bosflo

Something Has Intrigued Me

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I read about external hard drives like the WD small portable ones and I was wondering how they work in relation to P3D. Can you move scenery and ai planes to the external hard drive to save space on the computer? If so, then how is P3D able to "see" the scenery and use them in the sim. Do you have to plug in the external hard drive into the computer each time you want to fly?. I don't want to buy a new computer but with the large size of sceneries nowadays this could really come in handy. I am just not very computer savy and I just heard about this today. I have an external hard drive that I use to store files but I didn't know it could do more than that. Thank you very much.

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6 minutes ago, bosflo said:

I am just not very computer savvy

If you are not, then you want your configuration as simple as possible.

Cheers!

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1 hour ago, bosflo said:

If so, then how is P3D able to "see" the scenery and use them in the sim. Do you have to plug in the external hard drive into the computer each time you want to fly?

Question: If you don't plug the external drive in, how to you expect it to "see" the scenery?

Cheers.

ElJay

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I thought it might be a wireless cloud storage type of thing. I always thought the only way to install scenery was directly into P3D so I am trying to wrap my head around installing scenery somewhere else and then it showing up in P3D. I am thinking that I am missing out on something that could really benefit me. I would just like to find some sort of idiots guide to making this work.

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Short answer: "Danger, Will Robinson!"

I think the most straightforward approach is to relocate your installation to a larger permanent storage device (SSD/HDD) to take advantage of nVME or SATA III speeds and reduce the possibility of problems from losing control of the configuration.

The old wisdom was not to ever try this on an external device, but today an SSD or HDD connected via USB3 or eSATA can be nearly as fast as an internally-mounted permanent drive.  But access/transfer speed is just a part of the equation.

So can it be done?  Yes.  Should it be done?  A different question entirely.

The P3D add-on architecture now allows an installer (or you manually) to place an xml file into one of several locations, and that xml file in-turn enumerates the location(s) of the add-on's elements, which can be located on any drive accessible by the computer, including network drives, removable drives, virtual drives, etc.  There are some tools that make it easier, but it is still potentially complex, because there are so many different variations.  Flightbeam sceneries have to go in the P3D folder, FlyTampa first has to be installed in the P3D root folder but then can be moved to a different location, etc. 

Some sceneries have multiple, layered elements that have to appear in a specific order, and some have configurator programs that turn scenery elements on/off and they expect the scenery to be located in a particular relative or absolute location in order to function.  Some add-ons, if moved, can't be updated with update installers that may come along later, as they look for the installation location written into the registry, and likewise, many uninstallers will no longer work once you move the scenery.  Some add-ons have installers that are flexible w/r/t installation location, and some will only install into the main P3D folder without offering any alternative option.  If you install scenery to a removeable drive and then that drive is not accessible using the same drive letter when P3D is started later, then it's gonna be messy, with all sorts of missing scenery warnings at startup.  And if you do make a mistake hand-editing an xml or config file, P3D has an unhappy way of just dumping you back to the desktop at startup without so much as a hint as to where you went wrong.

Because of all the variations, it can get migraine-level complicated very quickly. 

Regards

 

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Good post, Bob. Based on the OP's comments, I'm pretty sure that anything more complicated than a larger storage device is not something he would be comfortable with.

Cheers!

 

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It figures that it wouldn't be easy but it was a nice thought. I guess a new computer will be needed soonish. Thanks

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Do you really need a new computer?? Apparently P3D is currently running on the machine you have. You seem to just need more storage space. I want to humbly relay a story about one of my younger sons. His alternator on his car went out one day and during the day after some conversations with him, I came to the conclusion that he really thought he was going to have to get a new car since the alternator had failed. With what you have said you may just need larger hard drive or drives. Your computer is not stuck with the drives that came with it. The worst thing though is to try to use an external, that would be slowest transfer speed you could come up with. 

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I have an external hard drive that I use to store files to keep them "safe" from damage. I just thought that to save space on the computer I could somehow have P3D use the scenery from the external hard drive or even a cloud based storage system that way the sim would run smother and I would still have all my scenery in the sim. My big add ons are airport scenery and AI planes.

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