Microsoft Flight Simulator Xbox: List of known bugs, launch issues, and how to fix them

Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Flight Simulator Flying With Friends

Source: Asobo Studio | Xbox Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Asobo Studio | Xbox Game Studios)

Microsoft Flight Simulator is finally available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in addition to PC, and it looks frankly stunning on Microsoft's powerful current-gen consoles. However, it's not been entirely smooth as some players are experiencing some turbulence getting into Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox the first time around, with a handful of bugs and issues detracting from the experience. We've scoured the internet to compile all the known bugs and launch issues for Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox we could find, including some methods to fix them, potentially.

Even with a contingent of problems currently plaguing the game, Microsoft Flight Simulator still holds on tightly to its place on our list of best Xbox games. If you want to know why, be sure to check out our full Microsoft Flight Simulator Xbox review for the full scoop.

What are the top bugs and issues in Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox?

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Sloped Runway

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Here are some of the biggest problems afflicting Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox right now, and how you might be able to fix them.

Game not starting

Summary: Microsoft Flight Simulator is behaving as if the game hasn't actually released yet, and won't start

Quick fix / workaround: Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox has a day one patch update that needs to be downloaded before playing

Some players are reporting that, even after Microsoft Flight Simulator officially launched on Xbox, they are unable to start the game. In the cases we've seen the reason behind this is because, even if you preloaded or preinstalled Microsoft Flight Simulator on your Xbox, there's still a sizeable day one update to install before you're able to play MSFS.

Before you try and play Microsoft Flight Simulator, be sure to check for updates on your Xbox to see if you've downloaded the day one update. If you have the full MSFS downloaded (coming out to about 102 GB), the day one update should be around 27 GB. On the other hand, if you've elected to remove the "offline mode" pack for Microsoft Flight Simulator to bring your total install size to around 42 GB, the update should be about 18 GB. Installing the day one update does not affect the total install size of the game.

Endless search for updates

Summary: Microsoft Flight Simulator always checks for updates at launch, and many players are experiencing extremely long waits

Quick fix / workaround: Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this issue other than simply waiting (between 5 and 30 minutes)

Microsoft Flight Simulator is a massive game, and it has countless add-ons and additional installations (over 200 right from the start!) that can all be updated independently of the main game. Because of this, Microsoft Flight Simulator will always automatically check for updates whenever you start the game. Some players are reporting that this screen never progresses and that they're unable to make it past.

Just like the endless loading bar below, it seems players may need to wait this one out. Hopefully, Xbox Game Studios and Asobo Studios will update MSFS to resolve this aggressively long wait times to play the game, but for now players may have to wait upwards of 30 minutes to get past this screen (or the endless loading bar). Fortunately, both of these issues seem to be relatively random. While we were affected by the endless loading screen, we did not experience the endless updates screen.

It's worth mentioning that this bug, and the endless loading bug found below, may simply be related to the large influx of players connecting to the Microsoft Flight Simulator servers during the Xbox launch, and may resolve themselves automatically as things stabilize and calm down.

Endless loading bar

Summary: The initial loading screen for Microsoft Flight Simulator can take ages to progress, often freezing close to completion

Quick fix / workaround: Unfortunately, there's no easy fix for this issue other than simply waiting (between 5 and 30 minutes)

When you first start up Microsoft Flight Simulator, you're met with the typical loading screen and a frustratingly slow blue loading bar at the bottom of the screen. While it makes sense that the game's first launch would take the longest, MSFS has been taking seemingly forever for a lot of players. The loading bar will progress at a pretty standard pace until near the end of the screen (about 80-99%), and then simply freezes.

While we can't speak for every case, this doesn't appear to be a game-breaking bug like it might at first glance. We also encountered this issue when first starting MSFS, but an extended wait of about ten minutes resolved the problem. Some players reported having to wait for fifteen minutes or more for this initial loading bar to complete. This is understandably frustrating, but probably the best thing to do with this loading bar is simply to wait.

This bug is almost identical to the endless updates screen bug above, but we've seen some cases of crashes on this screen, resulting in players having to restart their long wait.

Summary: Various menus in Microsoft Flight Simulator either freeze, don't show the cursor, or are difficult to navigate

Quick fix / workaround: Players have been able to circumvent this bug by waiting patiently, restarting the game, connecting a USB mouse, and even opening the Xbox Guide and closing it again

As a simulator, MSFS features a ton of various menus that players need to navigate to set up flights, choose activities, download additional content, manage settings, and interact with the game's numerous systems. We've seen reports that many of these menus are freezing for players, or they're unable to reliably navigate the menus without the cursor jumping around or failing actually to interact with menu elements.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an easy fix for this, even if you're patient. We've seen signs that this problem can be resolved simply by waiting, like many of Microsoft Flight Simulator's other issues, and that the menus aren't necessarily frozen, they're just incredibly slow. Restarts may also fix the problem with menus in MSFS, but this comes with the risk of encountering one of the endless loading bugs mentioned above.

Other players have reported being able to fix the problems with the menu by plugging in a USB mouse and using the mouse to navigate, but this is an imperfect solution. One of the easier fixes that may not work is simply opening the Xbox Guide (by hitting the "Xbox" button your on controller) and then immediately backing out. Since we haven't experienced this particular bug, we haven't been able to verify these fixes.

Forced crashes and closes

Summary: Microsoft Flight Simulator is force closing to the Xbox Dashboard, particularly during the endless loading screen

Quick fix / workaround: Unfortunately, there's no easy fix for this issue other than restarting the game and trying again

Seemingly playing into the issues Microsoft Flight Simulator is having loading into the game or checking for updates, some players are reporting forced crashes that send them back to the Dashboard. As Microsoft Flight Simulator's Xbox launch continues, we're starting to see more of these reports coming in. If Microsoft Flight Simulator's lingering Xbox launch issues are due to an influx of players stressing servers, it's possible that the issue is only getting worse as we reach the peak traffic time of day.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a fix to prevent these crashes at these times, and some players are reporting being subjected to the endless loading bugs again after restarting the game. If you're afflicted by a crash, you'll either need to restart the game and run the risk of a long wait again, or wait until later today to see if servers stabilize for Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox.

What are the other bugs and issues in Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox?

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Robin DR400

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Here are all of the other, less serious known bugs and issues in Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox, and how you might be able to fix them.

Random Achievements being granted

Summary: Some players are being granted a completed Xbox Achievement when first starting the game

Quick fix / workaround: This isn't really a bug that needs to be worked around or fixed, but it may be annoying for Achievement completionists

While not as egregious or as frustrating as other MSFS issues, this is still undoubtedly a bug. When first starting the game, some players are reportedly being granted a random Xbox Achievement. It's hard to tell, but the random Achievement may be related to whether or not you've played the game on PC (and may even have been an Achievement that was completed on PC but never given).

We ran into this issue personally, as I earned the "Challenge Accepted" Achievement (complete any activity) upon first starting Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox but before actually playing the game. I previously had played MSFS on PC just long enough to finish the first tutorial and had not been given any Achievements.

Xbox friends not appearing in leaderboards

Summary: Xbox friends that also play Microsoft Flight Simulator are not appearing on in-game leaderboards

Quick fix / workaround: Add your Xbox friends to your Microsoft Flight Simulator friends list as well to make them appear on in-game leaderboards

If you have a lot of friends on the Xbox network and like to play competitively, it may have been disappointing not seeing them appear on the in-game leaderboards in Microsoft Flight Simulator. This is a known issue, and also has a pretty simple fix, if a little time consuming.

If you want to see you Xbox friends appear on in-game leaderboards, be sure to add them as friends inside Microsoft Flight Simulator as well. Once they accept your in-game friend request, they'll appear on leaderboards like normal.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.