There are many advantages in having the downloaded content, i.e. packages (and community folder) in a separate location to the default location assigned at the time of installation.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is in relation to having to perform a re-install of the sim. If the content is in the ‘default’ location and MSFS is ever uninstalled then all the downloaded content and community folder will get wiped. Similarly, if using the Windows Store advance app setting “Reset” or the Steam version of “verify files” this content, stored in the default location will get wiped.
It is always a good idea to maintain a separate back up of both the official downloaded packages (and possibly community folder) in a location independent of that used by MSFS. In my case I have both backed up on a second hard drive. (The back up is a simple copy and paste of the two relevant folders into a new directory. However, this needs to be done after every sim update to ensure it is up to date)
Some folks who are using AIG AI traffic addon are also running into issues with filepath name lengths. Moving these folders from default location to another location, e.g. C:\MSFS, eliminates this problem.
Those who are regularly involved in the testing flights for MSFS will benefit from moving their content to a custom installation as the testing program requires a re-installation of MSFS at the conclusion of the test.
Zendesk does provide a method for how to change this installation path:
Another similar method, without the need to edit anything, is to move the contents of:
C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft Flight Simulator\Packages
to a new directory of choice, e.g. C:\MSFS.
Note: These are the two folders within the packages directory that will be moved:
Once moved, instead of editing the UserCFG.opt file just run MSFS.
The content manager will start, prompting a download of all content. Click on “Browse” instead and using explorer select the new folder where the packages have been moved to, e.g. C:\MSFS.
Content manager will detect the location of these packages and continue to the main menu without downloading anything.
If MSFS ever needs to be reinstalled, pointing the content manager to the location of this custom folder should prevent the download of all the packages.
Please treat this process with care and remember each step taken. If the process doesn’t work for you ensure that you are able to restore everything to the state it was in prior to moving anything. Don’t delete any content without a suitable back up. Following the instructions carefully should not lead to any broken installations. All steps taken here are at your own risk.
Note: I cannot confirm that this method will also protect those who are using gamepass. I have heard of cases where this custom folder is also wiped during an un-install. If using gamepass it is a good idea to have a completely separate back up independent of any folders used by or linked to by MSFS- a separate hard drive is recommended.
A final note. If you are using any 3rd party applications that need to know the location of your community folder, e.g. applications that install content into your community folder, then you will also need to update those applications with the new path to your moved community folder.