Installing and Upgrading - V7 and Earlier
How do I install the scenery CDs (V6/V7)?
Each of the four scenery CDs contains a
single huge ZIP, containing multiple scenery folders. Open it with
WinZip on a PC or Stuffit Expander, ZipIt, or BOMArchiveHelper on a
Mac. Extract the
contents into the Resources/Earth Nav Data folder. Note: you must end
with the numbered folders in the Earth Nav Data folder. If you end up
with additional containing folders, move the numbered folders into the
Resources/Earth Nav Data folder and discard the intervening folder(s).
See the description on the
of how the scenery naming conventions work.
installed the scenery and I still only see water when I move out of
You didn't get the scenery folder
structure right. Here's a picture of what it should look like on Mac
OS-9 (only there's a lot more files and folders). You can see a similar
display with Windows Explorer.
For more ins and outs of handling
scenery, see the scenery page
Where do I get add-ons like aircraft and
There are three registries for X-Plane add-ons:
Basic scenery for the entire world was
available via free download from the Global
Scenery Project (GloS)
. The index page server is still running, but
servers hosting the actual scenery archives are no longer reachabe. It
is not currently available on CD.
The X-Plane SRTM Scenery
alternate source of global scenery. Ths is a regeneration of the V6/V7
global scenery using more detailed elevation data from the Sace Shuttle
terrain mapping missions.
Scenery for all of Mars has been available in the past but does not
appear to be currently available from any source.
Also check out the links on the X-World page
that Avsim.com requires you to establish an account (no money or
committment involved). There are links from the x-plane.org registry to
aircraft stored on Avsim. These won't work until you've established
account and logged into Avsim.
How do I install custom aircraft?
Planes built by other X-Plane users
typically packaged as compressed archives of the plane's folder
structure. All planes can be used on either PC or Mac, regardless of
where they were built. Most are packaged as ZIP archives. On a PC,
you'll need WinZip or something similar. On the Mac, either Zipit,
Stuffit Expander, or BOMArchiveHelper will do the job. Archives named
.SIT are Aladdin
archives from a Mac. You can download Aladdin Expander for either PC or
Mac for free from http://www.stuffit.com/win/index.html
In the Aircraft folder, make yourself a folder named "Third Party" or
"Custom Planes" or something like that. Put the folder tree for your
plane in here. You'll see why when we talk about upgrading.
If you're downloading planes from the X-Plane.org registry, check the
version number. The X-Plane.org registry has separate categories for
major X-Plane versions, but planes don't always get registered in the
right categories. Check the individual plane descriptions. The aircraft
format changes regurlarly, and planes built for earlier versions will
require conversion or fixups. See the Aircraft
Format and Conversion
How do I install the GloS or SRTM scenery
Both sceneries are organized and
packaged the same way. As you've probably noticed from the
web site, the scenery is organized into squares measuring 10x10
degrees, with one RAR archive per square. You will need Stuffit
Expander to unpack the archives. Each archive expands into a
folder containing the individual one degree .ENV files. (See the scenery page
How do I install
Caution: The terrain file format
changed in X-Plane Version 6 and again in version 6.10. V5 custom
scenery packages do not work with V6 or V7 and require significant
conversion effort. V8 will accept V7 custom scenery packages. Also note
that the folder structure changed after Version 5.54. If you're still
running 5.54 or earlier, see the Version 5.54
When X-Plane loads scenery, it looks first in the custom scenery
folders on the HD. If it's not there, it looks in the general scenery
folders on the HD. Finally (versions 6.04 and earlier only), if it's
there, it looks on the CD. This way, you can supersede the default
scenery with custom or modified scenery on your HD. Custom scenery
consists of four categories of material:
- custom terrain textures - the appearance of the terrain
- custom objects - the shapes for buildings, bridges, etc.
- custom object textures - the colors and patterns for the
- ENV files - terrain files that define terrain elevation,
texture, and object placement.
Most scenery packages will have their
contents organized accordingly. You'll find folders named
Custom Terrain Textures,
Custom Objects, and
Custom Object Textures
Earth Nav Data
X-Plane versions 6.50 and later support custom scenery folders. To
install custom scenery, simply extract the scenery package archive into
the Custom Scenery folder. You should end up with a folder with the
of the custom scenery package inside the Custom Scenery folder. Inside
the package folder you should have the above four folders. You'll find
correctly installed example in the X-Plane installation named San
Bernardino Example. (Changed to X-Plane Default Demo Area in version 8.)
The following discussion applies to versions of X-Plane earlier than
Simply copy the contents of these folders into the corresponding
folders in the Resources folder on your HD.
you'll find in the scenery package one or more folders with 6 digit names, like +040-130.
These folders contain the custom ENV files. Copy these into
Resources\Earth Nav Data on your HD. If you already have an ENV folder
with the same name, you'll have to copy the individual ENVs into the
existing folder to avoid losing the others you already have there. If
you have existing individual ENVs with the same name, you're stuck.
Short of a very tedious process of merging the changes to the ENV,
you're going to have to choose between one or the other.
the custom objects and textures to be organized into subfolders.
packages that take advantage of this feature have their files
correspondingly organized. Always place the files as directed by the
scenery package. The ENV file contains the path name to the textures
objects, so their location must match what the scenery creator built.
Some scenery packages were designed for earlier versions of X-Plane and
instruct you to put the ENV folders into the Additional Nav Data
This is out of date, although they will work in versions thru 5.66..
custom ENV folders must go into Resources\Earth Nav Data. Also note
the ENV folder names always have 3 digits each for latitude and
Can I upgrade my copy of
X-Plane is upgradeable within each
major version. To move to a later major version you'll have to buy the
CD or DVD for that version. Minor version upgrades are free. For the
last minor version or each major version, see the bottom of the retail CD page
I'd like to upgrade to a later version of
Typically, you will see both a full download on the FTP
site. Sometimes there is also a mini-upate, but these have been rare
lately because their installation is relative error-prone.
Why is there no mini-update?
The mini-updates require manual
installation of the files. This tends to be error prone and has caused
so many complaints and support calls that it's been mostly abandoned.
OK - I need to install the full download.
How do I install it?
Just expand the archive into a new directory tree, like you did
with the original download. If you installed your previous version with
an installer (you'll get this with the Windows retail versions), you'll
have a set of shortcuts on your desktop or Start menu that point to the
old version. Delete these, and if you like, replace them with shortcuts
to the new executables. Once you're happy with it and you've rescued
anything of yours out of the old tree, delete the old directory tree.
What about the scenery I installed from
Just move them from their locations in
the old X-System folder to the corresponding locations in the new
- All the numbered folders in Resources\Earth Nav Data
- All the numbered folders in Resources\Mars Nav Data
Don't simply move over the
Resources\xxx Nav Data folders, because they also contain the airport
and navaid data files, which are frequently updated in new X-Plane
What about my custom planes and scenery?
Back to the Install/Upgrade
That's why I told you to put your add-on planes into a separate folder.
Just move it from the old X-Plane tree into the Planes folder in the
Custom scenery, 6.50 onwards:
Simply move the folders in your Custom Scenery folder from the old
version to the new version.
Custom scenery, pre-6.50 to 6.50 and later:
Any custom scenery you have is currently mixed in with the default
scenery on the HD. For this upgrade, you'll be best off reinstalling
your custom scenery packages into the new Custom Scenery folder so that
they're separate from the default scenery. For details, see the installation instructions above
. You could just
move your existing scenery folders forward, but sooner or later you're
going to have to bite the bullet and get with the new custom scenery
Custom scenery, pre-6.50:
Because most of the scenery files shipped with X-Plane don't change
from version to version, you're best off moving your Earth Nav Data,
Custom Objects, Custom Object Textures, and Custom Terrain Textures
folders from your old version to the new version. The only files that
get updated regularly are in Earth Nav Data: apt.dat, nav.dat, and
fix.dat. Use the new ones from the new version to replace the ones in
your old. Check the other folders to make sure you're not missing
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