A Conversation Needs to be Had RE: Uninitiated User Data Wipes

I’ve been here long enough to have seen numerous posts regarding the unintentional wiping of user data.

As someone who has had this happen to them multiple times, including this morning, I’m frustrated that this isn’t being acknowledged and addressed by the powers that be.

I cannot think of a single cloud-based service where I need to be concerned about backing up my user data. I don’t have to backup OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, GaiaGPS, etc., etc. Regarding video games, I can access my saves from any cloud-based game service – Steam, Xbox, Nintendo, etc. without worry that my save has been wiped by no action of my own. MSFS is the ONLY exception here.

I have sporadically backed up my wgs folder, but I don’t have a regular backup script doing this for me. Xbox users have zero options for backing up their user data.

This isn’t acceptable, especially given the age of this software.

I don’t understand why this is not taken seriously and why repeated posts about it hasn’t resulted in the issue being addressed.

You’re running a cloud-based save system and it’s the responsibility of that system to be careful with the data it is managing. If the sim’s syncing mechanism is not robust enough to do the job of preserving user data, then there needs to be transparent, easy-to-use backup options for those of us who have invested hundreds of hours flying the sim.

Someone from Microsoft and/or Asobo needs to step up here, engage in this conversation and see that this is addressed and solved.

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I agree, Nixon.

Our company uses a Cloud service for all of our documents, as well as hosting our Enterprise accounting/order management software.

I backup our company accounting file daily (to have a 3rd location for THE most critical file,) but backing up all our Office docs are the hosting company’s responsibility. If It wasn’t, I’d migrate to an on-premise server and do those backups myself. We’d have a faster system as well, since I wouldn’t be constrained by the Cloud server speed we pay for, but only by our ISP (which is plenty fast.)

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My 2c:
First:
We need a clear definition of “User Data”, just so that everyone is on the same page. For example:
“User Data” is defined as…

  • Our Pilot Profile (Statistics & Achievements) and Logbook, plus
  • Our Options settings: Everything within General, Assistance & Control Options (Keyboard, Mouse, Joysticks, Gamepads, etc.), plus
  • Other things: Friends list(s), completed activities, activities progress… What else? I’m sure I’m missing things.

Secondly:
Improvements to the reliability of the cloud-based services that store our User Data.
This game uses many service providers (for want of a better term). The MS/AS development team does not (AFAIK) manage these services. These providers have a different chain of command & budgets; and their priorities may not always sync. with those of the MS/AS development team. We need to recognize that Mr. Neumann sometimes has only his powers of persuasion to make changes that would address the concerns of his customers (us). I’m not trying to make excuses for MS/AS here. From a user perspective, the internal workings of Microsoft “the company” should be invisble, and as the OP states, the unintentional loss of users data - particularly their Control Options - happens far too frequently.

Recognizing that no cloud-based service is 100% foolproof 100% of the time, and Mr. Neumann’s powers of persuasion are not infinite (no offense intended), the obvious solution would be the ability to create & restore local backups of our “User Data”.

So, is there a wishlist item for this? I looked at the Wishlist section in the March 14th, 2024 Development Update and did not see one listed. If MS/AS is basing enhancements / improvements partly on what we ask for - which appears to be the case - then there appears to be no broad support for the ability to create & restore local backups. Is this born out in fact?

A search of the Wishlist section of the forum shows that there are indeed at least two Wishlist items that request this functionality:

  • Cloud save”, created in April 2021, which has, at time of writing, 4 votes.

and

There are also requests for more limited forms of backups, such as this one:

The #1 item on the Development Update Wishlist (Implement Weather & Terrain APIs) has 2652 votes, so 204 votes is ~ 8% of that number. Maybe that is the reason why the MS/AS team have not focused their attention on this issue?

Perhaps the reason that these three items have such low vote counts is that we users consider the issue a “bug” rather than a DCR (Design Change Request). I’d suggest that we would get more traction on this issue if more folks voted for it.

I doubt, at this point, that the ability to create & restore local backups of our user data would be included in 2020. The dev work required to do this is probably considerable, and with 2024 due out (hopefully) sometime later this year, such resources that would be needed to do the coding would be better spent including the functionality in 2024 if it is not already there.

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Thanks for doing the research. I went back and voted for all three wishlist items. They are very important.

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I lost this, and while I was able to recover my hours via a backed up wgs folder, I have not been able to recover my activity progress.

I was surprised by how much that actually bothered me, but it did and does.

I feel like I’ve seen a number of victims of this issue try to blow it off, but I know it certainly chafes.

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I wonder if accidental deletion of data would be considered a breach of GDPR in the UK.

Personal data breaches: a guide | ICO.

I don’t think so. The website you list is taking about security breaches: “A personal data breach means a breach of security leading to…”

There is no breach of security here, just loss of data.
Also see, on the same website, the definition of “personal data” on this page.

This was the bit I was referring to, accidental loss or destruction of personal data, though I’m not certain whether any of the data in a user profile could be considered PID. A breach of security can also be defined as not having sufficient safeguards in place to stop data destruction, and it doesn’t have to be an actual intrusion. A worker accidentally deleting patient records is still a breach of security, even if a worker authorised to access it did the deletion.

A personal data breach means a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data.

Equating the loss of someone’s joystick settings to the loss of their medical records is a bit much, don’t you think?

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I did include this, yes?

Who knows what else is in your user profile that we can’t see. Given Microsoft’s approach to the World Hub, and being very concerned about what they could host from an ownership point of view, I’m assuming they are very careful when it comes to the legal side of things. They should only gather what is necessary, but companies have been known to make mistakes before.

Jorg has stated that they collect telemetry data from users, something we implicitly agreed to, but do we know what is being collected there? If it includes computer details, who is to say a user hasn’t customised their system to include their home address, which you can do by adding support information. Suddenly that anonymous data they collected is now no longer anonymous, and is Personally Identifiable Data (PID). How is that being stored? Who has access to it? How long do they keep it? And what is being stored?

This thread is about uninitiated user data wipes.

If you are concerned about your home address being stored with your joystick settings and/or who has access to your joystick settings at MS, I’d suggest creating a separate thread or contacting MS to get clarification.

If your concerns are not alleviated and you suspect that your data is held in violation of the law, I’d suggest contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency to have this investigated.

Exactly, accidental destruction of data. There are more things in there than your controller settings, including your logbook.

I would recommend users get in to the habit of backing up their “wgs” folder, which is easily scriptable, and if you already use a script to launch MSFS, perhaps skipping the intro videos, this could be done immediately prior to sim launch. I make backups to a .7z file.

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\Microsoft.FlightSimulator_8wekyb3d8bbwe\SystemAppData\wgs

I don’t think this is a complete backup, as I’m sure I’ve read that users have restored this, then found things like achievements, and statistics of your flights such as how long you have taxied, or flown below sea level are still wiped.

But it’s better than nothing until MS can stop it from happening at their end.

And another one bites the dust:

Latest mandatory update cleared my accumulated hours in my profile - Bug Reporting Hub / User Interface & Activities - Microsoft Flight Simulator Forums

And another…

And another:

Jörg, Asobo and CMs,

Thank you for addressing this in today’s Q&A. It was a welcome surprise and being heard is monumental for those of us dedicated to this product line to feel validated.

Thank you for taking the issue seriously.

:slightly_smiling_face:

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An update. Although I had to reset all my settings as described in my post above, I seem to have my flights listed in the flight log. My experiences may be related to this thread or may be an unexpected beta issue.

I also thank you for looking at this issue as it was annoying to have to reset all my settings in the SIM even if the flight log turned out to be intact (the profile page showed 0 hours flight time until I restarted the SIM if this helps?)

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Even though it was discussed in the last Q&A, I’m going to keep chronicling this until we see a fix, because it happens often enough to warrant the attention.

Here is another:

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Here is another thread for you with currently 94 votes.
This losing controller profiles and then having to lose the whole profile (hrs, achievements, controller etc) I had my third event of this, and still no fix.
[Fix Controller profiles (Missing or Corrupting) - Bug Reporting Hub / Miscellaneous - Microsoft Flight Simulator Forums](Fix Controller profiles (Missing or Corrupting))

Have to say unsure what the reply was, other than Jorg will look into it. But seems to get impression they said Xbox issue, no idea about Xbox but for sure problem with PC, and not because MSFS crashes, happened to me with normal shutdowns and normal next starts.

But why no real answer!
Please Jorg and team, can’t you have a good view of questions (planned) well before so a meaningful answer could be given.

Hello @KernowDave9643,

When Jorg said it was an Xbox issue, what he meant is that it is affecting Xbox Gaming Services on both PC and console across a variety of different titles, not only Microsoft Flight Simulator. We are working with the appropriate team within Microsoft to understand what is causing user data saved to the cloud to be reset for some players so they can resolve the issue.

Thanks,
MSFS Team

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