

IGNORANT DEVELOPER #8 - is the developer who designs a product that does not take every region of the world into thoughtful consideration and who does not give a damn about all the regions of the world they stomp all over and change and then pass that off as something incredibly advanced and new, when in reality the product works more like a virus or malware.
 and last but certainly not least...
IGNORANT DEVELOPER #9 - is the developer who sends a user to a 'automated' online tweak tool when the user asks about performance or visuals with their scenery or plane they sold them and passing that NONSENSE tweak site off as a the way to run Flight Sim better, effectively filling their FSX.cfg file with garbage tweaks and edits and from there the user spirals down in flames trying to fix the issues all the tweaks cause.
Since the initial release of this outline it seems some of the FAN BOYS in forums are going APE-NUTS Wacko about what I posted above.
Sometimes the truth hurts LOL  
Let me be VERY CLEAR about that list:
1. It was not my goal to point fingers at any single developer and given my time around this application going back over a decade I can name far more than one developer that can fit each category in that list. If YOU are putting a SINGLE name into a category of that list and point fingers at ME then YOU obviously recognize the TRUTH in the statement regardless of if you like what I said, or NOT! Big smile 
2. To post lists of scenery that DO and that DO NOT have issues with the literally THOUSANDS for freeware and payware titles posted would be quite a undertaking.
3. Developers can change their ways and get their act together. Some developers make mistakes in one release and figure out the mistake and correct it in another. To single them out is not fair and instead better to let them consider their methods and perhaps make a change.
4. The user: When a user comes across addons they find have issues and they can not work with the problem, and, approaching the developer does not net any result, then the user needs to come to terms with that and either deal with the visual and the performance issues that will never get corrected, OR, get rid of the addon and that is the users choice!
I have in the past, in example, purchased a airport addon to find it shimmers with wavy lines and the performace is quite bad. After review of the design have deleted it and simply eaten the cost because where I purchased the product offers no refunds and the developer wont fix or change their design.
If I don't have the time to fix another developers graphic issues and the scenery is not high priority for me, I will sooner eat the cost of that addon over deal with the nonsense in the sim
Sometimes I will take the time to fix addons like that, sometimes not.
I am sure you can add a few to this list as well..   the point being: BEFORE spending money like a drunken sailor on addons, if you don't want to pay a developer for issues that you can not fix, or, that you refuse to be reasonable around the render complexity, select a source for your addons that offers a no questions asked money back policy and if you see these issues, get your money back and don't use the scenery or plane.

Distributors can not always control the QC part of the addons they offer. They are in business to make money and the ones that care about what they offer, even if they can not control the engineering of the product, will not stick you with the bill and offer a test period money back policy.

Look at the product in-sim after its installed and define if you are willing to deal with the issues or not and if you are, then you must accept the visual and performance problems they may create.
And last, .... Many users are totally blind and will follow a developer down a hole and into a pit before they ever realize that developer is their 'dealer' and the user is the 'addict'. 'Dealers' want the addict wrapped around their finger so the addict will accept everything that the dealer hands them without question. Some addicted users will go so far as to ridicule and rail other users in public who don't see their addon 'dealer' the same way they do. Sound familiar? Don't think for one minute some of these 'dealers' do not have 'ringers' in the Flight Sim forums doing their dirty work for them either. Its been going on for years and its gotten far worse in the last five years.



Last but certainly not least is the 2005-2006 code and the design of the rendering engine itself, its limitations and its inefficiencies in rendering. I make this the THIRD primary reason for issues with Flight Simulator and not the FIRST because the first two items have manageability by users and developers, this one does not!

All to many times I see users who post "Its the code, the old garbage code" FALSE: It's the users unrealistic demand for things that Aces never designed the product to handle, and, the users/developers who add to the issues. With that, the code is all too often used as the 'excuse' instead of the real reason. People who run around and blame the code need to get real and stop putting the cart before the horse.

Flight Sim was designed a certain way and we can not change that, but what we can do is be SMART in how we use it and while we use it understand what it is that causes the problem we see on the screen and how to simplistically solve them.


and now to bring this section to a proper close...

There is no such thing as an absolutely FLAWLESS running MS Flight Simulator. There will always be some point in a flight where a glitch or a stutter of some type will be seen. How frequent and with how much tenacity those may appear depend on everything from the hardware choices and setting up the system from the BIOS to the drivers, to user demand on scenery eye candy, to the addon scenery and payware aircraft manufacture QC for performance. If you are looking for perfection you will never find it. The application is archaically coded and as such will never perform flawlessly in all circumstances and conditions, which change constantly moment to moment during a flight even with identical system hardware.

Furthermore, there is NO FSX BENCHMARK on this planet that will define FSX performance. In order for any benchmark result to show practical data results it would require the FSX application have a 'BENCHMARK MODE" that removes the 'constantly changing" priority render system from FSX and demand the same exact data be rendered in every single benchmark run, data that is definitively defined by the programmer (Aces) which can be compared against the output result. And if that 'benchmark mode' was available, no benchmark can define how smooth, how fast scenery loaded or how clear the image was throughout the benchmark run at 5-10-15-20+ KM away from the aircraft, OR how many autogen objects or models were dropped/rendered/or rendered at a slower pace in the flight.

FSX Benchmarks are useless tools to define hardware or set it up.

A GAME has a predefined scenery area map and does not alter render elements based on real world. This simulator in many ways is loading up the entire world when you boot it and what you see on the screen will change in identical flights even with identical weather, traffic and scenery settings. As such a game can be benchmarked, Microsoft Flight Simulator can not.

Now that you fully understand the REAL issues and can evaluate them when they may happen, lets move on....


I know some people recently are now raving about DX10 and how there have been fixes released by users for them. I have a great deal of respect for Paul over at AVSIM as well as Steven for their work in that area. Of that, I will say this.. A lot of users gave up on DX9 because of their lack of knowledge around how to purchase the right hardware and even if they did, they simply do not setup their systems correctly for performance or install/tune FSX correctly. The DX10 pipe is simply allowing more overhead and the real issues the user deals with in DX9 are still there, just masked.

I do not use DX10, I have no use for DX10 because DX9 runs perfectly smooth on my systems and I do not like some of the "gotcha's" still present in DX10 such as seen when night flying as well as the somewhat cartoon look with respect to water. That part is simply my personal opinion and preference.

Once you have established a correctly running DX9 setup if you wish to add in the fixes and suggestions that they have provided, that is fine.. If your sim runs smooth in DX9 it will also run smooth in DX10. The only difference is DX10 will allow 'Light Bloom' and higher water slider settings and shadows since the DX shader pipe is more efficient in DX10, that is all.

Since I do not care for the visual render quality of the default FSX light bloom effect and I have established my own water shader edits that make 2xLow water reflect far better in DX9, I have no need for DX10 although I do understand the attraction for many users to try it.

If your goal is to run in DX10 mode then set up and establish DX9 first and BACK IT UP, and then if you wish to run DX10 move to it after establishing a safe backup of a working DX9 simulator.

I wish Paul, Steven and anyone else involved the best in their venture to improve the DX10 code left unfinished by Aces in FSX however I do not see 'all' the issues that preview feature still displays getting resolved as some of them are linked directly to the fact that DX10 was a short stepping stone for DX11 and backwards compatibility is always going to be a 'gotcha' with many addons.



Lets move into the hardware...

A Few Words About OEM and 'Preassembled' Computers:

HP, Dell, OEM "over the counter" computer systems that are purchased at outlets that market them as 'powerful gaming systems' and in fact rarely geared for true high performance and even with their so called "upgrades" which you will typically pay 100's and 1000's more that if you purchase the components yourself and build, these systems are usually highly limited unless you spend that huge chunk and will never display the same results as a tower that is specifically built for graphics and high performance rendering.

Alienware: This is a big marketing 'name' more than anything else! You could build one of those 'Alienware' towers for 1/2-1/3 the cost yourself, and probably end up with better components in the final build product, ... be very aware of that.

You can use this list with such systems but the limitations the motherboards and supporting components typically place on the hardware by the manufacture for cost cutting and profit margins can hinder the results dramatically.

If you are not someone who has the confidence to build your own tower you are FAR better off staying away from OEM computers and instead read the information provided below about hardware choices, then using a custom system builder, online or local is sometimes better, specify the parts to the builder and do not let them swap those parts with cheap replacements. Make sure the list you provide specifies exact component model, speed and timing values and then upon receipt of the tower, confirm what you ordered is what you received using Windows software to verify the components installed. CPUz (linked below) will provide that information.

Many times even the better system builders will not offer good memory selections and will sell you high timing memory at a outrageous price. Memory is not that hard to replace even by someone who has never built a system. Memory is simply a matter of remove and swap out, making sure it is properly seated in the right memory slots on the motherboard and then a few BIOS setting changes.

In a case where a system builder does not or will not offer decent quality memory but will provide the other specified components, buy the tower and have them build it with the cheapest cost memory they offer and then purchase new memory yourself and install it as soon as the tower arrives. All you have to make sure of is that the motherboard you chose from the builder will in fact support the memory speed you wish to run and will replace their memory with. You will then need to make changes in the BIOS of the system to enable the new memory setup. The builder will provide a motherboard manual which outlines BIOS settings.

Don't be afraid to learn about your system even if you did not build it.

If you are simply not willing to deal with anything technical, then seek professional assistance to help you though all the hardware installations and setting it up correctly in the BIOS of the computer.


I will say this about OEMs..   we are entering a age of computers where the 'over the counter' computers will begin to be able to run FSX reasonably. With the release of Haswell and the next Intel steps as well as the video card technology coming in the next 2 years purchasing off the counter will a be a different story, although you WILL still need to be careful and know what to buy. Just remember that even with that change in technology those OEMs and over the counter systems will NEVER overrun a custom built system. Those computers will always be made for high profit and fast turn around or upgrade.  

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-17-2013 at 8:52am
BEFORE CONTINUING ON: I wish to make it very clear that if you skipped the introduction to this document then you are already a loser with this outline. I understand that was a lot to read but lazy, impatient and lack of comprehension about what the real issues are may very well be what got you to this document in the first place! The information I posted in introduction is extremely important. If you skipped it, or skipped through it, or didn't like the truth in what I had to say about a subject, hang it up and stop here as you are not the person this outline was created to help



If you go into a soup kitchen looking for a free meal you on the street for a reason. You are probably not going to get that meal without listening to a speech. It may be long, you may not be interested but here is the bottom line; that speech probably deals with how you got where you are and where you are going if you don't get your act together. LOL


I am going to start with a few statements I have read in forums over the years and then comment.


"You do not need a larger cache processor. It will not matter to FSX." 


"Modern AMD will run FSX just as well as modern Intel but at a lower cost" 


"You can buy a 560ti (or other budget video card) and it will work just as well in FSX as the higher priced 580/680/780/<insert next high-end card here>"  Wacko Dead


"You must be running 4.7+GHz CPU to be able to enjoy and use FSX" 


"This benchmark shows that memory speed and memory timing do not matter to FSX" 


"This benchmark shows...   (add anything you like here) 


"Hyper-threading is useful and works in FSX"  Shocked Dead


"You can use these 'calculations' to figure out Texture Bandwidth and other settings"  


"6 core processors will not do anything for FSX" 


"The video card is not important, the CPU is far more important than the video card" 


and my all-time favorites...

"You must have at least <enter number here> FPS in FSX in order to see fluid results and enjoy the experience. I can see anything less than 35-60FPS on my screen"  ..usually a 'gamer' who has their head in the sand and worships the frame counter.


"I just tried this <insert any tweak(s) here> and I get <insert 'incredible' frame rate increase here> more and my sim runs".... and then adds any dialogue to their statement that suggests that their sim runs 'perfect' or 'flawless' in any way. This is the person who is lying through their teeth in order to try and make a point and the forums are full of these people.



When, and if, you may come across such statements or variations of the statements presented  above be aware that what you are reading, or what you are about to read, is nothing but a convoluted pile of...







<comic relief/ON>


There was a time many moons ago that I would scout forums and when I saw this nonsense posted would debunk it on the spot and put a stop to the misinformation. I do not do that anymore because I discovered there are far TOO MANY reinforced-concrete filled skulls in this world than there are sledgehammers available to crack them.


So I gave up before I lost my sanity!


<comic relief/OFF>


That being said, there is a lot more nonsense I can list that is posted on a daily basis in forums but I think you get the point. Now lets move onward and upward...




Following this list before starting the optimize outline will clue you to many critical items that need to be addressed before you begin to optimize Windows. These items will define the final result. Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and this section is actually MORE IMPORTANT than the Windows 7 optimizing procedure!


Some of them you may not be able to do anything about, such as hardware you have already purchased and can not afford to replace at this time or you may not be technically inclined enough to deal with a BIOS update. What you should understand is where the 'weak link' is or could be in your system so as you go through this list you will come to understand what it is you may need to focus on replacing or upgrading or checking down the road.


This list includes strategic methods of setting up the storage system for how you use Flight Simulator. Changes in 'method of delivery' with respect to the storage system and using the hardware you already own can make a big difference by itself!


The Preflight checklist is a key element to success. Past the hardware choices section, your goal is to review the information carefully in each section and make changes to your system based on the information provided.


The Windows and storage system optimizing process has a direct connection to the preflight checklist. The changes you make based on the preflight list will define the level of success at the end of the optimization process. Be very aware of that.


I am importing some biblical humor into this next section.. please don't take the dialogue I use the wrong way:


no offense!   LOL
 Its meant to add a bit of 'fun' to the outline, nothing else. Wink

Lets get started!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-21-2013 at 12:28am
CHAPTER 1, VERSE 1                            




- We start with properly researched and correctly specified performance hardware:

I was going to post this document months ago but instead decided to hold its release until the latest round of hardware hit the market and I could properly test it. In that, your hardware choices just got a lot easier.

This is a subject is that sparks a lot of controversy and opinions on the internet. You could wade through pages of forum discussions about hardware and user opinions as well as the 'Internet  hardware and Flight Sim experts" and all their suggestions. What I am going to post here cuts through all the nonsense and gets right down to the meat and potatoes. You can take my advice or  leave it, all I will say is that if you leave it then you will most likely lose because everything you do from this point forward with respect to optimizing Windows and tuning Flight Simulator stems from proper selection and proper setup of the hardware.

FSX does not require top-shelf server and military grade hardware to obtain good results, however, the better the hardware, the better the result. If the goal is to obtain excellent results running very large 'eye candy' scenery and aircraft addons then one must purchase the right hardware, there is no shortcut or low-budget way around it and given how some scenery developers do not care how much they pile into their products, even then you may find your system will struggle if you simply can't bring yourself to drop a slider setting. You can however make sure that you are in the best situation possible to render a flight and if you are on a limited budget that we place the funds into the right matched components regardless of the limitations they may display, the goal would be to obtain the best result possible with the class of hardware you can afford.

Hardware choices can be confusing and if an individual is not well educated on the subject. What I will provide below is a set of very simple guidelines to follow. Hardware changes about every nine to twelve months and there can be rare exceptions to rules however if you follow a well considered set of guidelines when selecting components you should find yourself in an excellent flight-sim position to start and build from. 



There are some basic rules I suggest people follow before they push the BUY button on newly released hardware.

RULE #1:
Be aware that when we purchase 1st generation (zero-day) release motherboards or video adapters they can come with new-product issues. If you are not somewhat tech savvy this could present an issue for you.

RULE #2:
Do not purchase hardware with the thought that you will upgrade with better hardware in 6 months to a year.

RULE #3:
Do not daydream about what is coming a year from now. It usually gets delayed and between now and then sitting there wishing and waiting will only provide another year of frustrations.



New release hardware can have manufacture design flaws that get fixed in the 2nd manufacture run of the product OR some kind of compatibility issue between devices is present the manufacture needs time to correct. The Sandy Bridge motherboards that were recalled back in 2011are a prime example of manufacture design screw-ups and there are many more examples I can site. Being someone who has been around the high-tech industry for almost 50 years I can say without reservation that we are all are paying for research and development when we run out and buy that new product on day-one of release, and the hardware manufactures love us for it, but then we get to play with the goodies first too!

IMPORTANT: Buy a next generation video adapter and slide it into a older release motherboard, you could be asking for trouble and even if there are no issues with the product working in the system, I do not know how many times I have seen people assume that a new release video card is not much better than the old one it replaced simply because the motherboard was not designed for the new technology or has issues, or, the drivers are not ready for prime time and the user effectively spreads false rumors about the device out of complete ignorance.

Even if there are no design issues, most likely drivers for any new hardware are in their infancy. If you are not 'tech-savvy' give new hardware a good few months on the market and check up on it through reliable hardware review and support sites before hitting the BUY button. It is far better to buy a motherboard that was released at the same time or well after a new video adapter core design hits the market and make sure that new video card has gone through at least one or two driver releases (usually 2-3 months)

Sometimes a good source for information can be the direct support forum for the manufacture of the product. Keeping in mind customers are not experts and may not understand an issue may not be caused by the product but you can scout the manufacture support forums for common issues related to new release hardware and look for the 'gotcha' before purchasing.



If users buy with the thought that they can save money now and then upgrade in 6 months to a year, not only will they spend MORE than they ever would have if they had simply purchased the right components outright, but a user WILL sit there in a never ending state of frustration that grows and builds as they add more-and-more complex scenery and aircraft to their sim.

With technology available today if the right components are purchased from the start, one can expect to use and enjoy that system for at least 3 to 4 years. People should consider the right purchases an investment in their sanity and pleasure for that time period.

There are people who go out and buy the latest and greatest every development cycle. They pay through the nose for that hardware and can probably afford it, but the fact of the matter is the boost in performance they get from renewing every 6 months to a year is VERY SMALL for what they pay. You may read all types of reports about such hardware in forums.. be aware, people hate to say the money they spent produced limited results, on the flip side people who buy cheap hardware will typically defend that mindset by making ignorant claims about compares with the better hardware that are totally false.. human nature prevails.

Bottom Line: You are far better off planning, saving and purchasing the right parts at the right time and enjoying that purchase for the long haul.



And finally, there is always something new and improved in hardware coming down the road. When dealing with buying new generation hardware, do research the purchases and if all looks good set a goal for a purchase date based on new hardware release date and if design issues do not appear in a reasonable amount of time follow through with your purchase and don't daydream about what is coming in 4-6-12 months..   people wont get anywhere that way because they will be daydreaming about the release coming 4-6 months after the one they were dreaming about in the first round!


There are two ways you can approach hardware choices and win with FSX..   the first way is buy the hardware that works and will not be beat by anything else. The second is to build with a good budget and with good components and when I say 'good budget' I do not mean a $800 dollar computer system!




I am not insensitive to this nor am I pushing anyone to buy hardware they simply can not afford. What you must understand is the FSX application is so demanding that if you purchase the lesser grade hardware you will have to accept what that hardware will allow.

At the end of this hardware section there will be a section for the low budget user. What I would suggest is that if you fall in that category you read and review the information below all the way through and that way you too may educate yourself on what it takes to build a system for Flight Simulator X and really get something out of the application for the money spent. After that, review the section about budget builds and then make the decision as to what you may be able to afford. In this process you may find out you can afford a bit more than you think.

Sometimes a little more spent in the right place goes a long way but one thing you do not want to do is mix the cheap hardware with the better quality goods. That could actually make FSX run worse since there is a fine balance between the CPU and video card that must be kept in check.



For users who want "the goods" and simply need a fast shopping list as of the date of this posting, here it is:



As of the date this was posted, any user who is genuinely interested in being in the best hardware situation possible with FSX should obtain the following parts:

1. i7 4770k Intel Haswell processor. At 4.3GHz this processor is running the same or better than Sandy Bridge @ 4700MHz and at 4800 the Haswell is running better than Sandy Bridge @ 5300MHz.
2. A z87 Haswell motherboard that has the features you require and is not a cheap board (I do not suggest boars of under $180 USD for clocks higher than 4.3GHz) I suggest Asus for this as their boards are very easy to deal with and are second to none with AUTO features many boards require manual input to accomplish clocking goals.
3. Nvidia GTX780 - no exceptions to this and a high-end FSX tower with a Haswell
4. SSD drives for Windows and FSX

Note: If you Flight Sim install is very large and need far more drive space that a SSD can provide, 1TB or 2TB Western Digital Black drives, or, for higher performance Western Digital Velociraptors. There is an entire section dedicated to storage systems/setups below in CHAPTER 1, VERSE 2
that you should review.

5. 2x4 (8GB) DDR3 2400 with a timing specification of 9-11-11-31 or lower. FSX wont use more memory than that! Two sticks of memory are far easier to clock high CPU speeds stable than four sticks.
6. A tower that support excellent airflow such as the Cooler Master HAF932 or the HAF-X with front, side, top and rear fans. Do not buy a tower for looks, buy it for airflow and cooling.
7. A well designed power supply that is rated for Haswell power states. Many already do. If you wish to use a PSU from a older build verify the PSU is rated for Haswell with the PSU manufacture. 750-850watt PSU is fine for single GPU systems, any more is total overkill.
Clocking Haswell:
8. If you do not intend to attempt any overclock at all, or, any overclock of under 4.2 then the stock Intel heatsink will work however given the temps the Haswell processor runs, it may not be a bad idea to obtain a medium duty air or liquid replacement. H60 Corsair for liquid.
9. If it is your intention to run a clock higher than 4.3 then you will need a 'supercooler' class air cooler such as the Thermalright Archon SB-E x2, or, a higher class liquid system such as the Corsair H100 or H110. The air cooler will limit most Haswell clocks to 4.4-4.5, liquid will most likely allow higher, 4.8 is the max.

I have provided far more in-depth information about a complete Haswell build in this thread:

...which when complete will walk you though the process from start to finish. It will also includes a guide to modify C0 release Haswell processors at the cap to obtain clock speeds of up to 4800MHz on air (that section is only for experienced users). As of this date it is still under production but will be completed soon.


If you want the goods and you want it NOW, the list above is the way to go as of the date of posting this outline. However as many of my past outlines lived online for years in which the list above will become outdated, and, there are those of you who are going to be budget limited this next section will help address those situations for you.






I am not going to be around forever to walk people through this and I am going to cut right through the nonsense and lay this out so you have valid information. So here is how to shop today or in the future:



1. Skip AMD and purchase a Modern Intel Processor (that would be Haswell at this posting) and do not go for the cheaper class i.e.; i3/i5. If you have an older processor and can not upgrade at this time I have listed the processor below that work well in FSX even if they are older, however the newer the processor, the better the result and Haswell has taken that to an entire new level.

2. Six core processors can provide a better experience than 4 however that is only true if you are comparing a 6 and 4 core of the SAME CLASS of processor, not processors of the past compared to new.

3. Larger processor cache is better for FSX

4. Highest default clock speed if you do not intend to overclock (very important)

NOTE: Serious flight sim users should always consider overclocking to at least 4.0-4.1. FSX will perform far better at 4GHz and above.

5. If you intend to overclock a lower default processor speed is OK but do not skimp on the cache or the grade. You will usually find the larger cache processors also sport the fastest default CPU speed.

6. IMPORTANT: When selecting a processor and deciding on overclocking be sure to purchase the correct video card for the CPU quality you purchase and the CPU speed you intend to run. The CPU and video card go hand-in-hand when it comes to FSX.


I will briefly discuss each of the seven items listed above:

#1 - Intel vs. AMD in FSX - Ridiculous subject, Intel wins in FSX. End of story.

However I will say this..  if anyone thinks they can buy a cheap budget Intel proc or a laptop with a i3/i5 budget solution, and put it up against a flagship clocked AMD tower, then they are also fooling themselves. Just stay with the right i7 Intel solution and let the silly fan-boys duke it out.

Purchase the higher class i7 processor for FSX and not the cheaper budget class processor. You do not need an 'Extreme' class Intel processor as these are reserved for deep-pocket users and you can obtain results with the non-extreme class processor. There are advantages to the Extreme processors as those chips are the cream of the crop (speed-bin quality control) but those advantages with the cost (typically 800-1200 USD) will never be recovered in FSX performance. If you have the money and wish to play, go for it.

List of processor that did provide or does currently provide the results with FSX from the highest to the lowest performance level with the application as of this date:

Intel 4770K (Haswell)  - PCIe 3.0 support - DDR4 is about a year away and is coming next.

Intel i7 3770K (Ivy Bridge) - PCIe 3.0 support  - This is no slouch and is right behind Haswell in performance

Intel i7 2600K, 2700K, and, Sandy Bridge-E  (hex core) series - PCIe 2.0 support - on the way out but still good!

Intel i7 920, 930, 940, 950, 960, and, 970-980 (hex core) series - PCIe 2.0 support  - very outdated

Intel Core2, Core2 Quad Series - PCIe 2.0 support  - exceptionally outdated

If you are currently running the last two class of processors, its time to upgrade. They are outdated and you will be far better served on the newer processors/systems with full PCIe 3.0 support and SB systems are not far behind now that Haswell has been released and new stepping of the processor will be coming along with DDR4 memory support just down the road.

Even though a early revision of PCIe 3.0 boards were released as well as a registry hack to enable it, it is questionable at best that the same performance level is possible with a PCIe 3.0 video card on Sandy Bridge motherboard and E processors. My test show that if it is enabled, it appears it may not function at its full potential. Don't waste your money thinking Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge/Haswell are the same in that respect, they are not. Full PCI3 3.0 support requires Ivy Bridge or higher.


#2 - Multicore and FSX: Although it is a fact that FSX will use up to 256 physical cores (if available) there is a diminishing return on investment past 6 cores. That is the part the MS marketing engine left out when it was announced how many cores FSX would run on.

8 core vs. 6 core: Six core processor setups have far more value in terms of threaded code in FSX than 8 core and a user would be spending a lot of money for a 8 core setup (by current offerings and pricing) they will never see back in performance and smoothness in FSX. Based on the terrain threads being processed, past 6 cores and the user is very much beginning to throw money out the window although with 6 core there is still an advantage but do NOT select a older 6 core processor over a newer class quad!

A quad core should be the minimum number for cores used for FSX.

In the future if 6 core processors become a norm for the non-extreme class offering, then go for the 6 over the quad. Although 8 core non-extreme class solutions could also become a norm in the future, anything over 8 cores, based on how much data FSX is threading really is a 'total' waste of money.

Purchasing dual 'server' type processors and motherboards are efficiently throwing money out the window. Although under certain scenery conditions one could see small improvements, its not worth the extraordinary cost. I wouldn't spend my cash on such a rig as I can easily spend 500+ on the server grade motherboard alone not to mention a match pair of server processors, money I would never get back in application performance.

Do understand that although FSX SP2 and Acceleration are multicore aware and will run threads, those extra threads are reserved to terrain and autogen calls. The first available core of the processor is what FSX will use to run the bulk of the code, therefore the faster the CPU speed and more efficient the processor per clock cycle, the better the FSX result which is why overclocking is very popular with Flight Sim users. It works, but done improperly it can also cause heat and error related performance issues.


#3 - Processor Cache and FSX: FSX is not a game, it is a simulator and can not be classified, tested or benchmarked as or like any game on the market. Its code is very poorly optimized and places a ludicrous strain on the communication between the memory and CPU.

Unlike typical games a larger processor cache is in fact beneficial to FSX as the application is constantly poling the CPU and memory addresses for data. If the processor is engineered for optimal cache performance, that adds to the benefit.

Intel Smart Cache Technology is a primary design feature of modern Intel processors. As the system is used physical memory addresses are stored in the CPU cache. The smart cache technology specifically targets advanced read-ahead operations which optimizes memory address calls as the system is used and since FSX is a memory subsystem nightmare in programming design, as Phil Taylor from Aces confirmed years ago, the larger/more advanced the proc cache and its ability to optimally recall data from memory, the better the result.

#4. - CPU Speed: For those who do not wish to clock a processor, the faster and more efficient the Intel CPU, the better for FSX. 


#5 - Overclocking the CPU: Although I will not be addressing the 'how to overclock' subject in this outline I will discuss hardware selections based on clocking since it is a very popular practice with Flight Sim users. When a user is building a system with the intention of clocking the right hardware selections can make all the difference.

Any experienced Flightsim user knows that overclocking a CPU will in fact increase the potential to render a visually sharper and smoother image with more complex addon scenery and aircraft. Its not a requirement but it will produce a better result with the application.

Overclocking is both a science and an art however in recent years it has become less technically complicated to overclock a processor safely using automated motherboard functions. There are many websites out there that address overclocking. If you intend or wish to overclock then when making hardware selections research the overclock ability and method of the hardware (motherboard and CPU) first. There can be boards on the market that are easier to clock than others. Also make sure you can COOL that processor and system with the right heatsink or cooling solution as well as the right tower choice for airflow. Better cooling can make all the difference even with a low-end clock!

VERY HIGH CLOCKING: (4.5GHz and above) It is important to note that regardless of load tests or how long they are run, overclocking can still produce errors. There is no such thing as a 'totally stable' high-end overclock. The ODDS are far better after extensive load tests confirm there is no exceptionally unstable issue present and if a user knows what they are doing they will probably not see any issues, but be very aware regardless of experience you can pass every CPU/memory load test with flying colors and STILL not be 100% stable under 3D render graphic load conditions which may require speed or voltage adjustments to trim out. If a user is not well versed in overclocking this can also be true of LOWER end clocks.

#6 - Processor Selection and Video Cards: Do not purchase a 4-6 core processor with the intent of clocking it to 4.1GHz+ and then buy the budget or even the mid-range video adapter. This is one area people screw-up big-time and they do not realize it. You must pair the processor power in use with the right video adapter or you will effectively bottleneck your system in FSX as you add more and more complex addons.

If you do not intend to overclock and/or purchase a lower end processor, then purchasing a high-end video adapter can produce the same poor results!

Decide now what processor and processor speed you intend to run and keep that in mind when shopping video cards. You WILL shoot yourself in the foot if you try any bargain-basement option (buy cheap now with plans to upgrade later) when paring the CPU and the video card.

#7. Intel Hyper Threading: FSX has no code to recognize or process logical core hyper thread. I don't know how many times I have read some 'guru' has come up with an assessment that FSX will make use of or runs better with hyper thread enabled. This person really needs a sign! The REAL terrain 'guru' Adam from Aces as well as Phil Taylor specified years ago that FSX does not support any logical core threading (hyper thread).
The reason you SEE logical core activity in the Windows CPU monitor window is because the physical cache is used for each logical (hyper thread) core. "logical" core means there is no 'physical' hardware core but the hardware cache in use is there, and, FSX is DUMB so a thread is spawned due to the physical cache in use, but the data is never processed and used by FSX!
Don't buy a cheaper processor just because it does not include hyper thread support and you think you can save a buck. Typically those processors come with a smaller total cache and that is a mistake!  Budget builders..  fine, buy the cheaper i5 but remember, you get what you pay for in that build.


If you do not intend to overclock the CPU, or, you may only clock very low then usually the Intel supplied heatsink will work. DO be aware that the Intel supplied unit is NOT designed for high efficiency and even with no clocking or very low clocking that processor will run far hotter than with a 3rd party replacement of some type.

Self contained liquid systems are becoming more and more popular. I tend to shy away from liquid for a few reasons. These reasons are my personal preference and should not influence your decision but I do wish to let them be known..

a. Most liquid systems are not quieter and are actually louder than many air cooling solutions. I demand silence around my towers when they are run for normal everyday use and even when they are under render loads I do not like excessive fan noise. Liquid systems have radiators with fans that must be powerful enough to push air through the fins of the radiator. These fans can be far louder than many air coolers at both idle and under stress.

b. Maintenance with liquid can be a pain and there is simply something about the term 'liquid' and 'electronics' that simply does not ring my bell!

I have tried liquid, I really liked the temps! But hated the noise as well as had to deal with a connection that started leaking a tiny amount.. easy to fix as this was a custom built system and not 'self contained' off the shelf system but that experience was enough for me and I decided to revert back to air cooling.

OK now, on the flip side, liquid systems if they are made well and maintained can in fact keep a CPU cooler than air, no question about that. Leaks are not common although they can occur and many people use liquid now as opposed to air even for un-clocked or low clocked systems.

I can also pass on that if you intend to clock with Haswell above 4.2Ghz and you do not wish to risk a CPU modification then a good high-end liquid system will be required.

Having said that, for air cooling there are 2 classes of replacement cooling solutions, the typical medium duty which can be used for none or low clocking such as the Zalman product lines and the 'super cooler' such as the Noctua DH-14 or the Thermalright Archon SB-E x2. There are others in both classes.

What you need to watch out for with any air cooler is the size of the unit with the fans mounted and how far over the memory slots those fans extend. With air coolers such as the Noctua DH-14 the fans WILL block the first and sometimes 2nd memory slot, meaning, you can NOT use 'high-back' heatsink memory in such a setup..  this could limit your memory selection a great deal. The Thermalright Archon SB-E x2 does NOT block any memory slot with its fans. So when shopping for air coolers do be aware of the memory slots and not only ease of access to them, but more important better memory usually comes with high-back heatsinks in which some air coolers can limit that choice.

I really do not suggest any clocking, even low end clocking, be done on the Intel supplied heatsink unit. Users who intend to low-clock should probably consider a replacement that will work better than the Intel provided unit. There are low-end liquid solutions available such as the Corsair H60 that will work for such setups. You just have to remember, you are not going to be running 4.4+ GHz on such solutions.




ATI Video Adapters: I will not discuss or address ATi video cards in this document. Nvidia is the GO-TO card for FSX. AMD/ATi announced directly they will not develop nor will they make any effort to accommodate the older rendering engine MSFS uses and there are issues with the adapters and the older FSX render engine.

If you use ATi with FSX and want 'the works' on the screen you may very likely end up being forced to install hacked shader files (3.0) from AVSIM in order to come close to Nvidia performance in heavy weather conditions which means you will effectively be forced to deal with nonsense issues to correct glitches that come with that hack. The hack is not full support for Shader 3.0 and Nvidia cards do not need that shader hack. Do not install that shader hack with a Nvidia video adapter!

I am not a fan-boy as I was an ATi user at one time just as I was a AMD processor user before Intel released the Core2 series processors and crushed AMD with Flight Sim performance. If in the future AMD/ATi makes a change that eliminate the issues with their video adapters and FSX, I would certainly be open to using them again, until that time Nvidia is the card to purchase for a FSX system.


This part is really simple as I have outlined not only what to buy, but how to upgrade a system based on what works and what doesn't. First, there are a few basic rules before buying a video card:

1. Dual Core Video Adapters: (one card with two GPU cores) will NOT improve FSX and can even make FSX run worse! Purchase a single core video card.

2. Professional 3D Video Adapters: such as Nvidia Quadro will not run FSX better than the standard game market video cards. They are made for professional 3D modeling graphics power and will have no influence on FSX or games. They are a total waste of money for a typical user.

3. Multiple Card Systems: SLi will not make FSX run better, only provide higher filtering support for very large resolutions. SLi is an expensive money hole for FSX and it is not very well supported by the title. If you intend to run SLi for other games run FSX in single card mode and do remember with 2 cards in the system and poorly considered motherboard purchase you can effectively reduce the link width and performance of the primary card down to x8 PCIe.

4. Matching it Up: Selecting the right video adapter for the platform is just as important to FSX as selecting the right processor, and matching their performance levels.

5. Video Memory: for single monitor systems should be at least 1.28-1.5GB. Very high video memory cards (2GB+) will not make any difference in a single monitor FSX system but do make a difference with multi-monitor setups.

6. Overclocking: DO NOT overclock video cards! Buy them clocked from the factory. 

I will briefly discuss each of the six items listed above:

There is nothing else to say about #1 and #2. Its strait forward, don't purchase those cards.

#3 - Multiple card systems: I know there are users who run more than one video card which is usually done to allow more monitor support. Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch with FSX. The more you draw and the higher the resolution, the more it costs. Multiple card users must be sure the motherboard they select:

a. Will not neuter the primary card slot down from x16 to x8 or x4 PCIe lanes

b. Will not create an excessive drag on the system from running very low PCIe lane link width.

c. The CPU can deal with the cards as well as the scenery and displays being rendered.

The motherboard selection for such systems is extremely critical. Many motherboards do not support full PCIe link width when more than one video card slot is used. They can also turn off other PCIe x4 and x1 ports you may require for addon cards. You must research the motherboard very carefully if you intend to run more than one video card in a system and to be quite frank, I would not even consider SLi for FSX. Using a 2nd card for monitors is one thing, using it for SLi in FSX is not smart and its costly.

We are talking about a FSX tower here, not a "multi-game' tower. If your goal is to play other games and use FSX as well and you want to run SLi setups you will have to take the good with the bad in that. Dedicated FSX towers should not be setup for SLi.

#4 - Matching it Up: As I mentioned in the processor section above, when shopping for the video adapter the goal is to match the CPU ability and planned clock speed to the video card. This is not hard to do if ask yourself a simple question with respect to the selected CPU and desired CPU speed.

Nvidia cards come in 4 primary class versions; Their top-end card, the medium grade step-down from the top dog, their 3rd grade performance line, and, their exceptionally low budget cards.
Example: 1. GTX 780, 2. GTX770, 3. GTX 760 (could also be 760Ti), 4. GTX 750/740
NEVER purchase the 4th class of video card even for budget builds. If you are not building a 'low-budget' system NEVER buy the 3rd class of card. You will either purchase the top-class or the 2nd in line based on the CPU speed.
Here is the rule of thumb:
IF you intend to run 4.2GHz or higher, purchase the top-end card
IF you intend to run below 4.2GHz, purchase the 2nd class card
NOTE: With the introduction of Haswell the top-end card is the best at any CPU speed. If this trend continues in the future then the CPU tech is finally catching up to the GPU tech and this may very well hold true past Haswell. You can still use the same outline as stated above and not lose regardless.
To make this VERY easy I am going to outline the right video adapter for each CPU from the 920 through Haswell. If you are looking to build NEW or upgrade, use this list:

Intel 4770K (Haswell)  - PCIe 3.0 support

ANY processor speed: GTX780     No contest.

NOTE: if you are running 4.2 or less an on a budget a GTX770 can be used. It will NOT match a GTX780 at all. You could even recycle your old GTX680 but if you are building new and you want what this processor and system has to offer then do not neuter the Haswell and go with the GTX780 at any CPU speed. This is the first Intel processor that does not bottleneck the with highest end video card on the market running with a lower CPU speed and the 780 is the best card for this processor.


Intel i7 3770K (Ivy Bridge) - PCIe 3.0 support

Processor speed is at or below 4.0GHz -

GTX680, GTX770, GTX780

Processor speed is above 4.0GHz -

GTX680, GTX780 <---preferred

Note: Ivy Bridge is similar to Haswell but with differences and a lower performance curve. This processor can easily deal with a GTX780 but at lower CPU speeds and on a budget the cards outlined will also work.


Intel i7 2600K, 2700K, and, Sandy Bridge-E  (hex core) series - PCIe 2.0

Processor speed is at or below 4.0GHz -

GTX570, GTX670

Processor speed is above 4.0GHz -

GTX580, GTX680


Intel i7 920, 930, 940, 950, 960, and, 970-980 (hex core) series - PCIe 2.0

Processor speed is at or below 4.0GHz -

GTX570, GTX670  - Any one of these cards is fine

Processor speed is above 4.0GHz -

GTX480, GTX580  - Any one of these cards is fine

NOTE: GTX670, GTX680 is a PCIe 3.0 video card and will not run its full potential on any 900/2000K series motherboard. It can be used since the older model cards are phased out. A GTX580 is in many ways better that a 680 as it is PCIe 2.0 and does have certain specifications FSX will make use of the GTX680 does not have.

Users currently running 900 series processors and systems should seriously consider a 'full system' upgrade.. its time.

#5 - Video Memory: Typical single monitor systems that run a resolution of 1920x1200 or lower do not require nor will make better use of above 1.5GB of video memory, however, higher resolutions above 2000x as well as multi-monitor setups can make use of above 2GB of video memory.
There is no 'frame rate' increase with the larger memory amount, the benefit comes in visual smoothness and panning. It can be exceptionally important to have larger video memory amounts for a large span of monitors.
Newer video cards are now coming to market with 2 and 3GB of video memory standard.
#6 - Overclocking Video Cards: I have run into this more that once.. A user asks me to look at their system since they are having strange performance issues and glitches to find out they are overclocking the video card and they think that's OK to do..   it is IF YOU KNOW EXACTLY what you are doing and don't go too far! Problem is, most users DON'T know what they are doing and they have no background in reviewing the design of the card to see how well it may be constructed to pull off something like that off STABLE and SAFE.
Unlike clocking the CPU for FSX a video card overclock nets VERY LITTLE in FSX. It runs the card hot and overstressed for no reason.
What users that do this do not understand is the CORE TEMP means nothing when clocking a video card.. its all the other components that have NO TEMP monitoring that you are pushing too hard and that the manufacture usually takes steps to improve the cooling around those IC's. You may see no issues at first! but then one day the glitches and the performance starts dropping and by then its sometimes too late.
This is a very unwise practice.  When you purchase a super-clocked card the manufacture has usually taken steps to upgrade the heat sinks or heat transfer components and they have also tested the changes and will certify them to be SAFE. Burning a card by clocking it yourself VOIDS the warranty, purchasing a card that is pre-clocked and running it by the manufacture set clock speeds does not. It also ensures you wont be running with glitches and errors!
Clocking a video card is not worth the dangers or the tiny advantages one may see. If you wish a higher core speed, purchase the card pre-clocked so you do not void the warranty and get any advantage the manufacture placed into the card for heat dissipation.

The Titan card should be reserved for the deep-pocket user .. the standard GTX 780 can be clocked to Titan speeds/specs and perform just about the same... Super-clocked 780s can be purchased that are fine for the job, certified by the manufacture and require no dangerous user clock changes. That is what I purchased, the SC model. It effectively runs Titan performance.
The only thing a GTX780 can not do over the Titan is provide the same high video memory frame buffer support and even then, that is a lot of money for a much larger frame buffer.. 
The GTX 780 comes with 3GB of video memory. That should handle multi-monitor setups but if you are deep-pocketed and intend to run a huge array of monitors you can bump up to the Titan... I can't say that will make a difference for you or not,.... it is your choice and your wallet!




You probably noticed by now there are no 'GT' or "GTX Ti" or 560/660/760 cards outlined above. That is because I have created this outline to make sure you get the benefit of my extensive experience and background and if you decide to upgrade you will actually get something of value for your money with FSX instead of frustration. My advice is stay clear of those cards with FSX using the processors and the processor speeds outlined above. You can take that advice or leave it. If you leave it, good luck.

You may review the post that is linked here:

That post clearly shows what happens when a underpowered video card is placed in a system with a fast, efficient and overclocked processor as the speed of that processor increases. The budget video card effectively ruins the advancements the CPU may provide and user simply do not know what they have done to their system. The card may score great in a benchmark but the user has no idea what they did neutered the rest of the system.




When selecting a motherboard there are 6 primary questions to answer:

1. Does the board support the processor and addon cards or devices you intend to run?

2. Is the board of current design and was it designed before the video adapter was released?

3. Does the board support the PCIe link width your processor and video card allow (2.0/3.0)?

4. If multiple video cards are desired does the board support full PCIe link width for more than one slot?

If you intend to overclock (and most serious FSX user will)...

5. Does the board have good chipset and voltage regulator cooling?

6. Is the board design with high quality voltage regulation and filtering?


To simplify this, if you do not intend to run multiple video cards and wish to clock above 4.2GHz with stability running higher performance components then the motherboards that typically cost between 180 and 250 USD will deliver all the goods. All you need to do is verify the features and what you need support for.

A few exceptions:

a. You are a very proficient overclocker and intend to run exceptionally high CPU speeds with exceptionally high speed enthusiast memory products.

In this case and if you actually DO understand advanced BIOS setups and clocking, then the more expensive "full size and full featured" ROG class Asus boards would be better suited for your needs. These boards are built with top of the line components and made specifically for this type of use. Those who don't understand advanced BIOS setups and who should not be trying to run enthusiast class memory speeds or CPU clocks and purchase such boards thinking they will get better performance, are fooling themselves and spending a lot of money for nothing. These boards are made for pro's not amateurs or typical FSX users who clock. You would be buying a pretty paint job if the board is not going to be used as intended.

b. A user who intends to build a game system that will be running many games other than FSX and who needs multiple video card support for SLi or who needs extended support for higher end storage device PCIe devices running with multiple video cards, or a workstation. In your case, I honestly think you should build 2 towers, one for your SLi games or work and one for FSX, none the less, you will need either the more advanced multi-PCIe lane ROG board or the "Workstation" class board that allows higher PCIe link width for 2 or more video cards and other PCIe devices.

c. Mini boards can be used if they are of high quality but I will warn about this selection: Smaller means LESS HEAT can be dissipated quickly. Typically these boards are better suited for the college student dorm room or for the user who is making a home entertainment system and requires good performance in a very small space but will accept the limitations the smaller board may exhibit. Clocking these boards will produce heat and the last thing you want is more heat and less efficiency in getting it off the components.

I usually suggest the Asus line of motherboards. The Asus BIOS is usually very easy to navigate and the boards tend to have a track record for ease of use and stability. That does not mean you must buy Asus. There are other manufactures of boards on the market and users sometime become accustom to dealing with one company. What you should very clearly understand is the SAME holds true for any motherboard company: The CHEAPER the board, the LESS you get in component quality, cooling and features.

Purchasing a very cheap motherboard and shoving higher end processors/memory/video cards into them can and probably will come back to haunt you later! Don't be a fool, buy a motherboard for stability and long life use.


Just because any motherboard is advertised and listed as "OC DDR3 2800" does NOT MEAN you will be able to run that speed! Its marketing and the only speed that motherboard company must guarantee is the Intel spec for the processor itself, typically DDR3 1600-DDR3 1866 max.


One of the most overlooked and underrated aspects of system building is proper memory speed and timing. Regardless of the nonsense you may read about memory specifications and games (or FSX) DO NOT skimp on this area! Physical memory timing and speed quality does not effect FPS 'greatly' but firmly improves scenery loading and visual flight smoothness.

FSX does not need more than 6GB - 8GB of physical memory! Be aware, adding more memory is not going to net you any better performance and if you do add more you may find that memory will run higher latency or could be unstable in a high CPU clock situation. Users who may need more memory than 8GB for engineering or A/V production work or 64bit applications, that is understandable but anyone who does not use their systems for much more than FSX would be foolish to purchase more than 8GB. Your version of Windows must support the amount of memory you intend to use as well. Windows 7 Home x64 is restricted to 8GB max.

TWO STICKS vs. FOUR: What you must understand about this is that when we use more that 2 sticks of memory the load on the CPU memory controller or IMC goes UP. Therefore what users may deal with is LOWER stability in a HIGHER CPU clock with HIGHER speed memory. Typically you wont have any issues running 4 sticks when clocking 4.3 or below, above that it can become problematical as CPU speed and memory speed increases. How much depends on the motherboard quality and the luck of the draw with the CPU.
Users who run quad channel memory CPUs will be running 4 sticks of memory. That does not mean its bad as they get the benefit of the quad memory channel operation, however users who do not run quad channel CPUs that do not require more than 2 memory slots populated should strive to run 2 sticks for maximum stability in clocking.  Unless you need more memory for applications that will make use of it, in that case you will have to deal with any issues running higher CPU clock speeds.
Just as some CPUs display the ability to run high clocks on low CPU voltage, the same holds true with their stability with more than 2 sticks running at very high CPU and memory speeds.

I know to some people this information may appear 'Greek' however follow this chart with the examples I show, and you cant go wrong.


Memory is specified in speed and timing. The first number, in example is DDR3 <speed> the values that follow are the timing values listed as:

DDR3 <speed> CAS Latency - RAS to CAS DELAY - RAS Precharge - Cycle Time

Example: DDR3 2133 C9 -11-10-28

The first value, CAS Latency, has the highest influence on performance. The lower, the faster.

The 2nd and 3rd numbers also influence the speed of the memory and this is where a lot of people get snookered by a memory company into thinking the memory they are purchasing is faster than a lower speed.

In example: DDR2 1600 6-7-6-18  is FAR FASTER than DDR3 1866 9-9-9-24

Memory companies know people look at the speed of the memory instead of the timing and to take this example a step further lets try this again:

DDR3 2133 9-11-10-28  is FASTER than DDR3 2133 9-12-12-28

Even though both are the same DDR speed and both are CAS9 rated, the two numbers - RAS to CAS DELAY and RAS Precharge are higher in the 2nd sample and therefore that memory is slower and it could even be priced higher than the other sticks!

Cycle Time (the last number) does have an influence on the overall memory speed and it is always best to go for a lower value, however Cycle Time is not as critical to memory performance as are the other values therefore I have not included the Cycle Time value in the list below.

Here is a list of memory timing per speed a user should strive for. Lower timing memory is typically expensive and hard to find, which is what you pay for.

DDR3 1333 - 5-5-5  - (6-6-6)
DDR3 1600 - 6-6-6  - (6-8-6 best or 7-8-7)
DDR3 1800/1866 - 6-8-6 - (7-8-7)      
DDR3 2000 - 7-7-7  - (8-8-8)               Intel 900/970/980 series 'stable' limit
DDR3 2133 - 8-8-8  - (9-10-11)           Sandy Bridge 'stable' limit, can go slightly higher
DDR3 2400 - 9-9-9   (9-11-11)            Ivy Bridge and Haswell 'stable' limit, SB-E 'may' run this too but not very easy.
DDR3 2800 - 10-10-10  (11-14-14)     Haswell can run this, can go higher but you are now into 'tech experience' level speeds and not suggested
DDR3 3000 - 11-11-11  (12-14-14)    

Any of the processors will run the lower memory speeds of 1600-1866 but if your processor is able to run stable at higher speed, always shoot for that stable speed limit with the timing.

The timing values shown in (parentheses) above are what you should use when shopping for memory at the defined speed. Older systems such as 900 series processor will typically struggle to run any memory speed above 1900-2000. Sandy Bridge will run 2133, no problem, but may struggle to run 2400. Ivy Bridge will run 2400 but will usually struggle above that speed and finally, Haswell will run memory speeds from 2400-2800. Haswell can run memory speeds far above 2800 if the user knows what they are doing and the motherboard is designed for that purpose (ROG). I do not suggest this unless you are experienced with clocking.

When we look for a memory speed upgrade we try to keep the same CAS (if possible) and if a higher number is required we try to move at LEAST 256MHz higher in DRAM FREQUENCY or DDR3 speed before we take the next higher value for CAS. That's not easy to do unless we are talking coming from DDR3 1600-1866 @ C9 to 2133. That is why C9 from 2133 to 2400 is a good bump as long as the other values are no higher than 11-11. You are basically moving 267MHz higher with little change to the timing going from 2133 to 2400 and no change to the CAS!

Remember if you can find memory that runs at the DDR speed specified above but at a LOWER timing  than what I posted above, then the memory product is faster than what I posted above.


MEMORY CLOCKING: WARNING - This is an area I do not suggest the typical user experiment with and I am simply adding this information for the more tech savvy individuals in case they would like to experiment at some point. If this type of clocking is attempted, it is ALWAYS the last clock setup after all software has been installed and CPU clock has been established FIRST. Never do this on a new system before software is installed.
I will not be getting into this subject here 'in-depth'. Testing different speeds and timings past the manufacture specification can be done and sometimes we can find values that work and are stable that provide a better (lower) latency and will run faster. However in that process it is very possible to corrupt Windows or data. Unstable overclocks of the processor can cause such corruption too but with memory clocking crashes there is a far higher danger in rebooting to find Windows no longer boots up.
If you wish to work with testing memory timing and speed changes past the manufacture specification DO make sure you have a full backup of the Windows install in case of disaster.  This is something that should be reserved for later when overclock tuning is being set up and not before installing a system.

Many times these changes require memory voltage and DRAM system changes and sometimes require voltage changes at the CPU IMC. Sometimes they can be made without voltage bumps but any change in memory speed, timing or both must BE FULLY LOAD TESTED TO ENSURE STABILITY.

When checking to see if it is possible to get more performance out of the memory we purchase this is the typical outline:

CAS Latency (CL)  -----> Usually impossible to change without serious voltage
This is the hardest number to change and remain stable, usually this must remain the same but it also has the highest impact of performance. 1 value lower at the same speed is a massive jump in performance.
RAS to CAS (tRCD) -----> 2nd most difficult to lower
RAS Precharge (tRP) -----> 3rd most difficult to lower
IF there is any room to work it is usually in these 2 values. Either one will make a difference, the first of the two typically having the most impact but also the most difficult to change and remain stable. Changing these (one or both) is usually where trimming occurs.
Row Active Time (tRAS) -----> usually can be changed but has the least impact on performance.
Command Rate (CR)-----> must be tested to see but with good memory this can usually be run @ 1T
In all cases lower is faster for any value.

Its also possible the memory may run a bit higher speed with the manufacture spec timing. In example, raising DDR3 2133 to DDR3 2200 with a slight voltage bump from 1.5v to 1.6 or 1.65 can be done if the memory manufacture defines their memory will run 1.65v even if its rated for 1.5. Raising this voltage from 1.5 to 1.65 will not damage the Intel CPU, that is a myth. The only requirement is the memory be certified to run that voltage and not damage the on-stick regulator.




This subject is very simple in terms of how much power you need for the system you intend to run. Where it can get a bit complicated is trying to convey the importance of QUALITY in the design of a power supply and especially in systems where high-end components are desired with high clocking stability.

Cheap power supplies display something you can not see; ripple and poor regulation in the electronics, which can destabilize a system and reduce a systems ability to maintain higher stable clocks. More important is the fact that they also run HOTTER which means their components break down and fail faster and they take the system with them in that process!

Just like with a motherboard the #1 killer of any electronic component is heat. Cheap fuel for your car is cheap for a reason, power supplies are no different. Cheap designed power supplies deliver less 'stable' power and they can make the inside of a tower far hotter than it needs to be which along with the poor voltage regulation and filtering will run every other component in that tower hotter, including the memory and CPU, through the juice it supplies and reduce the stability and the life of those components as well.

You should chose a power supply based on what it is you intend to do. If your goal is running a lot of drives with top-end processors and video adapters in a high clocked environment then this purchase can make all the difference between a COOL and STABLE system and one that gives you nothing but trouble under a load.

The watt rating does not define the quality. You can have 900watts of poorly designed power supply that runs a clocked system unstable in FSX and a 750watt unit that will deliver far more stability and cooler temps and run a clocked system without a glitch. Quality is based on the manufacture engineering design and the components in use and just like that better motherboard, better power supplies are not cheap.

How much power do you need: This is the easy part. For any single video card systems I highly suggest a 750watt power supply. 850watt is OK too if you like a bit more overhead and especially if you intend to run many USB devices with a lot of hard drives. For those who will be running two video cards then a good 950-1000watt PSU is what you need to look for. Past two video cards, the 1200watt monster may be required.

You will be hard pressed to find any high-quality 750-850watt power supply for less than $130 dollars. They come along every once in a while but they are few and far between. Sometimes they can be on sale for as low as 115-120 USD but be very weary of any 750watt power supply that sells for 100 dollars or less. Here are a few items you should look for:

a. 12 volt 'single rail' power supplies tend to be far better quality than multi-rail. Look for that specification.

b. Make sure the power supply IS RATED and has all the plugs required for your motherboard, processor and video adapter. There can be specific specifications for a power supply outlined by the motherboard manufacture and Intel. There can be different requirements for the motherboard power plugs with respect to the main lines as well as the CPU power support.

c. Make sure the power supply has all the plugs you need for the build. Sometimes they can short you proper power connectors, or, one power supply may have a limited number of a certain type of power plug you need such as SATA power or PCIe. They can have SHORT leads that may require extensions.. better power supplies typically do not come with any of these caveats.

d. Select a company known for or that has a track record for excellent quality. I can suggest Seasonic power supplies as well as the mid and upper end Corsair power supplies. That is not to say the rest are bad. Silverstone has been known to make great units too.

e. It is possible to get a defect from any company regardless of their reputation. The important factor is the quality of the design and how clean and cool that unit will run even under the most demanding load. The better power supplies are very quiet and that is another sign of quality, if the fan in the unit is blowing like a tornado under moderate loads running Flight Sim the power supply is being driven nearly to its max and the components are probably cooking hot which is why the fan is running so darn high! A good power supply is hardly noticed running even when the CPU and video card is cranking a benchmark render load.

f. Better quality power supplies with good designs in the 750-850watt range typically run around 129-169 USD. The better units go up from there. Most users can obtain the mid-cost range PSU from a good manufacture and it will work A-OK. You users who want to clock to the hills on the fastest CPU speed and the highest memory speeds with the top-dog video cards better 'pony-up' for the high-end power supplies if you are looking for top-end stability. These usually start at about 170 dollars and go up from there for 750-850watt units.

As a FYI, I personally selected the Corsair AX850i digital PSU for my Haswell build. This power supply runs nearly dead silent and hardly cracks a sweat even under 100% stress test loads. Their AX850 standard series is just as dependable as the AX850i digital and costs about 40-50 US dollars less. The AX850i is a 850watt $225 digital power supply.





If I just put together a system shopping list in which I invested the funds into the better components with the goal of clocking and high stability, WHY would I want to put all those components in a tower that could run them hot or force me to run lower clock speeds?

The tower should never be purchased based on lights, bling, the finish or the paint job it should be purchased based on the environment you are in and your goals in running stable in the clock you intend to run. Remember heat is enemy #1 and the more efficient the airflow in, across the components and back out, the better that system will run and the longer it will last.

Packing all those parts into a really cool looking brushed aluminum box that has a impressive company name behind it and cost $250-$350 but has poor fan support and lousy aerodynamics is foolish. Same goes for the cheap steel or plastic towers. Select a tower that will provide the cooling support you require for what you intend to do. Those who do not clock at all can get away with less efficiency in cooling.

For clocking and high efficiency:
Look for a tower that has front, side, top and rear fans. Do note that most towers come with cheap fans that although work, they are usually not high quality volume pushing design. You may find the fans that come with the tower will do the job you require, however if you are attempting to run high clocks on AIR, you may want to consider upgrading all the tower fans. Modding a case is not required but it can be done if required.
I personally use the HAF 932 with a modified rear fan port and upgraded fans. I replaced the Cooler Master fans with my own spec: 2 BitFenix Spectre Pro 230mm (top/side fans) and two Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPro PK-3 140mm (1700RPM front and rear fans) that is pressure rated. There is no such thing as a high performance air heatsink-fan unit clocking tower that is too big with too many fans. That larger tower is a blessing when clocking. You can always control fan speeds through the BIOS or Windows software based on CPU temp. The Cooler Master HAF 932 series is a good base for a reasonable price. There are other choices, be smart about what you choose and take a careful look at their designs.


DUST FILTERS: I do not use them. My environment has a central air system that includes electronic dust removal. Even with that I must clean my tower once a year which includes removing the video card, taking the cover off the card and cleaning the heatsink and fan. I know some people have issues with dust but be very aware that dust filters can significantly reduce airflow in a clocking tower and limit the clock. If you can do without them and simply perform maintenance a little more often the tower will breathe much easier. You must make that call based on the tower environment and how often cleaning is required.





Where you use your system can make a difference in how cool it runs. Take for instance the user who is pushing 4800MHz and who places their tower in a room on the 2nd floor of the house where the western sun hits that house most of the afternoon and the early evening. On top of that the user has the tower sitting under a desk. This room ambient temp is most likely far warmer than any other room in the house. Ambient room temperature drives the temp of the components and how efficiently the CPU cooler works. Every 3 degrees less in ambient can mean a lot to a clocked tower. If it is your goal to clock, or, simply for far less fan noise, select a location that is temp-friendly for your system.

Do not crowd a tower under a desk where the heat builds up as it is expelled from the tower, let it breathe so it does not recalculate that warm air right back in again.

Being smart about where a system is located and will be used can go a long way to keeping it cool, stable and  quiet!




As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, I am not insensitive to this nor am I pushing anyone to buy hardware they simply can not afford. Be very aware that with budget hardware you will be limited with results and must accept those limitations. Exceed those limits with scenery settings and addons that overdrive the hardware and you will be looking at a blurry or stutter mess on that screen with poor clarity and image quality. I will not go into laptops here. Laptops are not graphics crunching systems. Although they may have mobile graphics adapters those devices are small in size and size does matter when it comes to rendering in FSX. Laptops may be able to run games but they will always be exceptionally limited when it comes to running FSX. It can be done but it is not suggested.

There are users who are not interested in flying very complicated payware aircraft over exceptionally detailed scenery and simply wish to enjoy FSX the best they can using the default planes or low impact scenery.

When working with a seriously reduced budget and if you are willing to accept the limitations you can get good results as long as you put the money into the right parts. These parts will in no way match the ability of the components listed above but they will allow you to run FSX and enjoy what it can offer.

Your goal in parts selection is basically the same as the user who places higher priority into the hardware for FSX. You will simply be selecting the less expensive parts. That is why I outlined you should review the information outlined above, so you understand where to put the money and how to get the most out of the purchase in FSX.



Processors:  Modern Intel budget processor such as i5. As newer generation processors are released Intel typically produces a budget version of their CPUs. What you do not want to do is purchase the lowest end version of a CPU, i.e.; Do not purchase i3 over a i5. You will want a quad core processor.

Alternately if you can afford a older class processor such as a Sandy Bridge 2600-2700K that may be on their way out of production but need to cut back on the video card due to cost, this can be done as long as you are not or do not intend to clock that processor above 4.1-4.2GHz and bottleneck the lesser grade video adapter. Just remember that when you do something like this you may get the higher end CPU but its one that is now DATED and will run slower than the newer processor at the same clock speed.

System Memory: There is no difference between a budget system CPU and a the higher class CPUs when it comes to memory speed and timing. You still want the highest speed with the lowest timing possible, however the selection of memory can be limited if the motherboard does not support higher memory speeds. As we move into the next generation of computer hardware memory speeds are going to increase dramatically and that means the budget motherboards will allow increase in memory speed as well.

With modern budget motherboards the faster memory speeds are now being made available but you must also consider stability with such boards even if they 'market' them with a memory speed option. Just because any motherboard is advertised and listed as "OC DDR3 2800" does NOT MEAN you will be able to run that speed! Its marketing and the only speed that motherboard company must guarantee is the Intel spec for the processor itself, typically DDR3 1600-DDR3 1866 max.

A decent modern budget board and processor should be able to run DDR3 2133 9-11-10-28 timing memory no problem, so as of the date of posting that will be your target memory speed and timing. 8GB (2x4GB) is more than enough and I highly suggest sticking with 2 sticks of memory instead of 4 with a budget motherboard.

Video Adapters:  My advice with this selection is no different that with the better system components. Match the card with the processor ability and speed. If you are purchasing a modern budget Intel processor then you should match that with a similar generation budget Nvidia video card. What you must be careful of in this selection is choosing too LOW of a grade in video card for the processor and effectively bottleneck the card. In this case and with today's offerings its not that hard to choose.

The GTX 660Ti and the GTX760 would be the current cards to buy. Both are PCIe 3.0 and both will serve you well in a budget build with CPU speeds up to 4.1-4.2GHz. The 760 being the better choice.

In the future as we move into the next generation of video adapters and budget builds you should typically look to the 3rd class series of Nvidia video cards. Typically there are 3 primary classes, the flagship which in today's case is the GTX 780, the intermediate which is today the GTX 770 and last the budget class with a punch, the GTX 760. Purchasing a video card of lower quality and design than the 3rd class Nvidia product would be a mistake as even on a budget you need to maintain a defined level of performance in order to run FSX and match the CPU ability.


Motherboards: Again, this selection is no different than if you are shopping for a high-performance board. Motherboards that cost between $75 and $130 USD are cheaper for a reason. They have less engineering design and lower grade components placed on these boards because they are not meant to be used for high-end clocking or very high memory speed stability.

Shop based on what features the board offers that you require in support of addon cards or devices. If you intend to low-end clock, look for the budget board that has good size heatsinks and other cooling devices mounted on the components. Don't by a board based on a pretty paint job, buy it based on the support you need for devices and the thermal transfer component quality.

Power Supply: For a budget build with the lower end components and limiting clocks you can step down to a well designed 650watt PSU. This will serve you well as it will run that budget system cool and help with cost management. You must be careful too in that purchase as cheapo 650 PSU can be just as bad as someone who buys a cheap 750 for the higher end components.

Clocking budget systems: Many of the budget board are able to clock a processor too. With a modern processor and modern budget boards a user can typically run a 4.0-4.2GHz clock with no issues. What you must remember is the budget motherboards are simply not designed to run stable in high-end clock situations as the voltage regulation/filtering along with the thermal transfer components such as heatsinks are cut back for cost on these boards therefore a user who clocks or attempts to run very high clocks on boards of this class is also running their components exceptionally hot as compared to the user who works with the better designed motherboard offerings. Heat is the #1 enemy to component life and stability. If you wish to clock a budget system be reasonable with the clock and the expectations around that clock.



Towers build up dust over time. Unless you live in a 'clean room' environment set up by NASA that tower, the heatsinks, and especially the video card is going to end up with layers of dust over time. How much and how aggressive the layers build and how often you need to check and clean it out will depend on the environment the tower is in.
With a new system and you are not sure how often this needs to be done, check it once every 90 days till you come to understand the environment and how much will build up and how fast. You can set a regular schedule for checking and cleaning from there. I only have to clean mine once a year with a central heat and cooling system that includes electronic dust control.
Unplug the tower when cleaning! 
Do not use garage compressors for cleaning out towers. They can produce moisture which mixes with the air and you can end up forcing water vapor droplets into places you don't want it to go.
A simple old toothbrush, typical canned air and a vacuum cleaner with a very soft horse-hair brush tip can do the job. Break the dust up on the tower fans, heatsinks and around the motherboard heatsinks gently with the toothbrush or you can purchase brushes that are specifically made for doing fine delicate work like that. Once the dust is broken up blow it way and vacuum the residue.
Don't drag a vacuum cleaner head over components either. Be very gentle with that brush and make sure its not hard plastic or stiff, nice and soft to do that job. They make attachments for small jobs like that too.
Be VERY AWARE that video cards with the enclosed heatsink can plug up over time and you can not see the debris! With a closed 'box' heatsink it requires the card come out of the tower, that top be removed  to get to the shotgun heatsink and properly clean it out.
IF you are not confident in cleaning a tower out and doing it safely, seek professional assistance!
As that tower builds up dust over time and is not cleaned you WILL see issues show up from graphics glitches to crashes and overclocks can become unstable as well.

REMEMBER: You get what you pay for if you know how to use it!

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- You have planned and set up a strategically designed file delivery system (hard drive layout and strategy) to suit your needs with scenery addons and file calls.


If you do not understand anything about hard drives or hard drive technology all you need to know is what is in these key statements which target every possible scenario in setting up a system for efficient and effective file delivery.

Follow this and you will never go wrong when planning and building a new system


























- SSD IS NOT 'ALWAYS' BETTER THAN MECHANICAL (it depends on the drives you are comparing)







Although SSD drives significantly reduce maintenance and do not require defragmenting you must still understand that all SSDs are not created equal. Some are no better and can run slower than some high-end mechanical drives. Research your SSD purchase carefully and do remember, you will usually get what you pay for with SSD..


























** SSD cost per gig is expensive and the storage space can be limited. With mechanical drives defragmenting services can take time and the more data on them the longer that maintenance can take. FEX-REX-GEX-AS2012 -- These are all database applications that SEND files to FSX. They do not have to be installed into the Windows partition or FSX! They have very large numbers of texture files which can take up gigs of drive space. When installing the applications into Windows there is no reason to install them to a Windows drive or a FSX drive. Point the installers to a separate storage drive. The applications will work exactly the same when you launch and use them and simply send files to FSX except you are not eating drive space on performance disks to store them!




Samsung has defined with some of their older drives that if you are using their SSD drives that the Intel RST (Rapid Storage Transport) driver should not be installed.

They have since changed their recommendations and now say to use the Intel RST drivers and ports. The point being, always check with the manufacture of your SSD as to what they recommend for drivers and control software to be sure your SSD storage system is running at peak efficiency.










- The hardware has been verified as installed correctly on the correct ports and correct cables:



When we build a tower or even when we have a system builder do it for us, mistakes can be made in that process. It is important to go through the system and take a good look at the connections to the hardware making sure they are correct and secure without lose connections.


Make sure to review the motherboard manual carefully while building. Many times users get tripped up when it comes to the installation of video adapters and how the ports share resources and can force a x16 PCIe video card to be neutered down to x8.


SATA cables for SATAIII drives need to be made for that specification and not use old SATAII cables that you may have laying around.


Wires and wiring hanging all over the inside of the tower can not only block airflow but create dead-spots with respect to turbulence inside the tower effectively reducing the efficiency of the fan system of the tower. A tower should be neat and tidy inside to allow that air to get in, move across the electronics, and be effectively removed without obstructions. Wire ties and sticky-back retainers can be used and better towers have space for cable stowage.  





Yea, its just a bit messy at the bottom, LOL but this was taken while I had the power cables at the bottom of the tower out of their looms.  I stow that coil on the bottom in the unused hard drive slot at the very bottom of the tower.












- You are or plan to use a 64bit (x64) version of Windows 7:


At the time of this posting my best advice to Flight sim users is: Stay off of Windows 8


You can use a 32bit version of Windows 7 however with Flight Simulator you will find that the 64bit version of Windows allows far more physical and virtual memory support for the application and hardware and will typically run the application better with far less issues such as 'Out Of Memory'. You can use this list to optimize a 32bit version of Windows 7. However is it highly recommended that for a Flight Sim performance system that only a 64bit version of Windows 7 be used.



You must be sure to purchase the right version of Windows for your system needs in physical memory support. There is NO DIFFERENCE in performance between the different versions of Windows! The only difference is in the features they offer and the support for memory and physical CPU's







Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate x64   -192 GB  with single or dual CPU socket support

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 - 16 GB  with single CPU socket support

Windows 7 Home Basic x64       - 8 GB  with single CPU socket support



Windows 7 Home Basic 32bit version    - 4 GB with single CPU socket support



Windows 7 Home Starter 32bit version  - 2 GB with single CPU socket support



Windows 7 with Flight Sim will not require more than 6-8GB of physical memory. More than 6-8GB of physical memory will not make Flight Sim run better or remove out of memory issues with FSX. If you need more memory than 6-8 for applications such as engineering, audio/video and/or 3D model or graphic production then make sure to purchase the version of Windows that will support your physical memory requirements.



Furthermore, if you are building a multi-socket CPU tower (This is two physical CPU's, and not 2-4-6 multicore single CPU chips) there are limitations in Windows for that as well. You must be using the higher end versions of Windows for such systems as the lower versions only support ONE physical CPU chip.



Server type multi-CPU socket systems (server grade) will NOT provide very much in FSX nor will you ever recover the outrageous cost of such a system for Flight sim use.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Windows 7 Ultimate will automatically enable a feature called 'BitLocker" and VhD (Virtual Hard Disk) support. These features are useless to a typical user and it forces Windows to create a hidden system partition on your computer.
As long as you have no intention of using the BitLocker encryption feature and will not be using any advanced tools to attempt access/recovery of encrypted files, and, you do not need the support for VhD or others of that nature,..
In order to AVOID this partition nonsense, install Windows Ultimate using this outline:
At the first Windows setup screen (Language, Keyboard, etc.) press SHIFT+F10. This will open a command prompt window. Enter the following diskpart commands to create a partition.
- Diskpart

- List disk     
*NOTE: This command is important. It will show you what disk drives you have. Most likely your hard drive will be will be Disk 0, but you need to check to be sure the right drive is selected for Windows first!

- select disk 0   (or the Windows install disk you verified in the last step)

- clean

- create partition primary size=100000  align=1024  
*NOTE: this creates a partition 100GB in size and aligns the drive at the same time. If you want to use the whole hard drive instead of a partition, just leave off the size=number)
- select partition 1
- active
- format fs=ntfs quick

Type Exit to leave Diskpart. 
Type Exit to close the command prompt. 
Now continue with the install. When you get to the partition screen, highlight the partition you just created and click Next. 
Windows will install to the partition you created and not create the 100MB boot partition. Instead, you will see a C:\Boot folder when the install is finished












If your goal is to use Flight Sim with more than one monitor, or, a series of monitors, regardless of if you use Matrox or other hardware device for this purpose, please do not run any more than ONE primary monitor to the rear of the primary video card at this time.



Multi-monitor setups can be tricky when it comes to tuning Flight Sim. Your ultimate goal will be to apply your displays and enjoy what they have to offer but before you apply the additional graphic display load to the system the goal is optimize and setup Flight Simulator, and then tune it on a single display setup first.



REASON: Just as we build scenery layers in the Flight Sim scenery library so one scenery overlays another correctly and then we visually verify that build, we want to tune Flight Sim for multi-monitor use with the same consideration. Once you have successfully setup Flight Sim and have it running smooth with your addons on one monitor, you will then move to adding the next hardware layer to FSX. By using logical steps you will see issues that the additional hardware layer has added and you will know immediately that any performance or other problems that appear are directly related to the additional hardware layer, and not something you initially missed in setting up and tuning Flight Sim.



At that point and assuming any hardware or driver issues are not in play, all you should need to do is make a few simple changes to the Flight Sim scenery slider settings and perhaps one or two minor edits the FSX.cfg file.



Slamming a array of monitors onto the system and going at a tuning session is not a wise way to approach multi-monitor use. There is no way to define if performance issues are related to the extended hardware layer or if its centered in the original sim build itself.



Start with one monitor, the primary display you intend to use as the center monitor and do not enable or any other monitors for FSX at this time.

SPECIAL NOTE: For those who get very serious about displays and who wish to run a very LARGE ARRAY of monitors and pit setups, you should consider multiple computer systems over a single computer and take the advantage of single cards in each system.
FUTHER: Consider a short throw projection system over rendering monitors for the forward display. I have suggested this in the forums many times over the years (example:  and a few have taken that advice and have been very happy with the results. There is an expense and a learning curve but nothing beats the scale and the naturally soft look of projection over monitors.
You can also use networked towers for control displays in any multi-monitor setup including projection if its required.
Getting creative with FSX and how you use monitors goes a long way to high performance when a lot of visual real estate is desired.  Wink
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-21-2013 at 1:10am








"LET THERE BE A BOOT"..   and the system booted!









- The BIOS of the motherboard should be verified



Check for updates at the motherboard support site that address system stability and/or performance.



BIOS Updates can be important. If you are using a motherboard that has a very old BIOS it is possible there have been performance and stability updates to that BIOS. Check the motherboard manufactures website in the support area for the motherboard and see if you are using a old BIOS, if new BIOS's are offered and if they address performance or stability in the BIOS update description. If they do, upgrading the BIOS can be an important step to success with the hardware, clocking and Flight Simulator.



WARNING: If you find your current BIOS is old and a new one is available, and, you do not feel comfortable updating a BIOS then seek professional assistance with a BIOS flash upgrade!



The motherboard manual will outline the process to upgrade the BIOS.










- The BIOS has been setup correctly for the memory installed



A BIOS can typically not set the correct memory speed/timing and voltage automatically without the user manually loading the XMP memory profile from the memory sticks in the BIOS settings. Installing memory and booting a computer typically works, but many times the BIOS is running the memory at the default specification and not the true XMP memory speed and timing.



In example, many DDR3 2133 9-11-10 1.65v memory products have a default speed of 1600 with a default timing of 9-9-9 and a default voltage of 1.5. When these sticks are installed many BIOS memory tuner controllers can not read the chip on the memory sticks that tells the system what speed/timing/voltage the manufacture designed the memory to run and it requires the user to set that control to: XMP in the BIOS which will then load the correct settings automatically. A user can also manually input the correct values.

Even after loading the XMP memory profile in the BIOS a user should manually check IN the BIOS and verify the settings in the BIOS to confirm DRAM Frequency, DRAM Timing and DRAM voltage is in fact displayed correctly based on the specifications of the memory purchased. Then test their memory to assure there are no defects before installing any software or Windows.


I outlined the memory testing process two sections down after you verify your SATA system is set up correctly.
To verify memory settings in Windows:

The use of the software CPUz (or CPUID)  in Windows can alert a user if their memory speed and timing is not running the manufacture specification.













- The BIOS SATA system is correctly setup before installing Windows



There are 2 primary SATA system settings you must be aware of and which one to select. AHCI or IDE modes.



NOTE: This BIOS system setting must be changed and set correctly before Windows is installed to the hard drive. Although there is a registry hack that can be used that allows a user to switch from IDE to AHCI (or visa-versa) after Windows is installed, be VERY AWARE than although that will work and the system will boot/run, Windows will not be setup correctly/automatically for proper SSD use. When we install Windows clean to a SSD with AHCI set in the BIOS, the install from the Windows DVD changes Windows setup specifically for SSD operation which goes far past a single registry edit.



The SATA Configuration in the motherboard BIOS may be set to IDE -or- AHCI by default. You must verify this in the BIOS before installing Windows.



To make the correct SATA Configuration choice in the BIOS, this very simple:



* IF you use a single SSD drive or more than one SSD drive, regardless of if you have mechanical drives in the system as well, you must set the SATA Configuration in the BIOS for the ports that run the SSD drives to: AHCI in the BIOS and install the correct AHCI SATA drivers in Windows.



AHCI is required to enable both NCQ and TRIM support for top SSD performance regardless of if you are using mechanical drives in the system as well. 



* IF you do not use any SSD drives and will never install any SSD drives in the future, set the SATA Configuration in the BIOS for the ports that run the mechanical drives to: IDE or ENHANCED IDE



Mechanical drives that are not being used in a office network server environment, or, that the user does not require hot-swap support, do not need the extended AHCI support. AHCI/NCQ places overhead into file calls and can/will slow mechanical drives. If you have no SSD drives or do not need hot-swap support setting the SATA Configuration to IDE will run those mechanical drives without the office network wait-state commands NCQ will invoke with AHCI.



SPECIAL NOTE: Being on AHCI as compared to IDE with a mechanical when you have SSD and mechanicals mixed is not going to drive the mechanical performance into the GROUND... that's not the case, .. all we are doing with IDE is getting rid of NCQ wait states that will increase latency in file calls and cant be read on a benchmark output. Anything that helps is better..  but if you MUST run AHCI for your drives that DOES NOT MEAN the mechanical drive performance has been halved or anything like that.



* IF you require 'hot-swap' hard drive support, regardless of the type of drives you use (SSD or Mechanical) then you must set the SATA Configuration in the BIOS for the ports that run the drives to: AHCI and install the correct AHCI SATA drivers in Windows.



Hot swap is a feature that allows a user to change drives (other than the Windows drive), remove them and swap ports, etc while Windows is booted and the system is running. AHCI is required to safely disable a drive so it can be removed and swapped out while Windows is booted and the system is running. Without this support if a drive is disconnected with the system running it can result in drive damage, motherboard SATA port damage, corruption of data or any one or combination of those.



If you do not swap hard drives while a system is running and have no need for this support, then simply configure the SATA system based on SSD or mechanical drives in use as outlined above before installing Windows.



















- You have FULLY TESTED each individual module of physical memory installed in the system



This is a major reason for a lot of performance, stability and crash issues related to Flight Sim.



Do not skip this step! You may regret it to the hills because after a few reinstall of Windows, reinstalls of FSX, addons and then endless searching forums for solutions to crashes and performance problems you find out a memory stick is defective or unstable you will have effectively wasted hours/days/weeks or even months for nothing!



Regardless of if you built your tower or purchased a pre-built unit, failure to verify the memory modules in a system are free of manufacture defect as well as stable after a CPU overclock is one of the primary mistakes users will make.



Modern Intel processors will ERROR CORRECT memory related errors if more than one stick (or module) of memory is installed in a system. That means you could run test after test with different memory testing and overclocking load test software and never know your system suffers from a unstable or defective stick of memory, OR, your memory is fine when the system is not overclocked, but the memory modules are unstable when you clock the CPU.





NOTE: Memtest developers may need time to catch up to newer chipsets and processors. If you are someone who goes out and buys the latest CPU/chipset products the day they hit the market then it is possible Memtest code may not have caught up to the technology. I have linked the latest version of Memtest here as of this date of posting which covers all CPUs through Haswell



a. Anyone with newer CPUs including Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge E and Haswell should be using version 5 of Memtest and it covers all processors of the past.


The latest version of Memtest (v5.0) is linked here:






b. Burn a disk with mt500.iso, or, create a USB boot stick with the USB installer. You can review the release notes.


NOTE: Motherboards on the market can define different settings for USB stick booting and because of that I can not define the settings in your specific BIOS for USB stick boot. Check the motherboard manual if you wish to use a USB stick over burning a CD.



c. Power down and remove all but ONE memory module from the system. Make sure this module is in the first slot the motherboard manual defines for a single stick of memory. Typically this will be slot 'A2' but VERIFY with the motherboard manual. Leave that stick in the system, remove the others and then proceed.

NOTE: Verify the single stick of memory is in fact running the XMP profile speed. If not you may need to reset that in the BIOS after changing memory modules and before running Memtest. 


d. Boot the computer with Memtest. NOTE: DO not use any F modes when launching Memtest unless you know your motherboard requires those. Simply let the test start automatically OR hit the spacebar once to begin. If you have issues running Memtest, try F-1 or SAFE mode when the program starts, otherwise just let it run.



e. Memtest runs 10 sub tests per full test pass. You want to run at least 3 FULL test passes on each module which can take from 1-2 hours per stick depending system speed.



f. When the first module passes or fails, power down, remove the module and mark it for 'pass' or 'fail' and then install the next module in the same slot and rerun the test. Repeat until all modules are confirmed individually.



A FAIL will be defined by RED text and lines in the lower screen of Memtest. If any RED appears, you can stop the test, the memory has failed.



If you find a module(s) fail and the system is not overclocked then you most likely have a defective memory module which needs to be replaced and not used. Defective memory can lead to everything from Windows corruption, driver corruption, software application corruption, poor performance, intermittent crashes, system lockups and CTD's. (crash to desktop).



NOTE: Lets assume all sticks fail.. there is a possibility you may have a defective motherboard memory slot. You can use a different slot and retest. Check the motherboard manual about which slots are the first in each channel bank and if it is possible to use another slot for 1 stick. Usually you can use the B2 slot instead of A2, or the motherboard manufacture may define slot A1. The goal here is to define if the issue is a BIOS setting or a memory slot, or, you really have multiple sticks of memory that are defective.. If you find the sticks pass in another slot, the XMP profile was set correctly and the primary slots are failing memory when the sticks are installed in then, then return the motherboard for a replacement.


Once you have confirmed the memory is not defective then continue on.






We DO NOT CLOCK a new system when loading Windows, installing software and setting it up. Clocking is the LAST OPERATION after everything has been installed, confirmed, tested, and tuned. When you get to that point there IS A DEFINED memory test using Memtest that all users should run to confirm memory controller and CPU stability with the CPU and memory speed the user is running.











-You have gone through the list above, verified your hardware and your BIOS settings and installed Windows in a NON-CLOCKED environment



You do want to make sure your memory and CPU are running the correct speed/timing, but you DO NOT want to overclock at this time or anytime during the initial setup, installation and optimization of Windows and the initial install and setup of Flight Sim. The BIOS default setup for the CPU at this point is fine. You may have needed to make changes so your memory is running the correct speed/timing/voltage as I outlined earlier, and, you may have made changes to the SATA system and boot order of the system. DO NOT OVERCLOCK a system during this initial setup process.



NEVER install Windows, flash BIOS files, install large amounts of software and drivers with a overclocked system.



It is one thing that if you are very proficient at overclocking and know what you are doing with respect to verifying stability,.. you can get away with using a system and installing addons/drivers/programs over time after the initial setup is complete. If you are not very well versed in overclocking and how to PROPERLY verify stability with an exceptionally high level of confidence I suggest its far better to be safe than sorry.



HOWEVER: Even a seasoned professional overclocker knows better than to overclock a system first and then install or set up a Windows system with all the software/drivers as that places a high RISK file system corruption into the equation. IF you do that and you do not think its a problem when a seasoned professional does...   Here's your sign!




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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-21-2013 at 1:13am

















- UAC and WINDOWS DEFENDER: Shut these Windows features down immediately after Windows is installed and then reboot. This should be done before any drivers are installed.



Before you install any drivers into a clean Windows installation perform this task and reboot, then begin installing the motherboard drivers.



Windows UAC (User Access Control) is useless to protecting a single user computer. It was designed to protect a office network from malware spreading across the network but will not protect the original computer system the malware was executed on, nor will it protect a single user system.



If you use FSX and 3rd party addons by now you are probably already aware that User Access Control can block proper function of addons and even FSX. UAC should be completely shut down for both system performance as well as stop issues with installing and running addons.



Once this is done selecting "RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR" to install or run programs is no longer required (except in the case where a 'administrator command prompt' is required)



Windows Defender is well known for being a resource hog and blocking the proper installation of addons.



To disable Windows Defender in Windows 7 do the following:


NOTE: Some versions of Windows may install with Windows Defender set to OFF by default. If you find this to be the case, simply skip to step 5 below and disable the service directly. We will recheck to verify the Windows Defender service has remained disabled after all Windows Updates are installed later in the optimize outline. Windows Update has been known to re-enable Windows Defender automatically on a clean install of Windows and after a service pack update.

1. Go to Control Panel: In the corner dropdown select VIEW BY and then 'small icons' (or large, your choice) then select Windows Defender from the Control Panel list and open it. Under the TOOLS menu select OPTIONS and then do the following:



2. Select: Real Time Protection and uncheck: Use Real Time Protection



3. Select: Administrator and uncheck: Use this program



4. Click SAVE and then if any popup appears, click CLOSE.



5. Go to Control Panel - Administrator Tools - Services   In the services list scroll down to: Windows Defender and double click it, a box will appear. If the services happens to be running at this time, click STOP and then in the dropdown select: DISABLED and click APPLY. Close the services list.




To disable UAC in Windows 7 do the following:



1. Go to Control Panel - User Accounts - Change User Account Control Settings



You can also click START and in the search box type: UAC then click on; Change User Account Control Settings



2. In the box that appears set the slider to ZERO (Never Notify) and click OK and reboot the computer.






Windows 8 users, you have my condolences. Properly shutting down UAC is completely different in Windows 8. You can review this post about that subject:











- The motherboard drivers have been installed FROM THE DISK THAT CAME WITH THE MOTHERBOARD in the correct order starting with the chipset drivers.


It is important to install drivers in the correct order after a operating system is FIRST installed. The CHIPSET driver from the motherboard disk is always installed first, reboot, and followed up by the SATA system, reboot, and then any other drivers with reboots between each driver installation. The chipset drivers define the chipset registry in which the BIOS of the system works hand-in-hand and from there all the hardware drivers installed into the system will register correctly with the motherboard since the BIOS and its chipset have established the correct ID and driver link in Windows.



Always REBOOT after a chipset or any driver is installed before installing the next driver.



CRITICAL: It is very important that you install your drivers from the original CD or DVD that came with the motherboard BEFORE applying any driver updates or upgrades. You do not need the bloatware software most motherboard disks come with but you do need to install the drivers from that disk using the motherboard manufactures installers. There is a very important reason for this!



I have seen this issue with users systems many times over the years. Users will skip the motherboard disk and go round up the updated drivers first. This is a serious mistake. Most users do not understand that the motherboard manufactures can place special patches and execution code into their product driver installers. This code is executed on first install of drivers to the motherboard and is many times not included with updated drivers they post at their website support.



In just one example, the Intel chipset drivers for motherboards do not fully install without executing command line code (same with the Intel website drivers) which the motherboard manufacture programs into their custom installer to execute. In order for Intel chipset drivers to update properly the first chipset driver install must be run with the proper execution commands and then from there they will be fully installed and will update correctly with later patches.



That is just one example, another is the motherboard manufacture may scan for the OS and install a critical patch before installing a driver and that is expected to be installed before running Windows Update. The driver updates posted at the motherboard support site usually do not include that scan or patch as it is only required on first install of the drivers and the manufacture expects the user to run that driver disk. This is why it is important to use the motherboard driver disk first, then after all the drivers have been installed from that disk a user can proceed to install any updated drivers listed at the motherboard manufacture support site.


IMPORTANT NOTE: There are circumstances where the user must obtain new drivers from the motherboard manufacture and not use the driver disk. The most common is when a user has a older motherboard with a driver disk that does not have drivers for the operating system they may update or change. In example, a user purchased a system before a new OS was released such as Windows 7 and the driver disk has Windows XP drivers.
In this case a user MUST obtain the new OS drivers from the motherboard support site and usually due to the circumstances the motherboard manufacture includes and code and patches that may be required.
Motherboard manufacture support downloads for drivers can sometimes come with TWO installer exe files, in example; Asus many times includes a 'setup.exe' and a "Asus Setup.exe" in the same unzipped driver directory. Users should run the ASUS SETUP.EXE as that is the compiled installer Asus may add execution code for chipset drivers as well as run scans for patches before the actual driver installs.
I wish to make it very clear that using the motherboard driver disk first is a FAILSAFE way to assure your board has the correct patches and drivers fully installed before proceeding to update those drivers. Sometimes it is not possible to do that and if you must download the drivers do be sure to run the correct executable file in the driver directory.




Updating Drivers:


If your drivers are old and have not been updated in the last 9+ months, it is best to check for any motherboard chipset (and Intel Rapid Transport Driver updates if you use SATA in AHCI mode or SSD) as well as any other driver updates to your LAN, Sound, Wireless on-board motherboard systems. The motherboard manufacture will list the board with the most recent driver updates in the 

support area of the product.







Samsung has defined with some of their older drives that if you are using their SSD drives that the Intel RST (Rapid Storage Transport) driver should not be installed.


They have since changed their recommendations and now say to use the Intel RST drivers and ports. The point being, always check with the manufacture of your SSD as to what they recommend for drivers and control software to be sure your SSD storage system is running at peak efficiency.














Nvidia video drivers must be installed using the CLEAN INSTALL selection accessed through the ADVANCED INSTALLATION option of the driver installation. The following procedure is exactly how users should install a video driver upgrade. Please remember this outline for any future video driver installations:



Obtain the driver from the Nvidia Driver support website.



NOTE: DO NOT USE the Windows Device Manager to uninstall any Nvidia driver.. Both Nvidia and Microsoft have confirmed that will NOT WORK and leave a system improperly updated. Also, DO NOT USE driver 'sweeper' or 'cleaner' programs!.



Check the C:\ drive for a directory named C:\Nvidia, if it is there, DELETE IT before uninstalling the driver from Windows. DO NOT MANUALLY DELETE ANY OTHER NVIDIA DIRECTORY ON YOUR SYSTEM ONLY THE C:\Nvidia DIRECTORY IF IT IS FOUND.



NOTE: It is important to make sure to get rid of any older drivers on the system so you can successfully flush and install a new driver without issues. If for some reason a old Nvidia driver reinstalls after uninstalling one from Windows, remove that driver as well before continuing. The default Microsoft "Standard VGA Graphics Adapter" driver is NOT an issue if it happens to install, simply continue as outlined.



Go to Programs and Features. Select the: "NVIDIA Graphics Driver <version>"    and uninstall it from Windows. Leave the rest of the items in the list alone...  Then reboot the computer.



You must reboot your system when directed by these instructions even if the system does not request a reboot!



Run the driver installer. After the driver decompresses to the C:\NVIDIA directory and when the driver installer starts, agree to the terms and then do the following



a. Select the CUSTOM (ADVANCED) INSTALL and click NEXT



b. Place a check in the �Perform a Clean Install� box


c. If you do not use the following 3D vision drivers for a special 3D LCD monitor and 3D glasses, UNCHECK them in the list that appears in the box:



*3D vision controller

*3D vision Driver   - The first two items are for a 3D LCD monitor only and not needed unless you use a 3D monitor with 3D glasses

*Nvidia Update    - This will constantly check for updates and install them without your knowledge. Do not install this.

*Nvidia GeForce Experience - This is a new feature that incorporates Nvidia Update. Its the same update bloatware. Do not install this.



Click NEXT. The driver may do one of two things..  fully install the selections, OR, it may request a reboot before running the driver installer. Follow the directions. In either case, once the driver has installed then reboot regardless of if a Windows reboot is requested or not.



Nvidia has corrected their installers so no 3rd party driver �flush� program is needed, and, you should NEVER use any kind of driver flush program in the future with the latest Nvidia video drivers. Only use the defined method above to uninstall/reinstall or update a Nvidia video driver.



d. Last, you can delete the directory C:\NVIDIA as it is no longer needed.



BE VERY AWARE: That after any video driver upgrade or installation that the software Nvidia Inspector, which is used to properly configure Nvidia video drivers for Flight Simulator use, must be restored with the proper settings and then verified before launching FSX with the new drivers installed. I outline the use of this product here:












Windows does not come with full DirectX with updates. They must be installed separately. After completing the video driver installation, use this link to obtain the latest DirectX web installer.


NOTE: Disable the installation of the 'BING' toolbar or any other Microsoft bloatware that may be offered. Something users need to start doing is SLOW DOWN with installers of any software, even Microsoft installers, and make sure as you click through the NEXT buttons there is no bloatware or hidden garbage being offered as 'enabled by default' in the installer. Uncheck such features when you see them.













Windows 7 needs a monitor driver to correctly define your monitor to the system. If one is not installed it can present problems in correct resolution setup in Flight Simulator. It can leave a user looking at a screen with far less clarity and detail and the user does not realize it. A monitor driver can also provide in the installation a ICM color profile for your monitor which if it does, should be installed.



NOTE: Not all monitors come with a ICM/ICC color profile. It will depend on the manufacture if such a profile is installed with the driver.



Your monitor should be listed in the Windows device manager by name under MONITORS and the driver should be from the manufacture. Although it is possible the manufacture of the monitor provided a base driver to Microsoft for the device and if you never installed the monitor driver yourself, or, you wish to check for a update, go to the website for the monitor you use and in the SUPPORT area for the monitor the manufacture should provide a specific driver for the monitor model number. BE SURE to select the correct FULL monitor model number for the unit and be sure the monitor driver is listed for use with Windows 7.



Once installed you should then verify your monitor model is identified correctly and is running the correct native resolution, orientation and refresh rate in Windows under the Control Panel > Display > Adjust Resolution settings. If your driver includes a ICM color profile it should be verified as being the default color profile under Control Panel > Color Management   The ICC/ICM profile name should display there or can be added manually if it did not register correctly when the driver installed.



The Clear Type Text tool should always be run from Control Panel > Display > Adjust Clear Type Text as this will tune your LCD display with Windows so fonts will appear to your eyes clearly. If you wear glasses for reading web pages or documents on your monitor, be sure to wear them when running that text adjustment tool so you can define the text quality in the wizard to your personal needs.










- Mechanical hard drives that are NOT Windows drives can be formatted to 64K File Allocation



THIS IS OPTIONAL: However it is highly suggested. This how I set up my personal systems as well as how I have users set up their system when I have performed a one-on-one tuning service in the past. This process includes any mechanical drive (not SSD!) that is used for FSX, storage, backup or other purposes and that do not have Windows or a Windows page file located on them. Increasing the file allocation size from the default format of 4K allows more data to be written per cluster and reduces overhead in the files system when a mechanical hard drive performs seek operations.



This formatting process should never be performed on Windows or Windows page file drives or on any SSD drive.


WARNING: This next formatting step can only be performed on drives that ARE NOT in use with data. If you have any data on a drive this formatting process is performed on you will LOSE that data. The data it must be temporarily moved to another location until this step is completed and then you can move the data back to the drive.



Click START then go to the ADMINISTERED TOOLS button � select COMPUTER MANAGEMENT then in the list that appears on the side window, select DISK MANAGEMENT. Expand the Computer Management window so you can see all your drives in the right pane.



You will see all your drives displayed. Starting with the first mechanical drive that does not have a Windows or a Windows page file installed on it, do the following:



a. Right click in the large partition area show and select FORMAT. In the box that appears you can opt to name the drive in the Volume label window, example: FSX or Flight Simulator, or, Storage, etc.



b. In the File System box: NTFS



c. In the Allocation size dropdown: 64K  (or 64 kilobytes)



d. Check in: Quick Format



e. Click OK and confirm the operation from the warning displayed



Repeat the steps above for each mechanical drive in the system and remember that if you have data on any of those drives it must be temp moved before performing this operation and then the data can be moved back after the operation is complete. Once all the mechanical drives are formatted to 64K file allocation, close the Drive Management window.










- Any and all SSD drives in use have been CONFIRMED as correctly aligned.



SSD Alignment is CRITICAL for SSD performance. Once software is installed on a SSD drive, or Windows, the only way to correct a improperly aligned SSD is to use a professional program called: Paragon Alignment Tool 4.0 Professional. Mechanical drives do NOT require alignment for high performance (but you can align those too if you are OCD about things).


You can do a simple check to confirm your SSD drives are in fact properly aligned using AS SSD Benchmark Tool:



NOTE: This is NOT being used to test the drive SPEED, ONLY CHECK the drive alignment!


Unzip, run AS SSD Benchmark.exe and in the top dropdown select the SSD drive you wish to check. In the top left box just under the name of the drive if your SSD is correctly aligned you will see the value in bytes (K) displayed in GREEN font with the word: 'OK' next to the value. If your SSD is not correctly aligned the font will be RED with the word: 'BAD'`


If you have data on a bad aligned SSD then there is only three ways to fix that;


1. Temp remove the data and then using DISKPART correct the alignment of the drive:


... of course its not possible to do that if Windows is on a SSD Drive


2.  Newer versions of image software can be used to backup then restore a SSD and align it correctly at the same time. These can be used for improperly aligned Windows install SSD drives. You need to verify the image software will do this correctly as well as verify the alignment when the job is complete.


3. Leave the data on the drive and purchase the payware product Paragon Alignment Tool 4.0 Professional:  which can align SSDs with Windows or data on them in a offline boot repair. It is the only software I am aware of at the time of this posting that will do the job right and not damage the data on the drive. That repair can take a great deal of time if the drive is a large 1TB drive. The larger the drive, the longer it takes to fix. If you use Paragon Alignment tool, get the DATA off the drive first before correcting the alignment of the drive... (unless its a Windows drive, then you have no choice but to leave the data). Removing the data first allows the software to run in a matter of seconds as compared to an hour or more with data on the drive.



Always verify the alignment of your SSD drives.










- You have run Windows update and rebooted several times until all Critical and Important optional or important suggested updates have been installed including Windows 7 SP1:



Under Windows Optional updates you can uncheck and skip junk such as BING toolbar and other bloat-ware features of that nature however there are good optional updates that should be applied such as compatibility updates and updates to NET that may be needed. Updating Windows requires running Windows Update, rebooting and returning to Windows Update to recheck over and over again until the message: �There are no updates available for you computer� appears.



NOTE: From time to time it is possible that a Windows Update can install a update that causes an issue. although this is VERY RARE and usually when such things happen they are noted online, however, such rare issues should never stop you from keeping your computer updated correctly from Windows Update.



It is IMPORTANT to note that Windows Update has been sometimes known to re-enable items such as Windows Defender or other features you may have disabled such as the Action Center warning system. It is important to obtain all your Windows updates before making major changes to Windows for optimizing in order to ensure the very large updates such as SP1 or other patches do not revert changes you will make in this outline process. Once you have the major updates then such automated changes should not occur.



DO NOT INSTALL "WINDOWS UPDATE" DRIVERS.. Use the correct motherboard and hardware manufacture drivers and do not allow Microsoft to update your hardware drivers. There can be rare circumstances where in example a monitor may not come with a driver from the manufacture or none is posted at the manufacture website but Windows Update has one for it. In this case allowing Windows to install the driver can be OK, but do not let Windows install primary device drivers such as video, sound, LAN, etc. Unicode updates for processors are also OK to allow. Intel sometimes releases a Unicode update for their processors and the operating system and Microsoft will post it. This is very rare but does appear from time to time. Past items like that do not allow Windows Update to update your drivers. Use the motherboard or device manufacture for such downloads and updates.



This will not be the last time you run Windows update during the outline.. you would be surprised to learn that updates can appear after a clean install and you have run Windows update over and over till no updates appear, and then 24 hours later another set of updates show up. Windows update can be tricky with new installs so be aware you will need to check that system a few times over the first few days after a new Windows build has been installed.


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Joined: November-21-2007
Points: 21104
Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-21-2013 at 1:52am










"LET THERE BE A FLIGHT SIMULATOR X"  ...and their calls were heard



































ok you get the picture ... LOL








It is highly advised ALL users should run FSX with either Acceleration OR with FSX SP2, one of the two.



Flight Simulator X must be installed with its service packs correctly and in a correct order. I have outlined the right way to install FSX in the past and I will outline it again here but in much greater detail so everyone understands both the logic and the real engineering behind this subject.



It is very important this outline be followed. It has been tested and peer confirmed that it will correct problems many users see and are not even aware that their original installation of FSX and the service packs (or Acceleration) is the reason for the problems they experience, especially with aircraft or scenery that are developed with SP2 or Acceleration in mind. 



IMPORTANT: Do not install FSX to the default location of Program Files. I see people in forums who claim this is not a issue however when they make statements like that their ignorance is showing with respect to how advanced addon aircraft which add sophisticated and complex code to the running simulation can greatly effect both the stability and the performance of FSX if these addons are located in Program Files or Program Files (x86). Windows 7 is not Windows XP and even with the UAC system shut down and rights given to the Program Files directories by the administrator of the computer, Windows 7 will continue to nanny the Program Files directories and as such the addition of complex simulations installed into FSX become a real problem. Be very aware that it is important to isolate your FSX install away from the Windows nanny systems. Doing so will assure your advanced aircraft simulations and complex scenery addons will not suffer from Microsoft's OS design.



BEFORE YOU BEGIN.. create a directory on the target drive/partition to install FSX. You will use this directory to manually browse and point the FSX DVD installer to.



IF you use a single hard drive for Windows and FSX, install FSX to a directory on the root of C:\ 

If you use a separate drive for FSX, install FSX to its own directory in the root of that hard drive noting that if the hard drive is mechanical that FSX must be located on the FIRST PHYSICAL PARTITION (or no partitions) of the mechanical hard drive.



IF YOU USE MECHANICAL HARD DRIVES TO RUN FSX OR ADDONS: (this does not apply to SSD drives) Name your Flight Sim directory so it visually appears at the TOP of the root list of all folders of the drive. Make sure that no other directory appears above the Flight Simulator install or additional addon directory such as large photo-scenery databases located on a separate drive away from FSX. This will allow the defrag  solution (presented later in this document) to place FSX (or your additional scenery) at the beginning of the physical mechanical hard drive platter, effectively increasing the file call speed and dramatically reducing the access time that ALL mechanical hard drives invoke.


The name of the directory does not matter. You can name the directory anything you wish such as; FSX or Flight Simulator X or My Flightsim Stuff Simply make sure that directory always visually appears at the top of the tree if other directories are on that drive. This is a critical step if you intend to use my outline below to optimize your system for Flight Simulator use with FSX running from a mechanical hard drive.



With SSDs the directory name and location in the root of the drive does not matter. All that matters with SSDs is that you have enough space on the drive for FSX and your addons and that you do not install FSX to Program Files, that is all.






I have had many people over the years ask me why a the define install order outline, and, I have read a lot of people do not believe its required. In this document I am going to explain why and how this outline was designed. Flight Sim patches were designed with the following in mind by Aces back in 2007 when the patches were released:


A. The user had installed FSX RTM (original release) and since that initial installation of FSX, the user has booted flights and has also rebooted their computer


B. SP1 released in May 2007, user installs SP1 and has booted flights and has also rebooted the computer


C. SP2/Accleration released in late 2007... The user will install FSX SP2 -or- Acceleration. (one of the two)


Did Aces think this out based on the above? Of course! They knew that people were using FSX and awaiting service packs and they also knew the conditions around the installations when they designed the service packs and Acceleration installers. What they may not have considered is that installing FSX and patches back-to-back in a Windows 7 based system under certain conditions with no sim launch and no computer reboot could produce undesirable results.



When you install FSX from the DVD and run FSX or install a SP patch and then -run- FSX there are registry files written, configuration files written/edited, support directories and files in them written and established that will not be created if you do not launch a flight and then close the sim first before installing the next patch. Rebooting the computer assures the memory is cleared and registry is reloaded with all these newly created files and directories pointed to in the registry and that FSX.exe looks for when it is run. This means you have now established a full installation of FSX with all support code, configuration files, shader file generation and registry entries before the next service pack is installed which will in turn -now- correctly upgrade FSX. We want to establish the same 'no fault' installation situation if multiple SP patches are to be installed.



Just as Aces forgot to include HIGMEMFIX=1 in SP2 and also made the mistake of importing bad SP1 data back into SP2/Acceleration that made the Thames River in London a rocky mess, they are not perfect and we all know neither is Microsoft. Vista was new and still buggy at the time too. They did not have all the answers at that time. I discovered this issue some months after the release of the final patches and in the process of finding the solution I contacted a Aces project manager and ran this install order past him with my findings..  I got a green light on this and that is where the install outline I have posted in the original FSX Tuning thread and in forums was developed.

This is a "NO FAULT" outline to installing FSX into a Windows 7 system.


Botched SP/Acceleration patch installs are a primary reason for strange performance and visual issues to problems that come up with aircraft and scenery in SP2/Acceleration that force a reinstall of those patches. Please do not skip booting the default flight OR skip rebooting the system when directed.







Use the FSX DVD installer to point to the directory you created on the root of a drive by using the "MORE OPTIONS" button in the FSX DVD installer and then browse to your new directory to install FSX. From that point on all installers will know where FSX is located automatically.



1. Install FSX from the original release DVD (or the Deluxe/Gold DVD). Launch FSX and let it complete the install and then boot the default flight. (DO NOT SKIP THIS) Once the flight fully loads continue to the next step



2. Exit the flight and close the sim



3. Reboot the computer (DO NOT SKIP THIS)



4. Install Acceleration which will install SP1/SP2 automatically. Launch FSX and let it complete the install and then boot the default flight. (DO NOT SKIP THIS) Once the flight fully loads continue to the next step



5. Exit the flight and close the sim



6. Reboot the computer (DO NOT SKIP THIS)



You can activate FSX at anytime






TO INSTALL FSX WITH SP2 (and without Acceleration): Follow this outline:



Use the FSX DVD installer to point to the directory you created on the root of a drive by using the "MORE OPTIONS" button in the FSX DVD installer and then browse to your new directory to install FSX. From that point on all installers will know where FSX is located automatically.



1. Install FSX from the original release DVD (or the Deluxe DVD). Launch FSX and let it complete the install and then boot the default flight. (DO NOT SKIP THIS) Once the flight fully loads continue to the next step



2. Exit the flight and close the sim 



3. Reboot the computer  (DO NOT SKIP THIS)



4. Install FSX Service Pack 1. Launch FSX and let it complete the install and then boot the default flight. (DO NOT SKIP THIS) Once the flight fully loads continue to the next step



5. Exit the flight and close the sim



6. Reboot the computer  (DO NOT SKIP THIS)



7. Install FSX Service Pack 2. Launch FSX and let it complete the install and then boot the default flight. (DO NOT SKIP THIS). Once the flight fully loads continue to the next step



8. Exit the flight and close the sim



9. Reboot the computer (DO NOT SKIP THIS)



You can activate FSX at anytime







NOTE THAT: If you wish to run the FSX SDK there is a defined order to installing the SDK which depends on which version of FSX and the service packs you run. To do it right please review this link:  and scroll down to the topic: 'Versions' and follow the outline presented for your version of FSX with SP's or Acceleration.













NOTE: WINDOWS 8 USERS: I can not define the use of this fix for Windows 8. It may or may not be needed or it may not work or create issues with Windows 8. With Windows 7 it should be applied.
SPECIAL NOTICE: I am changing the originally posted outline to use the uiautomationcore.dll file in order to correct menu crashes.
Several years ago my advice with use of this files was to NOT INSTALL IT unless without QUESTION access to FSX menus 'IN-GAME' created a crash. I am now reverting back to that original advice and no longer advising people install this fix UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR A FACT YOU NEED IT.
v6.0.6001. 18000 - This is the file that everyone has used for years. It is the Vista SP1 32bit file
v6.0.5840. 16386 - This is the pre Vista pre SP1 32bit file.
Apparently in the last several months there have been reports that the original SP1 v1008 32bit Vista uiautomationcore.dll file has been found to create issues with some systems. 'WHY' HAS NEVER BEEN DEFINED.
There are people who say the 18000 file is wrong, has been wrong all along and the other version should be used, that is FALSE!
FACT: Something has changed in the last year whereby the file that has always worked, was defined correct years ago may be displaying issues with SOME SYSTEMS. I suspect this is due to either a addon or a series of addons in use that have come to the market.
Accessing FSX menus creates a crash condition. Placing the 32bit uiautomationcore.dll file into the FSX install directory fixes this issue.
There are people who will TRY the PRE SP1 file and it will CRASH their system whereby the original SP1 18000 file does not and there are those who will crash using the SP1 18000 file where the pre SP1 16386 file does not.
I am reverting my advice BACK to what I originally outlined years ago, DO NOT USE EITHER OF THESE FILES UNLESS YOU ARE SEEING CRASHES ACCESSING FSX MENUS. These files are NOT PERFORMANCE FIXES they only fix FSX menu crashes!
IF, and ONLY IF, you are seeing crashes when you access FSX "in-game" menus THEN proceed as follows. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE FSX MENU ACCESS CRASHES THEN DO NOT USE THESE FILES AT ALL:
1. Download BOTH of the files presented below.
2. Unzip them both. Each file will be in a folder with the version number.
3. Starting with the original file: v6.0.6001. 18000 drop it into the FSX install directory
4. Run FSX. If your menu crashes are fixed and you are not seeing any other issues leave that file alone, you are finished.
5. IF your menu crashes are not fixed OR you happen to see other issues come up and suspect the file MAY BE the cause, then drop the v6.0.5840. 16386 version file into the FSX install directory and recheck. If your issue is not solved, OR, the FSX menu crashes return then use the v6.0.6001. 18000 file
IN other words, DO NOT INSTALL these files YET. You can download them both NOW but WAIT and define if you have FSX menu crashes BEFORE following the outline above. If you do not have any FSX in-game menu crashes, DONT USE THEM. 

Just after installing FSX with the patches, install the POST SP1 C++ Library 2005 Update
The C++ Library update is needed for aircraft support and is installed with FSX/Acceleration. The link above is to the update which did not ship with Acceleration.

You want the 32bit version (x86) not the 64 bit version even if you use a 64bit OS. FSX is a 32bit application and requires the 32bit version of the C++ Library update which is what is linked above.

IMPORTANT NOTE: After you have applied the Post SP1 2005 C++ Library patch Windows Update will locate the version and update it automatically and correctly. The original update that shipped with FSX/Acceleration has a error in it that the patch above corrects and from there Windows Update under the 'OPTIONAL' updates will offer a update version (VC++ 2010) which is required for many different planes. The more advanced Flight1 aircraft with G1000 use the VC++2010 Library update. When you run Windows Update (as outlined LATER in this outline) be sure to review the OPTIONAL updates and install the ones that are not Microsoft Bloatware such as BING Desktop or toolbars. Many of those optional Windows Updates are very important.  


If by some chance you are using the 'Modified' Terrain.cfg designed by Richard Ludowise and Luis Fliz-Tirado which fixes the issues Aces screwed up on with the SP2/Acceleration patch releases, (I do use this file) then there is a error in it with respect to airport exclusions and autogen trees.
This file corrects those airport autogen errors Luis Fliz-Tirado original file did not catch as well as other errors I discovered and fixed myself:
Simply unzip and drop 'terrain.cfg' into the main FSX install directory and overwrite the original AFTER you have installed FSX and the SP's or Acceleration, not before.
Be aware, in order to use that file after UTX has been installed or other addons that may edit the terrain.cfg you would use the following outline to replace it:
If you use Orbx regions, make sure the FTX Central switch is set to FSX DEFAULT before beginning..
a. Save a copy of the <FSX>\terrain.cfg somewhere safe. Download and unzip the new terrain.cfg
b. Drop the terrain.cfg into the FSX directory
c. One by one (not all at once) Open EACH UTX configuration tool.. The initial checks it UTX config tool runs will automatically restore the entries to the terrain.cfg for the UTX region. Close the region tool and open the next. Once you have opened all your UTX region tools then the repair process is complete.
If you use Orbx region products when you do fly in one of their regions and switch FTX Central back to ON for the region it will restore those entries as well automatically.
Be very aware that if you DO use the older original modified terrain.cfg from Richard Ludowise and Luis Fliz-Tirado that it CAN AND DOES cause trees to display in airports due to the error in the autogen exclusion code.. I fixed that error in the file I linked above as well as fixed a few other items they originally missed. So if you do happen to use that file, replace it first.
Aces screwed up in the original terrain.cfg too so it is a good file to have when installing FSX after all the SP patches are applied, NOT BEFORE,..  but can be added later as I outlined above.









- You have started out by setting FSX up correctly in the sliders and checkboxes before continuing.



This section is a repeat of from the FSX Tuning thread. I am including it here because this outline is a list that has been designed with a predefined order of execution. When we get to the point where it is time to tune and tweak we will go further into this subject. Right now you simply need to setup FSX with the correct BASE settings.


I consider this a SAFE setup for any modern or semi-modern hardware however there can and will be differences for lower grade hardware. I have noted below what to deal with in those circumstances. This outline will get you started and setup the right way before continuing on.


Users on laptops, OEM systems and really low-end hardware; use this outline too but you will need to pay close attention to the four primary performance killer scenery items I outlined at the end of this list as you may need to set those sliders lower.


This list is essential so follow it carefully.






Start FSX. Go to the settings area and follow this outline:




Target Frame Rate: 30     START AT 30




This subject sparks a lot of controversy.. here is all you need to understand about Target Frame Rate and ignore anything else you have read:


Depending on how you use the sim and set up the application Nvidia Inspector, this will be either 30, 60 or 'unlimited'. IF you are not using the 1/2 Refresh rate setup that Nvidia Inspector provides, always remember that in heavy rendering areas such as large cities and airports and with hard hitting planes you may find 60 or 'unlimited' frame lock is better and when flying outside of large hubs and city locations, 30 is better.


This is a TEST AND SEE setting. ALWAYS Start at 30FPS locked


and above all: FORGET the frame counter! FSX is about SMOOTH not frames!


You 'gamers' need to get a life around that subject and stop telling people that 18-25 smooth frames is BAD. Even though FSX is a '3D render' application it is not a game, does not respond the same to hardware settings as a game and can not be setup and run like a game, it is a SIMULATION. A game uses predefined local maps and controls, FSX is constantly calculating real-time changes. Do not run FSX like a 'game'







Full Screen Resolution: Set this to your monitors native resolution x32. Example, if you use a monitor that is designed for 1920x1200 set this to 1920x1200x32. You have to know what your monitors highest native resolution is and set this correctly


Filtering: Trilinear


Anti-aliasing: UNCHECK


Global Texture Resolution: 100% slider or Very High


Lens Flair: Your choice


Light Bloom: UNCHECK


Advanced Animations: CHECK




DirectX 10 Preview:  UNCHECKED  - we set our sim up in DX9 mode. If you have any intention of trying DX10 that is done AFTER DX9 mode is established and backed up. A well tuned DX9 sim that runs smooth with run smooth in DX10 mode as well!






Set the Drop-Down to MED-HIGH then uncheck: Show Cockpit Tool tips



Terrain and Water Sliders:
Level of Detail: 100%
Mesh Complexity: 100%   Note: Core2 and slower systems can benefit from this being set lower, 70% can make a difference for you, all others 100%


Mesh Resolution: 10m
Texture Resolution: 7cm
NOTE: The reason we start out by setting the texture resolution above 1m is to force higher LOD clarity in the direct vicinity of the aircraft. This is NOT required but it does help keep the scenery under the aircraft far cleaner.
Also be aware that many higher resolution mesh products require a higher mesh resolution setting than the default of 38m. In order to run a 10m mesh resolution the texture resolution MUST be set higher than 1m or mesh resolution will revert back to 38m by default.
BUG ALERT: There is a bug in FSX whereby some scenery in spot locations of the world can display a "bleed through" of the underlying textures with 7cm texture resolution. This is a RARE bug to see but it can happen. The solution in these cases is to set texture resolution to either 60cm or 30cm.
Water Effects:
Low 2.x   Please do not set this any higher!
Detail textures: Check

Scenery Objects Sliders:
Scenery Complexity: This is a slider you must work based on the sim performance. Start at 3/4 (Very Dense) and you can try 100% later. Exceptionally slower systems may need to start lower than Very Dense.
Autogen Density: This is a slider you must work based on the sim performance. Start at 3/4 (Very Dense) however you may need to drop this to (DENSE) if the performance is poor. It may also be possible to run 100% slider. Very slow systems may need to set this to NORMAL or SPARCE
Ground Scenery Shadows: Uncheck
Special Effects Detail: 100%  (High)

Set the dropdown to ULTRA HIGH and then change the following:
Thermal visualizations: Natural


NOTE: The setting "NATURAL" will allow FSX to calculate conditions for thermals and it will also allow birds to appear where thermals are found. It can also involve thermal disturbances on approach of a runway IF the right conditions exist in FSX at the time of the landing. You can opt to leave this on NONE if you have issues with landing and thermals in FSX.
Leave the rest on default - do not slam 80 miles of cloud cover into a scene at this time. Raising that may be OK, but its done LATER after tuning so you can locate the source of performance drops


Airline and GA Traffic Sliders: These are performance killers and depends on if you use the default FSX traffic or a traffic addon. For default and to start out, set the Airline traffic to 45 and the GA traffic to 35. These can go up if the performance in FSX is ok, but I would suggest the max for both sliders be 59%

Slower systems; set both to 20/20


IF you use a traffic replacement program the sliders above should be set based on that addon


Airport Vehicle Density: Low     


NOTE: In order to have the fuel truck services in FSX this must be set to at least MED however that will cost you in frames. I leave this at low for any system. If you wish to use it, remember its going to cost you in performance! I suggest this be set to LOW for now and then if its desired raise it later. That way you can see where you may be losing airport performance.

Low end systems, turn these OFF (0)
Aircraft Labels: Uncheck Show Aircraft labels
Road Vehicles: This is a performance killer. If you can do without cars set this to zero. If you want car traffic, 7% MAX, 
Any car traffic will cost in performance. I personally run ZERO

Low end systems set this to ZERO


Ships/Ferries/leisure boats: Set both sliders to 20%  
 Zero for very low-end systems

Click OK and close the settings and then close FSX. Your base slider and checkbox setup is now complete. Remember, the setting above should be FINE for just about any modern system to start out however there may be adjustments to these initial settings you must make based on your hardware in which I noted above what to deal with, primary is CARS (AUTOS), AUTOGEN, SCENERY COMPLEXITY and AI TRAFFIC. You should NOT need to change anything else at all!













Remember at this point we are not concerned with TUNING FSX. You can make basic settings changes and establish a setup to install addons, however tuning and tweaking comes later after the system is properly optimized to assure our tuning session has real value and does not need to be repeated.  When you get to that point, tuning FSX will be very simple and you will be flying instead of tweaking very quickly.



I can not stress this enough, the trick with FSX and tuning the FSX.cfg file is:






There ONLY 4 edits you can/should make to a CLEAN fsx.cfg file at this time using modern hardware, these are NOT tweaks and they are NOT the final tuning setup:



Under the [Display] header:



1. WideViewAspect=True   change this from FALSE to TRUE if you use a wide screen aspect ratio monitor



Under the [Main] header:



2. HideInfoText=1        This gets rid of the messages on the screen such as BRAKES and VIEW information. If you want that text on the screen, then leave this out. Otherwise edit this into the file.



3. DisablePreload=1    This will make FSX launch faster from the desktop. This disables FSX from pre-loading files for the default flight when you launch FSX from the desktop icon. Why would we want to fill our system memory, video memory with rendering data for a flight and aircraft we may not boot?  If you ALWAYS boot the default FSX flight then leave this out, however since most users typically select a flight based on criteria along with aircraft changes we do not need FSX loading up our systems with data for a flight we may not or will not use. 



Under the [GRAPHICS] header:



4. HIGHMEMFIX=1    to add a line that should have been written to the config file with the installation of FSX SP2/Acceleration but that Aces forgot to include



PLEASE DO NOT ADD ANYTHING ELSE AT THIS TIME   We will be making specific changes to the FSX.cfg file later IF REQUIRED and I will outline them in detail.



If you use any silly online FSX.cfg editing system or load your FSX.cfg file with any other tweaks at this time..  Please STOP HERE go install and fly FSX they way you believe is best, and save yourself  a lot of time. If you insist on loading that config file with edits now, you are going backwards and right back to the reason you may have come to this document in the first place. You will be far better served if you come back and continue if and when you have finally figured out that the lose NUT behind the keyboard is the problem.



Be very aware that some scenery addons and scenery developers can add edits to your FSX.cfg file clandestinely and without your knowledge. Some scenery developers insist you must add tweaks to that file, PLEASE IGNORE THEM.


Such installers and software managers for addons as well as those developers can be your worse nightmare and one of the reasons why it is important to get all the addons installed and setup now so that if any of them change the FSX.cfg file without your knowledge and before a proper tweak session, those edits will be discovered and removed during a proper tuning session.






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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-21-2013 at 2:20am












This is an important topic and one everyone should read very carefully-



There are a wide range of uses for Flight Simulator and as such there are different types of addons and number of addons users install. Some use FSX with no addons or very few.


We can break this down to 5 primary categories and of course there can be variations...

  • The user who does not install any addons and runs a vanilla install of FSX


  • The user who may install a few base scenery addons that cover large areas and a few addon aircraft.
  •  The user who will install a number of  addon aircraft, base scenery addons that cover large areas, a few airports, a regional product and perhaps a city as well as AI traffic and some freeware or a photoscenery regional package and places consideration into their selections and what they keep.


  • The more intense user who will install many scenery addons and aircraft regardless of their performance design or footprint on the system, large AI traffic packages and who will add a lot of external addon utilities and may opt for many large photoscenery products as well as vector landclass products and who may also hit the freeware servers for a lot of addons.


  • The drunken sailor user who buys every cool looking addon they come across and installs it along with as much freeware they can pile on without thinking twice.




Lets level the playing field here and say for this section that everyone has their act together on hardware, installing and setting up their computer as well as taken into consideration their storage system and how they use Flight Simulator, and, has followed the outlines from top to bottom.


With that in mind....


The users who fall under the first three categories typically deal with far less issues and the ones that fall under the first three that use addons usually keep their installs clean by filtering through addons as they install them and make good decisions around what to keep and what to dump and not use based on the load they invoke on their system and what they must do with driver and scenery settings to run them. These users many times place a standard on their installs that allows a good balance between performance and eye candy and place far more emphasis on the aircraft they want to fly than the shiny hanger door handles at the airport, cars at the gas station or the cow in the pasture they fly over.



These users will do an inventory from time to time and uninstall addons they either rarely use or over time don't use at all anymore. They may also figure out over time just how silly some addons are with respect to performance even if they may like the eye candy but instead will opt to get rid of them. In other words, they keep their house in order as they build their sim and use it. This is the SMART way to approach the sim and reinstalling addons from a clean start.



NOT SO SMART:  Piling addon after addon to the point where the scenery library has 150-300+ entries listed and enabled at sim boot on top of the addons that have no entry in the scenery library then add insult to injury with excessive AI traffic and by piling in external utilities that add to the exe.xml file and run along side FSX as the same time, or try to shovel all that and fly online at the same time where network card utilization can be a CPU resource hog. Not smart at all!



Its the users that fall under the last two categories regardless of the hardware or the computer setup being spot-on perfect that many times end up with what equates Flight Simulator to a small Toyota pickup truck overloaded to the point of the frame nearly dragging the ground and the tires leaning with the amount of cargo a moving van is typically required to carry. They get to a point where they spend day after day looking for ways to pile more into Flight Sim and come up with all sorts of crazy fsx.cfg tweaks and texture hacks to try and keep their addiction going.



There is really nothing that can be done for the last user in that list.. they need rehab and won't go until they hit rock bottom and even then they will relapse over and over till they either give up completely, or, finally start to see the problem and what it is doing to them.



The intense user can be similar to the drunken sailor but usually can be reached far easier and before they hit rock bottom and give up.







With that all said, with a new install of Flight Simulator now is the time to take into consideration your experience of the past with the addons you use, how they ran with the planes you like to fly and exactly what scenery is 'really' that important and what really isn't when you consider the addon planes you like to fly SMOOTH and should always be the focus and the goal.



The users who take the time to consider what they install into FSX and when to enable/disable it as needed are the ones who win with this title.



I am not saying users must strip their sims down and don't install any addons. What I am saying is that if you are booting FSX with 150-300+ addons in that scenery library list and are piled down with AI traffic along with external addons being executed you can expect to sit there and wait a long time for a flight to load, regardless of how fast the processor or the storage system is, even if you wont be looking at more than 5-10-25 of those addons and a fraction of the AI traffic during that flight. On top of that you are setting yourself up for errors and memory loads that can push you over the edge for 'Out Of Memory" with a ridiculous scenery library list loading at sim launch.



The more reserved users do not ever have do deal with that and they can run all their scenery enabled with background utilities and fly online and never have to think twice about setting up a scenery library or a exe.xml file before a flight launch.



You die-hard addon users who refuse to inventory your sims for performance addons need to think about that before launching flights. There are ways to curtail the problem  so you have far more resources available for the flight you intend to make.


In example: 

This issue is NOT about the typical user but the user who has 150+ scenery library items listed in their library

Setting up custom FSX scenery library lists that disable (uncheck) addons that are never seen in a flight or in the regions you are flying as well as do the same for custom exe.xml lists with external applications. This goes a long way in getting your flight booted faster without the footprint excessive addons in a FSX install can place on a system.


If you start practicing that, do not remove default Microsoft entries from the Scenery Library. This is unnecessary and not required. It may also cause issues.  

Ultimate Terrain X products can ALL remain enabled as the developers know what they are doing and those regional addons will not cause any issues even if you have them all installed and only flying over one. Do NOT 'resort' or change the position of UTX scenery list items as the installers place those in your config file CORRECTLY and in the correct order!

Die-hard users can also create separate fsx.cfg files with different approaches to tweaking, although I have NEVER needed to do this, it can be done. One very legitimate circumstance for keeping multiple fsx.cfg files with different tweak edits is when a user has installed and is flying nothing but a very large photoscenery region but has typical vector landclass/textures installed far outside of the photoscenery area. Photoscenery addons where there are no standard landclass/textures in the area respond differently to certain fsx.cfg file edits. FSX handles photoscenery different than textures in the render.





So with a new Flight Sim installation, and if you are someone who has never really taken the time to seriously think about what you are about to install into that sim, here is the list you should consider:

  • Does the addon serve an extremely important purpose for my flights (and I don't mean cars at gas stations!) Does the addon serve a FLIGHT DECK purpose and one that enhances the sim for my use.


  • If this is scenery, does the addon perform exceptionally well with the planes I usually fly over or into it.


  • Does the addon allows access to changing elements for performance enhancement and will you use them.


  • Is the addon easy to uninstall and not damage your sim if you decide to do that.


  • Can your hardware really handle this addon and fly it reasonably smooth and without visual glitches or crashes with the planes you prefer to fly.


  • Do you really use this addon a lot and repeat use of it often enough to make it a critical part of the install.


  • Does this addon require driver 'super sample' or other excessive anti aliasing settings to control shimmering and that will drop performance and if it does are you willing to accept that performance loss and be reasonable around the scenery settings (lower them) in order to run those AA levels with this addon.


  • Does this addon use or supply so called "HD" or 2048/4096 textures that ALLOW a user to select the REASONABLE AND CORRECT resolution of 1024 DTX(1-3-5) textures, AND IF NOT, are you going to be reasonable and NOT add that resolution to your config file and also TUNE sliders to deal with the issues that addon will produce?



Once you have answered those questions with a YES then proceed to install your addon. Carefully consider those questions because many times as you go down the list you may and probably will find addons you had in the past that you now realize you either don't need or really did not need the hassles with all the issues you had to deal with in the past around them.

Once the addon is installed then launch the sim and VERIFY the addon is working. At this time we are NOT CONCERNED with performance! All we are doing is verifying the scenery or aircraft did install and appears in FSX and will display in the sim correctly. Once that is CONFIRMED close the sim and install the next addon using the list above. 
And finally, one VERY important item many people simply SKIP and then end up either blaming the addon OR blaming other addons for a problem they see and sit there uninstalling/reinstalling addons for no reason!
Verify the addon does not have any patches or updates available. Go to the developers web site and make sure you have the most recent version or most recent updates for the product installed. There may also be fixes posted for issues you are not aware of and there can be special install or update instructions for the product. Make sure each addon you install is in fact installed RIGHT and with all the updates/patches available for it.
AND LAST: At this time do not install ANY visual altering applications such as SweetFX, ENB or any 3rd party image altering software. These products are can cause issues and the last thing you want in your install is any 'wild-cards' right now.









At this point users should get all their support software installed and setup.. Adobe PDF reader, Photoshop, Office software if you use it, all the software that you normally use or need should be installed now.
DURING THAT PROCESS: Always check the SETTINGS AREA of newly installed software and DISABLE any and all automatic updating!
Check for software updates MANUALLY from time to time and do not let software run automated processes in the background. You would be surprised at how many software products do this and if add them up, that is a lot of nonsense going on behind your back you do not need in a performance tower.
and finally...



- The AV or security software has been installed and is already correctly configured



All security products typically have an 'Exclusion' option in their settings. It is a good practice to define that the entire Flight Simulator installation directory including all files and folders within are excluded from the scanner. Some security products are over aggressive and can slow a system. Shutting them down during Flight Sim use may be required. It really depends on the quality of the security application as to how much it impacts system performance.



You can opt to run a system without any security software installed. If you are a very careful user and one that does not go to nasty places on the internet as well as someone who is very keen to catching email attachments that can be infected, then you can run with no security software installed. If you do not use your system for 'mission critical' applications and important development work and the system is isolated for FSX use only, then that too could quality for a system that needs no real-time security.



Typical users do not fall in that category and need real time security protection however we do not need extended firewall software, all sorts of malware scanners and port security suites.. this is overkill, it wont protect you any better than a good single Antivirus and you will be effectively slowing your system for nothing installing all that nonsense!


"Virtual Paranoia" is your enemy and installing huge security suite software in order to contain that fear will cost you in performance.



The Windows 7 firewall works and it works well. You do not need any extended firewall software that replaces it. That "Virtual Paranoia" firewall and security suite software is no more secure as it has the same weakness the Windows firewall has --->THE USER. The Windows firewall is fine and your router has a NAT hardware firewall built into it too! If you are hacking for a government then by all means, BE Paranoid!! otherwise please get real and don't be silly about security.



This has been asked many times: Which AV and Malware products do I personally use?

This is my personal setup:


AV products are not created equal. I personally would not use any freeware AV products, including Microsoft, for a high performance graphics workstation. For a high performance system in which the user requires or desires real time security be in place I highly suggest the use of the latest NOD32 Antivirus (NOT the NOD security suite, just the AV) as it comes with a GAME MODE that is setup to run correctly by default (user does not need to enable it) and automatically engages in any full screen render or video display.



The only configuration NOD32 requires is to:


Enter the TOOLS: SCHEDULER: Select Regular Automatic Update change the Interval time to 480 minutes (8 hours) and save the changes


Go to - ADVANCED SETTINGS and set the TOOLS: SYSTEM UPDATES dropdown (which checks for Microsoft Windows Updates) to NEVER.


I also include any specific directories such as the Flightsim install or other directories/applications to be excluded from AV scan, simply add them under the ADVANCED SETTINGS: COMPUTER Exclusions and add the entire directory to the list through the browse function which will include all files and directories in the selected folder. And then close the boxes.






NOD is set and I can forget it

NOD32 when set up as I outlined above will not in any way interfere with Flight Sim or reduce system performance during Flight Sim use and it will catch the critters as it will integrate into email, MS Office files and the browser to make sure you don't get bombed. 

THE ONLY INTERACTION required with NOD32 is for certain addon downloads that may exhibit FALSE POSITIVES when downloaded. If this happens all I do is right click the TRAY icon and select "TEMPORARY DISABLED PROTECTION and set it to a time period the dropdown allows.


Along with NOD32, I use the freeware product Malwarebytes which can be used and run (and updated) manually from time to time in order to confirm no malware has infiltrated the system over time. Typically how that happens is a user inadvertently allows something to be installed by admin rights and the AV misses it. That can happen with any AV product no matter how well it is made so it is a good idea to have a 2nd line of defense and run it once a month to just verify the system is clean. Malwarebytes can also properly remove critters it may find.



ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: I do NOT allow Malwarebytes to run in the background or run any kind of real-time protection when installed, or, run any services. It only needs to be updated manually and then run manually periodically. The payware version is not needed..  the freeware version does the job just fine.   FREE DOWNLOAD



That is all I need because I desire good security and performance at the same time: NOD32 and Malwarebytes.. the rest is ALL overkill and not needed.

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NickN View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-25-2013 at 12:08pm
Skipping to this section and not going through the list above is A MISTAKE. There were key changes made to your system in the drive selection and location of FSX with respect to mechanical drives that this outline serves to improve. Even with SSD 'only' setups there were many key areas outlined above that this list supports in improving.
CHAPTER 5                           





Install the optional "Microsoft Update" because that will update other MS software such as Office products at the same time Windows Update is run.

Is is important that you install all the Windows Updates and Microsoft Updates before you begin. Windows Update can be very tricky! You may think you have all your updates when you do not.. and, on a clean install of Windows depending on the DVD production date your settings for Windows Updates will change, especially when Microsoft Update is installed. 

Please be sure to get all Windows Updates sorted before beginning this.

If Windows Updates are confirmed, begin here:

This step configures and shuts down Windows Update 'automatic updates' and configures the Windows security and maintenance nag system. This will not leave you unprotected but it will mean you should check for updates once a month (or so) manually through Control Panel > Windows Update.

Automatic Updates can invoke stutters should they be executed at the wrong time. I highly suggest all users should MANUALLY check for Windows Updates once a month and NOT allow the OS to do that automatically. You will be settings the Windows NAG warning system and Windows Update correctly so it will not interfere with the system when it is in use.

Go to Control Panel � In the top corner select:   VIEW BY: then SMALL ICONS

In the list that appears, select: Windows Update   and in the side box click CHANGE SETTINGS. In the window that appears set the following:
a. Set the Important Updates dropdown to Never Check for Updates
b. Uncheck ALL boxes except under �Microsoft Update� leave the boxed checked for: Give me updates for Microsoft products and check for new optional Microsoft software when I update Windows.
This checkbox will allow product such as MS Office and other MS products you may need/use to continue being scanned for updates. You will need to watch out for MS bloat-ware products such as BING toolbar when checking for updates under the optional updates. 


Next, we will turn off the bells and whistles warnings for Backup, AV, Windows Defender and Windows update
c. Go to Control Panel � Action Center > Change Action Center Settings. Here you can select to TURN OFF MESSAGES about Windows Update, Antivirus missing, Windows Defender or Spyware protection missing. Select to turn off the alarm messages you do not wish to see. I shut them all down. You can also shut down many nags about maintenance in this Window.
d. Next expand MAINTENANCE. This is where you can turn off messages about �Checking for solutions� for crashes, Backup, checking updates, etc. 
To shut down the �Check for Solutions� system (which has never worked once for me) click the SETTINGS link and then click the Change Report Settings for All Users link and in the box that appears select �Never Check for Solutions� and then OK
Hit the BACK button and expand Maintenance again and turn off messages about Windows backup.
Under �Troubleshooting� click the CHANGE TROUBLESHOOTING SETTINGS and under �Computer Maintenance� set the �Windows will check for routine maintenance....� to OFF and then click OK. click the back button.
Disable all the nags and once finished close the window and continue below.




Download this zip file and unzip it.

You will be using the files supplied in that zip package for this outline. Unzip it to the desktop.

a. Inside the W7_Optimize directory you will find: TweakPrefetch_5.3.1.3.exe  install that application. It should place a shortcut on your desktop, leave that shortcut on the desktop for use later.

b. Inside the W7_Optimize directory you will find a registry directory, open that directory and you will find a file named: Optimized.reg. Double click Optimize.reg and allow it to merge into the registry.

Do not reboot!

c. Close the W7_Optimize directory and leave it on the desktop. You will be using the application TFC.exe and MicrosoftFixit_KB50496.msi later in this outline.



The registry changes that you just installed are all safe to use!. There is ONE change in that registry file that a user may find needs to be RE-ENABLED under very rare and specific conditions.

You can read what the 8.3 Name Creation system does and how it WILL increase file system performance as well as the rare pitfalls a user may see from Microsoft here:

Turning that Windows feature/system OFF will increase the file system performance in Windows and it is a GOOD edit to make, HOWEVER, there can be old installers, old applications and exceptionally long file names in Windows (can't delete a file with a very long filename) could present a problem if you come across a issue related to those items on your system.

PLEASE NOTE: It is RARE to see that today as compared to 5+ years ago. I have only come across an issue once in 10+ years of using this tweak. If you happen to come across one of the issues listed you can VERY SIMPLY enable the feature, fix the problem and then turn the system back OFF for file system performance. Here is how:

a. Click START and in the box type: CMD  in the list that appears above right click CMD and select: Run As Administrator

b. In the command prompt box type (or you can copy/paste from here) and then click Enter.

fsutil.exe behavior set disable8dot3 0  

Once done, according to Microsoft with Windows 7 there is NO REBOOT required and you can then run your old installer or delete or rename a ridiculously long file name in Windows.

Once you have performed what ever task you need the support for, then DISABLE the system again:

c. Type in the box (or copy paste from here)

fsutil.exe behavior set disable8dot3 1 

This 'disables' and reverts the file system back to higher performance



2. Right click the desktop and select PERSONALIZE. In the center box toward the bottom find the section labeled: Basic and High Contrast themes. Place the mouse pointer over the Windows Classic Theme and click it. NOTE: THIS IS ONLY A TEMPORARY CHANGE. Close the Personalization window.

3. Go to Control Panel � Power Options. In the window that appears there is a dropdown that says: Show Additional Plans, expand it. Place a bullet in the power profile: HIGH PERFORMANCE and then click PLAN SETTINGS. For the monitor you can set this to what ever you like, 20min is usually a good value. For the �Put Computer to Sleep option, select NEVER. Click the ADVANCED power settings link.
In the advanced power setting box go down the list and make sure these are set or change them as outlined:
HARD DISK � Turn off hard disk: NEVER
SLEEP � Sleep After: NEVER     
These next 2 settings may or may not appear, if they are there, change them as shown
           - Hibernate after: NEVER 
           - Allow hybrid sleep: OFF

PCI EXPRESS: Link State Power Management: OFF


MIN Processor State: 100

System cooling Policy: ACTIVE
MAX processor State: 100
Click Apply if you made any changes and then OK to close the box. Close the Edit Power Settings window.

NOTE: You have just disable Windows CPU CORE PARKING automatically. Please do not apply that tweak if you found it on the internet as it is not needed!

Open a elevated ADMIN command prompt which is different from a standard command prompt: On the Windows task bar click Start and in the search box type: cmd   in the box that appears above, right click on cmd.exe and select Run as Administrator. This will open a GOD command prompt from inside Windows\System32
In the command prompt type: powercfg.exe /hibernate off       and press ENTER
NOTE: Instead of typing you can use the mouse to highlight and copy:  powercfg.exe /hibernate off   then place the mouse pointer in the command window, right click and select PASTE and then click ENTER.

You will not see any return on the Command Prompt screen, once complete, simply close the box.

4. Note: This next step will shut down Windows System Restore (AKA: System Protection) I know some people rely on this system. It is resource hog and also adds disk access operations to a system. I would suggest people obtain proper backup software and learn to keep up to date image backups of their system drives running backups manually when needed and shut down System Restore. Shutting this system down WILL net a positive result however if you simply can not live without system restore skip this step and proceed to step #5 now.

-Click the START button in the Windows toolbar, in the search box type: advanced system   and the box above click on �view advanced system settings� and then select the System Protection tab.
In the box that appears under the Protection Settings window you will see each drive in the system listed. Starting at the top of the list of drives, perform the following task:
a. Select the drive in the list
b. Click the CONFIGURE button
c. In the box that appears set the top bullet to: Turn Off System Protection and click APPLY and then OK to close the box
d. REPEAT A and B above for each drive in the list shown.
Once finished go to STEP 5
5. Click the REMOTE tab on the System Properties box. Make sure �Allow Remote Assistance� is unchecked and in the lower section a bullet in: �Don�t Allow Connections to this computer�   (this has nothing to do with home networking) If you made any changes click APPLY

NOTE: Your version of Windows may not have the  �Don�t Allow Connections to this computer� button.. if its not there, move on after confirming �Allow Remote Assistance� is unchecked


6. Click the ADVANCED tab on the System Properties box. Under Startup and Recovery click the SETTINGS button. Under System Failure uncheck "Automatic Restart", leave the check in: "Write Event to system log".

Set the �Write debugging information� dropdown to: Small Memory Dump (256k) then click OK.

7. Under the PERFORMANCE heading click the Settings button. Under the Visual Effects tab set the bullet to: �Adjust for best Performance� and click APPLY. NOTE: THIS IS ONLY A TEMPORARY CHANGE. Once finished click the ADVANCED tab.

8. Under Processor Scheduling, move the bullet from 'Programs' to 'Background Services' and click APPLY,

IMPORTANT: Now move the bullet from 'Background Services' back to 'Programs' and click APPLY. (I know it seems strange, please do this)    
Under the Virtual Memory heading click the CHANGE button.

9. Change the Virtual Memory Settings:

To correctly setup the page file FOR ANY GAME SYSTEM that has 4GB or more of physical memory installed:
a. Uncheck: Automatically Manage Paging Files at the top of the box. Look at the box below. All the drives in the system will be displayed. If any drive other than the Windows drive currently displays a page file in the box, select it the drive in the box, place a bullet in: NO PAGE FILE and then click the SET button. Once Windows is the only drive with a page file on it, or, no page files are shown, then continue below.
b. Making sure the C:\  (or Windows) drive is selected in the box, change the bullet selection below to CUSTOM SIZE and in 'both' the -Initial- and the -Maximum- boxes place the value; 3072 and then click SET.
c. Once complete, click OK and then you may see a message that says the changes will take place after a restart, click OK and on the box that remains open, click APPLY. If a reboot is requested, allow it.

If no reboot is requested then reboot the system NOW.

Once back in Windows if you use SSD continue below with SPECIAL SECTION FOR SSD WINDOWS DRIVES If you do not use SSD for Windows boot disk then you can skip directly to STEP #10 OR you are welcome to read and learn more about the Windows Page file below.

NOTES: The only exception leaving the 'primary' page file on the Windows drive is if you use a SSD drive for Windows and wish to learn about moving the page file to reduce WRITES to the SSD drive. Moving the page file from a Windows SSD install can be done and it is a option but NOT a requirement. Moving the page file from the SSD will NOT in any way increase Windows performance at all and you must have a mechanical hard drive in the system you can use to create a new partition and move the page file correctly. If you use SSD for the Windows drive and wish to move the page file for long term drive life maintenance, please skip the next step and proceed to read: IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE WINDOWS PAGE FILE,  >OPTIONAL item #2. 

TURNING THE WINDOWS PAGE FILE COMPLETELY OFF � This can be done, however unless you know exactly what you are doing I suggest it NOT be done. You will no longer be able to access any crash reports if the system happens to crash making diagnostics difficult. BE AWARE that regardless of the amount of system memory there are programs that can refuse to run, or, run strange or sluggish if the Windows page file is turned off even with sufficient memory in the system. If you have a very large amount of system memory, you know for a fact that no software you have or will install requires allocation or access of the Windows page file in its code (even with high system memory) and you do not care to have reports available for crashes in case they happen, you can turn the page file off on all drives but even if all the suggested criteria is met, you may wish you had left it alone and simply tuned it correctly as defined above in STEP #9 a-b-c.
Even with my extensive background in computer and electronic engineering...  I would not turn the page file off on any of my systems, simply define a generic size that covers any possible use or requirement and then forget it.



Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate x64      -192 GB 
Windows 7 Home Premium x64 - 16 GB
Windows 7 Home Basic x64       - 8 GB
Windows 7 Home Basic 32bit version    - 4 GB
Windows 7 Home Starter 32bit version  - 2 GB

That means if you have Windows 7 Home basic x64, and you install 16/32GB of memory, not only have you wasted your money, it wont be used and if the OS falls in that category and you turn off that page file thinking you have more than enough memory.... That was a silly move!





I am going to add a lot of information below about the Windows Page File because there are far too many myths and far too many nonsense instructions on the internet about this subject. If you set the page file as I defined in STEP #9 above you can skip this next section and move on to SPECIAL SECTION FOR SSD WINDOWS DRIVES, or, you can review the information I posted below if you would like to educate yourself on the subject.


With respect to a game system or any typical single user computer with mechanical hard drives, the ONLY DRIVE a page file should be located on is the Windows drive. It is a MYTH and  COMPLETELY FALSE that moving the Windows page file OR turning the page file OFF will make Windows run better.


Please do NOT FALL INTO THE: 'I Must Tune the Page File" trap!

Let me make something perfectly clear..  PAGE FILE TUNING is for disk space conservation, nothing else. Setting it TOO LOW with low system memory and high application demand on system memory is not good. If you run out of system memory, install more memory don't make a larger page file!


PLEASE NOTE THIS IMPORTANT FACT: there is NO SUCH THING AS A PAGE FILE THAT IS TOO BIG and that a large page file makes Windows run poor. The only downfall is, it takes up drive space, that is all! A system can have an entire 1TB drive dedicated to a Windows page file (which of course is ridiculous) and it will NOT SLOW NOR MAKE WINDOWS FASTER regardless of the demand.

THE ONLY EXCEPTIONS where moving the page file from the Windows drive may be desired are:

A. If you have LESS than 4GB of physical system memory on a modern system running high demand physical memory applications.

B. (Optional, NOT required) You use a SSD for the Windows drive and wish to reduce writes to the SSD. This can also be used to recover drive space on SSDs and it can be used for SSD drives such as dedicated PCIe SSD that has no TRIM support in Windows 7.

C. If you are running a 20+ station office network server and after running I/O and page request tests finds THE SERVER requires a page file on a dedicated array to handle the network. Since we are not building office networks here, I will explain the other exceptions below:

A.  Low Physical Memory: In the case of low physical memory, UPGRADE the memory to 6GB �8GB depending on dual/triple channel and depending on what the system is used for (i.e., 12GB-16-32GB if you need it for Photoshop or other engineering or development software). Running FSX with all addons and Windows does NOT require any more than 6GB-8GB of physical memory. IF you are short of memory your system needs MORE MEMORY and not a page file move. Purchase more memory and do not move the page file, AND, make sure the version of Windows 7 in use SUPPORTS the amount of memory you need!
B. OPTIONAL: Windows is located on a Solid State Hard Drive. In the case of SSD, moving the Windows page file can assist with the heath of the SSD drive over a LONG period of time which in turn helps keep the drive fast and healthy. It can also give a user more space on the Windows drive, but moving the file from the SSD will NOT make Windows run better only reduce file writes on the SSD. With modern Intel SATA systems with AHCI and the Rapid Storage drivers installs and runs the TRIM command automatically which cleans SSD drives and keeps them tidy however with SSD the more �writes� that occur on a drive, the faster they degenerate, AND drive space can be a commodity with SSD since they usually come in smaller sizes as compare to mechanical drive. 

In order to extend the life and the performance of SSD or to add more space to the SSD, moving the page file from the Windows SSD to a mechanical drive partition can help. In order to do it correctly follow this outline:

Select a MECHANICAL drive on the system that will be used for dead storage or backups and that does NOT have any data on it at this time. If there is data on this drive you must MOVE the data to a temp safe location FIRST. This does not have to be a fast �super performance� drive (more myth nonsense) The only important factor here is that you use the FIRST PHYSICAL PARTITION of the hard drive.

NOTE: If you do not have such a drive on your system and you wish to use this method you will need to purchase and install one. A standard Western Digital BLUE drive is fine for this purpose. You will be using any left over space for dead storage.
Using the Windows Disk Management Console:  (Admin Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management)
1. If this is not a new unformatted drive: Use the Disk Management Console to destroy all partitions on this drive (right click the drive space and select: Delete Volume  then if necessary, right click and Delete Partition). Once the entire drive displays: �Unallocated� in the Disk Management Console continue below.

2. Create a 5GB partition on the selected drive. Right click the unallocated space and select: New Simple Volume. On the next window change the Simple Volume size in MB to: 5120 and click NEXT. Assign a drive letter: Note this CAN NOT CHANGE once the page file has been moved so pick a letter that you want now. X, Y or Z is fine for this. You have now created 5GB partition and it is the first physical partition on the drive.

Click NEXT.
3. Right click the new partition and select to FORMAT in NTFS and to the DEFAULT file allocation (or 4K) and in that process you can name the partition: Windows Page File. Select the QUICK format option and Click NEXT and then click FINISH. Once finished the partition is ready for the page file.
4. To use the rest of the space on the drive for storage, in the Drive Management Console right click the remaining unallocated space of the drive and select to create a simple volume. Use all of the space and create the volume and click NEXT. Assign a drive letter and click NEXT.

Use the NTFS file system and format the volume to 64K file allocation and name the drive STORAGE if you wish. Select to perform a quick format and select NEXT then FINISH. Once finished the partition is ready for storing files.
5. In the Virtual Memory settings box follow these directions carefully:
Note: If you created the page file partition with the Virtual Memory settings box open you may have to close and reopen the Virtual Memory settings box first for the new 5GB partition to appear in the list.
a. Uncheck: Automatically Manage Paging Files at the top of the box. Look at the box below. All the drives in the system will be displayed. If any drive other than the Windows drive currently displays a page file in the box, select it the drive in the box, place a bullet in: NO PAGE FILE and then click the SET button. Once Windows is the only drive with a page file on it, or, no page files are shown, then continue below.
b. Select the C:\  (or Windows) drive in the top box, change the bullet selection below to CUSTOM SIZE and in 'both' the -Initial- and the -Maximum- boxes place the value; 20 and then click SET.  Note: This must be done to continue getting crash reports. Windows will use the larger page file by default first if its needed. The small allocation will only be written to if a crash occurs.
c. Select the new 5GB partition you created in the top box, change the bullet selection below to CUSTOM SIZE and in both the Initial and the Maximum boxes place the value; 3072 and then click SET. 
d. Once complete, click OK and then you may see a message that says the changes will take place after a restart, click OK and on the box that remains open, click APPLY. If a reboot is requested, allow it. If no reboot is requested then reboot the system NOW.
E. Continue below with SPECIAL SECTION FOR SSD WINDOWS DRIVES as that will do far more for SSD than ANY page file move!





This will move ALL the Windows temp files, all the installed program temp files as well as the INTERNET cache, and, the CD/DVD burner temp burn directory,....  to a location off the SSD
First you need to flush your current TEMP files and clean the drive..

Open the W7_Optimize directory on your desktop.

With all programs closed, run the program TFC.exe. When it launches click the START button and allow it to complete. When finished it will close certain programs running in the tray and may launch a windows explorer window, simply close any windows that open and then reboot the system.

Next, choose a DEAD STORAGE mechanical drive for this and use the ROOT directory to create the new directory location
A. Create two directories on your dead storage mechanical drive ROOT:
B. Go to START - in the box type: Advanced System and above click on: Advanced System Settings. Click the ADVANCED TAB
C. Click the ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES button. In the top box you will see 2 temp file locations: TEMP and TMP. Highlight EACH and click EDIT and then add the exact path to the new temp directories in the VARIABLE VALUE box., 
EXAMPLE: for MY system I use the F drive 2TB mechanical backup therefore MY lines will appear like this for both the TEMP and TMP entries:
D. Click OK and close the box. CONFIRM the paths.
E. In the same ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES box go down to the SYSTEM VARIABLES section, scroll down the list and find the entries TMP and TEMP. Highlight EACH and click EDIT and then add the exact path to the new temp directories in the VARIABLE VALUE box.
EXAMPLE: for MY system I use the F drive 2TB mechanical backup therefore MY lines will appear like this for both the TEMP and TMP entries:
F. Click OK and close the box. CONFIRM the path for both.
G. DONE! Close the System Properties box
A. Open Internet Explorer and in the menu click  TOOLS - INTERNET OPTIONS
B. Under the BROWSER HISTORY click SETTINGS and then click the button MOVE FOLDER. A box will appear, BROWSE the location to your new mechanical backup temp file dump:  <DRIVE LETTER>:\USERTEMP
NOTE: You will get a message that Windows must log-off to move the location. Making sure you have any other open items saved allow this logoff and then log back on.
A. Go to My Computer. Select one of your CD/DVD burners as this change is universal to all. Right click and select PROERTIES and then click the RECORDING button. In the lower dropdown select the backup mechanical drive where all your other temp files have been moved and click OK. 
That change will create its own directory on the root of the drive automatically.
You may get an error message.. if you do ignore it, reboot the system and recheck that dropdown, if it has not moved, reset it again and that should work.
B. Once complete, reboot the computer
You just stopped MORE trash writing to your SSD drive than ANY other change will make!
NOTE: If for some reason you ever need to restore the TEMP and TMP locations in Windows the paths are:
USER variables: Both TMP and TEMP paths change both to:
SYSTEM Variables:  Both TMP and TEMP paths change to:

If you use Google Earth:
Using the Windows MLINK commands has been known to FAIL to correctly set symbolic links. The freeware LINKMAGIC2 will do this perfectly for you and can be used the same way to locate directories all over a system to better locations on the drives in use.
You can review what this product does here;
Direct Download links for Windows 7
First, choose a DEAD STORAGE mechanical drive for this and use the ROOT directory to create the new directory location

1. Create a directory on the disk where you want to move the cache to. F:\Windows Google Earth Cache\Google Earth Cache
 2. Start Google Earth. Click <File> and <Server Log Out> to log out of the server. Keep Google Earth open.
 3. Click <Tools> and select <Options>. Click the tab marked "Cache". Click the button marked "Delete Disk Cache". Close the Options windows and close GE
 4. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the directory C:\Users\{username}\AppData\LocalLow\Google. <---- open
 5. COPY and paste in Windows Explorer to move the 'GoogleEarth' directory from C:\Users\{username}\AppData\LocalLow\Google\Google
Earth to
<YOUR MECHANICAL DRIVE LETTER>:\Windows Google Earth Cache\GoogleEarth  and then EMPTY the contents of the original.
 6.Use the program  LINKMAGIC2 to create the symbolic link, simply click the CREATE button in the GUI and select the SOURCE C:\Users\{username}\AppData\LocalLow\Google\Google
Earth <-----
and then the TARGET directory on the mechanical backup drive.
<YOUR MECHANICAL DRIVE LETTER>:\Windows Google Earth Cache\GoogleEarth <------
..and then  click "CREATE"
LinkMagic2 will do the rest!

 7. Once finished, Open Google Earth. Everything should be working perfectly and the new cache directory will fill up instead of the directory on
the Windows drive.
The same process can be used when SSD or other drive space is short for very large FSX addons, or if you wish to move an addon from a
FSX mechanical drive to a SSD for better performance.



10. NOTE: IF you opted to leave System Restore (or System Protection) enabled then skip this step and go directly to STEP 11

Click the START button in the Windows toolbar, in the search box type: advanced system   and the box above click on �view advanced system settings�

Click the System protection tab and starting with the Windows drive follow this outline:

a. Select the drive in the list
b. Click the CONFIGURE button
c. Set the slider to zero (on the Windows drive it will still read 1%)
d. Click the Delete button and allow it to continue.
e. Click APPLY and then OK to close the box
e. REPEAT A-E above for each drive in the list shown.

Then close the system properties box.

Unzip and double click the reg file SystemRestore_OFF.reg and allow it to merge.


System Restore (or Protection) is now completely disabled and can not be accessed by Windows. If you ever want to turn System Protection back on, click Start then in the search box type: regedit       

When the registry editor appears browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\SystemRestore  <------ Right click this key and delete the entire key and then close regedit.

You will then need to Enable System Restore on each drive you wish it to monitor under: Advanced System Settings > System Protection and also re-establish the disk space to consume.



11. Right click the desktop and select PERSONALIZE. In the center box toward the bottom find the section labeled: Basic and High Contrast themes. Place the mouse pointer over the WINDOWS BASIC Theme and click it to select.

NOTE: You can change the background image by selecting the link at the bottom of the window that says: �Desktop Background� You may use any image you like or browse for your own custom image. Do not set up a slide show, only select ONE image.
Close the Personalization window.

12. Control Panel � System: Click the Advanced Tab, under Performance click the settings button. Place a bullet in CUSTOM and make the changes shown in the image below:

Click Apply and then OK to close the box. Click OK to close the System Properties box. then close the System window.
Windows is now configured to use the least resources yet provide a very pleasant viewing environment.

13. Disable Automatic Disk Defragmenting Maintenance:

Go to START in the search box type: dfrgui.exe   and hit ENTER. In the GUI that appears click the CONFIGURE SCHEDULE button a box will appear. Click the SELECT DISKS button and uncheck �Automatically Defrag New Drives� in that box and click OK. Then in the Modify Schedule box, uncheck Run on schedule and click OK. Close the box.

NOTE: If you can not access the Windows defrag setup using the instructions above then the service may be DISABLED. Click START > Administration Tools > Services and in the list scroll down to DISK DEFRAGMENTER. Double click it The service should be set to MANUAL and then click START if it is stopped. You should then be able to access the defragment scheduler GUI as outlined above.



14. Download this program:

Unzip the folder and drop the unzipped folder Resource Kit into: C:\Program Files (x86)  and once done, inside that directory double click the file: exctrlst.exe

A box will appear. In the center of the box under; SORT ORDER, make sure the bullet in; SERVICE

There is a list of services showing in the lower pane of the box, simply click the top service in that list to highlight it and then remove the check out of the box labeled: Performance Counters Enabled

Scroll down the list and repeat the highlight\uncheck until EVERY SERVICE in the list displays a cleared check for the performance counter...  (with the exception of the two services noted below)

Please verify the performance counter has been disabled for each service listed with the exception of the two listed above... then close the box


15. Browse to C:\  (or your Windows root directory)  In the top menu click the View menu, then from the dropdown select LIST. Then Click on the Tools menu. (press the ALT Key and tool menu will appear)  Click on Folder Options. Select the View tab in the Folder Options window. Click APPLY TO ALL FOLDERS and select YES.
In the box below uncheck everything EXCEPT the following options, if these are not already selected, place a check in the box next to them

Always show icons instead of thumbnails  This is OPTIONAL: If you prefer to see thumbnails leave this unchecked. Thumbnails require more memory.

Always show menus

Expand Hidden Files and folders: Bullet in: Show hidden files folders and drives
Show drive letters

Use Sharing Wizard   Note: Some users who network may want to disable this.. if you know you do not want this you can disable it. If you are not sure leave it enabled for now as it can be disabled later if desired.

The items listed above are the only items that should be selected in the box. Click Apply and close the box.

NOTE: DO NOT check �Launch folder windows in a separate process�. This old tweak which had value in Windows XP does not work the same in Windows 7 and can cause Windows to become slow and performance can DROP. This is used as a diagnostic tool in Windows 7 when a system is unstable and the user needs to open many windows at once to find the problem. Do not check this option in Windows 7. From Microsoft: �Use this setting if your computer frequently stops working and you want to minimize or troubleshoot problems. Be aware, however, that doing this could slow your computer's performance.� The Windows 7 driver model is different from Windows XP, do not enable the �Launch folder windows in a separate process� setting!

After performing this step you will see a hidden file named: �desktop.ini� appear on your desktop... you can delete that file or any file on the desktop named �desktop.ini�
Its a hidden file Windows creates and uses when a user customizes their desktop or other directories and is not needed nor will it cause any issues to delete it.
If you have never run Windows with 'Hide Protected Operating System Files" disabled then you will see hidden files you normally do not see in the root of drives as well as in some directories. As you may come across those over time: Leave those ALONE and do not attempt to delete or move them.

16. On the Windows taskbar click START and on the side menu click COMPUTER. In the window that appears your hard drives will display. Go to the VIEW menu and in the dropdown select either MEDIUM or LARGE icons (your choice) and then in the VIEW menu select SORT BY and select TYPE then ASCENDING order. This will layout your drives in a nice order for access.

Once complete then do the following for each and every hard drive in the system:
a. Right click the first drive, select PROPERTIES. At the bottom of the GENERAL tab uncheck the item: �Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed...�
b. In the box that appears place a bullet in: Apply changes to drive, subfolders and files and click OK

NOTE: In this process on a Windows drive the system may HALT with a �Access Denied� warning. If this happens click IGNORE ALL and allow the process to complete.
c. Once complete the check in the box for �Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed...� will clear and indexing will be properly shut down. Close the properties box for the drive.
d. REPEAT steps a-b-c above for EACH hard drive shown in the system. If you ever add a hard drive or make a partition at a later date you must perform these steps to disable indexing on the new drive or partition.

17. Windows 7 HOMEGROUP: Before configuring the Windows Services list you will need to define if you will be creating a home network or using this system on a network. HomeGroup can not be used to network Windows 7 to a Windows XP system. If you intend to network this system to another Windows 7 system (or several Windows 7 systems) then SKIP this step now and go to #18.
If you do NOT intend to network this system, OR, If you intend to network this system with a older Window operating system such as Windows XP, the HomeGroup system is useless and will run services using resources for no reason. Only the systems on a network running Windows 7 can use the HomeGroup system.

DISABLE HOMEGROUP: First, we must define if HomeGroup is enabled or disabled on the system. Some versions of Windows come with HomeGroup enabled by default, others come disabled by default. To check and see which one your system falls under, do the following:

1. Go to Start on the Windows task bar, in the search box type: homegroup      and then hit enter which will bring up the HomeGroup box. IF you see a message that says that there is currently no HomeGroup on the network, then Homegroup is DISABLED and you can close the box and skip to STEP #18

2. IF Homegroup is enabled: The Homegroup settings window will appear. At the bottom of the window, you�ll find an link option called �Leave the HomeGroup�, click that link.
You will be presented with a wizard asking you to confirm that you really want to leave the HomeGroup. Click the button that says: Leave the HomeGroup    and when finished close the boxes.

18. Start the Internet Explorer Browser. Go to the TOOLS menu and at the bottom select INTERNET OPTIONS. The options box will appear.
- On the General tab:
Click the TABS button. Uncheck Enable Tabbed Browsing and click OK. This feature consumes a large amount of memory, can slow the browser considerably, and is really not needed. If you insist on using tabs you can leave this enabled however it will effect browser performance and consume disk space and memory.
Under the Browser history, make sure there is a check in �Delete Browser History on Exit� and then click the DELETE button. In the box that appears place a check in all the options except the last 3: Uncheck Form Data, Passwords and Active X Filtering and Tracking Data then click DELETE and the box will close.

NOTE: This retains any data that is saved that is related to your FAVORITES links.
You are optimizing your browser so any links you save as Favorites retain the website data for faster loading, but the system will flush all data for any other sites. This keeps your browser optimized so it is not loading large amounts of old website visit data from pages you may never visit again or rarely visit.
Under the Browser history click the settings button. Change the disk space to use to: 512
- On the Privacy Tab: Raise the settings slider to: MEDIUM-HIGH then Check the options: �Never let allow websites to request physical location, Turn on Popup Blocker and Disable toolbars/extensions when inPrivate browsing starts, then click APPLY.
- On the Advanced tab: Scroll down to Security and place a check in �Empty Temporary Internet files folder when browser is closed, click APPLY and close the Internet options box and then close Internet Explorer.

19. Windows Services:
Unlike older versions of Windows, Windows 7 with SP1 actually does a fairly good job of setting up the services list on its own however there are several items that can be changed to further improve the performance of the system. To make this easy I am providing a list that should be safe for just about anyone to use. If you happen to see something specific you know you need to run but is set to disabled in the list below, leave it enabled on your system.
VERY IMPORTANT: Shutting down services past what I display below is NOT NECESSARY. Windows 7 will not run any better by shutting down nearly every service in the list. Please do not shut down services based on �Black Viper� or any other tweak site or program recommendation, furthermore there is NO reason to use the software AlacrityPC, (which had a useful purpose years ago), or GAMEBOOSTER which has the real potential to make the system run WORSE under certain criteria, to shut down Windows services for Flightsim use. Beware of any snake-oil software sold that claims it will speed up and optimize your system or make Flightsim run better under Windows 7 as those claims ARE FALSE.
Most of the services below are safely set to MANUAL which will START only if they are needed automatically, and, the services that MUST be enabled are enabled for a reason. Do not deviate from this list unless you know exactly what you are doing.
If you see a item on your system that DOES NOT appear on the list below, unless you know exactly what it is and what it does, leave it alone.
If you see an item on this list that you do not see listed on your system, skip it.
You will find that many of these services are already configured correctly and need no change, as I said, Windows 7 does a fairly good job of optimizing itself. Going past these settings and disabling more than what is listed is NOT REQUIRED and in some cases can make the system run worse! Some of them are needed to properly configure the Windows prefetch boot system correctly which will be done in the next steps after the services are configured and many of them switch themselves ON and OFF correctly by demand and use.

1. Go to START � Administrator Tools � Services. Expand the screen and then expand the name column so you can see the service name and the startup type. You can collapse the status and description columns so its easier to see the name next to the startup type listed.
2. To change a service �Startup Type� simply select the service in your services list, right click and select PROPERTIES. In the STARTUP TYPE box change the service to the startup type to what is shown in the list below and click APPLY. Close the box and go to the next service in the list.
NOTE: Unlike Windows XP when a services is shut down it does NOT require the �login type� be changed, only switch the service Startup type and click apply.


Windows 7 is different from Windows versions of the past. A service set to MANUAL will not invoke ANY resource reduction or performance issues and they are designed to start on their own if the demand for them is required. DO NOT shut down a service that is defined to start manually as that will make no difference to the system and if your system needs one of these items it should start on its own!           
ActiveX Installer (AxInstSV)                                                          
Application Experience                            
Application Identity                                
Application Information                       
Application Layer Gateway Service       
Application Management                         
ASP.NET State Service                                
Background Intelligent Transfer Service  
Block Level Backup Engine Service            
Bluetooth Support Service                       
Certificate Propagation                            
CNG Key Isolation                                   
COM+ System Application                          
Computer Browser                                   
Credential Manager                                  
Diagnostic Service Host                            
Diagnostic System Host
Disk Defragmenter                                                 
Distributed Transaction Coordinator 

Encrypting File System (EFS)    
Extensible Authentication Protocol            
Function Discovery Provider Host                             
Health Key and Certificate Management    
Human Interface Device Access                   
InstallDriver Table Manager                       
Interactive Services Detection                     
IPsec Policy Agent                                        
KtmRm for Distributed Transaction Coordinator  
Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper      
Microsoft iSCSI Initiator Service                   
Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider
Network Access Protection Agent    
Network Connections    
Network List Service    
Parental Controls  
Peer Name Resolution Protocol    
Peer Networking Grouping  
Peer Networking Identity Manager    
PNRP Machine Name Publication Service    
Portable Device Enumerator Service    
Problem Reports and Solutions Control Panel Support    
Protected Storage    
Quality Windows Audio Video Experience  
Remote Access Auto Connection Manager  
Remote Access Connection Manager  
Remote Desktop Configuration    
Remote Desktop Services 
Remote Desktop Services UserMode Port Redirector 
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator 
Secondary Logon   <-----  NOTE: Some users may need this set to 'automatic' for networking situations
Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol Service    
Smart Card  
Smart Card Removal Policy    
SNMP Trap  
SPP Notification Service 
SSDP Discovery    
Storage Service    
Thread Ordering Server    
TPM Base Services    
UPnP Device Host    
Virtual Disk    
Volume Shadow Copy    
Windows Activation Technologies Service    
Windows Backup  
Windows Biometric Service    
Windows CardSpace    
Windows Color System    
Windows Connect Now - Config Registrar    
Windows Driver Foundation - User-mode Driver Framework    
Windows Error Reporting Service    
Windows Event Collector  
Windows Installer    
Windows Modules Installer  
Windows Presentation Foundation Font Cache  
Windows Process Activation Service    
Windows Remote Management (WS-Management)
WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service 
Wired AutoConfig    
WMI Performance Adapter
WWAN AutoConfig    
World Wide Web Publishing Service
Windows Time   

Adobe Acrobat Update Service   - This can be shut down and you should set this in the Adobe Acrobat settings to NEVER UPDATE. You can still update MANUALLY
Adaptive Brightness    
BitLocker Drive Encryption Service



Google Update Service (gupdate)    
Google Update Service (gupdatem)    
You don't want Google updating your system and running in the background.. Shut these 2 services down if they are present.
Important update information about disabling Google Update services and the slick background activity GOOGLE adds to your system which sends them usage tracks!
Google has changed how these services work and WILL re-enable them by default as soon as you REBOOT. At one time you could simply shut them down but now in order to kill them properly Google made this a lot more difficult so they can so call "update" your software and we all should know by now that Google makes their money through USER TRACKING data.
If you use Google Earth or other Google software these services allow Google to do their dirty work. You don't need this nonsense on your system and running in the background. To shut it down properly do the following:
1. Once you have installed any/all Google software you may use and have DISABLED these 2 services in the Services lint, navigate to:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Update\  <--- there will be a directory with a number as shown in the example, this number MAY be different on your system, open that numbered directory
2. RENAME all these files with a OLD extension  (.old) as shown
Gotta love it! All that nonsense being run at once from those services when you boot your computer!
Once those items have been renamed, close the directory.
3. Start the Windows TASK SCHEDULER. Click START and in the box type: Task Scheduler and in the top box click the Task Scheduler and open it. Click on TASK SCHEDULER LIBRARY
4. Right click the 2 Google Tasks in the left pane and select DISABLE for BOTH
5. Close the Task Scheduler..   DONE! Google is now no longer into anything on your system in the way of usage tracking or updating while you use FSX.


Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)  - This is only needed if you use one computer on a network to connect to the internet and all other computers use the base computer to reach the internet as well. It is RARE to need this service as a typical network or system will not use this feature.

MALWAREBYTES: These 2 services are NOT needed since there is no reason to run Malwarebytes in the background. This will NOT block updating or using Malwarebytes!.

Microsoft .NET Framework NGEN v2.0.50727_X64    
Microsoft .NET Framework NGEN v2.0.50727_X86    
NOTE: These NET 2 items should be disabled if Windows has been correctly updated. Net 4 will install automatically with Windows Update and Windows Update will correctly shut down Net 2 and enable Net 4. NET 2 is handled by NET 4 which automatically starts with Windows

Net.Msmq Listener Adapter    
Net.Pipe Listener Adapter  
Net.Tcp Listener Adapter    
Net.Tcp Port Sharing Service    
Offline Files    
Performance Counter DLL Host  
Performance Logs & Alerts  
Program Compatibility Assistant Service  
Remote Registry    
Routing and Remote Access  
Tablet PC Input Service    
Windows Defender    - VERY IMPORTANT this is shut down as Windows Defender is nothing but resource hog and a performance killer
Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service  
Windows Media Center Receiver Service 

Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology    

Microsoft .NET Framework NGEN v4.0.30319_X64    
Microsoft .NET Framework NGEN v4.0.30319_X86    
NOTE: If you do not see NET 4 in this list and instead see NET 2 then you have not updated Windows properly through Windows Update. These 2 items will appear automatically when Windows update upgrades your NET system. They must remain set to Automatic (Delay Start)

PnP-X IP Bus Enumerator    
Security Center    
Software Protection    
Windows Search    
Windows Update    
Application Host Helper Service    
Base Filtering Engine    
COM+ Event System    
Cryptographic Services    
DCOM Server Process Launcher    
Desktop Window Manager Session Manager    
DHCP Client 
Diagnostic Policy Service    
Distributed Link Tracking Client    
DNS Client    
Function Discovery Resource Publication    
Group Policy Client    Automatic
IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules  
IP Helper    
Multimedia Class Scheduler    
Network Location Awareness    
Network Store Interface Service    
NVIDIA Display Driver Service
O&O Defrag      
PACE License Services    
Plug and Play    
Print Spooler    
Remote Procedure Call (RPC)    
RPC Endpoint Mapper     
Security Accounts Manager    
Sentinel HASP License Manager  
Shell Hardware Detection      
Superfetch      Please make sure this service is set to AUTOMATIC start even with SSD.. I will explain this service and SSD under STEP 23
System Event Notification Service    
Task Scheduler    
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper 
User Profile Service    
Windows Audio    
Windows Audio Endpoint Builder 
Windows Event Log    
Windows Firewall    
Windows Font Cache Service    
Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)    
Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant    
Windows Management Instrumentation
WLAN AutoConfig    
Verify your list. An easy way to do this is to place the mouse pointer over the STARTUP TYPE header at the top of the services list and click it until the list organizes with all the MANUAL settings listed first, the DISABLED settings listed 2nd, Automatic (Delay Start), and finally Automatic .... then expand the NAME column so they all appear in full, close the STATUS and DESCRIPTION columns by dragging the header border with the mouse.
You will now have 2 columns, NAME and STARTUP TYPE organized in the same order as the list posted above.
Go back and go down the list posted above which is in the same order as yours and verify your list is the same.
Once complete, close the Services window.
ADDITIONAL: Here is a little feature that MAY or MAY NOT be enabled by default on your version of Windows. Its the Windows Media CENTER and its not needed unless you use your system for advanced Windows Media features for items such as home cinema. To disable this, START - CONTROL PANEL on the side click "Turn Windows Features on or off". In the box that appears scroll down and expand the MEDIA FEATURES as shown below and uncheck: Windows Media Center, click OK and allow the system to disable the feature. A reboot may be requested, do so if requested.


20. Open the W7_Optimize directory on your desktop. Inside you will find the file: MicrosoftFixit_KB50496.msi. Please run this application and allow it to complete. When finished a reboot request will appear, reboot the computer.

This patch will install very quickly, if for some reason the system HANGS during the install of this patch, which is a simple registry edit, reboot the computer and run the patch again.

NOTE: This fix addresses Out Of Memory issues with certain release versions of Windows 7. Not all release versions of Windows 7 show this issue and the fix has already been applied. You are simply running this application as a precaution to be sure your version of Windows 7 has this fix applied.

Out of Memory issues with Flight Simulator can be caused by many DIFFERENT reasons. This fix simply addresses one of the reasons in which this fix can be applied to assure the problem is not related to a desktop heap limitation setting in the registry which is present in some versions of  Windows by default.


21. Windows Temp file cleanup:

Open the W7_Optimize directory on your desktop.

With all programs closed, run the program TFC.exe. When it launches click the START button and allow it to complete. When finished it will close certain programs running in the tray and may launch a windows explorer window, simply close any windows that open and then reboot the system.


22. Clean your startup of unneeded programs or utilities that have placed startup applications in your Windows boot system.

If I was personally setting up your system I could have this system cleaned out in 10 minutes or less. Unfortunately I can not outline 'exactly' what applications you can and should remove and which ones must remain because all systems are different and a user may have requirements that another user does not need.

This step is very important as many applications can invoke serious performance issues, or, they could invoke 'checking for updates' during Flight Sim use. Many applications install startup keys in the registry which are not needed and that a user can launch an application manually instead of booting it automatically.

Optimizing this part of your system may require some trial and error if you are not versed in computers and software. I will outline a SAFE way to do this below for those who may not know or are not sure if they should stop an application from booting with Windows so you can restore an item if an issue should appear by shutting it down.

1. Launch the System Configuration Tool: Go to Start, then in the search box type: msconfig. A box will appear. Click the STARTUP tab. You will see a list of applications and utilities that are starting with Windows then read the items A-B-C-D below;

a. Applications such as: Adobe Acrobat, QTask (quicktime), RealPlayer, ANY Google applications, MS Messenger, Skype..   all of these can be launched MANUALLY when needed from a shortcut in Programs or a shortcut on the desktop. None of these application need to run at Windows boot can be removed from the Startup list. As you add programs to your install you should always check the settings for those programs and if they have a 'automatic update' feature DISABLE IT as that can add completely unneeded services and startup items running to your system that can invoke performance issues during flights. Update your software MANUALLY.



b. Many drivers such as the sound driver Realtek (semiconductor) or SoundMax as will as Intel for Rapid Transport Technology place items in the startup that ARE required. AV programs will place startup items in this list. As a precaution, always leave any items that are related to sound, video and SATA drivers as well as your 'primary' Antivirus alone and do not remove them unless you know for a fact it is simply bloatware. Creative Sound cards of the past have been known to install bloatware and although the DRIVER startup they install is needed the extended bloatware features they install, are not.

Laptops may have HOTKEY programs that MUST run in order to access certain settings in the laptop and must remain enabled.


c. Be aware that applications such as Malwarebytes can install a startup key as well as services. Malware products like Malwarebytes DO NOT need to run with Windows and can and should be launched periodically/manually by the user to check a system. Running more than a single well designed antivirus program such as NOD32 at Windows boot is nothing but a drag on the system. Extended security programs can cause Flight Simulator performance problems, please be very aware of that.



d. Highly experienced users such as myself who know what must run and which ones can be eliminated... Please skip to STEP #3 below.

2. For those who are not sure what can and can not be disabled: Using and heeding the advice I posted under A-B-C above about drivers and AV products, on the list presented under STARTUP you can work out what you can eliminate safely by simply UNCHECKING the startup items you think you do not need, click APPLY and reboot.

Upon reboot you will get a message that says the system has been started in a diagnostic mode. This is normal and you can shut off that nag by simply selecting the DO NOT SHOW THIS MESSAGE AGAIN option. You see this message because items in your startup were 'unchecked' instead of removed at this point.


CHECK YOUR SYSTEM and make sure everything you need support for is working.


If you find you have made a mistake go back to MSCONFIG as outlined under STEP 1 above and simply RECHECK the item you disabled by mistake. Given some trial and error you will figure out what you need and do not need booting with Windows, remember LESS is better as long as it does not effect your use of the system.

As an example, this is my personal STARTUP system. There are applications I use that others may or do not. You can see this is a very short list and only the items required at boot are loading:


3. Once you have figured out what needs to be enabled at boot and what can be deleted permanently then using the STARTUP window of the MSCONFIG tool you can expand the header: LOCATION as I show below from my system:

...which will display where the program is being launched. Some programs may be launched from a shortcut in the STARTUP folder under ALL PROGRAMS which you can open right click and remove it will send the file to the recycle bin which you can recover it from if you make a mistake, most will be located in one of three registry key locations:


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Run 


4. To remove an item from the registry and clear it permanently from MSCONFIG: Click START and in the search box type: regedit and press ENTER. When Regedit starts, navigate to the location in the registry the program start key is located. It is usually one of the three paths I posted above.

IMPORTANT: Before you make any changes and to be SAFE you can backup the RUN key in the left side list (it looks like a folder) and restore it if you make a mistake. Before deleting any start item in a RUN key folder, Right click the RUN key, select EXPORT and name the file RUN1 or RUN2 or RUN3 depending on which one you are about to edit and then browse and save it to the desktop.

The name itself does not matter, only that you name each run key differently and that you save this file to your desktop until you have confirmed you have not made any mistakes. To RESTORE: Double click the saved registry file and allow it to merge. You may need to close and reopen Regedit to see the line change/restore. A reboot is not necessary.

5. Open the RUN key in the list on the left and on the right side panel in Regedit, locate the software startup key by name, right click it and select DELETE

Removing startup items from the registry will remove them from MSCONFIG permanently. And DO NOTE: Once a key is deleted you must use the backup registry file you made and saved to your desktop if you make a mistake.

Once Finished, close Regedit.


Please get the startup system cleaned before proceeding to the next step. You CAN opt to uncheck items from the STARTUP tab and not remove them from the registry however do get your startup system cleaned up one way or another before proceeding to optimize the system boot in the next step.


IF you made changes to the startup system be sure to reboot before continuing so the memory and the registry is CLEARED of the startup items.


SPECIAL NOTE: I have seen yet another INTERNET MYTH posted about the BOOT system with MSCONFIG in setting the number of CORES in Windows... THIS IS A SILLY JOKE as all that does is change how many cores Windows using for 'INITIAL  BOOT' and will NOT in any way shape or form change how many cores Windows USES for applications. PLEASE do not change that and ignore that forum posted NONSENSE!



23. Change the Windows Prefetch system for high performance boot.

SSD may disable the SuperFetch service in Windows and I do know the setup Microsoft and SSD manufactures define around the Prefetch system for SSD.
When you run TweakPrefetch it will remind you that the SuperFetch service must be ENABLED and set to <AUTOMATIC> START    This is CORRECT for both Mechanical and SSD drives when you use my defined outline here.
When you setup using TweakPrefech with Prefetch and SuperFetch set to BOOT ONLY before you do that you are FLUSHING the entire directory and rebooting.. in essence flushing that directory, rebooting and having those two set to BOOT ONLY will in fact DISABLE the WRITE operations they typically invoke, meaning for all intents and purposes the features that SSD's don't like have been DISABLED
Now, the last operation: Rebuild Layout.ini
This operation takes the BOOT FILE LIST that was created by switching those features and turns it into a BOOT FILE list Windows uses to locate all the boot files for the OS, drivers, programs, everything that is starting and Windows uses that to significantly cut down on file read/location time.
Here's the deal: the functions that SSD want SuperFetch disabled for, are disabled and all it is doing is creating a boot list that REPLACES the hundreds of files that at one time would be in the Prefetch folder and would be ADDED to over time and instead Windows simply reads a LIST of files IN SEQUENTIAL ORDER that are called up for boot, that's it. That will improve boot time regardless of SSD/mechanical.
With mechanical drive setups that layout.ini takes things a step further. With O&O defrag if it is setup as I outline below, during the COMPLETE NAME defrag process the file layout.ini will be used to MOVE the BOOT FILES to be beginning of the physical disk partition. That means Windows not only has the 'sequential' list to use but can now access them is true 'sequential order' right at the edge of the platter meaning the disk drive head hardly moves to seek them.
So with SSD the boot creates NO writes and Windows will not write to the Prefetch folder at all like it does with the normal operations of SuperFetch and Prefetch therefore the reason you would normally disable the features HAS been accomplished but we are using another aspect of how that system CAN WORK to improve things for both SSD and mechanical setups.


This should be done regardless of SSD or Mechanical hard drive in use.

There should be a shortcut on the desktop placed there when you installed the application TweakPrefetch. If you did not install TweakPrefetch as outlined from the W7_Optimize directory, please do so now.

If there is no Tweak Prefetch shortcut on the desktop you can start it by browsing to: C:\Program Files (x86)\TweakPrefetch and double click TweakPrefetch.exe  (note; If you had to you browse to the program folder you should right click TweakPrefetch.exe and select send to desktop so a shortcut is quickly available as you may be using this product several times)

Launch TweakPrefetch
b. In the GUI change both the PREFETCH and SUPERFETCH bullets to BOOT ONLY
c. Click the CLEAR PREFETCH button and select YES to allow it. There is no need to back up the prefetch contents however if you wish to back them up, when the program requests that operation you can do so. otherwise select NO.
d. Click APPLY, it will request a reboot.. click YES and reboot the system
AFTER A REBOOT> IMPORTANT: DO NOT touch the keyboard or mouse FOR AT LEAST 5 minutes, then proceed. Windows must fully boot. The desktop appearing is not 'fully booted'. At the end of the boot cycle Windows will write a file to the prefetch folder but you must wait and allow this file to be compiled CORRECTLY. Please wait 5 minutes before touching the mouse or the keyboard!
After the 5 Minute Wait:

e. Launch Tweak Prefetch again. In the TOOLS menu, select REBUILD LAYOUT.INI and select YES. Do not touch the system and allow the process to complete. Once finished the program will request a reboot, select YES and reboot.


DO NOTE: If you install a number of programs over time you should periodically CHECK and redo STEP 22 and STEP 23 as outlined above. This is part of regular maintenance which should be done every so often to verify the Windows boot system remains clean and optimized. When ever I install new software I always verify STEP 22 to make sure that application does not add any items to my boot system and about 4 months I recheck STEP 22 and rerun STEP 23 to accommodate any changes that may have been made over time.


24. Verify the file system structure and integrity on each hard drive in the system:

Click the START button on the task bar and select the COMPUTER button on the side. Your hard drives will be displayed.

Starting with the first drive in the system you are going to repeat the following steps with each drive

a. Place the mouse over the drive

b. Right click and select PROPERTIES click the TOOLS tab

c. Under Error-Check, Click the CHECK NOW button

d. When the small box appear make sure there is a check in "Automatically fix file system errors" and NO CHECK in "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors"

e. Click START

One of two things will happen, either the disk check will run OR the system may tell you it can not check the drive while in use. IF you get the 'cant check the drive' message, click the "Schedule Disk Check" button

NOTE: If Windows has any connection with the disk a "Force Dismount" option may appear. You can allow that and continue.

IF the disk check runs you will get a report at the end telling you the drive is OK or that repairs were made, close that box

f. Go to the next drive in the system and repeat all the steps above. Once all the drives have either been CHECKED or SCHEDULED, then reboot the system. Upon reboot Windows will run the disk checks on all the 'Scheduled' drives and will automatically reboot or re-enter Windows.

Once back at the desktop continue...



DO NOT PERFORM THE NEXT STEPS ON SSD DRIVES - If your system incorporates ALL SSD (Solid State Drives) for Windows install AND Flight Simulator as well as any drive that is used to deliver scenery to Flight Sim in real time, if those are all SSD drives you can STOP HERE as your system is now ready to setup and optimize Flight Simulator. If you wish to defragment any mechanical storage drives on your system that are used for nothing but backups and storage you can do so with any disk defrag product of your choice. Such storage and backup drives not require any complicated or in-depth defragmenting process. If you use O&O Defrag, simply defragment dead storage mechanical drives using the SPACE defrag method. Once is enough.

If your system has no SSD drives -or- your system incorporates ONE SSD and you use a mechanical hard drives for Flight Simulator (or Windows) or mechanical hard drives for any other installed applications or secondary FSX scenery drives that feed data to Flight Sim in real time, then proceed with the next section to optimize the file system on all those drives. You will only perform the required performance disk maintenance on the mechanical drives and not the SSD.

The next process is CRITICAL if you use a mechanical hard drive for Windows and/or Flight Simulator and any scenery addon drives. In the next phase you will be recovering CPU cycles that have ALWAYS been lost to your storage system by physics limitations of mechanical hard drives that are constantly seeking files and are naturally slow due to poor location of the data on the platter as well as how scattered the files are from each other on the physical disk being accessed. Most people wouldn't notice this issue today as compared to 5+ years ago because the CPU technology has come a long way and the advancements in CPU and memory speed effectively MASK what we lose in CPU to the SATA system. Since people do not 'see' this, they don't believe it.. but it is very real and we all know the one thing FSX needs more than anything else is: CPU cycles. Also, the more efficiently files are called into physical memory, the faster and smoother scenery will load.

This all goes hand-in-hand with the final phase of this outline as it provides the best solution possible to recover those CPU cycles and kick the mechanical drives so you really get what you paid for out of them.




25. Temporary Disable Windows Page File

IF you turned the Windows page file completely off, or if you moved the page file from the Windows drive, skip this step and proceed to STEP 26 now.

The Windows page file on a system that has enough physical memory will be used, but not very often. It is not important that it have high access priority, only that it exist if a application needs to allocate space from it. This step is performed so the Windows page file is not fragmented and at the same time we want to move that reserved page file area so it lives at the END of the data on the Windows disk. This assures that the boot files, Windows operating system files and the installed application files will have the fastest access possible where the mechanical drive head does not have to seek through the area reserved for the page file. Therefore we want to temporarily turn off the Windows page file and make sure it is deleted before continuing. It will be restored later.

1. Click Start on the Windows task bar and in the search box type: advanced system   and press ENTER.  In the box that appears, on the ADVANCED tab under the PERFORMANCE heading, click the SETTINGS button.

2. In the next box that appears click the ADVANCED tab and under the heading Virtual Memory, click CHANGE.

3. In the box that displays all the drives in the system highlight the Windows drive that should currently show a Paging File Size (MB) of 3072-3072 as you set that earlier. Once highlighted place a bullet in NO PAGING FILE and then click SET. Click OK to close the box. You will see a message that the changes will take place on next boot. Close the boxes and Windows should request a reboot, if it does, allow it...  if it does not, then reboot the system.

4. Once back into Windows browse to C:\    and look for a file named: 'pagefile.sys'   toward the bottom of the file list. IF you see the file pagefile.sys then right click and delete it, then FLUSH the Windows recycle bin. If you do not see the file 'pagefile.sys' then Windows has correctly deleted the file on reboot.

Continue to STEP 26





With a mechanical hard drive the specific use of the disk defragmenting software I outline below is required.. NO OTHER disk defrag maintenance software will do this job correctly.

And for you so called 'tech experts' who insist this is not needed or can be done with a typical defrag solution, Here's your sign!

This outline includes instructions for setup and use of O&O Defrag v12, and v14 through v16.

If you do not use the specific software I outline and do not set it up as I outline then what you have accomplished above will provide limited results. The steps taken with the BOOT system were performed in order to correctly setup the system with the intent to use a specific disk defragmenting software when mechanical hard drives are in use -AND- the algorithms in use with O&O Defrag to optimize a mechanical hard drive file system is proprietary to that product and can not be duplicated by other defrag applications.. If you substitute another defrag application for O&O Defrag this entire Windows optimizing process will display limited results.

I am not affiliated with the software manufacture or their subsidiaries in any way and have been using O&O Defrag for this purpose since the days of FS2K. Over the years I have personally tested a great number of defrag software products both free and payware as they have been introduced to the market in order to find a substitute or alternative and to date there is no defrag application that will provide the same result as O&O Defrag Pro. The FREE version of O&O can not be used, only the payware version.

If you are curious why I select and use this disk defragmenting software solution and the specific method it provides, you may review this post which explains in simple detail exactly how this process will remove disk SEEK time and in return LOWER the CPU demand from the SATA system which is today still one of the largest CPU cycle killers in a computer system that runs applications from mechanical hard drives:

Obtain the software O&O Defrag Pro. You can obtain a TRIAL version of the fully functional payware software and use it now for 30 days or you can purchase the product however there is a trial time limit and past the trial period and in running regular maintenance later you will need to purchase the software at some point. Using the trial will allow you to perform the following task now and evaluate it without cost. Maintenance must be run periodically as the system is used and more software/addons are installed.

You can obtain O&O Defrag v16 here:    O&O Defrag 16 Professional Edition is displayed at the top of the list at the date of this posting. The instructions I provide below are for O&O Defrag Pro v14 through v16 however the instructions -should- work for newer versions of the product past v16.


NOTE: I have confirmed that the outline posted for setting up v16 of O&O Defrag is the same for all versions of O&O Defrag from v14 through v16. Any version of O&O Defrag from v14 forward can use the setup I have outlined below for v16 of the product. If you are using O&O Defrag Pro v12 there is a different setup outline which I have included below the v16 setup.


Select either BUY NOW or DOWNLOAD  (The download will be the 30 day trial assuming you have not used O&O in the past and the trial expired)

When the download screen appears select the CORRECT version for your OS (x32 or x64) - Windows 7 x64 select: DOWNLOAD (64BIT) you DO NOT have to enter any email address!

Once the product is downloaded:


1. Run the O&O Defrag installer. Select to agree to the terms and then click NEXT.

a. SELECT THE CUSTOM INSTALL method button and then select the following options to be DISABLED on installation. To disable the items shown below with a RED X, click on the item and then select: ENTIRE FEATURE WILL BE UNAVAILABLE. Continue until all 3 items show below are disabled.

b. On the next screen elect to allow O&O Defrag to be the default defrag program and click to continue the install.

Once you have installed O&O Defrag, launch the software. If you are using the TRIAL version select to continue with the trial. If you have elected to purchase the software, enter your registration information now, then continue and set it up as I outline below.


TO SETUP O&O DEFRAG PROFESSIONAL v14 through v16: (or higher)

1. In the main O&O Defrag GUI, on the top menu click QUICK START button. Uncheck and disable "Schedule Automatic Defragmentation" and also make sure at the bottom the item: Analyze all drives on START is unchecked. Click OK and close the box.


2. In the main O&O Defrag GUI, on the top menu click SETTINGS.

On the GENERAL TAB set up O&O exactly as I show below clearing the check boxes and confirming the boxes that are checked:

In the Dropdown on the General Tab, make sure the following items are the ONLY settings checked, uncheck all others.




3. Click the AUTOMATIC OPTIMIZATION Tab. Clear ALL the checkboxes for the drives displayed and then click APPLY and then last click OK to close the settings box as shown:


a. Highlight the drive line (DO NOT ENABLE IT BY CHECKING) simply select the line.
b. In the lower box dropdowns, select ALL 3 OPTIONS to be set to DISABLED
c. VERIFY every drive in the list displays <DISABLED> for SSD TRIM as well as the other 2 column functions. If not, change them manually by repeating STEPS A-B above.
You want your drive list to look EXACTLY like mine above, ALL <DISABLED>


Continue below with STEP 4



In the Windows toolbar go to START� Programs menu and find O&O Defrag. Run O&O Defrag. Activate the software (if applicable). When the O&O Defrag GUI starts, do the following:
a. Your drives will display in the top window of the GUI. There are 2 items that must be disabled for each drive, MONITORING and ZONES. Select the first drive at the top of the list and highlight it. In the top menu click the buttons: Disable Monitoring and Disable Zones.
Repeat this step of each drive in the system. Both Monitoring and Zones are disabled when a drive is highlighted and the 2 corresponding buttons for Monitoring and Zones in the upper GUI both display the word: ENABLE           When the buttons read "ENABLE" this means the functions are DISABLED on the drive.
b. Click the SETTINGS button in the top menu. A box will appear. On the GENERAL tab uncheck every box that is currently enabled and click APPLY.
c. Click the TUNING tab. Make sure only these 3 options are selected:
Use all available resources (under activity guard)
Sequential (under Defragment Execution)
Take into account system layout rules (checked)
Then click APPLY then click OK and close the settings box. Continue below with STEP 4. The remainder of the instructions are the same for all versions of O&O Defrag.



IMPORTANT  > REMEMBER<  DO NOT defragment any Solid State Hard Drive. You will only run the following process on mechanical hard drives that have Windows, Flight Simulator or that may hold Flight Simulator scenery and addons that run in the sim.

Special Note: Mechanical hard drives that are used for dead storage and backup only need to be SPACE and OFFLINE defragmented. You do not need to run the full defragmenting outline on drives that are used for backup storage. I will note that again below.

In the main O&O Defrag GUI you will see the list of drives that are active on the system displayed. If you have a very large number of drives in your system you may need to drag the upper window border down to display the entire list. Select the first mechanical drive in the list and follow this outline:

a. Right click the drive

b. Select: SPACE

c. Allow this operation to complete WITHOUT touching the system. Do not do anything with the computer while this operation is running!

This operation can take some time to complete on a newly installed system or a system that has never been defragmented with O&O. Please do not touch the system till the selected drive is SPACE defragmented.

d. When the first drive has completed the defrag operation, go to the next mechanical hard drive in the list and repeat steps a-b-c above. Repeat this for each mechanical drive in the system.

e. Once all mechanical hard drives have been defragmented using the SPACE method, click the SETTINGS button and then click the BOOT TIME DEFRAG tab. In the bottom section place a bullet in:  EXECUTE ONCE DURING NEXT SYSTEM STARTUP and then in the box above select (check) ALL the mechanical hard drives in the system (DO NOT SELECT SSD DRIVES). Click APPLY then OK to close the box.

f. Close O&O Defrag and reboot the computer.

During the reboot cycle O&O defrag will automatically run before Windows is started. Allow it to complete. Once the system has rebooted to the desktop continue with STEP 5.



5. RE-ENABLE/Rebuild the Windows page file:

If you disabled the Windows page file before starting the defrag process, it must be re-enabled now.

a. Click Start on the Windows task bar and in the search box type: advanced system   and press ENTER.  In the box that appears, on the ADVANCED tab under the PERFORMANCE heading, click the SETTINGS button.

b. In the next box that appears click the ADVANCED tab and under the heading Virtual Memory, click CHANGE.

c. Making sure the C:\  (or Windows) drive is selected in the box, change the bullet selection below to CUSTOM SIZE and in 'both' the -Initial- and the -Maximum- boxes place the value; 3072 and then click SET.
d. Once complete, click OK and then you may see a message that says the changes will take place after a restart, click OK and on the box that remains open, click APPLY. If a reboot is requested, allow it. If no reboot is requested then do not reboot the system.



This process will take some time to complete. On a system that has never had this maintenance done in the past it requires 2 passes on each drive that is used for Windows, FSX or any drive that feeds scenery to FSX in real time. Once done the regular maintenance is far less intensive.

Do NOT run the COMPLETE NAME defrag on any backup or dead storage mechanical drive. Its not needed. The SPACE defrag was fine for that purpose.

Start O&O Defrag. In the main GUI select the FIRST mechanical drive in the list that runs either Windows or FSX or any scenery that is sent to FSX.

a. Right click the drive and select  COMPLETE\NAME

b. Allow the process to complete. Depending on the size of the drive and the amount of data on it this operation may take a few hours.



c. Once complete, REBOOT the computer and then when the desktop appears wait  5 minutes and open O&O Defrag again

d. Repeat steps a-b-c on the SAME drive. The 2nd time this is run it will not take as long. On a Windows drive it will take some time however on a separate FSX or scenery drive it may only take a matter of minutes or less.

e. Go to the NEXT mechanical drive in the system that has Windows or FSX or any scenery that is sent to FSX and repeat steps a-b-c AND d

f. Continue to the next drive and repeat the above until all mechanical hard drives in the system that are used for performance applications have been COMPLETE\NAME defragmented twice with a reboot between each defrag pass.

Once complete, close O&O Defrag. Your mechanical disk system is now fully optimized.



There is absolutely NO REASON to run Defragmentation passes constantly on hard drives. I have seen people post they defragment their drives weekly, this is NOT REQUIRED and its actually NOT good for the drive.

Regular maintenance to keep your mechanical drive system in top shape will be run based on several items

a. How much data have you installed or uninstalled/reinstalled?

b. Are you constantly adding new scenery and if so how much data are these scenery addons?

c. Have you installed a very LARGE scenery package (3-4+GB of data or more)?

d. How long has it been since the last defrag maintenance session?

Given the questions I outlined above here are some scenarios to consider and use as a guideline:

-You have not installed or uninstalled much of anything at all however you do use environment products and switch clouds/water and other such items from time to time.

in this situation, run the maintenance every 4 months (one NAME defrag pass)


-You have installed or uninstalled a few small programs or addons and they are not huge scenery or a lot of large aircraft packages.

In this situation, run the maintenance once every 3-4 months (one NAME defrag pass)


-You have installed or uninstalled programs or addons and although they are not huge, there have been quite a few of them.

In this situation, run the maintenance once every 1-2 months (one NAME defrag pass)


-You have installed or uninstalled a lot of addons and one or more are very large scenery packages (3-4+GB)

In this situation, run the maintenance either right away or within the next 30 days. Make the call based on the size of the addon you installed (one NAME defrag pass)


-You have reinstalled Flight Simulator and addons and FSX is on its own hard drive

In this situation, run the maintenance right away and defrag the FSX drive with 2 full COMPLETE NAME passes with a reboot between each pass

NOTE: If FSX is on the Windows drive then you will need to perform the full defrag maintenance outline (SPACE/OFFLINE/NAME/NAME DEFRAGS) with reboots between each.


-You have reinstalled Windows on a mechanical drive

In this situation, repeat the entire Windows optimize process list and all of the initial defragmenting maintenance.



Based on the time frame defined by the statements above, do the following:

1. Once every 6 months regardless of anything else run a DISK CHECK on all the drives. (see item #24 in the optimize list for details and repeat that step)

2. When it is time to run -any- defragment service on a drive, before doing so flush the temp files from the system using TFC.exe which was provided in the W7_Optimize directory on your desktop.
With all programs closed, run the program TFC.exe. When it launches click the START button and allow it to complete. When finished it will close certain programs running in the tray and may launch a windows explorer window, simply close any windows that open and then reboot the system. 

3. If it is time to run a defrag service on the FSX drive it only needs to be ONE NAME DEFRAG pass.

4. IF you are going to run a defrag on the Windows drive and it has been at least 4-6 months since the last defrag service, flush the temp files (#2 above) above and then:

a. CHECK the BOOT system for programs that may have installed STARTUP keys that are not needed. Remove any items that were added by programs you installed that you do not need starting at  Windows boot. (see #22 in the optimize list for details and repeat that step). If you removed startup keys, reboot the system. If not, continue...

b. Launch Tweak Prefetch. In the TOOLS menu, select REBUILD LAYOUT.INI and select YES. Do not touch the system and allow the process to complete. Once finished the program will request a reboot, select YES and reboot. Wait 5 minutes after the system returns to the desktop, then continue

c. Start O&O Defrag and run the COMPLETE\NAME defrag (One Pass)

5. If you have installed a lot of programs into Windows you need to check and verify none of these programs installed unneeded startup keys. Remove any items that were added by programs you installed that you do not need starting at Windows boot. (see #22 in the optimize list for details and repeat that step). If you removed startup keys, reboot the system.

6. Once every 30 days manually run Malwarebytes..   click the update tab and update the product. It may install a new version which is OK, or it may just update the malware definitions. On the SCANNER tab I suggest the FULL scan and then select only the Windows drive to scan. Let it run. If it finds anything have the program fix it and reboot then run the scan again to confirm the system is clean. If Malwarebytes does not find any issues, close the program.

7. Once every 4-6 months it can be a good idea to run a MANUAL full C drive (Windows drive) virus scan. With NOD32 simple double click the tray icon then on the box that displays click the COMPUTER SCAN and then the SMART SCAN button and allow it to complete.

8. If you have done a lot of backing up, swapping files, adding files to your backup mechanical hard drive(s) then run a single SPACE defrag on them





This completes the Windows and storage system optimizing outline. If you have made it this far and have bought the right hardware, installed and set it up correctly, installed FSX and addons right and have followed this tuning list you are now running the most efficient system possible, congratulations  are in order on your decisions and your successful completion of this outline.

You are now part of an elite group who has the best system setup possible for FSX use.  
Next, DONT SCREW THIS ALL UP by being silly with that frame counter or TWEAKS in a config file..    the next step will have you tuned and trimmed as well as answer questions many have about some addons products as some of the tweak values available in the config.
The next step will be tuning Flight Simulator!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-02-2013 at 1:42pm
 There are only 2 'primary' ways to run FSX with good hardware, the first is all outlined under the advanced use of Nvidia Inspector here:   
That all depends on the user, their ability to tune those sliders with the scenery and aircraft they fly, and the hardware.
The 2nd is to use the same exact outline for the advanced except enable the Nvidia Inspector frame rate limiter, set it to 30 and run unlimited frame lock in FSX. This is typically done if the hardware can not handle the aircraft/scenery and the users demand for slider level.
Past that, the addition of Affinity Mask would only be used if its found to be 'required' and that is rarely needed unless the system is being tapped on core0 too hard, or, the CPU is of older design. Its a test and see process for that and there is a link that explains Affinity Mask from me included in the list under the Advanced use of Nv Inspector.
There are a few other approaches, but they are not as effective and rarely accomplish a smooth render result.
Photo scenery is different in render and that requires a different set of FSX.cfg variables that must be tested. With PURE photo scenery where there are NO textures and landclass anywhere in the scene users may see better results by running a 300-400 Texture Bandwidth Multiplier, UNDERSTANDING THAT FSX handles photo scenery different that textures and landclass, therefore the higher TBM is possible but at the same time the setting Fiber Frame Time Fraction can be increased to place more render time into the larger photo scenery tiles. Values of .50-.75 can be tested for FFTF
Once FSX is installed correctly you can proceed to setting up the BASE sim sliders and checkboxes. Launch FSX, go to the SETTINGS then CUSTOMIZE button
Target Frame Rate: This will be either 30, 60 or UNLIMITED, nothing else. With Vertical Sync set to: FORCE ON in the Nvidia Inspector FSX Driver Profile settings, and, in heavy rendering areas such as large cities and airports and with hard hitting planes you will probably find UNLIMITED frame lock is better. When flying outside of large hubs and city locations, 30FPS or 60FPS locked is better depending on the scenery load.
The following information with respect to 1/2 refresh rate and locking frames at 30 outlines how we will be setting up your sim. Please set the FSX Frame lock to 30FPS as Nvidia Inspector is already set to Vertical Sync: 1/2 Refresh Rate on your system. If after you have installed and set up with all your addons this system does not work for you, we will switch Nvidia Inspector �Vertical Sync� back to FORCE ON and you will adjust the frame lock to your flight needs:
THERE IS AN EXCEPTION: There is a relationship between �Frame Lock� and �Vertical Sync� with respect to the Refresh Rate of a LCD monitor. Phil Taylor from Aces pointed out in the release of SP1/SP2 that issues with vertical sync and the application were present and at that point in time there was no resolution for them other than running unlimited frame lock, or dialing back scenery settings when locking frames. In the last year Nvidia has provided driver settings to combat the micro-stutter issues caused by locking Vertical Sync in 3D applications, something that has plagued all 3D applications for years. When vertical sync is not locked that produces a visual glitch which when seen on the screen can make the image appear like it is �swimming� or �tearing�. Its called; �Image Tearing�. Locking vertical sync is required to combat and remove that visual glitch but it has a drawback which can make it harder to smooth out micro-stutter as the frame rate drops.
Nvidia drivers now have a setting called: 1/2 Refresh Rate which will set the Vsync of the application to 1/2 the monitor refresh rate.
In order to take advantage of this driver setting we want to MATCH the refresh rate to the FRAME LOCK. With a 60Hz monitor (the most common LCD refresh rate is 60Hz) after setting the Vertical Sync to 1/2 Refresh Rate in the Nvidia Inspector FSX Profile we then lock frames in FSX at 30FPS and DO NOT change the frame lock under any circumstance. If you use a 120Hz monitor, then set Vertical Sync to: 1/4 Refresh Rate.
  60Hz / 2 = 30FPS
120Hz / 4 = 30FPS
If you run with Vertical Sync set to FORCE ON instead of 1/2 Refresh Rate in Nvidia Inspector, then you can vary the frame lock depending on the scenery and aircraft load however do not change the frame lock when running 1/2 Refresh Rate.
PREREQUISITE: In order to use the 1/2 Refresh Rate setting and lock frames in FSX to 30FPS you must TUNE your FSX scenery settings to be able to maintain 25-30FPS constantly. This is not difficult to do with modern hardware and clocked modern hardware but be very aware that in order to use the 1/2 Refresh Rate tweak that your system must meet certain high-end hardware conditions and be tuned correctly in scenery settings with respect to the load the scenery and aircraft place on the system to make use of this or it will NOT work.
Full Screen Resolution: Set this to your monitors native resolution x32. Example, if you use a monitor that is designed for 1920x1200 set this to 1920x1200x32. You have to know what your monitors highest native resolution is and set this correctly
Filtering: Trilinear
Anti-aliasing: UNCHECK
Global Texture Resolution: 100% slider or Very High
Preview DirectX 10: UNCHECK  FOR DX9 USE
Lens Flair: Your choice
Light Bloom: UNCHECK
Advanced Animations: CHECK
Set the Drop-Down to MED-HIGH then uncheck: Show Cockpit Tooltips
Terrain and Water Sliders:
Level of Detail: 100%
Mesh Complexity: 100%  - NOTE very old systems that run older Intel Core2 processors, this can be set to 70% to gain performance
Mesh Resolution: 10m
Texture Resolution: 7cm
Water Effects: Low 2.x   Do not set this any higher even if its set higher by default,..  as this is a major performance killer
Land Detail textures: Check

Scenery Objects Sliders:
Scenery Complexity: This is a slider you must work based on the sim performance. Start at 3/4 (Very Dense) and you can try 100% later
Autogen Density: This is a slider you must work based on the sim performance. Start at 3/4 (Very Dense) however you may need to drop this to (DENSE) if the performance is poor. It may also be possible to run 100% slider in some locations if the aircraft is not demanding.
Ground Scenery Shadows: Uncheck
Special Effects Detail: 100%  (High)
Set the dropdown to ULTRA HIGH and then change the following:
Thermal visualizations: Natural
NOTE: This will enable birds being shown when thermal conditions are present and also enable thermals. If you do not want thermals enabled set this to NONE
Download Winds Aloft Data with Real World Weather: CHECK   NOTE: If you use a external weather engine this can remain unchecked
Airline and GA Traffic Sliders: These are performance killers and depends on if you use the default FSX traffic or a traffic addon. For default and to start out, set the Airline traffic to 45 and the GA traffic to 35. These can go up if the performance in FSX is ok, but I would suggest the max for both sliders be 59% even with the best and highest clocked hardware.
NOTE: If you intend to install a 3rd party traffic system these sliders should be set based on the instructions of the developer of the AI product. For right now set these as defined and then change them later if the AI replacement package defines a change.
Airport Vehicle Density: Low      NOTE: In order to have the fuel truck services in FSX this must be set to at least MED however that will cost you in frames. I suggest this be set to LOW
Aircraft Labels: Uncheck Show Aircraft labels
Road Vehicles: This is a performance killer. If you can do without cars set this to zero. If you want car traffic, 7% MAX, Any car traffic will cost in performance
Ships/Ferries/leisure boats: Set both sliders to 20%
Go to the REALISM settings, in the dropdown select HARD and then set the:
Sliders to about 70-75%. Leave the rest at 100%
The rest of the setting in REALISM are up to you.
Under the SOUND settings, get rid of the silly music and also make sure your primary sound devices are shown in the 2 dropdowns for the sound hardware. The sliders are your choice.
All other settings outside of the scenery/graphics/weather/traffic/aircraft are your choice. If you wish to calibrate controls for your devices you can do so now.
Click OK and close the settings and then close FSX.
In the same directory that the FSX.cfg file is kept is a file named: Cameras.cfg  right click that file and open in notepad. Scroll down to these 3 headers
Title = Virtual Cockpit
Title = Spot
Title = Locked Spot
and change these 2 line vales under each one..
This will speed up visual panning. It is the ONLY way to increase the PAN RATE in FSX.
Save and close the Cameras.cfg file.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: When ever you launch a flight in FSX, always go to the locked-spot outside view and pan around the aircraft 360 degrees at least 5 times, then go into the cockpit and begin the flight. This preloads the graphic card memory and reduces visual spikes and glitches.
You can at this point launch a flight and see how FSX runs but remember, IF you have no addons at this time, OR, the system is not clocked there will be RE-TUNING to perform after addons are installed or clocks change.
With the above setup and regardless of the clock speed, your primary tuning slider will simply be the AUTOGEN slider with the SCENERY COMPLEXITY as secondary. Its VERY SIMPLE, tune the autogen slider and scenery complexity till your sim runs SMOOTH and do not worry about frame rates, the goal is SMOOTH regardless of the frame rate being displayed.
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