Complete reinstallation on an external SSD drive instead of copy/move/clone?

I read quite a few posts on this subject and as my OS is W11 it seems that the complete reinstallation on an external 2TB SSD might be a better solution than moving/copying/cloning the package folder and changing the opt file. I guess other problems may occur ? Thank you for your feedback.
Best regards

I can’t fully answer that. But I do know that any external drive will be limited by the connection speed, especially compared to the PCIe bus.

USB3 is pretty fast, though. And since all you’re doing (I think) is loading assets into memory, it will just result in longer sim startup times.

There may be some data loading from the drive during gameplay, but I don’t think it’s much.

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Keeping in mind the above advice, I don’t think there should be any other problems.
You can cut and paste your community folder somewhere safe if you don’t want to lose that content.
Uninstall the sim, and delete all leftover folders.
Restart PC.
Reinstall sim in new location, check that your sim works OK before you add your updates and your content, and try the sim again before you move your Community folder contents into new sim.

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In my experience:

  • If you have the rolling cache enabled, there will be virtually continuous read/writes to whatever drive the cache in installed to.
  • There will be times when there will be a lot of simultaneous reads requests to the SSD. Usually, this happens when approaching large metropolitan areas & airports & the game is requesting a large number of assets to be loaded. Depending on the read speed of the SSD, you may encounter stutters if the read requests from the sim outpace the capacity of the SSD & its connectivity sub-systems to deliver them.

You can use the Disk Activity (Disk Tab) in Windows Resource Monitor to view Disk I/O in real-time. You might want to monitor MSFS 2020 Disk I/O with your current configuration so you can compare it to the Disk I/O of the external SSD once MSFS is installed on that disk. If you want to record Disk I/O for a more detailed analysis, you can use HWInfo64 to save Disk Read & Write activity to a .csv file that you can import into a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel.

My internal Samsung M.2 PCIe nVME SSD has sequential read/write speeds up to 7,450/6,900 MB/s.

The SanDisk Pro-G40 External USB 3.2 SSD has sequential read/write speeds up to 2,700/1,900 MBps.


Thank you very much for all answers. The external SSD I purchased is a 2 TB size with USB 3.2 gen 2 and my motherboard is an ASUS TUF Z390-plus gaming. It should be OK.
I have not found clear explanations concerning leftover folders to be deleted for having a clean reinstallation. Does it mean that all flight history will be lost.
Best regards

Hi @SixtyBrake53742

Your flight history (i.e. logbook) and achievements are stored on MS servers in the cloud, so if the local data is deleted, it should re-generate from the cloud servers. You should not lose it.

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I added an internal SSD of 2 TB and I want to reinstall MSFS on this SSD. The problem is that MSFS does not appear in MStore and XBOX: I got the question “do you own this game or app ?” and the error code 0x803f8001. I guess this is a consequence of my purchase of the DVD version in 2020. I have not understood what to do : my both accounts (MS and XBOX) have no trace of MSFS on this PC even I run MSFS since 2020 !!!
Thank you for comments
Best regards

I suppose you have to use those dvds to install the game again, now at the time of installation, you may get an option of updating.

But if you haven’t yet uninstalled the sim yet, I won’t bother reinstallation. I’ll just move the official and community folders and change the path in the .opt file.

Then I’ll try it out, if there is no issue, I’ll keep on using that. Otherwise, I’ll try the reinstallation.

Moving (Official Community) is certainly the best solution. Nevertheless I read that some problems may occur with w11. Is it always the case now and is it a way to avoid such problems ?
Best regards

For those adding m.2 drives to their systems, which slot you put it in is important and can have repercussions that impact other drives or graphics cards.

Most motherboards have an m.2 slot between the 1st PCIe slot and the CPU. Verify in the mobo manual but that slot generally runs full speed no matter what other equipment you install.

Other m.2 slots, not so much. Installing m.2 drives in other slots can disable some SATA ports and can force the PCIe bus to lower speeds and compromise graphics card performance.

Mobo manuals should have a table that shows the various impacts depending on which m.2 slots are populated.

For me, external drives are for backups and file transfers. There the speed doesn’t really matter. For anything where speed is important it’s hard to beat an m.2 in that max speed slot.


Yup especially true with B550 and B560 mobos (or their next gen 650, 660 equivilents) where PCIe lanes are really quite limited, B570 and B580 offer considerably more. Personally with my 550 I mostly set my other non m.2 SSDs to offline in Disk Management when flying (even though I know it’s not really necessary as lanes are only ever shared when data is actually being transferred to or from both at the same time).

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It is clear it seems much more complex than trying a reinstallation !
My motherboard is an ASUS TUF Z390-plus gaming and the internal SSD is a samsung 870 EVO.
Best regards

Use the FS2020 App “Move” command.

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Yup, that or change the program install location in Xbox app’s settings

Thank you but where can I find this app ?

The problem is that the only thing I can do in Xbox (or MStore) is to buy again MSFS !

Open the Xbox app and click on your icon at the top, there you will find settings

Right Click Start
Installed Apps
MS Flight Simulator
3 dots

Thank you. It is better to create a restoration point before. What about the UserCfg.opt file located on C:\ ? Will the modification be done by the move process ?
Best regards