This document explains what a digital download product key is and how to use your digital copy of X-Plane.

For DVD Users

If you already own X-Plane on DVD, then the digital copy of X-Plane will not affect how you use X-Plane in any way. At any point where X-Plane requests an X-Plane Digital Download code, you can simply insert X-Plane DVD 1 and proceed. X-Plane will continue to request DVD 1 approximately once a week, and you can add and remove scenery from your DVDs at any time using the X-Plane installer.

About Digital Download Product Keys

An X-Plane Digital Download product is a long, unique series of numbers and letters that identifies your copy of X-Plane, allows you to download X-Plane directly to your computer over the internet, and allows you to run X-Plane without a DVD.

When you buy a digital copy of X-Plane from Laminar Research or another company, you receive a 24-digit code (your digital download product key).  The code consists of numbers and capital letters; the letters i and o and the numbers 0 and 1 are never used, to avoid confusion.

A Digital Download Product Key Is Like a Credit Card Number

A digital download product key is like a credit card number; the code itself authorizes you to get X-Plane, and each user has a different digital download product key code.

Digital download product keys do not have passwords associated with them; like a credit card number, if someone else has your digital download product key, that user has access to your copy of X-Plane. Just like credit cards, you should not share your digital download product key with anyone else.

If you have to contact Laminar Research customer support, we will only require the last eight digits of your digital download product key; you do not need to send your full digital download product key to anyone, including Laminar Research.

If someone manages to steal your digital download product key, piracy is prevented by fraud detection; our servers will see your digital download product key being used in a pattern that looks like multiple people (e.g. your digital download product key used from two continents at the same time) and it will be locked. You can contact X-Plane customer support ([email protected]) to receive a new, unlocked digital download product key, and your old one will be discarded.

The Digital Download Version of X-Plane Requires an Internet Connection to Run

In order for X-Plane to work (outside of demo mode) with a digital download product key, the computer running X-Plane must have an internet connection to contact our servers. X-Plane does not require an internet connection to re-validate on every single application launch, but it does require authentication frequently. If your primary use of X-Plane is on a computer that does not have net access or where net access is unreliable or rare, you should use purchase a DVD or a USB Dongle (if available).

When you authorize X-Plane using a product key, Laminar Research collects your computer’s IP address. We use this information only to verify your product key has not been stolen. We do not sell or share this information with anyone else.

Download Scenery At Any Time

With the digital version of X-Plane, you download both the core simulator and global scenery from high speed servers.  You do not have to install the entire 60 GB product at once!  In fact, we recommend that you install a little bit of scenery first and get more later, so that you can fly as soon as you buy X-Plane.

You can use your digital download product key to add scenery to X-Plane at any time by re-running the installer, picking “Add and Remove Scenery” and entering your digital download product key; you will need an internet connection to get additional scenery from our server.

Do Not Download the Product Repeatedly

While you can install scenery at any time, we strongly recommend that you not download the product over and over again for no reason.

  • If X-Plane will not work, please do not delete it and re-download it; the second copy will have the same problem. Contact X-Plane support at [email protected]
  • If you need to make a copy of X-Plane on a second computer or second hard drive, copy your current X-Plane folder, rather than installing a second copy.

A Digital Copy of X-Plane Is Not A Backup

The digital version of X-Plane is available online at any time for download, but it is not a replacement for a good backup of your computers; only a true backup can save your preferences, third party aircraft you’ve downloaded, your log book, etc.

Only the Latest Version of X-Plane Is Available Digitally

The only version of X-Plane that is available digitally is the latest non-beta version of X-Plane. If you do not want to update to the latest version, you need to make your own backup of X-Plane; re-installing the product will get the latest version.

Installing X-Plane Using a Digital Download Product Key

Installation of X-Plane using a digital download is almost exactly like installing with a DVD.

  • You’ll need the newest, latest installer that supports digital download.
  • If you own a DVD, remove it from your DVD drive before starting; if X-Plane sees a DVD, it will use it.
  • Your machine must be connected to the internet.
  • When you launch the installer and pick any option that requires modifying or installing X-Plane, you will be prompted for your 24-digit product key.  Enter it into the field and press “Next”.
  • At that point installation proceeds just like a DVD install, but without switching DVDs.

Note: installation times with digital download product keys are estimated based on your initial network speed – real install times may vary significantly.

Using X-Plane With a Digital Download Product Key

When you launch X-Plane (the digital version) with a digital download product key, it may prompt you on startup for your digital download product key if a DVD is not inserted. The digital download product key field may be pre-filled if you have entered your digital download product key before. Simply click “authorize” and X-Plane will proceed.

If you have successfully used your digital download product key before, X-Plane will try to contact the authorization server in the background without prompting you. Thus if your net connection is good and your digital download product key is not locked, you may never notice or need the digital download product key again to fly.


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