Microsoft Flight Simulator FAQ

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How to improve the performance

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CHECK THE SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

A good first step is to check the System Requirements for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

  • Your system is close to the 'minimum' requirements
    • MSFS will run smoothly with lower graphical settings but higher graphical settings will strain your system.
  • Your system is close to the 'recommended' requirements
    • MSFS will run smoothly in the vast majority of cases but specific graphical settings and setup need a more powerful system

 

MAKE SURE YOUR SYSTEM IS UP TO DATE

Please ensure that your system is fully updated. To do so, you can follow the list here: 

 

DISABLE CPU & GPU OVERCLOCKING (ALL VERSIONS)

We advise against using overclocked systems. The increased voltage causes overheating and can gradually damage your computer's hardware (CPU, GPU, RAM, and motherboard). 

If your system is overclocked:

  1. Disable Intel Speedstep on your Bios overclock menu
  2. Lower or disable your CPU overclock values
  3. Disable GPU overlocking for your Microsoft Flight Simulator game profile on Radeon Software or Nvidia nTune (this applies to custom user overlock settings, not for factory overclock settings of the manufacturer)

 

Please consult your manufacturer's guidelines on how to disable or reduce the overclocking speed of your CPU and GPU.

 

TURN HARDWARE ACCELERATION GPU SCHEDULING OFF

  • Go to Settings > System > Display > Graphics Settings
  • Toggle OFF and reboot your computer to apply changes

 

DO A 'CLEAN INSTALLATION' OF THE DRIVERS OF YOUR GPU

It is important to remove old drivers before updating to the latest versions as outdated or corrupted drivers may affect the performance of games and apps.

  1. Press the Windows Key
  2. Type Add or Remove Program
  3. Scroll down the list and find your graphics driver
  4. Click the driver once and select uninstall. Confirm this by clicking Uninstall again.
  5. Once complete reboot Windows
  6. Download the latest drivers from here:
  7. Install the latest driver and then reboot your PC again.

 

SWITCH TO THE DEDICATED GPU

If you have both a dedicated graphics card and an integrated graphics card, make sure that the game isn't running on your integrated GPU instead of the dedicated one.

 

Switch to the dedicated Nvidia GPU

  1. Open the Nvidia Control Panel. One way to do that is by right-clicking on an empty space on the desktop and choosing Nvidia Control Panel from the menu. 
  2. Navigate to 3D Settings > Manage 3D Settings.
  3. Open the tab Program Settings and choose Microsoft Flight Simulator from the dropdown menu. 
  4. Next, select the preferred graphics processor for this program from the second dropdown. Your Nvidia GPU should show as High Performance Nvidia processor.
  5. Save your changes. 

See also Nvidia's guide: "Run with graphics processor" missing from context menu: Change in process of assigning GPUs to use for applications 

 

Switch to the dedicated AMD GPU

  1. Open Radeon Settings. One way to do that is right-clicking on an empty space on the desktop and choosing Radeon Settings from the menu. 
  2. Navigate to Preferences > Additional Settings > Power > Switchable Graphics Application Settings.
  3. Select Microsoft Flight Simulator from the list of applications. If it is not in the list, click the Add Application button and select the *.exe-file of MSFS from the MSFS's installation directory. This adds MSFS to the list and you'll be able to select it afterwards.
  4. In the column Graphics Settings, assign the High Performance profile to Microsoft Flight Simulator.
  5. Apply your changes.

See also AMDs guide: How to Customize Graphics Performance Preference on Windows® 10 Based Laptops 

 

DISABLE FULL-SCREEN OPTIMIZATIONS

Microsoft Flight Simulator may encounter issues if your monitor's DPI is not set to 100%. To prevent this, we recommend disabling display scaling on high DPI settings.

To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Find FlightSimulator.exe.
  2. Right-click on FlightSimulator.exe and select "Properties" from the pop-up menu.
  3. Select the Compatibility tab.
  4. Select Change high DPI settings and then the Override high DPI scaling behavior. Scaling performed by: Application check box.

 

GEFORCE EXPERIENCE - UNCHECK OPTIMAL PLAYABLE SETTINGS 

  1. Open Geforce Experience
  2. Go to Games or Games and apps
  3. Under "Optimal playable settings", uncheck "Automatically optimize newly added games"

 

BACKGROUND APPLICATIONS & OVERLAYS

Overlays and background applications can negatively affect performance. Close any unnecessary apps and disable overlays while playing the game. Disable overlays regularly to prevent automatic re-enabling after updates.

Examples of Overlays and background applications to disable:

  • AMD Radeon ReLive
  • Discord
  • Lenovo Vantage
  • Nvidia Shadowplay/Share
  • Overwolf
  • Plays TV
  • Razer Cortex Gamecaster
  • Razer Synapse Stats
  • Twitch
  • Xbox Game DVR

 

DELETE DIRECTX/GPU SHADER CACHE

  • In the "Type here to search" field next to the start menu, type "Disk Cleanup"
  • Select the drive you want to clean up (the drive where the sim is installed)
  • Click OK
  • Check the DirectX Shader cache box (NOTE: Uncheck all the other boxes such as "temporary Internet files" unless you want to permanently delete these files too)
  • Click OK

 

ADJUST GPU CACHE ALLOCATION SETTINGS

Go to your GPU control panel settings and look for cache allocation controls. For Nvidia cards, this is under 3D Settings > Shader Cache Setting and increases the value. AMD cards have cache tuning under Radeon Software.

You can also make changes in the Resource Allocation section which will allow you to adjust the balance of cache assigned to each tier like L1, L2, and L3. Allocating more L2 cache over L3 can optimize latency for gaming. 

Consult your graphics card’s documentation to determine the ideal distribution for your model’s architecture.

 

TURN GAME MODE ON OR OFF

Game Mode is turned on by default. Test whether Game Mode ON or OFF offers better performance.

 

INCREASE THE VIRTUAL MEMORY (PAGEFILE) ON YOUR SYSTEM

  • In the Windows Search bar, type Advanced system settings and open the Control Panel.
  • Make sure you're on the Advanced tab.
  • Click the Settings button from under the Performance
  • On the Performance Options box, go to the Advanced tab > Performance
  • Click on Settings
  • On the Virtual Memory box, uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives
  • Click to select the drive on which Windows 10 is installed (by default C:)
  • Click to select the Custom size radio button.
  • In the now-enabled fields, type the minimum and maximum size of the Pagefile in megabytes (MB) according to the physical memory present in your computer.
  • Click Set and then click OK.
  • Restart your computer.

 

CHANGE YOUR POWER SETTINGS AND TURN OFF ANY EXTRA POWER MONITORING SOFTWARE

Windows and power monitoring apps (i.e. any software installed that may be adjusting or monitoring power settings) may try to minimize your power use to reduce your power consumption, thus negatively impacting your FPS and general performance. 

 

Switch to "High Performance" power settings in Windows

  • Select Start Settings > System > Power & battery > Screen and sleep.
  • Click on Additional Power settings
  • Change to High-Performance Power Plan or create a custom Power Plan
  • Perform a Full Shutdown of the computer (Turn off the PC, do not select "Restart").

 

Disable Power Monitoring apps

Sample of power monitoring software that may cause performance issues:

  • MSI DragonCenter
  • RyzenMaster
  • Gamefast from Dells Killer Control Center

 

CHANGE THE GRAPHICS SETTINGS

An easy way to boost performance is to tweak graphic settings. To reach those:

  1. Launch Microsoft Flight Simulator, go to Options > General options > Graphics
  2. There you will find a wealth of options for you to adjust that may allow you to get better performances. Under 'Advanced Settings', test FXAA instead of TAA for instance.
  3. Once done, press F11/click to Apply & Save

Experiment with different Graphics settings to find optimal performance. Finding the right balance can optimize your system. For example, we recommend attempting to alleviate the strain on your CPU and GPU by doing the following:

  1. Launch Microsoft Flight Simulator
  2. Go to Options General
  3. Select Graphics
  4. Under Advanced Settings and scale down "Render Scaling" to 80 instead of 100 or above.
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