MSFS TOP TIP : Make an image of the latest stable version that works for you

Whenever I have a stable version of MSFS, I always make an image of my Windows 10 & MSFS drives. Just as a precaution, so that if a new version doesn’t meet my expectations (SU5 ... No. Just no) or gives me trouble I can always revert to the previous version that worked fine for me. Or if my SSD’s decide to quit on me of course.

Resetting the image only takes about 45 mins for me. Just turn off your internet connection when starting the sim again, otherwise it will force you to do the update again (although you can ALT-F4 your way out of that) When in the sim you can turn your internet on again. Upon launching MSFS in offline mode it gives a message that it can’t connect to the internet but you can just press OK and it will boot.

Before creating the first image, BE SURE to check these steps first, so you know that you can actually start MSFS in offline mode after reinstalling the image. You should only have to check this once: Xbox Support

  • IMPORTANT EDIT: I found out that I can’t see ANY multiplayer traffic when flying online. This could very well be because I’m not on the current version. So keep this in mind, if you do want to revert to a previous version. I understand the reason though, probably best if all online players are on the same version.

Right now, I’m back at flying in… :slight_smile:


Seriously, does this work?

Yep. Using a dedicated imaging program by the way, which I can choose to start in my pc boot menu (along with Windows 7 or 10)

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OMG, I wish I didn’t update!

Didn’t think about turning internet off and then on :frowning:

Seriously, why do they force us to update? We should be able to choose like any other software.


Wich program do you use ?
And wich version of MSFS, Steam or MS Store ?
I have the MS Store version, I use Acronis True Image, and I cannot obtain a functional image. Many folders are empty or missing in the image because MSFS decided I’m not the owner of some directories.
And more than avoiding to have an image of the drive where MSFS is installed, if I restore my system drive (C:) for any reason, MSFS (wich is on drive J:) have to be fully reinstalled.
Fortunately, this PC is dedicated to MSFS and Windows 10 is stable.
I cannot imagine not to be able to restore system with an image on my working PC !


I have MSFS Boxed Premium Deluxe. Also only use Windows 10 solely for MSFS, the rest I do in Windows 7. Image software is Macrium Reflect 8 (they also have a free version) for which I let it create a boot option when starting the pc, so to avoid as much as possible that Windows itself has anything to say about an image I make.

Thanks, I’ll try with the free version of the software.
But I’m not optimistic.
I have tried with Acronis on a bootable USB key, so Windows is not involved in the creation or the restore of the image.
The problem is with MS Store version of MSFS, you are not the owner of a number of folders and files.
Before I had a workaround to get the ownership back, but it doesn’t work anymore since previous Windows updates.
I will try your software when I’ll have some time do that.
After all, the only risk is to have to fully reinstall MSFS …

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Never had any problems myself. Created the image 16th july. Reinstalled it the day before yesterday. Should work.

“Should” here is the point.
Could you tell me if with your version of MSFS you also have folders without ownership ?
It’s very late now here in France (in fact very early in the morning) and I’m not on my MSFS PC. If you need infos on concerned folders I will give them to you later.
Thanks for your prompt replies an good night (or day, depending where you live).

Off to work myself, KLM - EHAM. We’ll talk again. :slight_smile:

Don’t know anything about the “ownership” folders principle. But here are some things you may want to try to assess for yourself if the image restore will be without problems:

First, just create the image of your MSFS and Windows 10 partitions. I always simultaneously create and restore these two drives at the same time, ending up in only one image file. In fact, I include about 5 partitions in this one image file. You can however restore them apart from each other.


  • Macrium Reflect can create a virtual drive for the image so that so you can explore the contents of the image in Windows Explorer, just like you would browse a normal partition. Maybe this way you can verify the “ownership” things you mentioned?

  • Or, if you REALLY want to be sure that the restore of the image will be flawless: first remove/disconnect the MSFS partition from your pc and then restore the image to another partition or disk and assign the same driveletter to it as the original MSFS partition. If it works MSFS will run, if it doesn’t you can safely put back the original and all will be back as it was. Basically the same as I did last year, when I wanted to put MSFS on a new (larger) SSD. I just restored the image to the new SSD, assigned the same driveletter to it as the old one and all was well again.

Again, like I said, I always create and restore the Windows 10 AND the MSFS partition simultaneously. Just to prevent problems with one being not “in tune” with the other anymore…

What about a system restore update, would that do the trick? I’ve got several which concievably have 1.17.3.

Not sure. Could be worth a shot, it might just work. But maybe best to google it a bit first…

No dice, for whatever reason I don’t have a system restore point old enough, even though I save them religiously. So I am stuck with an unusable sim unfortunately.

One thing to keep in mind:

  • I just found out that I can’t see ANY multiplayer traffic when flying online

Wanted to join a live stream but whatever I did, I couldn’t see the others. This could very well be because I’m not on the current version. So keep this in mind, if you do want to revert to a previous version. I understand the reason though, probably best if all online players are on the same version.

Another great bit of software to make this possible is Macrium Reflect. Theres a free edition with no limits. Only difference with the paid version is that it has no incremental backup function. Theres a free 30 day trial too. Excellent design. You can even mount the image and it appears as an ordinary folder in File Explorer.

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Exactly, that’s what I use :slight_smile:

One other feature of the paid version is that you can restore ONLY the data blocks that have been changed if you want, instead of all the data blocks. Saves a bit on SSD-life.

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I did not know that, thanks for this info. I might get a license one of these days!

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It’s called “Rapid Delta restore” I think.

Furthermore, to get a starting point, I first created a Complete image. Then, after installing updates and basically using the pc I create a Differential image, which only stores the difference between the Complete image and the current used data. The advantage of the Differential vs the Incremental image in my opinion, is that you can safely delete a Differential image that is no longer up to date. You have to keep the Complete image though! Whereas you HAVE to keep ALL Incremental images you created before the one you want to restore. And that could be quite a list of incremental images after a while… So, basically I only keep the Complete image (at all times) and then the last two Differential images or so that I created.

Keep in mind, upon restoring you have to select the Differential image and not the Complete image. And to create a Differential image, it’s oddly enough somewhere under the “restore” functions of the Complete image.

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