305: The New Saitek Drivers – Part 1: Installation

Normally, driver installation should be no more than pointing-and-clicking on the mouse.   Saitek’s new ProFlight drivers, “ProFlight_FSX_Plugin_7_0_40_9_x64_Software” and “Saitek_Pro_Flight_Instrument_Panel_7_0_40_9_x64_Full_pfw”, however, might need a little tweak.

Some friends said to me that the installation of these two drivers was as easy as snapping fingers.   However, there were others telling me the opposite.  To be more exact, their FIPs wouldn’t start up after the installation, even though all the other Saitek gears work as usual.

To me, both statements are true since I experienced both extremes myself over the last few days.

On my Windows 10 system, I just needed to click on the two drivers one after the other.  Then the upgrade was done.   The whole process took me about 45 mins including pre-run preparation and data backup, and post-installation data recovery.

However, the same installation procedure didn’t work on my two other Windows 7 computers (Home & Professional, 64-bit), on which  I was testing the same installation in response to those who reported failure in following my Windows 10 installation steps.

After scuffling for nearly a day, I finally managed to trace what had gone wrong and found out how to avoid it.   One of the causes is very likely due to the difference in Windows operating system.   But I don’t have another Windows 10 computer to verify my guess.

Anyway, followings are the revised installation steps I put together based on the various testings I conducted during the day.   They are good for both Windows 10 and Windows 7 systems, upgrade or fresh install.

IMPORTANT:
♦ As mentioned above, the installation results vary from system to system.   You could run the drivers as usual first.   Then come back to mine if any problem is encountered.
♦ Although it is not absolutely necessary, you are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to firstly backup your whole system (or at least your System Drive) using Windows Image Backup or any third-party software such as Acronis True Image before proceeding with my installation steps below.   This will secure the integrity of your system in case unexpected errors are encountered during installation and can prevent further damages.
♦ Note that Windows’ System Restore Point may not be always good enough to recover a system from errors.

Step 1)
Download the installers of the two new drivers under “Plugins” section on Saitek’s Drivers and Software Page here.

(For 64-bit System)
Saitek_Pro_Flight_Instrument_Panel_7_0_40_9_x64_Full_pfw.exe
ProFlight_FSX_Plugin_7_0_40_9_x64_Software.exe

Step 2)
Backup the two current “DirectOutput” folders from the following directories to another location on the computer.

C:\Program Files\Saitek\DirectOutput
C:\Program Files (x86)\Saitek\DirectOutput

DO NOT mix the contents of these two folders even though they have the same folder name.   I normally rename the backup of the first DirectOutput folder as DirectOutput01, the second as DirectOutput02.

Step 3)
Make a backup copy of the current “exe.xml” under the following directories whichever appropriate.

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v2

These two locations are where the fsx.CFG and Preapar3D.cfg stay.

Step 4)
If  “SPAD” is installed, remove its entry from the exe.xml file (NOT from the backup).

Because SPAD has conflict issues with the new drivers.

Step 5)
Unplug all connected Saitek hardware from the system, if any.

Then, uninstall all Saitek drivers found by Programs and Features in Control Panel.

Reboot the computer when above is done.

Step 6)
After the computer restarted,

Go to “C:\Program Files\Saitek\

Delete the “DirectOutput” folders and the contents inside.

Then, go to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Saitek\DirectOutput

Delete the “DirectOutput” folders and its contents inside as well.

The deletion of these two folders are necessary because the new installer seems not always be able to overwrite the old drivers in these two “DirectOutput” folder correctly.  It happened many times on my Windows 7 computers.  Making it a major reason why the FIPs don’t show up after the upgrade.

Afterall, backup of them was done earlier.

Step 7)
Now, right-click to run the first driver “ProFlight_FSX_Plugin_7_0_40_9_x64_Software.exe” as administrator.

This will create another new folder called “ProFlight FSX Plugin” with all the new drivers needed for the Saitek gears under the  “C:\Program Files (x86)\Saitek\” directory.

Step 8)
Now right-click to run the second driver “Saitek_Pro_Flight_Instrument_Panel_7_0_40_9_x64_Full_pfw.exe” as administrator.

This will create a new “DirectOutput” folder with all the latest FIP drivers under the “C:\Program Files\Saitek\” directory.

Step 9)
Go to the earlier created “C:\Program Files (x86)\Saitek\ProFlight FSX Plugin” directory.

Rename the newly created “SaiFlightSimX.xml” to “SaiFlightSimX_Default.xml

Step 10)
Then copy back the original “SaiFlightSimX.xml” and all its related gauge folders and bitmp files from “DirectOutput02” to this “ProFlight FSX Plugin” folder.

Step 11)
Except the FIPs, plug in all the other Saitek gears back to the computer one by one.

This step may invoke further driver installation for the respective Saitek hardware.

Step 12)
Start up FSX or P3D.

Step 13)
Then turn on the power of the USB Hub on which the FIPs are connected.

Wait until the LEDs on the FIPs stop flashing.

Step 14)
Plug in the USB Hub to the computer.

It may take awhile for the new drivers and FSX/P3D to initiate the connection of the FIPs the very first time.   The FIPs will eventually show up and display the gauges one by one.

Installation is now complete.

==========

Why the fuss of writing such a long piece describing how to install the new Saitek drivers?

It’s mainly because the driver has now implemented an important feature to allow the FIPs to start up in specific order from now on.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the story.

Note again that your mileage may vary and I can’t guarantee my installation procedure described above fixes your issue equally well.   However, I hope they might still shed some lights on resolving the issue you are facing at least.

 

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8 thoughts on “305: The New Saitek Drivers – Part 1: Installation

  1. Hello Tom!

    I dont know if is right to ask here, but…..

    I have 10 FIPs running under a Windows 10 plataform, with a FSX sp2, with the new Saitek Drivers.

    One night, I´ve turned off my computer with all of them working fine. At the day after, when I turned on the same computer, one of the FIPs shows a red flashing light, blinking on a up arrow, and the screen remains off.
    All the others FIPs are working fine, but this one stays in this condition and stop working.

    I´ve tried uninstall and re-install the FIPs drivers and software, change the cable, change the usb port, change the usb hub and everything was possible. Nothing solved the issue.

    I contact Saitek support and opened a ticket, but still have no solution.

    Have you ever see this happen?

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    1. Hi Marcelo,
      Have you tried running it alone without other good FIPs? If you did and it’s still not functioning and other FIPs when running alone are fine, it’s very likely the FIP has broken I am sorry to say.
      Tom

      Like

  2. Hi Tom – I just upgraded my Saitek drivers (to FIP 7_0_47_1 and FSX Plug In 7_0_51_0) using your excellent guide above. The only wrinkle I found was that it wouldn’t let me complete installation of the FIP driver until I plugged at least one FIP into the PC. After that, no matter how many more FIPs I plugged in, it only recognised the first one. So I uninstalled the FIP driver, and then re-installed it, making sure I plugged ALL the FIPs in before I completed the install. And everything works fine, with the FIPs all coming up with the correct gauge (joy !) However, I think if ever I want to add another FIP, I will have to uninstall the driver and re-install it all over again.

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    1. Hi Dick,
      Glad to hear that you have successfully upgraded with the new drivers. Regarding the FIP, I don’t think you need to reinstall the driver in case you are adding more FIPs to your current setup.
      Try using the Up/Down button on the FIP, it should help get the gauges showing on the first time. Well, you may have to wait until the future you have a new one to confirm if it works.
      Tom

      Like

      1. Hi Tom – I did try that. Having completed the installation with one FIP, I hooked up another, but could not get it to work. I tried restarts, pressing the up/down button, starting FSX etc but no go until I uninstalled and re-installed the driver plugging the other FIPs in when requested.

        Like

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