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Thread: Tweaking the aircraft "Cab" file

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    Charter Member 2014 falcon409's Avatar
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    Tweaking the aircraft "Cab" file

    Mike (mmann) had an excellent idea. . . . .making a new thread where folks can list aircraft cab files that can be tweaked to enable faster load times. This is it. . . .thanks Mike!!:salute:

    How to creat the cab file:

    1. Extract the gauge CAB into a folder with the same name as the CAB file.
    2. Place the folder created in step 1 in the same location as your Cabdir.exe file.
    3. Drag that same folder and drop it on the Cabdir.exe file which should then create a CAB file with the same name
    as the original one.

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    Senior Administrator Roger's Avatar
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    If we get enough replies Ed and Mike we'll make it a sticky. Thanks for starting the new thread.
    For those who may not have seen the original thread, check Mike Mann's posts about .cab files here: http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforum...go.-.-.hmmmmmm
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  3. #3
    This has been one of the best 'tweeks' for a long while, thanks for the guidance Mike. Please make as a sticky.

  4. #4
    To get this thread started in the right direction and present what I think is an appropriate format, I suggest that the following aircraft requires it's gauge CAB file to be redone:

    Seabird Seeker SB7L by Darrel Woodhouse

    Note that at the moment this is the only aircraft I have installed on my system that isn't default FSX. When I first discovered that some aircraft had problems with their gauge CAB files I had mentioned this at FSDeveloper but I received absolutely no response. At the time I figured that this was because everyone but me (and the aircraft developers who were not creating their gauges CABs properly) knew about this problem. Now after all this time I think the reason was because the people on FSDeveloper were mainly only using FSX to check what they were developing and not using it any longer as a Flight Simulator.

    Unfortunately, I have to admit that I too only use FSX as a developer's tool now. I have never flown the Seabird Seeker; in fact I did not even taxi the aircraft, I only installed it to check whether the gauges CAB was the problem so I could present a solution for others. So for all you people that still enjoy FSX as a Flight Simulator; please check out some of your slow loading aircraft and post here if changing the gauges CAB will solve this problem.

    Neil, I think you had listed a couple of aircraft in the other thread. Do you think that you could post them on this thread to keep it all in one place?
    Mike Mann

  5. #5
    Mike

    I notice in the other thread you mention extracting the cab file and then recompressing it using the FSX cabdir. Why bother recompressing it?

    As I understand it all cabdir does is compress the data. So you save a bit of HD space but at the expense of needing FSX to extract the cab file into memory.

    I remember the old Abacus Flight Deck F18 for FS9 had a lot of cab files and would take forever to load the aircraft. I extracted the cab files and the aircraft loaded in a fraction of the time it used to.
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    Charter Member 2014 falcon409's Avatar
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    I think Mike mentioned that the only reason to re-compress would be to save HDD space, otherwise, as you say, you could certainly just leave them uncompressed in folders.:salute:

  7. #7
    Notice too in the other thread that Pam mentioned having over 2000 aircraft folders. Can you imagine the number of files she would have and the extra space they would require if all those aircraft didn't use CAB files! By using the Microsoft cabdir you are in essence having your cake and eating it too. You gain the space that is gained by using a CAB file in the first place; and you also retain the speed that you would have if you had all your gauges sitting in a folder.
    Mike Mann

  8. #8
    This, and all of the info received from Mike, has been good knowledge to know

  9. #9
    I have over 1100 aircraft and just accept that FSX will take a long time to load

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    Hi guys,
    i would like to know if, in your experience, the long time problem comes from every .cab file or just from some specific ones; then let's say it comes from just one aircraft among the others in my airplanes folder, and I remove its own folder from the airplanes one, to place it in my "hangar" folder on an external drive since i do not want to use it for a while, this way leaving its gauges , effects and so on in FSX, will I still suffer the problem or not?

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    Charter Member 2014 falcon409's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ananda View Post
    I have over 1100 aircraft and just accept that FSX will take a long time to load
    I have around 12 or 13 DVD's with nothing but aircraft on them. I used to have everything in the Airplane folder, but now I keep maybe 10 at a time. If I see an upcoming need for a particular type of airplane, then I load it. Every week or so I look at what I've accumulated in the Airplane folder and chop it back down to the now normal number of 10 airplanes. . . .none of those are default FSX by the way.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ananda View Post
    I have over 1100 aircraft and just accept that FSX will take a long time to load
    It's not the loading of the aircraft menu when you click on Free Flight, it's the loading of the aircraft into the spinner after you have chosen it. Some aircraft takes ages to appear, those that do can be sped up by extracting the gauges CAB file (that is in the panel folder) for the aircraft and repacking it using the SDK cabdir.exe

    For me it has improved the loading times from 1minute to 1 second for the following aircraft (all of which are FS9/FSX)

    Dave Maltby's De Havilland Comet, BAC 1-11 and Trident.

    When I find another that takes time to appear I will do the same thing again. If the CAB file isn't in the panel folder I will locate it in the gauges folder and try that.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenL View Post
    If the CAB file isn't in the panel folder I will locate it in the gauges folder and try that.
    This is a very important point that you have mentioned! Also note that some aircraft will have more than one gauge CAB file so that you will probably find you have to redo all of them.

    I think I should state that I prefer that the main FSX gauges folder only contain files that are referenced by more than one panel.cfg file. If you have an aircraft that resides in a single folder in the SimObjects\Airplanes folder, than the gauges CAB(s) exclusive to that aircraft should preferably be placed in that aircraft's panel folder. Please leave all the FSX default aircraft gauge CAB files where they were installed by FSX, many 3rd party aircraft reference them!
    Mike Mann

  14. #14
    I've used this with success on the following portover aircraft in FSX:

    DM's Comet, 1-11 & Trident
    RP's 748

    On one of them, the recompressed file was exactly the same size as the original, but the load time of the a/c fractioned

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    Senior Administrator Roger's Avatar
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    I'll leave it unstickied for now and when the topic slows I'll stickie it in the FsX Tweaks forum which is where it really belongs, if you're happy with that Mike and Ed?
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by guzler View Post
    On one of them, the recompressed file was exactly the same size as the original, but the load time of the a/c fractioned
    This is interesting! In all the CAB files I have had to redo, they always were a different size. If the file was the same size I tried it anyway, just in case, but in this situation I had never noticed a difference in load time. So I guess we can safely say now; don't assume anything. If an aircraft is taking much too long to load, try a recompress of the CAB files and try them out regardless of whether there is a difference in size compared to the original or not.
    Mike Mann

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    I'll leave it unstickied for now and when the topic slows I'll stickie it in the FsX Tweaks forum which is where it really belongs, if you're happy with that Mike and Ed?
    That sounds like an excellent idea to me.
    Mike Mann

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    Charter Member 2014 falcon409's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    I'll leave it unstickied for now and when the topic slows I'll stickie it in the FsX Tweaks forum which is where it really belongs, if you're happy with that Mike and Ed?
    Yep, works for me Roger, thanks!

  19. #19
    From a fresh install standpoint, and as an ongoing test (norm) I plan on decompressing all the gauge .cab files into folders, as space is not an issue currently.

  20. #20
    I find it convenient to leave the cabs decompressed, as you cannot modify the xml or bmps while it is compressed if you need to fix or change something. And I always want to fix or change something

    Dave

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by mmann View Post
    This is a very important point that you have mentioned! Also note that some aircraft will have more than one gauge CAB file so that you will probably find you have to redo all of them.

    I think I should state that I prefer that the main FSX gauges folder only contain files that are referenced by more than one panel.cfg file. If you have an aircraft that resides in a single folder in the SimObjects\Airplanes folder, than the gauges CAB(s) exclusive to that aircraft should preferably be placed in that aircraft's panel folder. Please leave all the FSX default aircraft gauge CAB files where they were installed by FSX, many 3rd party aircraft reference them!
    Ditto. I typically keep the cabs within their specific panels ....tidy mind...tidy setup...
    And ditto re often leaving them as folders....for editing and tweaking xml, bmp, etc...

  22. #22
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    If I may I offer my 2 cents worth on this topic... I always wondered why a pilot would have so many aircraft in one "Hangar" inside the sim. Does he/she put them one on each foot and go for a flight? (lmao)

    Here is my simple solution, no tools needed and no extracting *.cab files, no large amount of space required after the fact.

    Inside my FS folder hierarchy, I have only the AI (Some AI such as UT2 Aircraft outside the main Aircraft folder and in it's own) and the intended craft that I want to fly inside the main Aircraft/Helicopter folders of my FS. I personally don't use the stock airliners as AI and all other aircraft that I own reside in a custom folder I chose to call "Area52".

    The Area52 folder sits inside the SimObjects folder in FSX (or anywhere you choose to put it, does NOT have to be inside the FS folder at all) and is NOT listed in the fsx.cfg file as a source. If I choose to set up a flight requiring a different aircraft, I move the previously used to the Area52 folder and import the needed craft from Area52 to the Aircraft/Helicopter folder inside SimObjects. My loading times are never sluggish and some aircraft load faster than I can press the "ok" button it seems.

    I will ad, that if the gauges are NOT stock FS, I put them into the AC's panel folder as suggested, instead of the FS gauges folder.
    Give it a try, no pain involved but a bit of cut and pasting and everything to gain.

    Simpler, in this case, is better.

    - Carl

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