How To Programmatically Locate X-Plane 9 or 10

This article describes how to locate a user’s X-Plane 9 or 10 installation – it is targeted at third party add-on vendors who want to make the installation process easier for users.

Important: a user may have more than one copy of X-Plane 9 or 10 installed on their computer.  While we expect normal users to have only one copy of X-Plane, there is no requirement that there be a single installation.

X-Plane creates a text file in the user’s preferences that lists all known locations of X-Plane.  The file is a simple text file with each line being a full path to an X-Plane installation location.

Not every file path points to a valid installation location.  If the user has moved X-Plane, then some of the paths may be old and stale.  An installer must examine each of the install locations and determine whether the location is in fact a copy of X-Plane.  X-Plane’s updater simply validates that the directory exists, but you could also verify the presence of the Resources folder inside the root folder.  You cannot assume that any given executable will be in place, as the executable names vary by operating system.

The installation list file is named x-plane_install_10.txt for X-Plane 10 and x-plane_install.txt for X-Plane 9.

The location of this file varies by operating system:

  • OS X – the file will be in the user’s preferences folder, e.g. ~/Library/Preferences/.
  • Windows –  the file will be in the user’s local app data folder, e.g. C:\Users\nnnn\AppData\Local\.  Use CSIDL_LOCAL_APPDATA to find the location.
  • Linux – the file will be in the user’s home folder in a .x-plane/ sub folder, e.g. ~/.x-plane/.
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