Trainz/Installation Under Microsoft Windows
Introduction & Historical overview
Trainz 2009, 2010, and 2012 (TS12) are post Windows Vista/Windows 7 operating system editions, for the purposes of most computers, the unsuccessful Windows Vista has such narrow coverage and is so similar to Windows 7, herein they are normally considered and discussed identically. Trainz 2004 and Trainz 2006 were Window XP releases written before Windows Vista was released, and initially seemed to experience some compatibility issues which remained unresolved by Auran (now N3V, though still utilizing Auran as a registered Trademark) for some time. In point of fact these were not problems with Trainz, but manifestations of a more general issue with the Windows Data Structure Model and the way the operating system, as the family evolved was written to allow multiple users use the same computer with their own private 'User' run time environment with expected 'privacy fences' in the corporate world. These issues became even more severe under the release of Windows 7 and Windows 8, each of which catered further to the corporate desire to have strict controls on the users access to data and program installation over the interests of mere home users of personal computers. In a nutshell, in the corporate world, the Windows Data Model assumes a shared data area, private user data areas (...\Documents and Settings\Users\User name\Desktop\Documents etcetera under \Desktop with some run time data, usually customizations for users for such as word processors or spreadsheet default setups under \User name\Application Data\ Software suite names.
Once the interplay of Windows versus Trainz software was recognized, Auran/N3V adapted: Trainz classics and Trainz 2009 were formulated to drop the animated loader launched lead-in 'splash screen' video as Trainz loaded itself in memory and so became more compatible with Windows Vista and successors. The older Trainz releases loading issues were solved by properly setting a configuration. Note in the next section how installing an options switch in the software suites (.ini style) initialization file Trainzoptions.txt to disable the video was the most critical fix in the older best sellers of the family.
- The Secret of Avoiding Permissions problems
The true secret to avoiding problems with the corporate biases of Windows is to run everything as The Administrator, including setting even the check-box click settings Properties in the new style Desktop shortcuts and in ...users\username\start menu\Program Files\... shortcuts to run as Administrator. Failing this measure, you may find yourself uninstalling Trainz then reinstalling it. Be aware that such steps are The surest and best way is to
- 1) Set a System Restore point;
- 2) reboot the computer before any installing software on Windows after XP-SP3;
- 2a) As an option, before rebooting run msconfig.exe and disable everything in the startup keys but keyboard, mouse, video, and network support. (This is the best way to do  below; satisfies the need the best way as also turns off things like skype, dropbox, updates monitoring, etc.— all the little parasite utilities that such up machine cycles and memory, freeing both for the installation of what is likely the most complicated software package any common individual is likely to own.)
- 3) LOG IN AS ADMINISTRATOR, using the Administrator default environment, desktop, etc.
- 4) Windows installations will establish a secure HTTPS connection, so defensive/protection software will just slow things down that will take a lot of time regardless. Disable (temporarily) any defensive software such as anti-malware and anti-virus checkers, especially. Both try to vett new data written to your hard drive, and you're installing complex binary packed files from the manufacturer. Not a security issue. Feel free to leave web browser security plugins enabled—but find a good book, watch television and otherwise plan to leave the computer alone for a while.
- 5) find the downloaded installer file, right-click-drag on the drop down menu to run as Administrator; (sound familiar?)
- 5a) If you have two or more hard disc drives (HDD) it is best to install Trainz to a different drive than Windows. This will aid context swapping as Windows TEMP files, caches and swap files will be on the other drive and writing data 'drive to drive' is far faster than writing place to place within the same HDD.
- 5b) It is best to install Trainz directly off the ROOT of the target HDD —you will find manipulating assets in Trainz sometimes requires editing files and you will save tons of time having them several directory folders higher in the folder hierarchy.
- 6) Be advised Trainz base install can take a while (1/2 to 2 hours), but software updates, including some that want to auto-launch when you next run Trainz can take 4-5 times that duration as the data base must sometimes be converted.
- 6a) Launch any updates when ready for bed, or you won't miss the computer for a while as with the install. Since these trigger in succession, Trainz may ask you to install available 'updates' a number of times in succession, after each launch. The messages issued is minimal an quite inadequate for lengthy updates (particularly for new customers) and the consequent confusion is large, even to those of us familiar with some of the less professional Auran/N3V behaviors. They are a small company after all, servicing a niche market. Manpower and too few people looking at planning give them a narrow outlook at times... the web community fixes the latter soon enough usually, but that's why the updates you're about to suffer occur.
- 6a) Launch any updates when ready for bed, or you won't miss the computer for a while as with the install. Since these trigger in succession, Trainz may ask you to install available 'updates' a number of times in succession, after each launch. The messages issued is minimal an quite inadequate for lengthy updates (particularly for new customers) and the consequent confusion is large, even to those of us familiar with some of the less professional Auran/N3V behaviors.
Consider an update an new install
As a further good practice to avoid troubles, while installing any Trainz from DVD or the cloud, or running Content Manager for a large download of free assets, temporarily disable antivirus, and Anti-malware scanner software and any such monitoring software that scans files and generally slows down the data streaming process. This suggestion does not include disabling the parts of Anti-malware and Anti-virus browser extensions of your browser if you're installing or reinstalling a Trainz version using the browser to access a purchase at the Auran.com store or a third party reseller such as Amazon.com, where in fact the first thing you download is a download manager which will establish a fast download path using FTP protocols ahead of actually downloading and launching the Trainz self-installer. Browser plug-in and extensions management will generally be accessible via Tools>Options>Advanced, but vary browser to browser. Disabling such may speed the download of the download manager, but when launched it is not using the browser facilities at all, so little benefit accrues from such a step.
Quality Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus software will generally have the feature under properties of suspending their monitoring for various time periods, up to and including the next time you reboot; select a period of an hour or two, but stay off your browser.
This step is to free up resources and minimize cycle stealing by background processes for the Trainz data base initialization is both memory and processor intensive.
- Set a System Restore Point as follows:
- In XP — Click
- a. Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools, and then click System Restore.
If this method does not show a shortcut for Restore, try instead
- b. Start > Run [type Restore][Enter] which should open the Restore folder, click 'rstrui.exe' to launch system Restore. The System Restore Wizard opens. Instruct it to set a Restore Point, name it something like: 'Before Installing Trainz 20xx'.
- a. Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools, and then click System Restore.
- In 7 and Windows 8 — Click
- a. Start > Control Panel > Recovery — then LMB-Click 'restore your files' in the left pane (looks like a hyperlink)
- Now close unnecessary resource stealing memory resident launchers and monitoring kernels. About the only thing needed that will not get in the way to some extent is the Applications kernels controlling your internet access, and your video control such as graphics card settings control panel launcher. These are passive settings facilities and do not consume significant resources.
- An alternative to the below one by one method would be to run the MSCONFIG utility (Start>Run>[msconfig][Enter]) and disable these memory resident kernels by specifying they not be initialized upon rebooting, then rebooting. This method has the objection that you might forget to re-enable such, whereas the below, will resume normal operation, the next time you reboot.
- Do close Scheduling software—including the many auto-check for updates kernels, power management software, system health management software such as Advanced System Care and any disk or games optimizers, cloud synchronization software such as Dropbox and most other quick launch printer or graphic program resident software's memory resident kernels such as GIMP, Photoshop, Solid Works, as are listed in the lower right quick launch bar of Windows near the clock display. These are accessible through their properties: Right-Click-Hold until they open a drop down menu and then by dragging to options, or exit or suspend as the applet provides as options. A left click will usually launch the application or open a control window, so would be counterproductive.
- It is especially important during the install, and for a while after while the Trainz database cranks in self-checks and checks for updates to disable Anti-virus and Anti-malware scanning software, and file indexing software. Once the download manager expands the Trainz loader, the installation will for a time use up to 100% of CPU cycles, and you may see an alert to that effect from Windows. This is normal.
- These are all 'start up' loaded facilities which will be restored by rebooting. When you are ready to install, only one to three kernal's should still be showing in the quick launch bar, in particular your internet kernal.
- Before installing Trainz, right-click the setup.exe file, open the properties applet, and select the option to "Run As Administrator". (Skip under Windows XP)
- Before installing Trainz, have ready to hand either from the boxed DVD sticker or by copying from the web download service your twenty digit 'serial number' installation key. If you have previously registered a version of Trainz, you'll also want your Trainz user ID as occurs in kuid codes for content you have created. A scrap of note paper is suggested, for the key code cannot be easily cut and pasted in place, as each field must be entered in four digit groups.
- After installation, disable the Trainz intro video. To do this in TRS2006, open ...\Auran\TRS2006\trainzoptions.txt in Notepad. Be sure to use Notepad or a similar text file editor such as Notepad++ which is available online as a Freeware program under GNU licensing. Don't use Microsoft Works or Microsoft Word, or any software classed as a word processor; these place control codes and formatting embedding formatting data within the text content. This is a general rule for all .ini type files, and once you begin to create content, you will find Trainz has one for each asset called 'config.txt'.
- Anywhere in the Trainzoptions.txt initialization file, add the following command on a line of its own and exactly as it is here:
Save the modified file. The procedure is identical for TRS2004 except for the folder name. This step may be omitted in Vista and later Windows releases if you set administrator permissions as follows.
Installation path choices
You can specify where you want the Trainz application to install early during the setup wizard operations.
- Older releases of Trainz will usually default-install to ...\Program Files\Auran\TRS20xx; newer releases to ...\Program Files\N3V\TRS20xx (or \TS20xx); because many asset files sometimes need tweaked by hand editing many experienced Trainzers install to X:\N3V\... to have a much shortened pathname under the X:\N3V\TRS20xx\editing\assetFolderName pathname when editing in an asset folder, which then may better fit inside a multitab/multiwidow editor like Notepad++, or by accessing files on a browser.
Run everything as The Administrator
This section is inapplicable to Windows XP, but necessary under all later Windows operating systems.
- Set Trainz so as to run as administrator, as follows. Open Windows Explorer, navigate to the ...\TRS20xx\bin folder.
- For each of the .EXE files in that folder, right-click the file and in Properties select the "Run As Administrator" option.
- Failure to do so, may result in odd unexpected behavior, not least of which is the phenomenon of opening an asset for edit, then not being able to see the contents of the folder under the ...\editing folder.
If you are experiencing problems running Trainz, start by downloading and installing the latest drivers, especially those for the video board. These can usually be obtained from the manufacturer's web site.
- Also download and install the latest version of DirectX from Microsoft's web site.
- Maximize your Windows swap file and give precedence to programs running in the foreground as follows:
- Start>Settings>Control Panel>System>Advanced (tab); Click 'Performance', select the second Advanced Tab
- Check off Programs under Processor Scheduling
- Check off Programs under Memory usage (If you use a lot of [ALT]-[TAB] switching under other applications, leave this one alone.)
- Click on [CHANGE] button under Virtual Memory, check off Custom size and set 'Initial Size' to at least 2048 Mbytes; set 'Maximum size' to 3076 Mbytes.
- Click on Okay at each level until you return to the normal windows.
- Use My Computer or Start>Run>[C:\][Enter] to open up the Windows drive, and right-click hold or [ALT][Enter] to open the HDD properties. Check and make sure you have at least 20% of the hard disk for Windows and browsers to use for caching, and if not, consider adding additional hard disk drives or an SSD.