Prepar3D – To Update or Not To Update

As the title line reads, Prepar3D – To Update or Not To Update….Yes, Ladies, Gentlemen and Children of all ages…That is the question and the subject of this blog posting.  For the record, I recently updated to the latest and greatest version of Prepar3d version 4.5.  I’ve also taken the time to prepare an updated “How to update Prepar3D” tutorial document.  While there really was nothing wrong with the older document which I published in June 2018 (discussing updating from v4.2 to v4.3), I figured…Oh why not!  Anyway…

Not all Games are created equal

Generally speaking, with many of the other simulation based titles I enjoy playing…there’s usually never hesitation to apply a patch or game update.  For the record, and most of my regular readers will know that my gaming collection only consists of a few titles including Farming Simulator 19, American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and a few others.  My main gaming interest is in simulation based games.  All the titles I’ve just mentioned (and everything else for that matter) with exception to Prepar3d are Steam based games.  So the update process is automagical.  Being an IT Professional, I’m fairly diligent in keeping backups of the various “game specific” folders where things such as mods and profile game saves are stored.  While I do hear reports of some folks experiencing a game save malfunction during a patch update, I’ve never personally experienced it.  I’ve also successfully moved my original game saves from one machine to another as I did last summer when I built the GBS Beast Mark V.  Which by the way is still purring along just fine.  (knock on wood)

Back on Subject

I’ll be honest, while the Prepar3d (P3D) update process isn’t rocket science…I won’t lie to you and say that it doesn’t make me nervous.

In and of itself, the process to update P3D from version 4.4 to 4.5 is easy.  Actually it’s very easy as I’ve documented.  Follow these steps and the process is quick and easy.  However, transporting dynamite is also a straightforward process as well.  After all, just load it in a truck and drive down the highway.  What could possibly go wrong?  Exactly!!!!

So Many Moving Parts

Unlike all the other simulation games I mentioned before, 3rd party add-ons or mods for Prepar3d are as cantankerous as that load of dynamite.  Bad things…really, really bad things can go wrong anytime you start messing about with the foundation of the sim.  Especially when you are like me and have over 175 different add-ons which are installed to make my P3D experience “As Real As It Gets”.  If something goes horribly wrong with the update process, the side effects can mean I’m spending the next many, many, many hours rebuilding my PC and my Sim from scratch.  This fact would almost make any sane person steer so far clear of an update or change.  But who said we’re sane???

Of course, all these bad things can also occur each time we’re alerted to an upcoming Windows 10 update.  As President Ronald Reagan once said, the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.  Well…not sure how that stacks up against that dreaded message that states “Windows 10 has downloaded updates”.  These are the things nightmares are made of.  But here I go again….digressing.

It’s All Part of the Experience

For me, and since I do enjoy helping others…staying on the cutting (and sometimes bleeding) edge is all what it’s about.  Prepar3D version 4.5 was released on 9 April 2019, between work, the sudden death of my mom and many other factors…I opted to delay the process by about two weeks.  This delay did work to my advantage as it allowed me to spend some time updating many of the add-ons which required updates to even work with 4.5.  With all that done, I set aside some time to perform the update just as I described in the updated tutorial and I was back flying in no time.

Final Thoughts

I’ll begin my final thoughts with a question which perhaps you’ve been pondering.  Why do some people have so many terrible things go wrong when they update P3D?  If you drop into some of the Flight Sim Facebook groups or forums, you can spend the next (how ever many hours you want) reading sob story after sob story about how everything went sideways with the update and now they are left to having to do a full install again.  Why is this?

Again, being an IT Guy I have a just a little bit of experience with this question and unfortunately there’s not just one single answer.  The answer…most likely could be any number of reasons.  But let me further bang on and I’ll let you get back to your day.

If even before you make the decision to update P3D and you’re encountering the occasional crash to desktop (CTD), experiencing errors or have a really difficult time with overall performance…then these factors will play a really BIG role in whether or not your upgrade experience will be a positive one.

Just as important to the overall health of your current installation of Prepar3D, how’s Windows running?  Are you experiencing the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) events?  Do you experience issues running other Windows based applications?  When is the last time you physically cleaned out your PC?  See where I’m going with this?  If you’re having issues today, these issues should really be addressed before you pile on even more variables that can further cause problems.

My gaming machine is used for one purpose and one purpose only…to play games.  I don’t use it for anything else and while I built it just last summer, I’m fully aware that most likely sometime later this year or sometime in early 2020…I’ll need to do a complete rebuild of Windows and everything else just to keep it performing at 100%.  This process will have me out of commission for at a minimum of several days and most likely a full week.  But it’s a necessary process to having a stable gaming machine.

Well…that’s all I really wanted to say at this time.  Bottom line, I think the benefits of Prepar3d version 4.5 make it worth the effort and outweigh the risks.

Until next time…

Good luck with the update.


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