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Properly Install Content and Third Party Applications for OpenRails and MSTS

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  • Properly Install Content and Third Party Applications for OpenRails and MSTS

    Running the Microsoft / Open Rails Train Simulator is a little different from other simulators, in that there are a lot of options available for add-ons (over 30,000 in our library alone), as well as companion applications that are used to create routes, activities and even new models.

    Adding to the complexity, some of these applications date back to 2001, when MSTS was first introduced. The Windows operating system has changed quite a bit since then, and as a result, the way older app installers work has proven to be problematic.

    The community has developed a modified (and still evolving) set of best practices that are shared here to help you get as much from the game as possible.




    It's important not to install content like Routes or Trains into any of the protected directories controlled by Windows and User Access Control. These include:

    • Desktop
    • Documents
    • Downloads
    • Program Files
    • C:\Users\{username}


    Installing in a folder which is synchronized under Onedrive is also not recommended, as files may be removed from the local copy and placed into cloud storage (folders replicated to DropBox and other cloud backups do not seem to have this issue)




    Third party Utilities (e.g. Route Riter or ConBuilder) should also avoid those locations, and installed in or grouped into folders located outside the Windows protected directories:

    • C:\TSRE
    • C:\ConBuilder
    • C:\RouteRiter
    • C:\TrainUt il ities\TSRE
      C:\TrainUtilities\ConBuilder
      C:\T rainUtilities\RouteRiter
      C:\TrainUtilities\TSUt ils
      C:\TrainUtilities\ShapeViewer
      C:\TrainUt ilities\Blender
      C:\TrainUtilities\{your favorite unlisted application}


    The naming convention and locations are entirely up to you. Some people prefer to keep utilities grouped and organized, while others prefer individual folders grouped off the drive root.

    Some older 16 and 32 bit applications are unable to recognize symbolic links or aliasing where a folder is given a unique drive name (e.g. using the SUBST command to map U:\ to C:\TrainsimApps\Utilities )
    Last edited by eric; 03-16-2024, 10:09 PM.
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