Thursday, June 05, 2008

Installer Chaos

I spent part of the morning tracking down installer issues.  Here are some things I have learned:
  1. If you have Windows Vista and User Access Control, there's a good chance that the installer may get caught on permissions problems.  I don't fully understand what's going on, but I don't think it's a coincidence that it is US GraphSim customers who see this.  

    Basically those DVDs, which went to press a little bit early, default to installing X-Plane on the C drive, which is not a generally accessible area.  UAC then makes some guesses and allows some but not all operations (or something equally weird) and the user gets stuck.

    I am still investigating, but I think the fix is to install to your home folder.

  2. Some users have bad DVDs.  It happens, and I think it happens more now that we're dual layer.  There's also a variance in the sensitivity of drives - some users send us back damaged disks and they look bad but we can still read them.

    Tech support will tell you this, but if you can't install, one test is to simply copy the entire DVD to your hard drive; if the copy fails mid-way with "I/O error" or some other message about damaged media, call up tech support, they'll swap you a new disk.

    We try to find duplication facilities that do high quality work, but bad disks do happen.  Tech support should be able to make this right for you.

  3. I've gotten a wide variety of weird reports on Linux - there are a lot of distros out there, so potentially a lot of versions of the OS code base.  For Linux users I strongly recommend the X-Plane Wiki, where we are trying to accumulate all of the fringe cases.


Jilles said...

My X-plane DVDs arrived yesterday and now you are telling me this :-)

I just installed X-plane. I ran into a couple of issues that are in my view installer bugs:

- default install location is my Desktop (Windows XP sp3). What's wrong with e.g. c:\Program Files?
- After quitting the installer and reinstalling to c:\X-plane 9, the installer failed to create a log file but it did manage to create the directory and put files in them. What about putting the log file there as well?
- The installer failed to install two files on the first disk in the directory Resources\default scenery\900 us objects\commercial: com_90_30_2.obj and
- continued the installation without further issues
- when it was done I ran the repair option twice. It failed again on both files. Instantly. Without even trying to spin up the DVD
- I located the files on the dvd and copied them over manually with no issues whatsoever. My DVD player gave no hint of the DVD being corrupted or otherwise difficult to read (believe me, I know what that sounds like).
- I ran repair again, it reported no issues.
- Since I had no log file, the only way to find out which files were missing was running the very slow repair option (scans 50000 files or so).

General comment: copying tens of thousands of very small files from DVD is a bad idea with most DVD players. Seeking is slow and the in general DVD players are much faster at handling big files. Zipping each file seperately is not good for performance. It should be much faster to use a bunch of larger zip files.

Benjamin Supnik said...

Hi Jilles,

I am aware of the performance bottlenecks, however I have not had time to address them and probably won't for a while.

What's wrong with Program Files is Vista and UAC. I'll have to blog about that some other time, but basically it's an inappropriate install location. X-Plane requires write, delete, modify, etc. access to its own folder's contents. Installing on Vista with UAC into Program files means we wouldn't have that, and that's a significant use case.

I don't know why you didn't get a log file (X-Plane Installer Log.txt) on your desktop...I've never heard of any of those cases failing. Without the log file, we can't really know what went wrong installing those two files.

sodak said...

i had the same problem and was told there are 2 ver. a yellow one and grey i had yello and was sent to Graphic Simulations.

After i ready this i told the guy b4 he sent me i had a bad dvd he didn't belive me so he sent me off after they told me to install on the desktop she had me send the log file and then last e-mail i got was "You have a bad DVD." so now i am waiting on the disk

Benjamin Supnik said...

Last poster: please email info at x-plane dot com. This blog is NOT the right place for this - you need to contact x-plane tech support directly!!

sodak said...

i did i was just telling what hapened. i just got the disk in the mail and it was fun but wanted to say thanks for the help

Anonymous said...

When i bought this sim ,I managed to install them on my old computer ,they looked like sombody had used them before ,with scratches and something greasy substance on them .On my new computer I only managed to install the first disc ,and getting missing or bad file msg on all the rest. I guess I was mailed those discs some other returned that was "readable" ,and now the problem is moved to me ,You guys loose customers ,at least 1 here ,for that lausy shipping!

Benjamin Supnik said...


This is NOT a tech support blog - any future posts regarding tech support will be rejected.

You can contact tech support via the info here:'s why I bring it up: if your DVDs are damaged or defective, simply contact tech support and they'll exchange them for good ones.

I don't know what is wrong with your disks, but I do know that we had some problems with one of the factories we were using for dupes, and changed factories recently in an attempt to get better quality to our customers.