What To Do If You’re Having Trouble With Microsoft Flight Simulator

What To Do If You’re Having Trouble With Microsoft Flight Simulator
Image: Asobo Studio / Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator is out today, but as people are discovering, getting off the ground can be a bit tricky. So if you’re having trouble getting the game started, here’s some tips to help you out.

Downloading through the Windows Store has been a big source of trouble for a lot of people. Even if you’re playing the game through Steam, you might still find the game is surprisingly unresponsive at first — if it doesn’t just outright crash.

People are running into all sorts of issues, so here are some recommended fixes to stop you from pulling your hair out.

If you’re playing through the Microsoft Store or Game Pass, make sure you have the beta Xbox app installed.

What To Do If You’re Having Trouble With Microsoft Flight Simulator

To access Xbox Game Pass on PC, you’ll need the beta version of the Xbox app. You can download that here, and it makes the act of searching Xbox Game Pass titles a lot easier. You’ll have to login to your Microsoft account, and you might still need to launch Flight Simulator separately from the Start menu or the Microsoft Store if Flight Sim doesn’t work.

Make sure Windows is updated to at least version 1909, and that your Windows isn’t waiting to apply an update.

microsoft flight simulator install
Image: Kotaku

Windows 10 version 2004 is out already, so chances are you’re past this step. But if you’re having issues, this is an easy one to check off. Hit the Start button and then type “about your PC” on the keyboard. You’ll get a menu option that takes you to a settings page.

Scroll down and you’ll see “Windows Specifications”, which will let you know what version of Windows you’re running.

What To Do If You’re Having Trouble With Microsoft Flight Simulator

If you don’t see at Version 1909 or higher on that page, you’ll need to upgrade. Follow the steps on the Windows 10 May 2020 Update page here to get the latest version, and make sure to reinstall a clean version of your GPU drivers once the update is done.

If you’ve been deliberately holding off on upgrading Windows because of compatibility reasons — sorry, you’re out of luck as it stands. Also, if your PC has a pending update, you’ll need to install that before playing.

If Microsoft Flight Simulator is taking forever to download

microsoft flight simulator
Image: Steam

If you’re running into issues with slow downloads, you’re not the only one. The official Microsoft Flight Simulator support recommends disabling any firewalls or anti-virus software while the download is going, and not to use Wi-Fi for a 100GB if you can help it.

They also recommend closing the app and restarting, rather than letting it hang, like what Luke advised earlier. But if that’s not enough, you can try these steps:

  • In the Windows search bar, type Command and look for ‘Command Prompt’
  • In the menu select “Run as administrator”
  • Enter: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal
  • Press ENTER

Update your GPU drivers

What To Do If You’re Having Trouble With Microsoft Flight Simulator

Nvidia released an optimised Game Ready driver for Microsoft Flight Simulator overnight, so make sure you grab that. It’s available now through GeForce Experience, or via these links here if you just want the driver without the middleware.

For those running AMD GPUs, there’s a new version of the Adrenalin Edition drivers. You’re after version 20.8.2, and you can download it from Guru3D here or via the AMD website.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is sending your GPU crazy when starting

This is a known bug with the launcher when its minimised. You’re best off restarting Flight Simulator, opening the app and not touching it until the download starts.

Microsoft Flight Simulator won’t download or install properly (through the Microsoft Store).

This isn’t applicable if you’re not going through the Microsoft Store or getting it through Game Pass. But if you are, these steps can help if you’re having installation or download troubles:

Run Microsoft Flight Simulator with administrator privileges 

It’s a simple trick, but sometimes it can get you out of a bind. To run the game as an administrator, right-click on it either on the desktop or in the Start menu, and then select Run as Administrator

What To Do If You’re Having Trouble With Microsoft Flight SimulatorReset the Microsoft Store Cache:

Press the “Win Logo” + “R”

Type: WSReset.exe and press “Enter”.

Restart the computer and check.

Run the Windows Store App troubleshooter: 

Press Windows key +X, select Control panel

Change the view by option on the top right to Large icons

Click on troubleshooting and click on the view all option on the left panel

Run the Windows Store apps troubleshooter

Perform System File Check (SFC), and then check if this fixes the issue.

Press “Windows Key + Q” to open Charms Bar.

Type “cmd” without quotes in the search box.

On the left pane, right click on the “cmd” option and select “Run as Administrator”.

Type ‘sfc /scannow’ without quotes and hit enter.

Delete your Windows Store cache files: 

Download MSFS and wait for it to error REPLACE USER_NAME WITH YOUR LOCAL PC USERNAME Go to C:\Users\User_name\AppData\Local\Packages \Microsoft.WindowsStore_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalCache and delete all the files in there Reboot your PC. Attempt the download once more.

Force-restart the Microsoft Store installer:

Bring up Task Manager (CTRL + SHIFT + ESCAPE)

Select the Services Tab

Find the Microsoft Store Installer

Right-click it and select Restart

Notification will appear to state Microsoft Flight Simulator is ready to play

Enable automatic updates in the Microsoft Store

This can help if you’re missing content.

Select the Start screen, then select Microsoft Store

In Microsoft Store at the upper right, select the account menu (the three dots) and then select Settings.

Under App updates, set Update apps automatically to On

Microsoft Flight Simulator doesn’t have the premium planes/airports I paid for.

This is the biggest issue users have run into after installation, where the game doesn’t seem to recognise the extra content they should have received. I recommend turning automatic updates on just in case, which you can do via the step above.

Once you’ve installed and downloaded Flight Simulator, you’ll be able to check what content you’ve got unlocked through the Content Manager section of your profile. Some users have reported that it can take time for Flight Simulator to process if you’ve got the deluxe/extra content in your account, particularly if you’ve bought the game through Steam. It’s not ideal, but with the Marketplace currently disabled in-game, you might have to be a bit patient until the launch day bugs are sorted.

I’m sick of the goddamn music while the game’s installing.

microsoft flight simulator install
Mute Flight Simulator manually if you have to. Image: Kotaku

It’s chill music, but nobody wants to listen to it for almost a full day or two of downloading. To make life more bearable, ALT+TAB out of the installer, right-click on the volume icon in the bottom right hand of your system trap, and select “Volume Mixer”.

From there, scroll across until you see a volume bar for Microsoft Flight Simulator. You can either lower the game volume or mute it entirely, whatever takes your fancy.


  • For those getting the ‘Insert Disc’ error, my issue turned out to be my firewall. Turned off firewall, started installing fine.

  • Brilliant thanks.
    Crashing during downloading the package was solved by updating Windows 10 to version 2004.
    Crashing when starting the application was solved by updating the GeForce driver.
    No message from the installation package saying these things were required.
    I was about to say it’s unbelievable that MS could do this, but then I realised it wasn’t unbelievable at all – this has been happening all my life. Ultimately, what would we do without MS to keep us busy?

  • I bought the whole disk version, spent three hours loading the ten disks and entered the Activation Code. It then went through the business of the launcher, but announced i didn’t have enough hard drive to do it.
    I took my PC to the shop and got a whole new hard drive, mother board, sound card, video driver, you name it I got it.
    I then spent another three hours loading the disks again and entered the Activation Code. Not accepted as it had already been used.
    I spent 5.5 hours on the phone to the Microsoft “Absolutely no help” Desk today as I wanted them to address the Activation Code issue – I rang from Australia 11 times, and it cut out repeatedly so I had to restart each time. I was put through to windows, who put me through to tech support, who put me through to the X-Box team, who put me through to X-Box tech support. She stuffed around for an hour and then said that Microsoft couldn’t help; I needed to ring the software developer, and no she didn’t know who it was. I asked for the complaints department and she hung up. Apparently nobody could possibly complain about Microsoft or X-Box because everybody is apparently very happy.
    Microsoft, if you give a damn and I don’t think you do, the case reference number is 1010556581. As far as I am concerned you are ratbags. You don’t provide an email address either in the US or in Australia and hide behind your “No Help Desk” You are a disgrace. I have refrained from using the language and expressing the emotions I felt after trying to get help for you for over 5 hours, but I do hope there is a special place in hell for you.
    If anyone knows how to help me with my problem, short of buying a new set of disks at AUD$150.00, please let me know.

  • This is the most useful “help” site I have seen so far but still no joy. I have used all the versions of FS since inception but this one is about to defeat me. This episode has reminded me of why Im predominantly an Apple user. As far as I can tell (and Im not a power Windows user) I have all the recommended system requirements and updated drivers. Ive downloaded the standard edition 3 times (thats a lot of days) but cannot get the program to load. It crashes part way through startup after the “checking for updates” and the Cessna screen with a blue progress bar. I have even increased the virtual RAM, disconnected a possibly incompatible controller, downloaded with firewall off etc etc etc. Any thoughts will be gratefully received.

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