Is the Steam version installed the exact same as the Windows Store version and UWP encrypted?

I waited to make my purchase based on if the Steam version has unhidden and unprotected files unlike the Windows Store version which is UWP encrypted. Why? For fear of modding being blocked such as workarounds for VR etc., can someone who knows how to check, please let me know if the Steam version is indeed also UWP encrypted the same as the Windows Store purchased MSFS or is it completely accessible like other Steam downloads and therefore potentially more moddable via Steam?

I know there are other discussions on here about Steam and the Windows Store version but no one definitely answers regarding whether the Steam is 100% identical in terms of the parts that are UWP encrypted.

I have no clue how to check what files are UWP encrypted or not, but I can see all the files in my steam folder just like every other Steam game and can open all the .JSON and .CFG files in Visual Studio Code.

If you have an example of a file that should be encrypted, I can check if it’s available in my steam folder.

If you know what “Take ownership” means then you may be safe to proceed :wink: You are (nearly) God on your PC with enough info!

Thanks. Can you check to see if the .exe file is in the Steam folder? Also in the Steam folder are the first two folders called ‘community’ and ‘official’. If so there is probably still another hidden folder somewhere else, probably on your C drive which would likely be the UWP encrypted file. Could you please check the following folder pathways to see if there is any flight sim folder there that looks encrypted -
C:\Program Files\WindowsApps

I am curious if with a Steam download Windows still treats the program as a Windows App.

When you say “take ownership” do you mean “unlocking” the encrypted files? Would unlocking that UWP folder in question make the Windows Store version identical to the Steam version if a useful mod came along that’s not on the Marketplace? Or would altering its permissions to add a future mod make it a high risk of messing things up regarding future MSFS updates etc.?

Well that’s difficult to answer. Yes I would worry that someone who doesn’t understant NTFS file permissions could mess up an installation. But if your willing to learn then it’s an “at your own risk” kind of thing. Just don’t ask for support if it goes wrong. :rofl: Other than saying it’s possible, here isn’t the right place to discuss it I guess (also may be against the TOC) Sorry, I’m running away …!

This isn’t a UWP app. The store is used as a delivery mechanism, but all the files are fully accessible and modifiable.

Developers can publish non-UWP apps to the store for a while now.

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Okay. Thanks. I of course will not break any TOCs if that is the case with changing file permissions but good point. I am more trying to ensure that if hypothetically a very clever person comes along and ‘might’ happen to make a VR mod that makes my Oculus Rift work as I don’t want to have to buy a HP Reverb 2, and said mod is somehow only compatible with the Steam version due to folder access, that I don’t have any regrets in purchasing the MS Store version which otherwise would be my preference.

Nah that should be fine. They have stated many times that they want a great third-party ecosystem, and we can all download the SDk and start modifying stuff.

I’ve already installed some free airports by just unzipping a folder. And there’s a thread in the SDK section about people making new liveries.

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Pops head back round corner … Oh yes, imho thats no problem. I’m a G2 pre-orderer too. Oh you mean the wait for Rift support? Will be short I would think. MS / Asobo got HP to supply the hardware for development of VR in MFS. If they had done a deal with Valve to supply free VR headsets, they would have come out first I guess! I think it’s just an exclusivity thing that won’t last long.

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Fantastic. Thanks. :+1:
I will go ahead then and purchase from the Windows Store directly in that case. I purposely wanted to wait a day or two to ensure this would be fine before forking out for the premium deluxe version (considering how other Windows Apps work due to UWP).

And after downloading, get the free airports here - 3 Free Airfield Scenery by DRZEWIECKI DESIGN


Oh nice, thanks for the heads up!

Great tip! Appreciate it.

Nice to see freeware already being made available.

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Just to get back to you, the .exe file is indeed in the steam folder, there is no flight sim related folder under Local\Packages and I do not have the WindowsApps folder in Program Files.

Thanks for checking!