228: FSX with Windows 8.1

FSX is prone to crash under Windows 8 — a lot of people reported that on the Internet, even though there are still many positive feedbacks about the combination.  Windows8Frankly speaking, I was really a bit nervous about my bold decision of upgrading to the new OS.  And I was prepared to encounter all sorts of unexpected FSX problems plus the notorious crash-to-desktop (CTD) issue.

To my surprise, in the first few days after FSX with Acceleration was installed under Windows 8.1 on my new computer, the simulator not only performed smoothly without the need of any tweaks but also ran sturdily.   It didn’t crash at all, not even once during those days, UNTIL … Orbx’s FTX Global was added to the system.   Then, FSX was prone to crash.   The case was confirmed after I restored the FSX back to its initial stage via the Acronis True Image backup I earlier made.

Going back to Windows 7 was not my option since the problem wasn’t caused by the new OS in the first place.   Also, FSX under Windows 7 is not CTD-free as well.

After days of trial and error, my FSX can now be played stable again — well, in relatively speaking.

So far I had all Orbx regions (NA, EU, AU, NZ), plus the FTX Global and the FS Global Ultimate meshes (the Americas and Asia and Oceania) installed.   As long as I don’t switch locations frequently (probably not more than a couple of times) during a flight session, FSX can be run stably without crashing to desktop.   I tried flying the C172 over Orbx’s NA and AU regions a few times for more than an hour without any problem.

Here are the tweaks:

1)
Right click on the fsx.exe icon and modify its Compatibility setting as shown below:

fsxProperties

2)
Add the following entry to the content of the fsx.CFG file (C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX):

[BufferPools]
PoolSize=4000 

3)
Look for TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT= in the fsx.CFG file, and modify its value to

70  (or 80 or 90)

True, the current solution isn’t perfect, but at least I can run FSX in a sound and stable manner.   Just avoid not to switch locations too often during a flight.

As always, your mileage may vary.

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30 thoughts on “228: FSX with Windows 8.1

  1. I could not get FSX to work with Windows 8 at all… always crashed. When I updated to Win 8.1 things got even worse. Called Microsoft so many times I thought my head was going to explode, This had been going on for several years and I finally gave up. Several weeks ago, I updated my browser from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox… guess what started working perfectly ?? Absolutely stunned me. Made NO changes to software or anything. Just changed browsers…

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    1. I am surprise to hear that. I guess what you meant by updating from IE to Firefox is actually making Firefox your default browser. Aren’t you?
      Anyway, glad to hear that and it could be a hint to help others who face similar issue.
      BTW, why not upgrade your system to Windows 10? It’s the best Windows I ever have.
      Tom

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  2. I still got the problem with the joystick cutting out. would you suggest buying a windows 7 to run the game better?

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    1. Windows 7 surely a good choice but why don’t you wait for a little while to try out Windows 10. You could upgrade to the new OS on July 29. I tested it briefly and it works well.
      Tom

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  3. My experience with Windows 8.1 64bit and FSX sp2 (no accelleration) is that I still have Saitek Pro Yoke/Joystick issue. During the simulation, may be after 5 minutes as after 50 minutes, the yoke stop to work. The actual work around I’m using is to go to “Device Management” and disable (then re-enable) the device (in this case the Saitek Pro Yoke). Sometimes it work immediately, sometimes I have to do it twice, sometimes I change the USB port.
    In this way I can continue to fly without exit from FSX.

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    1. Hi Marco,
      As mentioned before, due to incompatibility issues came from Win 8, not just FSx but other software, I switched back to Win 7 to save the trouble.
      Anyway, thanks for your note and it might be useful to other users.
      Hope Win 10 is a solution though nothing can be sure for now.
      Tom

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  4. My problem tends to be when returning to normal simulation speed from x16. It will run fine for about one minute and then randomly crash. I have tried switching to Windows 7 mode for fsx.exe and it still tends to happen. Do you have any suggestions or can you replicate the problem?

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    1. Hi Alex,
      Sounds like to me a memeory error. No, I can’t replicate the problem. Did it happen before? If not, check if any system or addon changes prior to the problem.
      Tom

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  5. When FSX joystick locks-up, Do control-ALT-Del. This will take you to Win 8 Menu.
    Click on lock, now this will take you back into FSX. FSX will recycle. Now press
    Control+K and see if it free up. All I know it works on my machine and last for hours.
    Good Luck!!

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  6. Thank you for this post. I have been searching (without luck until now) for a solution to a CTD problem I was getting since running FSX on Windows 8. Most of the time when I switched from full screen to windowed mode or vice versa, an “a fatal error has occurred” or “FSX has stopped running” message appeared followed by a CTD. This solution has finally solved this problem. Thank you so much.

    PS – I did not make any edits to the FSX.cfg file as mentioned above. Only enabled the Windows 7 compatibility mode and the “disable display scaling on high DPI settings” and “run as administrator”.

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  7. Good read. Will try the compatibility settings. Smart move with Acronis True Image. I configured an ATI FSX backup with versioning, Started with clean install with acceleration. Included FSX root and the AppData and ProgData folders to get the config files. I can roll back in time when disaster strikes.

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    1. Yes, Acronis is a pretty good back up tool.
      Regarding performance using Windows 7 mode, don’t see any difference. It just helps minimize CTD but frankly still not satisfied.
      Tom

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  8. I do like 8.1, but the joystick dropout has been nothing short of wrist slashing. Complex add-ons for A/C constantly fail, default or some do nothing of the sort, BN-2 Islander – no issue, Carnado or Aerosoft, I so much as touch a task switch, I’m out. All the “fixes” (I’ve tried everyone of them and spent $$ on those costing) have not stopped it.
    When it’s good it’s great! When it’s naughty? I go build models.

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  9. My problem with the upgrade to Win 8.1 started with a black screen on reboot. Googling showed that it was a problem to do with the graphics drivers, but when I fixed that I also found that the new drivers for my ATI card (I’m flying on a laptop) killed FSX every time. In the end I rolled back to Windows 8.0 (which was the original install on the laptop) and everything is back to normal. In fact, with some extra tweaks FSX is even better.

    But I have lost confidence in Windows 8.1. I would need to be convinced that there are major improvements before trying again.

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    1. I upgraded to 8.1 directly from Win 7. So I couldn’t comment the pros and cons between Win 8.0 an 8.1.
      As long as you find Win 8.0 is better for your machine, no need to go 8.1.
      Our mileage may vary, as said always.

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