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Symptoms

When you play Microsoft Flight Simulator X, your game performance may be slower than expected.

Flight Simulator X automatically detects and sets the game to the performance options that suit your computer. If you manually change the settings to higher settings, you may experience game performance and display problems. To avoid such problems, avoid manually changing the settings. Let the game determine what settings to best fit your computer.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, use the following methods in the order in which they are presented.

Method 1: Verify the minimum system requirements

Make sure that the computer that you are using meets or exceeds the minimum video, processor, and memory requirements to play Flight Simulator X.
  1. Open the Direct X Diagnostic Tool. To do this, click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    the Start button
    , type dxdiag in the Start Search box, and then click dxdiag.exe in the Programs list.
  2. On the System tab, note the Processor and Memory values that are listed under System Information.
  3. On the Display tab, note the Approx. Total Memory value that is listed under Device.
  4. Click Exit to close the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.
Compare the values that you noted for your computer to the minimum system requirements that are required for Flight Simulator X. If the computer does not meet the minimum system requirements, contact the manufacturer of the computer for more information about how to obtain the required updates and upgrades.

Many computer games push the limits of the computer's processing capabilities – Flight Simulator X is no different. For example, 3-D capable graphics card is required to run Flight Simulator X. For more information about the minimum system requirements for Flight Simulator X, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
925724 Flight Simulator X : Minimum system requirements

Method 2: Download and install Flight Simulator X Service Packs

If the computer meets the game requirements, download and install the latest Flight Simulator X Service Packs. To do this, visit the following Microsoft Web site: 
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=8986


Note Third-party content such as aircraft, scenery, and so on, may require that your computer has the latest Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package (x86) installed. To download the latest Visual C++ 2005 package, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=32BC1BEE-A3F9-4C13-9C99-220B62A191EE&displaylang=en
If you continue to experience the issue after you install the latest update, go to Method 3.

Method 3: Compare the computer that you are using to other computers

 To analyze the performance of Flight Simulator X on your computer, visit the following Microsoft Web site:  
http://www.microsoft.com/Products/Games/FSInsider/tips/Pages/default.aspx
For more information about the Windows Game Advisor, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/buyorupgrade/upgradeadvisor.mspx
If the computer has a low ranking, you can improve the game performance by using the methods that are listed in this article. However, you may have to update the computer's hardware for optimal performance. For information about how to update the computer's hardware, contact the manufacturer of the computer.

For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors/en-us

Method 4: Make a tradeoff between quality and performance

You may want to spend time flying the Bell 206B JetRanger III helicopter down the Grand Canyon. If this is true, you are probably willing to sacrifice some performance for better scenery. Or, you may want to practice your instrument flying skills during a storm. If this is true, smooth aircraft and instrument movement takes precedence over scenery details. Regardless of the kind of hardware that you have, you can make some tradeoffs between graphics quality and performance.

Explore the following options to find the balance between quality and performance that is right for you. This can be a long process that requires lots of work. However, you will find what is best for your computer and for your gaming experience.

Close other programs

As long as you are flying, you may not have to be using other applications, such as a word processor or an e-mail program. Close other programs to free up more of the computer's processing power for Flight Simulator X.

For more information about how to close other programs that are running, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
331796 Perform a clean startup to determine whether background programs are interfering with your game or program

Watch the windows, and change views

Flight Simulator X runs in a window. The simulation's views and instrument panels are also windows. When you increase the window size or display multiple windows, performance may decrease. Therefore, use as few windows as possible, and size them as small as you can. Additionally, try different views in Flight Simulator X. Press S to cycle through view modes.

Change the resolution

Depending on the kind of video card and monitor that you are using, you can run Flight Simulator X at different screen resolutions. The software runs at a minimum screen resolution of 1024 × 768. As you increase resolution to see more detail, you may notice a decrease in performance. Experiment with different resolutions to find the best combination of detail and performance.

In full-screen mode, Flight Simulator X uses the resolution that you set in the Display Settings dialog box, not the Microsoft Windows desktop resolution.

Use full-screen mode

Full-screen mode maximizes the Flight Simulator X window to fill the whole screen. Full-screen mode is likely to improve performance.

Note Full-screen mode hides the menu bar and the taskbar.

To toggle between full-screen mode and windowed mode, press ALT+ENTER. Or, on the Views menu, select Full Screen. To display a menu in full-screen mode, press ALT.

Change the display settings

You can improve performance in Flight Simulator X when you change the display settings. Each display setting has a different effect. The changes that you make apply to all flights. The effect of turning a setting on or off is noticeable only when you are using an effect that is related to that option. For example, turning the Shadows option off will not have much effect if you are flying in the clouds. To change the display settings, use one of the following methods:
  • On the Main screen, click Settings, click Customize, make the changes that you want to the customize options, and then click OK.
  • On the Options menu, point to Settings, click Display, make the changes that you want to the display options, and then click OK.

Change the sound preferences

Depending on the computer's specifications, changing sound preferences or turning the sound off may improve performance. To determine whether sound might be causing the game performance issue, turn off the sound.

To turn all Flight Simulator X sounds on or off when you are in the aircraft, press Q. If the performance has improved, change the sound settings. To change the sound settings, use one of the following methods:
  • On the Main screen, click Settings, click Sound, make the changes that you want to the sound options, and then click OK.
  • On the Options menu, point to Settings, click Sound, make the changes that you want to the sound options, and then click OK.

Change the weather settings

Generally, the less scenery that you see out of the window, the better performance you will experience when you play Flight Simulator X. You can do several things with weather to speed up performance.

For example, you can change the weather settings to do the following:
  • Reduce the visibility.
  • Reduce the cloud coverage.
To change the weather settings, use one of the following methods:
  • On the Main screen, click Free Flight, click Change in the Current Weather box, make the changes that you want to the options, and then click OK.
  • On the World menu, click Weather, make the changes that you want to the weather options, and then click OK.
If you decide to increase performance by changing the weather, you might also want to reduce or turn off the rate at which the weather changes over time. Otherwise, clouds may develop as you fly.

To change the rate at which the weather changes over time, use one of the following methods:
  • On the main screen, click Settings, click Customize, click the Weather tab, move the Rate at which weather changes over time slider to adjust the weather setting, and then click OK.
  • On the Options menu, point to Settings, click Display, click the Weather tab, move the Rate at which weather changes over time slider to adjust the weather setting, and then click OK.

Reduce air traffic density

In the Flight Simulator X world, computer-controlled aircraft talk to Air Traffic Control and fly around. There are also ground vehicles and watercraft moving around the world. These all add to the sense of immersion but may decrease performance. Try reducing the traffic densities, and see whether that helps.

To change the traffic density settings, use one of the following methods:
  • On the Main screen, click Settings, click Customize, click the Traffic tab, move the sliders to adjust the traffic setting, and then click OK.
  • On the Options menu, point to Settings, click Display, click the Traffic tab, move the sliders to adjust the traffic setting, and then click OK.

Monitor the frame rate

The frame rate is the number of times per second that the image on the screen is redrawn. Monitoring the frame rate is a way to assess the performance in Flight Simulator X. Press SHIFT+Z two times to display the frame-rate counter. After you try modifying the options as suggested earlier, check the frame rate to see whether it has improved. Be aware that what is most important is how the simulation looks and feels to you.

Method 5: Improve the game performance

For detailed information about how to improve Flight Simulator performance, including system requirements and links to related sites, visit the following Microsoft Game Studios Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/Products/Games/FSInsider/tips/Pages/OptimizingVisualsAndPerformance.aspx
For more information about how to improve game performance, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
815069 Improve your computer's gaming performance

Properties

Article ID: 927286 - Last Review: August 22, 2012 - Revision: 8.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X Deluxe
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X Standard
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X Acceleration Expansion Pack
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X Service Pack 1
Keywords: 
dftsdahomeportal kbperformance kbtshoot kbexpertisebeginner kbprb KB927286

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