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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 up!).

Safety Precautions

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 wrong.

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 again!

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 their system.

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 :) ).

Introduction
Section 1: Introduction to Downloading
Section 2: Locomotives and Wagons
Section 3: Activities
Section 4: Cab Views and Sound Packs
Section 5: Routes


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