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[MSFS] FSUIPC7 auto-start with MSFS2020


John Dowson

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Introduction

The FSUIPC7 installer provides an Auto-Start FSUIPC7 with MSFS component that when selected should enable MSFS to automatically start FSUIPC7 when MSFS is started. However, many users have reported issues using this facility. This FAQ entry provides an overview of how this functionality is implemented, together with possible problems and solutions.

As of FSUIPC7 version 7.4.12, two distinct auto-start mechanisms are provided:
    1. Auto-start via the MSFS.bat file / Desktop MSFS link: the MSFS.bat file, usually called from the FSUIPC-installed MSFS Desktop link, is
        a simple batch file that starts MSFS, displays a splash screen while MSFS is loading (for 25 seconds), waits for 95 seconds, and then
        starts FSUIPC7. 

    2. Auto-start via the MSFS EXE.xml file. The installer adds an entry to the MSFS EXE.xml file and MSFS will start FSUIPC7 when ready.

The MSFS EXE.xml file auto-start method is the preferred (and default) auto-start method. It is recommended to only use the MSFS.bat auto-start method if you have issues with the EXE.xml method that you cannot resolve.

Note that the MSFS.bat method was the default auto-start method in FSUIPC7 version 7.4.12 only - all earlier and later versions use the MSFS EXE.xml method.

If you have any issues with one auto-start method, simply re-run the installer and select the other auto-start method, and make sure only one auto-start method is selected.

Note also that the MSFS.bat file auto-start may not work correctly in the following circumstances:
    1. You have installed FSUIPC7 in a windows-protected folder, such as under Documents or Program Files. If you have installed FSUIPC7
        in such a location, it is recommended to re-install into a non-windows-protected folder.
    2. You are running FSUIPC7 with admin privileges. This should work, but you will have to grant permissions for this when FSUIPC7 is started,
        and the permissions confirmation box may not be visible (i.e. it may sit in your system tray and need to be opened).

One downside of the MSFS.bat file method is that it does not take into account MSFS loading times, especially when the simulator is being updated. This can cause issues if the auto-tuning feature has been activated when MSFS is updating, or when it has longer loading times due to internet activity. This can cause the auto-start tuning parameters to be set to high, which can result in FSUIPC7 not connecting and not being available/active for some time after MSFS has reached the main menu, and even after you have an aircraft loaded and ready-to-fly. If this occurs, you should manually reduce the DetectToConnectDelayAuto ini parameter to a lower value and to force an auto-tune by setting StartUpTuningActive=Yes (see the Advanced User guide for details on auto-start tuning).

EXE.xml Auto-start method: Background

The auto-start facility provided by the FSUIPC7 installer uses a facility provided by MSFS2020 to start external applications by using a file called EXE.xml. This file is located in a location specific to your MSFS installation type, and will be the same folder that contains your MSFS UserCfg.opt file: for Steam installations, this file is located under
    %APPDATA%\Microsoft Flight Simulator\
and for MS Store (and DVD) installations under
    %LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\Microsoft.FlightSimulator_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalCache\
where %APPDATA% and %LOCALAPPDATA% are windows environment variables pointing to your user' AppData and AppData\Local folders respectively.

Note that this file does not exist by default. It will be created by the FSUIPC7 installer if the file does not exist. If the file already exists, this implies that it has already been created, either by a previous run if the FSUIPC7 installer, or possibly by another MSFS client-application installer.

When the  FSUIPC7 installer has correctly created or updated this file, and when FSUIPC7 is the only application using this facility, your EXE.xml file should look something like this (your <Path> element will differ and contain the correct path to the FSUIPC7.exe):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="Windows-1252"?>
<SimBase.Document Type="Launch" version="1,0">
	<Descr>Launch</Descr>
	<Filename>EXE.xml</Filename>
	<Disabled>False</Disabled>
	<Launch.ManualLoad>False</Launch.ManualLoad>
	<Launch.Addon><Disabled>False</Disabled><ManualLoad>False</ManualLoad><Name>FSUIPC7</Name><Path>D:\FSUIPC7\FSUIPC7.exe</Path><CommandLine>-auto</CommandLine><NewConsole>False</NewConsole></Launch.Addon></SimBase.Document>

Note that no line breaks are inserted in the <Launch.Addon> element. This is not an issue as white space is ignored in XML files, but for readability, I have manually added line breaks to this file as below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="Windows-1252"?>
<SimBase.Document Type="Launch" version="1,0">
	<Descr>Launch</Descr>
	<Filename>EXE.xml</Filename>
	<Disabled>False</Disabled>
	<Launch.ManualLoad>False</Launch.ManualLoad>
	<Launch.Addon>
		<Disabled>False</Disabled>
		<ManualLoad>False</ManualLoad>
		<Name>FSUIPC7</Name>
		<Path>D:\FSUIPC7\FSUIPC7.exe</Path>
		<CommandLine>-auto</CommandLine>
		<NewConsole>False</NewConsole>
	</Launch.Addon>
</SimBase.Document>

If you have other MSFS applications that use the MSFS EXE.xml file to auto-start, you may find one or more other <Launch.Addon> elements, either before or after the FSUIPC7 entry, e.g.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="Windows-1252"?>
<SimBase.Document Type="Launch" version="1,0">
	<Descr>Launch</Descr>
	<Filename>EXE.xml</Filename>
	<Disabled>False</Disabled>
	<Launch.ManualLoad>False</Launch.ManualLoad>
	<Launch.Addon>
		...
	</Launch.Addon>
	<Launch.Addon>
		<Disabled>False</Disabled>
		<ManualLoad>False</ManualLoad>
		<Name>FSUIPC7</Name>
		<Path>D:\FSUIPC7\FSUIPC7.exe</Path>
		<CommandLine>-auto</CommandLine>
		<NewConsole>False</NewConsole>
	</Launch.Addon>
	<Launch.Addon>
		...
	</Launch.Addon>
</SimBase.Document>

 

EXE.xml Auto-start Method Problems and Solutions

There are various issues that can cause FSUIPC7 to not auto-start with MSFS. The first thing to check is your installation log file - this is called InstallFSUIPC7.log and will be located in your FSUIPC7 installation folder, as well as a copy in the folder from where you ran the installer. Check this file for messages relating to the creation or the update of the EXE.xml file. The following message will be reported if your MSFS UserCfg.opt file could not be found (which determines the location of your EXE.xml file):

"**** Cannot determine location of EXE.xml: FSUIPC7 will not start automatically with MSFS ****

This can be due to one of the following reasons:

  • You have not yet ran MSFS. This file is created the first time that you run MSFS. To resolve, run MSFS, exit and then re-run the FSUIPC7 installer.
     
  • Your %APPDATA% or %LOCALAPPDATA% (depending on your installation type) environment variables are not set correctly. Check and set these environment variables (see google for further details).
     
  • Anti-virus software is preventing the installer from seeing this file. To resolve, temporarily disable any anti-virus software when running the FSUIPC7 installer.
     
  • Windows permissions are preventing this file from being accessed. Check the file and folder permissions on this file. Can you open the UserCfg.opt file in an editor?
     
  • The installer has incorrectly determined the install type, i.e. it thinks you have a Steam installation when you have an MSFS installation, or vice-versa. This can happen if you have switched installation types, and is more common if you have switched from Steam to an MS Store installation. If this is the case, delete the file
        %APPDATA%\Microsoft Flight Simulator\UserCfg.opt
    and re-run the FSUIPC7 installer.
    If you have switched from MS Store to a Steam installation, then please check that the above file exists - remember you need to run MSFS at least once so that this file is created.
    If the location of the EXE.xml file can be determined, then the EXE.xml file should be either created or updated. If there are any issues with this process, one of the following error messages will be reported:

Error loading EXE.xml file: <path-to-EXE.xml-file>
**** Auto-start of FSUIPC7 with MSFS will not be enabled ****
**** To resolve, remove or rename this file and re-install:  <path-to-EXE.xml-file>****

Error re-loading EXE.xml file after removing FSUIPC7 entry: <path-to-EXE.xml-file>

'SimBase.Document' not found in EXE.xml file: <path-to-EXE.xml-file>

These messages indicate that your current EXE.xml file is invalid or corrupt. This is usually due to another application installer writing an invalid EXE.xml file. To resolve, it is recommended to rename your existing EXE.xml file (e.g. to EXE.xml.invalid) and then re-run the FSUIPC7 installer. After completion, you can examine both your new/current EXE.xml file as well as the old one (that you renamed). You can then manually add (or copy) any other <Launch.Addon> sections from your old/invalid (renamed) EXE.xml to the new EXE.xml file created by the FSUIPC7 installer. Try adding these before the FSUIPC7 <Launch.Addon> section, but if you experience issues you can re-order (see 2 below). Please see above for the correct format of the EXE.xml file.

If the EXE.xml file exists and is in the correct format and FSUIPC7 is still not auto-starting, then check the following:

1. Can you run FSUIPC7 manually? Try double-clicking the FSUIPC7.exe file (with or without MSFS running) in Windows Explorer. Does FSUIPC7 start, i.e. do you see the FSUIPC7 splash-screen displayed at start-up? If not, and if you get a windows error, then this is usually a sign that the correct VC++ redistributables are not installed - see the provided README.txt file on how to resolve this issue.

2. Check your FSUIPC7 installation folder, and make sure that you have not installed FSUIPC7 under a windows-protected folder, such as under  Documents, Program Files or Program Files (x86). If you have, re-run the installer and select a non windows-protected folder for your installation.

3. Does your EXE.xml file contain multiple <Launch.Addon> sections?  If so, try removing the other entries and see if it starts when no other entry present. If so, you can then add back in the other entries one-by-one - initially add these before the FSUIPC7 entry. If it fails to start when adding an entry (or the entry that you are adding fails to start), try re-ordering the <Launch.Addon> sections. If an entry for another program prevents FSUIPC7 from being auto-started, regardless of the order of the entries, then consider starting this application using FSUIPC's facilities to start/run external applications instead (registered versions only - see the FSUIPC7 Advanced User Guide for details).

4. Are you running MSFS as an Admin user? If so, set FSUIPC7 to also be ran as an Admin user (as well as any FSUIPC7 client applications that you may use). All MSFS client applications (and FSUIPC7 client applications) must be ran at the same privilege level. It is recommended to run as a normal user (i.e. not Admin) unless you have a good reason not to (and you know what you are doing!).

5. Check windows access permissions on the EXE.xml file and all folders under which this file resides.

6. If you have some anti-virus software running, check that this is not interfering by temporarily disabling and starting MSFS. If FSUIPC7 auto-starts when your anti-virus software is not running, you will need to add an exception or permissions to allow MSFS to auto-start FSUIPC7.

If all else fails...

If none of the above suggestions work, then I'm afraid that I am out of ideas and do not understand why MSFS cannot auto-start FSUIPC7. You can try reporting this to Asobo. You can also try switching to the other method of starting FSUIPC7, via the MSFS.bat file. To do this, you need to re-run the installer and manually selecting the MSFS.bat method in the Components selection page.

If FSUIPC7 does not auto-start with this method, first open  the MSFS.bat file and find the line that starts FSUIPC7 - it will look something like this:

:: wait for MSFS to start (2mins)
timeout /t %delay% /nobreak > NUL

:: start FSUIPC7
start "" "D:\FSUIPC7\FSUIPC7.exe" "-auto2"

N.B. The path shown to your FSUIPC7.exe will/may be different.

Open a command terminal and try entering the start command in a terminal, e.g.
    start "" "D:\FSUIPC7\FSUIPC7.exe" "-auto2"
(N.B. your path may vary)
If FSUIPC7 does not start, you should get a windows error message or error number that you can look-up to rectify.

Summary

The FSUIPC7 auto-start component uses the EXE.xml facility provided by MSFS to allow MSFS to auto-start FSUIPC7. If the EXE.xml file is in the correct location and format, and FSUIPC7 still does not auto-start, there is nothing I can do. Check the recommendations above,  and if all else fails try reverting to the old method of auto-starting MSFS, using the MSFS.bat file.

Final Remarks

I have nothing more to say on this issue other than what is provided here. Any new topics created in this issue will be closed/locked with a reference to this FAQ topic. You are welcome to comment on this topic, but any further requests for help with this issue will be ignored (I have nothing further to say on this topic!). However, any additional information or comments on how to improve this FAQ entry gratefully received.

John

Edited by John Dowson
Updated for 7.4.13, where EXE.xml is default auto-start method
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  • John Dowson changed the title to [MSFS] FSUIPC7 auto-start with MSFS2020
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  • John Dowson changed the title to [MSFS] FSUIPC7 auto-start with MSFS2020

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