Beginners Guide to Downloading and Installing MSTS Add-ons
|By M. Peddlesden, Copyright ©2002 - 29 May 2002|
Section 1: Introduction to Downloading
One of the problems with downloading lots of files is the mess that you can
quickly get in to. When the file is on the web site it clearly says what it
is and encourages you to download it - however once it is on your hard drive
all you have to remind you is the filename. You can't even tell if it was a
Wagon, a Route or a Steam Loco!
With a bit of thought in advance it is possible to avoid this problem and many
others - create yourself a download directory somewhere on your PC that
you can get to easily. I then create several directories within this such as
'UK Diesel', 'UK Steam', 'UK Freight' and so forth. What you call them is
down to your personal interests.
Now whenever you download, make sure you put the file in to the correct
directory and then install it from there. This will mean that if something
goes wrong with your machine in the future, you don't have to download all
your stock again as it's all sitting in that directory (of course, this
also puts all of the files in to one place and makes it easy to back them
Installing some new files could cause you problems if you install them incorrectly,
misread an instruction or they are packaged wrongly so you are well advised to
make your life easier and do a back-up of various key areas before you start
installing new files to your system.
There are a number of areas that are worth taking a copy of before you start
anything. The first is the Train Simulator\TRAINS directory. This will capture
all of your presently installed stock items as well as all of the consists that
are configured on your system. The resultant back-up could very well get
quite large so it might be worth archiving it on to CDR if you have a CD writer.
It is worthwhile making a back-up of your default TRAINS directory before you
start so that you have an easy way back to the beginning without having to go
through the lengthy re-installation process again.
Another area that is worth taking a copy of is the Train Simulator\GLOBAL directory.
This contains lots of global information and in theory there is very little should ever go
in that directory. There are however some add-ons such as XTracks that will
go in to it so having a back-up of this directory along with your default TRAINS
directory back up again provides a quick way back to the start if things go
How do I make a back-up?
The simplest form of a back-up is simply to copy the directory from its resting
place to somewhere new on your PC. Perhaps create a 'backups' directory and
put all your back-ups in to there. A little text file created in something like
WordPad or Notepad and kept in your backups directory could then be used to
keep note of what you have backed up and when.
An alternative back-up is to use a ZIP utility such as Winzip - Read the
documentation for your ZIP tool to find out how to back up directories and
that could save you a lot of space.
What tools will make my downloading life easier?
A Download Manager is a very worthwhile tool to have on your PC. These allow
you to stop and resume downloads - so if your connection drops half way through
a big download you can just set it going from where it left off, where as without
a download manager you will find yourself having to start from the beginning
There are many Download Managers on the 'net, search around and ask
on the forums for peoples recommendations.
A ZIP tool will also be invaluable (and rather necessary!) - most people use
Winzip but it isn't the only tool
available and indeed Windows XP users have Zip access built right in to
If you have a CD Burner then I would suggest making good use of it to back up
your downloads and backups directories in case the worst happens with your
PC and you need to wipe and re-install the operating system (installing files
and using Train Simulator is highly unlikely to cause this unfortunate event,
but there are many other things that can cause problems with your PC so try and
make Train Simulator one less headache in such an event :) ).
Section 1: Introduction to Downloading
Section 2: Locomotives and Wagons
Section 3: Activities
Section 4: Cab Views and Sound Packs
Section 5: Routes