FS9 backups
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Thread: FS9 backups

  1. #1
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    FS9 backups

    Hi All,

    I have realized that have alot of time and energy invested in my FS9 setup, and Id like to know what needs to be backup besides the the FS9 directory with all the addons and such.

    Any additional files/entries I should worry about?

    Sean

  2. #2

    Hi Sean,
    Fs9 is stand-alone, so everything except a couple of registry entries are there (you could back those up, but ONLY if you know what you are doing. And if re-installing you would have to exactly replicate where you re-install your Fs9, otherwise you would get registry errors). The only other thing that isn't is your Fs9.cfg or Fs9 config file. This stores all your settings for the sim. If you really don't want to set it up again, then find that file (depending what OS you are using), by a specific file search, and if need be back that up as well.

    TBH after some time, usually everything's been added to..scenery, add-on scenery, textures, effects, gauges, aircraft et al, so really you might as well back-up the whole of the installation. Generally speaking if you back up the whole thing, you can usually run Fs9 from that back-up, the only things that won't are those add-ons that you separately installed outside Fs9, but intereact with Fs9 ie weather or traffic programmes.

    I tend to just back up Add-on scenery, aircraft and the Fs9.cfg, as just by backing-up doesn't mean it will all work again, as some things need to be installed (though not so much with Fs9). The other thing I do is take screen shot(s) of the scenery library installation settings table in Fs9, which shows what scenery is installed and where in the heirachy they are. If you have to re-install Fs9, then this is easy to replicate from the pics, and saves having to write it all down.

    Cheers

    Shessi

  3. #3
    SOH-CM-2022 Mick's Avatar
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    There are FS9 files 5hat live on the system drive even if you put FS9 on its own drive or partition. They include the FS9.cfg file. They live at C\users\[you]\appdata\microsoft\FS9.

    Just a few days ago I did something - carelessly swept my mouse pointer - somehow, not sure just quite how - and FS9 went black and I had to close it with Task Manager, then it wouldnít start. I didnít know if something had scrambled a .cfg file or maybe the .exe file. I dug out the FS9.exe, FS9.cfg and scenery.cfg files from backups and put them in, and all was well. I guess Iíll never know which file got corrupted.

    Anyhow, to save digging around to find the three files from backups if it ever happens again I made a backup set of those three files for FS2004, FS1954, FSJetAge and GW3 and stashed them where theyíd be easy to find.

    I back up my entire system drive with Macriumís Reflect. I back up my FS drive with Reflect, and my hanger drive with a mirror on an external drive so I can copy new or modified aircraft to it as I work. I use Reflect for the system drive because it backs up the entire drive, including program files and the operating system, unlike many backup programs that are just meant to back up your documents and pictures, and sometimes programs. I use it for FS because I have it. I donít use it for the hangar because that changes constantly and making a full backup every time I add or edit a few files has no appeal for me.

    The reason I have a hanger is that I found many years ago that the more planes you have in the aircraft folder, the longer it takes FS to load. So the only planes that live in the aircraft folder (aka flight line) are the AI planes and the one Iím flying or working on.

    By the way, hereís something not what you asked about but related to keeping FS intact. I have segregated the FS and hangar drives from my Norton security program. Iíve used Norton for more than twenty years and never had a virus or intrusion, but it had a nasty habit of, every once in a while, deciding that all the old (non-xml) gauges in my panels were unknown and suspicious executables and shunted them to quarantine and Iíd have restore them - one at a time. By excluding FS and the hangar from scans, anything that I put on those drives will remain safe there.

  4. #4
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    Well I found a free application called "SyncFolders" http://www.syncfolders.elementfx.com/home.html and I am currently backingup my fs9 directory (all 148 Gigs of it) to my file server on my network. I will add a rule to backup my home directory too to include the fs9.cfg. Will the registry entries 'fix' them selves after you restore and run the restored fs9?

    Sean

  5. #5
    SOH-CM-2022 Mick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackryan172 View Post
    Well I found a free application called "SyncFolders" http://www.syncfolders.elementfx.com/home.html and I am currently backing up my fs9 directory (all 148 Gigs of it) to my file server on my network. I will add a rule to backup my home directory too to include the fs9.cfg. Will the registry entries 'fix' them selves after you restore and run the restored fs9?
    Sean
    I dunno about the registry entries. When I started loading up the new rig (still not quite finished and still something of a work in progress) I installed FS9 and GW3 from scratch to make sure all the required registry keys and the folders on the C drive got created, just in case Win10 put them somewhere different from Win7. It didn't, but I was concerned because when I went from WinXP to Win7, FS did put some things in different places. Then I just copied my FS installations and the C-drive stuff from my backups into where they belong. Not difficult or tricky, just boring and time consuming.

    I would've been happier if I could've just clicked "clone to there," gone to bed and got up in the morning with everything in place and working. I could've done that if I'd been able to keep the same operating system. But nothing ever turns out that easy. We wasted lots of time trying to recreate the old rig with all new hardware before we gave up and went to Win10. Curiously, Microsoft won't sell you Win10 and won't allow a licensed retailer to sell it to you, but they're happy to sell you a license to run it if you have it. I got hold of a clean copy and bought a license so I could install it and have it work.

    Anyway, back to your question, I wouldn't expect the registry to repair itself. Maybe it would, what do I know? I guess you could extract the registry keys from an old registry if you had a copy and trusted it not to have gotten messed up, and put them into a new computer but I'd be leery of trying it, afraid I'd miss something or mess something up. I'm not much of a techie (fortunately my best friend is) and the two things I try not to monkey with are the BIOS and the registry. But reinstalling FS9 from the CD-ROMs is easy and doesn't take long. Just remember to save a copy of The File That Must Not Be Named because FS9 is meant to run with a CD in the optical drive and later operating systems don't support that.

    When we built my old confutor I tried to set up a backup system so that if the rig went belly up it would be quick and easy to recreate it in a new box. The need to move to a more modern OS spoiled that scheme. As we did before, we're going to clone the system drive onto a brand new solid state drive and save it in a safe place, so if my system drive fails we can just plug in the spare and update it from backups. But we couldn't do that this time because it wasn't a drive that failed, it was the motherboard, and the new modern motherboard's architecture doesn't support the old operating system. Annoyingly, we got the old OS installed and booted up, but it turned out to be impossible to get a keyboard or mouse working in it. They worked in the BIOS, but as soon as Windows booted up the mouse and keyboard went dead. So when I wear out this rig, I hope it's a drive or the power supply or something else that goes belly up and not the motherboard.

  6. #6

    Hi Sean,
    No, it's it's not imperative that you save/back-up the registry settings, Fs9 will work fine without them, and even from a remote location/drive. It's in the very odd event that an add-on needs to 'see' the Fs9 installation to install itself, then it won't. Then you can install it elsewhere and transfer over the files to your install. Also if you have a separate add-on that intereacts with Fs9, it won't be able to 'see' it, but you can prob alter the settings to tell it where your Fs9 install is. All very minor things and I wouldn't get hung-up about them.

    In Win 10 you also have a an inbuilt back-up prog called 'File history'. You can attach an external drive and set-up which files you want to back-up. It's maybe not as customisable as the dedicated or paid for software, but it's there, installed and free. You just have to activate it, set it up and Robert's your Dads brother!
    But it sounds like you're on it anyway with Syncfolders, which (like most of these) get's good revues, I just wanted to mention the M$ option for others.

    Cheers

    Shessi

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shessi View Post
    Also if you have a separate add-on that interacts with Fs9, it won't be able to 'see' it, but you can prob alter the settings to tell it where your Fs9 install is.
    Flight1 have an invaluable "Registry Repair" tool, you can find it on their library page here (along with some other useful gizmos). If like Mick, and so many of us, you have multiple installs, it is great for 'pointing' the system to a particular install if you are adding a batch of files to it.
    Andy

  8. #8
    SOH-CM-2022 Mick's Avatar
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    Forgot to mention

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post that there's a second place on the system drive where FS9 puts some files.

    It's in your Documents folder, a sub-folder named Flight Simulator Files. It contains flights including your default flight, previous flights, Autosaved flights if you use Autosave, and any flights you set up that you haven't moved into the main Flights folder in FS9.

    It wasn't always this way. On my old WinXP rig everything FS9 was in the FS9 folder. When I went to Win7pro I found those changes, so they happened somewhere after WinXP and Win7.

    All apparently due to Microsoft's compulsion to make things a bit more complicated and less user friendly with each new operating system.

  9. #9
    Senior Administrator huub vink's Avatar
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    Although it most probably sounds strange, but I personally love rebuilding my FS9 installs. When events force me to reinstall FS9, I'm annoyed first, but I also see it as a challenge to do it better than last time. I try to avoid to install scenery and aircraft that cause problems.

    In the end I always end up with a similar mess, like my previous install was.

    So I never make back-up from my FS9 installs, except for my water as I can't recall what I did, and I'm pretty sure I will never get it as good as it is now.....

    Cheers,
    Huub

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by huub vink View Post
    Although it most probably sounds strange, but I personally love rebuilding my FS9 installs. When events force me to reinstall FS9, I'm annoyed first, but I also see it as a challenge to do it better than last time. I try to avoid to install scenery and aircraft that cause problems.

    In the end I always end up with a similar mess, like my previous install was.

    So I never make back-up from my FS9 installs, except for my water as I can't recall what I did, and I'm pretty sure I will never get it as good as it is now.....

    Cheers,
    Huub

    Do you have a screen shot of your water? My inland waterways look like neon green!

    Sean

  11. #11
    This is probably a good time to cover this stuff.

    This isn't about FS9 per se, rather its about protecting your installed games.

    I found it very cost-effective to back up my hard drives every couple of years.
    This protects game files I've worked on in the past without having to re-install everything.
    It also makes it much easier to find old files I had been working on in case I get some new ideas.

    This will cost you a new drive (HD or SSD) and a remote/external drive case plus some Cloning software.

    You should be able to find a nice external drive case plus power supply for something in the $30-$40 range.
    Hard drives are cheap (relatively speaking) at roughly $40 for a 1 TB drive and are fairly bullet proof. They can fail, but it's usually rare when it happens.
    Cloning software is usually free. I prefer a program called Acronis but there are others.

    This is also handy in case you're starting to run out of storage space and you want to upgrade to a larger drive.

    The basic idea is to Clone what's on your current drive directly to a new drive, then swap the new drive for your old drive.
    You should do some basic maint. to the old drive (clean, defrag, full virus scan, etc. before you Clone it.
    Then, power down your PC and physically swap the new drive for the old drive.
    I've done this on Win 98, Win Vista, and Win 10 PCs and they really don't seem to care. The new Cloned drive looks exactly like the drive it replaced.
    Your old drive then becomes a back-up. Just unplug it and store it in the protective wrapper the new drive came in, and store it somewhere secure.

    This is usually also a good time to do some basic cleaning inside your PC, check the connectors are all plugged in, install a fresh mother board battery, etc.

    You can keep your old drive exactly as it was or you could also wipe and re-clone the old drive in case you installed new or updated drivers at a later date on the new drive.

    I haven't switched over to running SSDs yet, but both types of drives seem to be staying (fairly) cheap, so this works out as some pretty inexpensive insurance.

    This is also handy as a "time capsule". Let's say I either bought some payware or downloaded some freeware a long time ago.
    I either want to add the old files to my new system or I need to re-install them.
    I know where to find them, I just plug in the external drive and load the old HD into it. No more worrying if a web site goes extinct or a company drops support.
    I also know how I had my files set up. No more guessing where to install the folders. As a bonus, ALL of my old config files are intact and available and I know where they are supposed to go.

  12. #12
    SOH-CM-2022 Mick's Avatar
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    Backup every couple years? How about every week?

    But you're talking about replacing hardware. I don't do that every week! But I do plan to replace the internal drives after five years or so.

    Years ago I backed up everything on my system drive to an external drive, figuring that was enough because what are the odds of the system drive and the external drive going belly up at the same time? Pretty slim - but that's what happened. That was before I knew my friend who is an IT pro, and it cost me a pretty penny to have a commercial shop do the forensics to recover almost (but not quite) everything from the ruined drives.

    On the rig I had built then I started using Macrium's Reflect backup system (free, though an inexpensive paid version has worthwhile additional features.) As well as making intrusion-protected backup copies of the entire system drive it can also make clones, though my techie friend prefers Clonezilla, brought to us by the folks who gave us Firefox for web browsing, Filezilla for FTP transfers and Thunderbird for e-mail, calendar, tasks and notes.

    That allowed me to completely restore everything. I backed up the system drive, and the flightsim drive and the flightsim hangar drive (where I keep the planes I'm not flying or using as AI so they don't slow down FS when it loads.) If my hard drives crashed I could replace them and restore everything with a single click for each drive.

    Hah! When that rig went belly up it wasn't a drive that wore out, it was a fried motherboard, and that rig lasted long enough that current hardware wouldn't support the old operating system. Moving to a new operating system means that there could be no single-click restoration for the system drive. But it did make it easy to recover all my files and programs, and the hangar and flightsim drives did indeed copy over to the new internal drives with one click each.

    I now have multi-level backup. Macrium Reflect automatically backs up the system, flightsim and hangar drives once a week, and by my direction anytime I add or change something and want to back up the changes right away.

    The Reflect backups go to an external drive. Then each of them is copied to a second external drive. I don't suppose there's much chance of my external and both external drives all failing at the same time, but just in case I have all my files and some flightsim stuff backed up on the interweb on my A-Drive cloud storage account.

    I feel confident that even if this rig should be completely destroyed, say in a fire or a tornado, nothing will be lost. Whether it can all, including the system drive, be recovered with a few clicks will depend on whether the disaster happens before or after the present operating system (Win10pro) is still supported by then-current hardware. The other drives will always be recoverable with a click.

    As you said, external drives are inexpensive and they are huge. My new external drive is over seven terabytes. On it I have backups of all three internal drives plus my storage of the downloaded zip files for all the planes and scenery I've ever downloaded, a folder of movies, a folder full of all the software I've ever acquired except items that came on CD-ROMs, and a mirror of the hangar drive that I can add to as I work in between backup runs. It is not yet close to being ten percent full. I don't recall exactly but I think it cost about sixty or seventy bucks. And it doubles as a double USB3 port.

  13. #13
    Just some quick thoughts when it comes to hardware.

    I recently scored a very good deal on a GT 730 GPU.
    This thing is a real dog, right? Its cutting edge for 2014 and the numbers it generates are nothing to brag about.
    Well, hold on a second. My current desk top is the best I've ever run for FS. It features a (still) fast i3 CPU.
    My nominal CPU clock speed is 4 Ghz and it only features two cores.

    OK, I wanted to keep stuff fairly simple when I bought it.
    I started with the monitor. I only wanted to run 1920 X 1080 at a target speed of 60 Hz.
    I lucked out with this rig, the ONLY reason I bought the (fanless) GPU was to get better display options. Things run fine in FS2002 and FS2004 without a GPU.
    More than that would require a lot more monitor which would also drive the desktop hardware.
    What I wanted to avoid was a five foot wide 4K monster display since I'm only sitting 2-3 feet away from the screen.
    I'm in no hurry to stream or upload videos, so those two cores on the CPU are more than plenty.
    (Keep in mind, even FSX is limited to a single core)

    I might check out DCS at some point but I'd rather wait until its finished. Besides, everything I've seen with DCS points to a hardware hog.
    You NEED fast multicores on your CPU, you NEED a GPU you can't buy due to crypto hashing, you NEED a slew of dedicated controllers (stick, rudder, switch boxes, HOTAS, etc., etc., etc.). And for what? So some 14 year old Ender Wiggin on the west coast can wax my ### in a dogfight? No thanks.

    Well, what about VR? That's simple, technically I'm blind in one eye. VR has absolutely NO benefits for me. I can't use it even if I wanted to.

    So, the GT 730 is staying in its box for the time being. I really don't need it but chips can fry.
    I've had a really good run with the i3 for the last 5-6 years, the only problem will be that I'll need to replace it.

    I'm keeping an eye (my good eye) on fast i5's (ideally 3.5 GHz + if I can find one) for a later build. Mostly because the 4 GHz i3's are becoming VERY tough to find.

    Naturally, your mileage may vary from mine.

  14. #14
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    Well "syncFolders" was a bust. didnt work well at all. Off to look for other solutions.

    Now trying https://freefilesync.org/ Ill let you know how it goes.

    Sean
    Last edited by jackryan172; December 15th, 2022 at 07:29. Reason: Additional info

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