Transitioning From Boxed FSX To FSX:SE Part 2 – Installing FSX:SE

This is the second installment of how to replace boxed FSX with FSX: Steam Edition on your PC. If you missed Part One of this article which covers how to completely uninstall boxed FSX, click here.

This article is the second in my series on transitioning from Classic to Steam Editions of FSX and we will be covering the renewal and restoration of our beloved simulator. Beyond this though it will also serve as a valuable resource for anyone who has uninstalled their FSX:SE and is about to reinstall it. I will be covering some of the quirks that have come about because of the way in which Steam manages DLC content. As in the previous article, I will assume throughout this article that you are an administrator on your PC and that revealing hidden folders and extensions has already been enabled.

Let’s begin!

Ok so you are logged back into your PC, it’s now time to launch Steam (If you are new to Steam, click here to check out this great article by Aimee which explains how to install Steam and FSX: Steam Edition). FSX:SE is ready in your Steam Games Library. You feel the excitement of being reunited with virtual skies building and the big blue Install button is awaiting your click. Go on and Click it, following the prompts to install FSX.

When choosing the installation directory, I recommend one thing: consider your PC and how easy it is to find where it installs. Personally I use a dedicated drive purely for FSX:SE and its associated add-ons. This is a course of action that if you have it available I highly recommend it for the following reasons:

  • So you can find it easily when you need to install / modify add-ons
  • Having everything that FSX:SE needs on one disk so it does not have to go searching throughout your computer to find the file it needs will aid your simulation experience

As an example, my FSX:SE will be reinstalled into my D: and told Steam to create a new Library STEAMFLIGHT (the rest of the folders get created automatically as it installs)

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I am not saying you have to do this, but if you have the option it is a wise choice. (I labelled my D: “Flight”)

Moving on, FSX:SE will now install its 10+GB self onto your PC, so grab your preferred beverage and relax as it downloads (if I could put elevator music in here I would).

After the download is done, restart your system first. After that, start Steam, then start FSX:SE. (Yes, I know we haven’t put everything back yet, bear with me).

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Once started FSX: Steam Edition will follow through its first time setup (basically unwrapping the download and putting directories where they need to go), this can take a while so be patient.

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This dear reader is where if you have purchased DLC for FSX:SE already things can get a little peculiar. It has been reported by many users that a screen similar to this will pop up

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This is ok, just press OK. I will explain it shortly and show you how to resolve it.

Once the splash screen presents itself you will start seeing a lot of these messages, just press Yes, Run or OK and if it asks you to “Trust” the package I recommend doing so – otherwise every time you start FSX:SE you will be presented with them.

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We have finally arrived with that oh so familiar Menu music serenading us! Brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it?

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Enough of wandering down memory lane, it is time for some housekeeping. Go to settings and set up the core settings (Graphics / Aircraft / Scenery Detail levels / Weather display settings / Traffic settings) and click OK. Now go to Free Flight and FLY! Well at least let it load, anyway. This is to give the sim a chance to build all of its setting and CFG files that we will mess with shortly. iI is also a great way to highlight one of the side effects of DLC management in FSX:SE and a reinstall. If you have not purchased any DLC for FSX:SE you can proceed as follows. If you have already purchased FSX: Steam Edition add-ons please read this article before proceeding.

Load in high above Friday Harbor in your AirCreation Trike, and you are back in the sky!

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Yes, your controls aren’t the way you remember nor is your hangar full of the aircraft you love so well, but you are back! A few seconds is enough, just switch to an external view (F11) then you can go ahead and End Flight. Now close FSX: Steam Edition and restart your PC.

We have now reached the meat of this process – restoring that which we remember to our simulator. Head over into where you backed up your important files from your previous installation. Go into the AppData folder and the FSX folder within. Select the Controls folder and the two “granted rewards” files and copy them.

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Navigate now to C:Users<your username>AppDataRoamingMicrosoftFSX and paste them inside, it will ask you to overwrite / replace click Yes.

Back we go to our backup folder, this time into Documents, grab the Flight Simulator X Files folder…

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…and navigate to your Documents folder and Paste, again you will be asked to overwrite / replace click Yes.

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The same process again for the Pictures/Flight Simulator X Files from Backup to Pictures.

Congratulations! What you just did has restored your Logbook, saved flights, flight plans and your control settings for your aircraft. Now launch FSX and check your flight controls and your logbook. Load the default flight for a few seconds then End Flight. Told you they would be back! Close FSX and restart your PC.

Now for our hangar. We want to restore our aircraft but we do not want to lose the improvements that DTG has made to our sim. Go to your BackupFSX where we put our four folders from our original FSX (Addon Scenery, Effects, Gauges and SimObjects) and copy them.

Here is the slightly challenging part, finding where FSX:SE has been installed. The default is “C:Program FilesSteamSteamappsCommonFSX” but that may have changed depending on where you directed the Steam Library to be created (eg my install is D:STEAMFLIGHTsteamappscommonFSX). Once there Paste the four folders. Depending on how many add-ons you had this could be a BIG transfer. At some point though this screen will show:

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Choose SKIP THESE FILES. These are core files that are native to FSX and many of them have been painstakingly updated by the team at DTG to make our simming experience better. Now you can finally go forth and launch FSX and know that your controls, aircraft and Add-on scenery (after visiting your scenery Library in Settings and adding them back in of course) just the way you remember. Now for one last restart before you go and put any other add-ons in (Read Orbx, MegaScenery Earth etc) back in.


Congratulations pilot, it has been a long drawn out process but you’ve done it. Now go and fly!

Safe Skies


Main image courtesy of Concorde SST


Tristan (aka Novawing24) is a self-professed flight simulation addict and YouTuber. His YouTube channel and live streams are popular among the flight simulation community. His favorite add-ons are the J-160 Jabiru and Active Sky Next.