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ArjenVdv

Installing addon scenery on a seperate drive?

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Hi guys,

 

A few days ago I read something about installing addon scenery on a seperate HDD (or SSD). I am just curious, what exactly are the advantages of this apart from loading times? I don't think having many add-on sceneries will effect framerate at all, or will it? Thinking about it, only one scenery gets loaded at a time and has already been offloaded for a long while by the time you arrive at your destination (add-on) airport.

I could be wrong about this of course. Does anybody have experience or knowledge about this?

 

Secondly, how does one install it on a seperate drive? I started looking at my scenery.CFG located in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\FSX and I saw that this file pointed to the particular folder where the add-on scenery was present inside the FSX folder. For example /Aerosoft or /Addon Scenery. However, it did not point to the particular drive, probably because it assumes that addon scenery is installed in the same drive as FSX.

Also, I read something about copying your fsx.exe to the drive you want to install your add-on scenery in, but what will happen to the files of the scenery that usually get installed in to the Scenery, Texture and Effects folder inside your main FSX folder? You can't make all kinds of files install on different drives, the installer obviously doesn't allow you to do this.

 

So how can I do it?

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I also was wondering if I can use a separate hard drive for megascenery files instead of using up my ssd hard drive space - thanks.

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I have an SSD drive and yes the load times are faster, that was the primary reason I purchased it. As far as other advantages they're cooler and quieter and since they don't have any moving parts, the durability factor makes it better for my laptop. My SSD drive is the F drive where FSX and some of the scenery lies, but I also have some on my D drive as well. A few companies (Aerosoft comes to mind) will have a fit if it doesn't see the fsx.exe file in the folder you're trying to install to. I have Aerosoft's Buffalo/Niagara Falls on my D drive and like you mentioned, copied the fsx.exe file to that folder to trick it into working. You can have scenery addons installed over numerous drives if you wanted to.

 

As far as ORBX sceneries go, they can only be installed to the same drive as FSX, but I have read where folks have used a little magic to shift those to other drives as well as evidenced here:

 

http://forum.avsim.n...ge-outside-fsx/

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Am I right in thinking that if the scenery is istalled with a self installer, then that is the difficult bit. But if it is simply added into the addon scenery folder then it could simply be on another drive?

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The self installers may prompt you to install it in the same drive as FSX, but if that's not what you want, you can manually select the drive and destination folder. I pulled my hair out over this when thinking about the new SSD purchase and what could possibly go wrong with reinstalling scenery, but nothing did fortunately.

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Some may move the scenery from a regular HD to an SSD to make loading times faster, other may move the scenery from an SSD to a regular HD because there isn't space enough on the SSD. So the reasons can be different.

 

The best way to move scenery is to use the Windows junction option as described in the post that pinlifer posted. By using Windows junction option you can even move addons like Orbx that officially have to be on the FSX disk.

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Ok, so let's say your copy your fsx.exe to your E drive while FSX is on your D drive. You fire up the scenery installer and when it asks for your FSX folder, you obviously select your E drive in this case, because this is the drive you want to install your add-on scenery on. Well, now it's going to install the scenery and texture folders into your E drive. But the question is, what will happen to files like the .fx files that normally are going to be installed into ...:/FSX/Effects. Isn't it now going to create an FSX/Effects folder on your E drive and install it there. But now your scenery will miss these .fx files because they weren't installed in the main FSX folder, right? So what do we do about this? Just move them over?

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BTW When you have moved Orbx scenery using the junction option, any new Orbx addon you install will automatically be installed in that new location: Windows, and hence the Orbx installer, still think the folder is where it's supposed to be. So it's an er... set and forget trick: you won't have to 'junction' stuff around all the time, so to speak. ^_^

 

I don't use the junction option right now because I have a lean and clean FSX install and have a LOT if space still left on my FSX SSD.

 

Ok, so let's say your copy your fsx.exe to your E drive while FSX is on your D drive. You fire up the scenery installer and when it asks for your FSX folder, you obviously select your E drive in this case, because this is the drive you want to install your add-on scenery on. Well, now it's going to install the scenery and texture folders into your E drive. But the question is, what will happen to files like the .fx files that normally are going to be installed into ...:/FSX/Effects. Isn't it now going to create an FSX/Effects folder on your E drive and install it there. But now your scenery will miss these .fx files because they weren't installed in the main FSX folder, right? So what do we do about this? Just move them over?

 

Check out the junction option... If you don't like how it works, you can simply undo everything and copy the stuff back to where it was. Trying to trick the system by copying the exe and editing all kinds of files isn't as fail-safe as the junction option is. (I only tried it with Orbx though, so if you want to use it with other scenery, you first should figure out where most of the stuff is installed into. If there is for instance some sort of Aerosoft folder that contains almost everything, move that folder using the junction option. Files that have to be installed into the effects folder, will still be installed there.)

 

EDIT

Here is the entire story (quoted from the link posted above: I think that specific post was a quote of an earlier post of mine somewhere else...)

 

Actually, you can quite easily move any folder anywhere you want to (at least in Windows 7 but probably also in Vista: don't know about XP), even the Orbx-folders, by using the Windows junction option. You will fool the system into thinking the folder is where it should be while it is somewhere else.

 

DISCLAIMER: Try this at your own risk. The situation can be undone easily be copying everything back and removing one file (more about that later).

 

Imagine you want to move the Orbx folder entirely to another drive, so also out of the FSX folder, which is impossible under normal circumstances.

 

Let's say the current path to the Orbx-folder is this:

 

C:\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\ORBX

 

Now move the entire Orbx folder out of the FSX folder to a new folder on another drive (if you want to), for instance here:

 

D:\Programs\ORBX

 

After doing that, open the command prompt (cmd.exe) and go to the folder where the Orbx folder originally was, in this example C:\Microsoft Flight Simulator X. Use the good old DOS-commands to get you there*. When you are there type this (I am using this example's folder names and path but obviously you have to change everything to your folder names and path, but do use the " where they are noted!):

 

mklink /J "ORBX" "D:\Programs\ORBX"

 

and hit Enter.

 

So that is mklink /J "name-of-the-folder-you-moved" "the-complete-path-to-the-new-location"

 

From now on the computer will think the folder is still where it was while it actually resides on another disk. Since the computer still thinks the folder is where it was, you will be able to install and uninstall new sceneries without any problems: you simply tricked the computer into thinking the folder is where it should be (in the FSX folder) but everything will be installed in the new location.

 

To undo all this, remove the file that's created by mklink (it creates a file where the folder originally was) and copy back the entire folder to its original spot.

 

* DOS commands

- to get to the root directory of the current drive type cd\ and hit Enter

- to get to another drive using the command prompt, type the letter of the drive followed by a : and hit Enter

- to get to another folder using the command prompt, type cd followed by a space and the path to the folder and hit Enter

 

BTW This also is BY FAR the easiest method to move your ENTIRE FSX folder to another drive. Don't use those registry fixer utilities for that because they will only fix the FSX links in the registry and for instance uninstalling addons will become impossible...

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Using junction links is key to dealing with installers that insist in placing files within the fsx file hierarchy.

 

As far as scenery library, fsx knows "local" and "remote" locations for scenery areas. Local means more-or-less fast loading. The location can either be relative path (to the main fsx folder) or absolute (full) path. "remote" location tells fsx to copy all files to a local resource as a file "cache". the idea is that the file cache will access at "fast loading" speed, compared to the "remote" location (could be floppy, USB, network share, etc). If you install scenery via the in-sim scenery library, fsx will guess if the scenery is "local" or "remote". An installer or hand-edit of scenery.cfg can change that.

 

scott s.

.

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Best is simply to install FSX itself on a separate drive, then all the addons automatically go to the extra drive. Separating the .exe from the other files is looking for trouble unless you know what you are doing, and will not achieve much.

 

Henri

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Best is simply to install FSX itself on a separate drive, then all the addons automatically go to the extra drive.

 

Yes, but that 'solution' is too simple if you use SSD's and have a lot of scenery which doesn't fit anymore on that SSD. ^_^ But indeed forget about copying exe's: junction is the way to go. ^_^

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I also was wondering if I can use a separate hard drive for megascenery files instead of using up my ssd hard drive space - thanks.

 

In reference to MegaSceneryEarth 2.0 files, yes these can be installed on any drive you like. Just link to the scenery location when you add them to the scenery library in FSX. Naturally, if any files are on a SSD, they will load faster, but there wont be any difference in frame rates once it has loaded and you are flying in the sim. But even on a standard 7200RPM drive, they load in relatively quickly.

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Ok, I just downloaded and tried Junction Link Magic, and so far I think it works great! I had to do a bit of reading at first because I didn't entirely understand on how to use it but here's what I did:

 

In the .htm file in the JLM install folder it says that the folder you want to create a junction of (host folder), must be made completely empty, and only then it will work. But first, you've got to copy the folder you want to create a junction of, to wherever you want to have it, in my case on my other HDD (Drive E). In this case I was working with Aerosoft Approaching Innsbruck so I copied the Approaching LOWI X folder from D:/FSX/Aerosoft to E:/Addon scenery. Then I emptied the Aerosoft LOWI X folder (in the D:FSX/Aerosoft folder) but left the empty folder itself there of course. Then I fired up JLM and set the D:/FSX/Aerosoft/Approaching LOWI X as the host folder, and set E:/Addon scenery/Approaching LOWI X as the destination (target) folder. Now I checked my main FSX folder and of course I had like 500 MB more space. A small arrow icon now appeared on the D:/Approaching LOWI X folder, indicating that it works. So I fired up FSX and the scenery was there just fine. Tried with Aerosoft EHAM and also worked the same.

 

Great solution! Thanks a lot!

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The Junction in Windows 7 works like a champ. After my endeavor (related in the above mentioned link) I ended up using junctions and successfully moved myTrafficX to another drive freeing up a bunch of space. But since then I have purchased a 240GB SSD to add to my 120GB SSD so now everything is on the 240 which is dedicated to FSX, add-ons and some utils that take time to copy files such as REX.

All other utils are on a mechanical drive.

I never tried the Junction Link Magic software but I'm sure if I ever need to use junctions again, it isn't that hard and I won't need to spend money. It really isn't that scary, you don't delete the original folders (just rename them) until you're sure the move worked successfully. The method is simple:

 

To use a symbolic link to store scenery on a different drive:

1) Copy the unwanted directory from the SSD to a Hard Drive using copy and paste or the usual Windows Explorer method

2) Rename the original directory on the SSD.

3) In a DOS window, enter "mklink /J "FOLDER_NAME" "E:\FOLDER_NAME"" (Note the outside quotes are mine and not necessary)

 

To remove the symbolic link:

For links to files:

del linkName

For links to directories:

rmdir linkName

 

This works for any addon as far as I know, and FSX can find it.

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Thanks to the OP and all the contributors. I never knew about any of this until reading this thread. Now I have just freed up a whole bunch of space by using Junction Link Magic.

 

I have two questions for those suitably knowledgeable.

 

First, I do not see any special file in the original folder (as mentioned in post #9 by J van E) after creating the junction link with JLM. What I do see is the arrow symbol on the file icon in windows explorer, and the linked files and folders when I open the original folder (which do not show here if I delete the link). I have Win 7 64 bit set up to show both hidden files and folders, and protected operating system files. Should I be seeing any special file after using JLM as opposed to the manual method? Or at all, regardless of the method?

 

Second, the following paragraph from the JLM help document has me a bit worried:

 

"If a junction point is mounted such that the target folder and host folder are on different physical disk resources, the resources must be in the same cluster group. The physical disk resource that contains the host folder should be dependent on the physical disk resource that contains the target folder. If the drive that contains the target folder does not come online, the drive that contains the host folder does not start."

 

That last sentence in particular is what I am talking about. The original folder is in my main FSX directory, which is on the same SSD drive © as Windows 7. The new destination folder is on another SSD (drive K). Does this mean that if the "K" SSD fails, then this somehow stops my "C" drive (and Windows 7) from loading? I certainly hope not.

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