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UnkaBobby

Any Advantage To Dedicated FSX user account?

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About to install FSX:SE after uninstalling beloved boxed edition.

As part of trying to tweak performance out of my system, I have always installed FSX on its own SSD drive, with nothing else on it, and created a separate user account just for flying in FSX.

The logic being all the overhead that installed programs add -- I only install non-FSX software under the non-FSX user account, and all FSX-related software under the FSX user account.

Is there any advantage to doing this? Should I just install FSX:SE under the main Win7 Admin account I use?

(My inexpensive SSD drive added just for FSX didn't seem to make any speed improvements either, did I waste my money on that)?


Thanks for any thoughts!
Tailgunner UB

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Welcome to the forum(s). A couple of thoughts.....there is really no advantage to using a separate user account. Most of the "overhead" is loaded regardless of which user account is selected. And, the only advantage to the SSD is that it reduces the initial load times at startup. The in-game performance will be the same regardless of the drive type (HDD or SSD).

 

Doug

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A major advantage of a separate user account is that you can separate the local admin security privilege. FSX likes to run in an admin security context and many add-ons require it. Unfortunately, malware is always looking for admin rights. Many many malware variants can circumvent antivirus if run with admin privilege.

 

The configuration that I run is a normal user account (non-admin) for day to day use including web browsing. Then a second, dedicated FS account that has admin rights for running any of my various flight sims. I do not browse the web with this second account.

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I went a bit further than that. I bought a few additional licenses of Win7 and I am running every sim on it's own SSD with it's own OS. These Windowses are stripped of all functions unnecessary for simming (not even Antivirus, only firewall). Nothing gets downloaded onto these drives, email and browser are disabled (so I don't even get tempted). I am running full system image backups every time before something gets installed on these disks. All downloads are done on a dedictated Win7 installation as well, and this one is fully protected with Antivirus etc. The drives are switched physically, using removable drive bays.

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I went a bit further than that. I bought a few additional licenses of Win7 and I am running every sim on it's own SSD with it's own OS. These Windowses are stripped of all functions unnecessary for simming (not even Antivirus, only firewall). Nothing gets downloaded onto these drives, email and browser are disabled (so I don't even get tempted). I am running full system image backups every time before something gets installed on these disks. All downloads are done on a dedictated Win7 installation as well, and this one is fully protected with Antivirus etc. The drives are switched physically, using removable drive bays.

 

Yes, that's the direction I was going, trying to separate the sim environment from any other aspect of a windows install, so I'm interested - but you didn't say whether you've reason to believe all of that is letting FSX run better? How does your setup compare to just having a normal install of FSX under Win?

 

Everyone says that FSX relies on processor power more than anything else, so I can't decide if all this machination does any real good -- I have 16gig of RAM for example, but while running a separate, stripped-down install of Windows would free up some RAM overhead, it does nothing for the processor power, and I've read that FSX can only use 4gig of RAM anyway... so I can't find any informed opinion about whether either your approach, or mine (with a stripped down user account, nothing running but a firewall) is really giving FSX any more actual *horsepower*.

 

What do you think?

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I went a bit further than that. I bought a few additional licenses of Win7 and I am running every sim on it's own SSD with it's own OS. These Windowses are stripped of all functions unnecessary for simming (not even Antivirus, only firewall). Nothing gets downloaded onto these drives, email and browser are disabled (so I don't even get tempted). I am running full system image backups every time before something gets installed on these disks. All downloads are done on a dedictated Win7 installation as well, and this one is fully protected with Antivirus etc. The drives are switched physically, using removable drive bays.

I am liking this :-)

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Yes, that's the direction I was going, trying to separate the sim environment from any other aspect of a windows install, so I'm interested - but you didn't say whether you've reason to believe all of that is letting FSX run better? How does your setup compare to just having a normal install of FSX under Win?

 

Everyone says that FSX relies on processor power more than anything else, so I can't decide if all this machination does any real good -- I have 16gig of RAM for example, but while running a separate, stripped-down install of Windows would free up some RAM overhead, it does nothing for the processor power, and I've read that FSX can only use 4gig of RAM anyway... so I can't find any informed opinion about whether either your approach, or mine (with a stripped down user account, nothing running but a firewall) is really giving FSX any more actual *horsepower*.

 

What do you think?

 

PMJI.. but I would say No to the horsepower question.

 

But it sure is neat and tidy, and much less chance of stray processes interfering with the sim  :smile:

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About the "horsepower" question:

(sorry, for some reason the "Quote" function does not work with by browser)

 

It is very hard to quantiy the benefits of this approach. When going to this level of optimization you get into the realm of the "law of diminishing returns". The only real benefit performance wise is, that you can be sure that there is no way that your computer could run FSX any better. Whether or not you notice the difference is another matter. It will not lead to a massive jump in FPS, but it will reduce hold-ups and stutters.

 

- First, most of these thoughts stemmed from the fact that I am runnning FSX boxed, FSX SE, P3D V2 and V3, X-Plane 10 on the same computer, so I had to be careful with cross-compatibility issues.

 

- Flexibility: I want to be able to run every sim in a unique OS setup. For example, if some NVidia driver version works better with FSX than with P3D, I want to use it that way. And I have a lot of external controller hardware with specialized drivers for every sim, which might or might not work together. Better be safe than sorry.

 

- Performance 1: everything that your hardware does not have to do besides running is sim is a benefit. CPUs these days have multiple cores, but 1. they are not completely independent from each other and 2. other important components are not "multiplied", for example the disk controller. Every other process that uses the disk will make the sim wait at some point.

 

- Performance 2: Over the years I had quite a few encounters with so-called "helper" programs which impact perfomance massively. Antivirus is only one example. The last time I ran into this was with the Asus suite, that was when I decided to go this way. There was a little network scanning service running with the Asus suite, that made FSX stutter in regular intervals. Anyway, with Antivirus turned off, I feel better running this on a completely separate drive.

 

- Security 1: I wanted the best possible safety mechanism so I could not mess up the sim installations. For example, the FSX boxed install spans a little over 2 TByte of data, practically all of it payware. Many hours went into tweaking, configuring and optimizing this, and I will not risk to have to do all of that again.

 

- Security 2: I have a development environment too, again on a separate drive. As I have to experiment with the sims in there a lot, I need to separate them from the sims that I want to use as hobby.

 

- Time: I don't have a lot of that. So sometimes I want to avoid the "what is wrong now?" effect - if possible. Just dropping in a drive, and being certain that the sim will perform like it should, can be relaxing in itself.

 

My current system setup for the ESP based sims is like this:

- 1 TB SSD Windows and main simulator with aircraft and most payware airports plus addon tools.

- 1 TB SSD high res mesh and freeware scenery data.

- 1 TB SSD photo scenery.

- 8 GByte RAM drive with the Ultimate Traffic 2 and (some) WOAI models.

 

The scenery SSDs are connected via a separate controller card, so the different sim components don't have to fight too much for resources.

 

On top of this I am using tools to optimize the sim setup itself - to make sure that only those aircraft and scenery are in the sim that I need for my flight. These items are not simply deactivated, what is not needed is removed from the config files, so the sim does not even have to think about them.

 

But as I said - law of diminishing returns. It helps if you are kind of a nerd, obviously. :smile:

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