Another post in the category of “things that go wrong due to stuff in your operating system”: some users have had problems automatically updating X-Plane when using Windows 10. The error manifests itself as a “permission denied” error when the installer tries to update X-Plan.exe. No one within the company has ever seen this error but we have seen multiple reports from users.

One user was exceedingly patient and ran half a dozen tests for me and sent me back mini-dump files; via this process I think I have learned what is going wrong.

  • When X-Plane goes to auto-update itself, it has to quit itself after launching the installer. If it does not, the X-Plane.exe file cannot be rewritten to a new version because it is in use.
  • A DLL (PlayToDevice.dll) gets a chance to run shut-down code as part of the OS process-shut-down procedure.  PlayToDevice attempts to de-register notifications of MIB changes and in the process hangs X-Plane.
  • When the installer goes to update X-Plane.exe, X-Plane.exe is still running (since it is hung unloading PlayToDevice.dll) and the update fails.

The bad news is: I have no idea why this is happening, what is special about the users who have this problem, or what could be causing it. I couldn’t find any useful info on PlayToDevice.dll (if you know what this is, I’m all ears) – it’s definitely not something we asked the OS for.

The good news is: you can work around this problem quite easily:

  • Quit X-Plane yourself.
  • Run the installer directly from the desktop and
  • Pick “update x-plane” and the update will work normally.

This isn’t as easy as auto-update, but it does still work.

A Possible Fix in RC3

I was able to jiggle the shut-down code to not hang one user’s system – this barely counts as a “bug fix” since it’s just me changing the order of shut-down calls and hoping something works out. But in case it helps all users, this fix is in 10.40 RC 3.

A note of warning: since the fix is in 10.40 RC3, all updates to 10.40 RC3 will have to be done by hand if you are affected.  Once you have 10.40 RC3, the next update should work correctly.  This delay is due to the bug being in the version of X-Plane being replaced.

About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.

24 comments on “Update Problems on Windows 10

    1. We don’t use any of that stuff, and the users who have this problem aren’t using a wireless display, so I’m not sure -why- we pick up the DLL.

  1. Hi Ben , any chance this RC3 Version will be on steam ? , Thank you for the work your doing , Emma– Flight Factor Aero

    1. I’m going to try to choose my words very carefully, having had this discussion with Steam users approximately 5000 times.

      As I said before, the algorithm for getting an RC onto Steam is this:

      10 Cut an RC with the latest best stable 1040 code.
      20 Wait 1-2 days, depending on whether it’s the weekend.
      30 If bugs are found, fix bugs and GOTO 10
      40 Cut the steam build

      Right now we are in “20” – we have a new RC, with the latest stable code already, and right now, no bugs have been found. But it’s also the weekend, and Steam builds depend on a number of developers to all participate.

      So as of now we are -on track- to go to 40 (build a steam build) within the next few days. But a Steam build will _not_ be built if:

      1. We find ANOTHER problem with RC3. I really really really really really hope we don’t find a problem, because I’m tired of building RCs and everyone at LR wants 1040 “out the door” yesterday.
      2. Someone else besides me who needs to participate in cutting the build ends up OOTO (E.g. takes a sick day) – you never know. I can’t promise something I’m -not- creating myself.

      But we do not NEED to go to RC4 to get Steam yet, because as of now, there are no show stopping bugs.

      Mind you, RC3 is only about 12 hours old, so it’s not like it has had a lot of time to sit.

      1. So basically you’re saying you’re not cutting a beta/rc for steam until it’s not an RC anymore but a release 🙂

  2. Can I propose a simpler explanation? At least one that appears to be the case for me?

    I have X-Plane installed on a separate SSD which is assigned as drive X: on my Windows 10 machine. That drive is also mounted as “C:\X-Plane” in the file system. To be clear, the X-Plane.exe file can be referenced either as “X:\X-Plane.exe” or “C:\X-Plane\X-Plane.exe”, and when running X-Plane there’s no difference.

    When I try to update the instance in the “X:\” directory though, I get a “permission denied” error; when I try to update the instance in the “C:\X-Plane\” directory (same thing in reality remember) everything works fine. Looking at what’s going on with the SysInternals tools, the installer is trying to do something that it’s not allowed to do to the “X:\” directory which is fine for the “C:\X-Plane” directory.

    Or would you like me to file a separate bug report…?

  3. Hi Ben,
    How many RC will be till the final release??
    Should we expect new features not listed before in the final release?

    1. The number of RCs: unknown – in an ideal world there’d be only one. It depends on how many show stopping bugs we find.

      There will be _no_ new features added while we are cutting release candidates.

  4. I’ve just noticed that when I modify a nav aid within X-Plane and save the change, X-Plane saves the change for future flights. In 10.36, it saves the change in at the Custom data folder by creating a new earth_nav.dat file or updating the older one. I’ve noticed that in the latest available 10.40rc version, X-Plane no longer creates a visible earth_nav.dat file in the custom data folder. X-Plane is reading the modified data from somewhere but I can’t find where it is being saved.

    If this is a bug in X-Plane, I’ll file a bug report immediately.
    If the bug resides somewhere within my brain, please excuse my mental challenges.


    1. Update to my previous post.

      I’ve done some more research and the latest release of 10.40 saves mods to the earth_nav.dat file in the original MASTER file, and NOT in the custom data folder. I feel this is a bug and am submitting a bug report. You may delete these posts from your blog if you feel this only muddies the water.


        1. I guess it’s possible the bug lies somewhere between my ears. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I thought we were highly discouraged from modifying any data or files located in the Resources folder because each time we update X-Plane, our modified data will be overwritten in the process of the update.
          I’m talking about modifying a nav aid (or adding a new one) in support of a custom scenery pack. I’ve done this in X-Plane 10.36 and it saves the mods to eaeth_nav.dat file in the Custom data folder. X-Plane 10.40 doesn’t do it this way.
          If this is the case, is there a way to save this data so X-Plane will not overwrite it during the update cycle?

          1. There is -no- approved mechanism to provide custom nav data with a custom scenery pack. The “Save nav data” option is primarily to allow people to create custom nav data that they can share with Robin.

            To that end, Robin is back and working on nav data – we just had a discussion last week about the process for managing nav data, so my expectation is that if you need to -correct- the nav data to support your custom scenery pack, it will be possible to do so shortly.

  5. Hy!
    I apreciate your work for us. in rc3 but even in rc1 and 2 in imac 27 late 2013 2gb vram, even in pc with gtx 670 with 2 gb. I try to fly, even in minimum but have only 10 frps, wy? In this moment i can be happy,
    In imac donwload the nvidia driver, even worst. I return to apple driver, but nothing good. In pc i have 22-27 fps, but i remember the 40 fps in 10.36. Hdr on is just a dream.
    I dont think is windows or yosemite problem.
    If it is the software problem, mybe I have bad days in simulator.
    Thanks, and god work!
    Thanks for your work, i really like xp. Ludovic

    1. Try resetting your preferences in the Output folder… 27″ Macs sometimes need to be recalibrated by throwing away the older Prefs and a rebuild of the X-Plane preferences to the new 10.40 version. SD

  6. Hey Ben,

    Just wanted to chime in and say how much I’m loving XP-10. I’ve been flying airliners lately so I really can’t wait for the extra DSF loading coming to 10.40. I did have a quick question regarding view distance though. At night, the lights (except airport lights) currently render fairly close to your location. So you see them popping on in the distance. Is this something that might possibly be addressed in a later update? Again, great work the sim has shaped up to keep me from FSX almost full time. 😉

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