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.
Download the installers of the two new drivers under “Plugins” section on Saitek’s Drivers and Software Page here.
(For 64-bit System)
Backup the two current “DirectOutput” folders from the following directories to another location on the computer.
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.
Make a backup copy of the current “exe.xml” under the following directories whichever appropriate.
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v2
These two locations are where the fsx.CFG and Preapar3D.cfg stay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Go to the earlier created “C:\Program Files (x86)\Saitek\ProFlight FSX Plugin” directory.
Rename the newly created “SaiFlightSimX.xml” to “SaiFlightSimX_Default.xml”
Then copy back the original “SaiFlightSimX.xml” and all its related gauge folders and bitmp files from “DirectOutput02” to this “ProFlight FSX Plugin” folder.
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.
Start up FSX or P3D.
Then turn on the power of the USB Hub on which the FIPs are connected.
Wait until the LEDs on the FIPs stop flashing.
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.