How to install Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Here's how you can install and play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

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At long last, the highly anticipated Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has arrived, bringing some truly stunning next-gen graphics. Currently only available for download on PC, there are still a variety of options on where to pick up Asobo Studio’s new flight simulator. The process is a bit trickier than with your average game. We’ve put together a guide to show you exactly how to install Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

How to download and install Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Microsoft Flight Simulator can be purchased from Steam, the Microsoft Store, or the Xbox App on PC. 

To download Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, you’re going to have to make a couple of decisions. First, you need to choose which version of the game you’d like to play. Next, which digital storefront you want to purchase the game from. If you’re an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you can pick up the Standard Edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 via the Microsoft Store or Xbox App at no additional charge. Others can pick the game up for $59.99 USD on Steam.

For Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, you’re going to navigate to the Microsoft Store/ Xbox App page for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and select “install.” The download should initiate. The install will be noticeably short, coming in at under 1 GB of space. Once this is completed, launch the game. Here, you’ll be asked to apply some basic settings, and then pick a designated install location for the game’s full list of content. The download will need roughly 152 GBs of space, so make sure you’ve got the storage available. 

For Steam users, you’ll need to purchase Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and download the initial smaller client. You’ll then be asked to sign into your Microsoft account. From here, the process identical to the steps listed above.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has an install size of approximately 152.4 GBs

If you experience issues trying to initiate the second, larger download within the client for Microsoft Flight Simulator, you’re going to need to double check your version of Windows. To properly install the game, you’ll need to be running Windows 10 version 2004. To check this, press the windows button and type “about your PC” into the search bar. This should bring you to the “about” page in the system settings. Scroll down to “Windows specifications” and check the “Version” listing. If your current Windows is older than 2004, you can opt to check for a new update and install 2004.

While the second, much larger package is downloading, we recommend that you keep the game client running in the background, as not to interrupt or cancel the download. Once finished, the game client will close itself, and you can finally load in and take to the skies.

Now that you know how to install Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, you’re ready to take off and soar around the globe. For more on Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, check out the game’s PC specs and requirements.

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 18, 2020 2:00 PM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, How to install Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

    • reply
      August 19, 2020 4:42 AM

      “The download should initiate.”

      Sadly not for me :(

      Beat my head on google tech support for a few hours last night I give up for now

      • reply
        August 19, 2020 4:49 AM

        damn :( what issues are you experiencing?

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          August 19, 2020 4:57 AM

          The Xbox installer won’t recognize either of my drives as suitable for install and refuses to do anything :( no error message just clicking does nothing. Tried like 8 workarounds online super annoying.

          I signed up for game pass so I thought I’d give it a week or two, but part of me is like just wait for the 3090 and new AMD CPUs and get again in November ..

          • reply
            August 19, 2020 5:03 AM

            Did you try from the MS Store, not the Xbox app/installer? That's definitely a new one I haven't seen yet. But in the Store, you should be able to get to "install on my devices" and see if that gets you anywhere.

            Pull up the add/remove programs and see if anything did actually install without you knowing? Run Windows update and make sure you don't have some system update ready to go -- that can trip up the download too.

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              August 19, 2020 5:33 AM

              Yes all of that and a zillion random fixes. Googling had all these little tricks to nudge the “managed app” containers to behave, but it just doesn’t believe I have suitable drives.

              I bet steam would work so I guess I’ll see how long I’ll hold out

    • reply
      August 19, 2020 5:03 AM

      I couldn't get to install on any drive other than C: Its not going to stay installed for long.

      • reply
        August 19, 2020 5:05 AM

        Supposedly once you're in the in-game installer, you have to choose an existing folder for install. So I created a games\flight sim folder on my non-system drive (X: for me) and was able to select that.

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          August 19, 2020 5:23 AM

          It won't even let me select another drive. Its like no drives other than C exists.

          • reply
            August 19, 2020 5:34 AM

            Yeah that’s kind of what I have going on. Only not C either haha

            • reply
              August 19, 2020 6:00 AM

              Are you guys talking about the installer from the Windows/Xbox store, or once you're in the launcher? Sorry, this is confusing because there's two "installs" ... I think gameindustryplant can't even install from the store, whereas baron calamity can install, but only to the C drive?

              The first "install" from the Store just downloads the launcher. It's less than a gig. Let that go on C: -- no big deal. Once you get into that, you can set a final install path to whatever drive. It will open an explorer pop-up and let you navigate to a folder. If that's not showing you other drives, then I don't know how to fix that.

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                August 19, 2020 6:06 AM

                Once you are in the launcher.

              • reply
                August 19, 2020 6:33 AM

                Yeah I can't even get the App Store or the Xbox app to initiate the 1.0 "launcher"/installer app or whatever it's called

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                  August 19, 2020 7:32 AM

                  damn man. I don't know :/ that sounds really frustrating. I just looked around on Reddit/the forums and couldn't find similar issues. Most people get into the launcher and then experience all of the issues. Go into Programs and Features, find Microsoft Store, advanced options, reset? Not sure what other data you lose doing that?

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                August 19, 2020 7:10 AM

                When you install to D from the MS Store, it sets up a junction point on C pointing to D. So when you launch the game and it asks to install the rest of the content, that location that looks like C is actually D

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                  August 19, 2020 7:14 AM

                  That's interesting. I'll have to check if it really was installed to a different drive.

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      August 19, 2020 5:34 AM

      I've never had a more trying time just getting a game to download.

    • reply
      August 19, 2020 6:36 AM

      I successfully flew a plan into the ground right before bed last night.

    • DM7 legacy 10 years
      reply
      August 19, 2020 7:08 AM

      I live near a small county airport and it’s amazing that I took off from it, flew around my neighborhood and then landed back safely.

      Flying by VFR is amazing. :O

      • reply
        August 19, 2020 7:09 AM

        I havent tried VR yet...does it auto recognize the headset or do you have to change any settings in the options?

        • reply
          August 19, 2020 7:17 AM

          VR isn’t in yet. Vfr is visual flight rules. So finding your way via landmarks instead of purely using instruments.

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