Do I have to use the default installation path?

do I have to use the default C:\users\USERNAME\APPDATA\LOCAL etc… in order to install MSFS ?

Thank you !!

No, you do not have to use the default path. You can choose any location you want :slight_smile:

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Thank you SO MUCH !!

Here is a guide if you need it:


I left the default location in, didn’t want to upset the installer gods haha.

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Thank you ! I selected another drive - another folder (I have 5 drives). It is downloading now…

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I want to add a humongous thank you to all for the faster-than-light answers.


Same. Thank you so much for everyone answering questions tonight/morning/etc

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Indeed you guys are amazing.

What’s crazy are the instructions in the link " You’ll have the option to install the packages on a different drive once you launch the sim for the first time.

I don’t want to install it on the System drive the first time. I want to install it on the better, bigger non-system SSD that I got specifically to support FS 2020. Why wrap the simulation in kludge? What if we don’t have enough room for the install on our system drive to begin with!

Thanks for instructions on how to do it the VERY first time on a non-system drive. If that’s not now possible, I suggest that FS 2020 and if necessary, Windows 10 itself, be modified to allow future installs anywhere one wants consistent with the performance and computer licensing specs necessary to play the game. This is an XPA game, after all. Make that true from the first install. Thanks.

Update: Found an answer to my download problems. I uninstalled Flight Simulator. Then I went back to the Microsoft Store, My Library. I found two items. Standard FS 2020 and the Premium Deluxe Pre-order. I clicked on the Deluxe Edition Pre-order and it asked me where I wanted to install. It suggested my two NON-SYSTEM drives and I picked the one that I wanted in the first place, a 1 Tb NVMe M.2 SSD and FS is now rapidly downloading directly onto that for first launch.

My problem originated in that not knowing what a “pre-install” was, I installed the PRE-INSTALL for the FS 2020 standard version on X-Box Game Pass for PC(beta) but then later canceled my subscription when I found out it was only a pre-install, not the game beta, and I pre-ordered the Premium Deluxe. So the skeleton of my flirtation with Xbox Game Pass was probabbly screwing me up and it is possible, unlike the instructions given in the link above, to directly install FS 2020 on a non-system drive of your choice.

Further Update: Doesn’t work in the end. Still hangs on sim load. If I shut down, reboot, run as admin, wants to install packages, suggests my C: drive appdata FS package folder. If I pick my non-system WpSystem Local Packages Folder where FS 2020 and FS 2020 digital ownership have been installed, sim still hangs on load or updating (screen with blue bar 1/4 way across from left). So seems like FS 2020 still in ALPHA mode when released.

There is HOPE Update!: FS 2020 installer apparently accepted change of appdata location to non-system drive WpSystem My system ID Local Packages folder but stopped there or crashed. When I relaunched the FS 2020 program as administrator, it now had that non-system drive location as the place to install update packages and upon clicking UPDATE button is downloading the 91 Gb of app packages to that location. We shall see if FS 2020 can launch - but since the program has “registered” that non-system location as the package repository, I’m hopefully all set, 91 Gb download later we’ll know for sure!.. :slightly_smiling_face:

Similar issue for me on drive selection. Followed install instructions on changing default drive for Windows app installation to my non-boot drive (D:). Said it would default to the new path on initial install. It did not, it defaulted to C:. Then when it progressed to installing the additional “recommended content” after the preinstall, it again asked for the preferred install path defaulting to C:\AppData…, with option to change path. Changed path to the non-boot drive (D:) in the selection window, saved changes. Guess what… installed in the default C:\ path anyway. According to MS you can move an app after install, but like you say… ridiculous to have to install a 100+ GB app to C:\ drive which is a smaller SSD luckily have room), but then move to another drive. This install experience has been pretty poor so far. Still decompressing files in the install process, but has not hung so far… fingers crossed. Not sure what the point was to preorder with an install taking less than 10 minutes, but once you start setting up after allowed for the geographic time zone, it is hours for the content download. What benefit was this prepurchase to the customer? Certainly got cash to MS sooner with not delivery of the purchased product.

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Very same issue for me. It is a MUST that I can install this on a larger SSD than my C: drive

In my case, I changed the install drive as well. When I checked, have parts installed at the default location and parts in the drive I selected. The file structure is very different.

In the drive i selected

Local Cache
System AppData

Are you saying I can move the default drive after install?

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I successfully picked my non-system NVMe SSD to install the initial stub of the game and then, as noted above, successfully changed the location to download the 95 Gb “update” to the same non-system drive.

For certain components such as the rolling and manual caches, even though you have them installed in actuality somewhere else, you will see file tokens in a FS folder in appdata on your system drive.

I would not call them file tokens … they take up 8gb

Read BilingualHarp7’s post and mine in the referenced link. It’s not a “real” 8 Gb. And on my computer, it’s over 200 Gb of non-real tokens in the C: drive appdata cache. The real cache is on my non-system drive.

Here’s the space used on my C: drive system partition (note only 142 Gb is used for Win10, programs, etc.):

20200824 C_drive used space

Here are the files listed in my C: drive FS appdata folder cache (over 200 Gb supposedly use here alone!):

Here is the File Explorer report of (fake) space consumed for all files in the cache:

20200824 All Files Selected

Here is the File Explorer report of space used by all files except the rolling and manual cache files:

20200824 Cache Files Not Selected

The cache files ARE NOT REAL on the C: drive. I had only used 142 Gb of my system drive before I installed ALL of FS 2020 to my non-system G: NVMe M.2 SSD and created the caches there.

Just like in programming, a token is a “pointer,” not the real deal, just an object reference to it. It would be nice to have an explanation from Microsoft, Asobo, or an expert forum member as to why these tokens have to be in a C: drive appdata cache. Maybe it has something to do with Digital Rights Management(DRM)? The sim could be on an external drive that you could take anywhere but if important references have to be on your system drive, the game is not going anywhere unless it goes with your computer type-of-deal, etc.???

So can the “token” pointers on default drive be deleted? You can use the allocated 8gb if the token remains on the drive.

For the token that’s reported as 8 Gb, BilingualHarp7 in the post of his that I referenced said that if you delete the C: drive version, the real version on a non-system drive gets deleted as well - you get space back on the non-system drive but the reported allocation on the C: system drive doesn’t change noticeably because the token is not really taking up space: Do I have to use the default installation path? - #14 by JALxml (reference to my post above with reference to Harp post).

The user / app path has restricted rights, and sometimes the path becomes too long for addons.
Definitely NO.
Choose C: D: or another fast SSD!

I got here because when you save a flight FS says its saving to the C drive despite my having installed FS on a PCie SSD M drive and I did not want to save to my C drive. However after reading these posts I investigated and as stated the C drive folders are tokens. Going back to my M drive I searched all the folders and found a folder called Wpsystem/S-15-21-(etc)/Appdata/local/packages/Microsoft.FlightSimulator_8wekyb3d8bbwe/LocalState. Inside this is all my saved files.
FS will allows saving to another drive but always defaults to the C drive. The way round this is to create a shortcut on the (in my case M) drive and then move the shortcut into the LocalState directory on the C drive where FS has its tokens.