RDS Tips
Alert: Beware of SYSTEM RESTORE!
Alert: Windows 10 may distort display
[RDS] [RDS Aircraft Design Software]
[RDS-Pro] Here are tips and tricks on the use of RDSwin, including answers to FAQ's. Most of these initial tips are available in the pop-up User's Manual, so the first tip is...Read The Manual! If you have specific questions or tips to suggest, send them to Conceptual Research Corporation .
[RDS-Student]
[Free RDS Data Files]
(Note: the information below is provided with the best of intentions but please consult an expert before modifying any computer settings. This website, CRC, and D. Raymer assume no liability if these suggestions don't work or cause other problems!)

Installing RDSwin

To install RDSwin, just click on RDSwinInstall.exe on your CD-ROM. Run it, and then follow instructions.

Or, you can do the installation yourself. Just copy the entire CD-ROM into your computer’s root directory (C:\). This will create a new directory C:\RDS-win, plus several needed subdirectories, and fill them with the program and associated files.

Today’s computers have a wide range of security software to protect against viruses and malicious software, and to protect companies from installation of unauthorized or pirated software on their computers. Depending upon the security methods in use, there may be problems getting RDSwin to run the first time. Since RDSwin is not used widely enough to be flagged as “normal” by security software, it may be flagged as “suspicious.” If so, you may have to open the security software and give RDSwin permission to run. You may need to install RDSwin while logged on to Windows as “Administrator.” You may need to “Unblock” it using My Computer or Windows Explorer. Right-click on RDSwin.exe, go to Properties, and click UnBlock.

RDSwin is not intended to be installed on a network and will almost certainly not work if that is attempted. The license specifically prohibits this, so don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work!

If you are installing RDS-Professional, the first time you run it a message will appear with an alphanumeric code generated from parameters in your computer system. Email this to the address provided and an unlock code will be sent to you. This must be entered only one time.


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RDSwin Desktop Shortcut

To set up a Windows Shortcut, use My Computer or Windows Explorer. In the main RDS directory (default is C:\RDS-Win), find and right-click on the program file RDSwin.exe, and select SendTo-Desktop. Now you can click on the Shortcut icon to start RDSwin. It looks nicer if you right-click on the Shortcut icon, select Rename, and change “Shortcut to RDSwin.EXE” to simply “RDSwin”. You can also change the shortcut Icon. Several Icons with various colors can be found in the RDSresource directory with filenames such as RDSwinIconGreen.ico.

Always Store Your RDSwin User Files in Your Windows User Folder

Windows System Restore, a nice utility to have when your computer starts acting strangely, can unfortunately "restore" your RDSwin design files to the old copies from weeks ago. During a Restore, files on your computer revert to the versions at the last Restore Point except those that reside in your own Windows User Folder. So when saving your RDSwin design files, you should create and use a directory at C:\Users\[yourusername]\RDSUser\. (The C:\Users\ part may be different for your version of Windows - look for something similar.)

If you're still using C:\RDS-Win\RDSUser\ for your design files and haven't saved the latest versions to a CD or memory stick, you can recover your files after an unexpected System Restore using the free ShadowExplorer program. PCWorld reviewed it favorably and has a download link at www.pcworld.com. After you install ShadowExplorer, you may need to run it while logged in as system administrator.

Or, you can Undo the Restore, save the files to CD or memory stick, and then Redo the Restore.

But why go to all the trouble? Do what Windows demands - save your files in your User folder. That's what it's for.


Running RDSwin under 64-bit Windows

...should be no problem for a 32-bit application like RDSwin. According to the Microsoft website , 'Most programs designed for the 32-bit version of Windows will work on the 64-bit version of Windows. Notable exceptions are many antivirus programs (and) device drivers designed for the 32-bit version of Windows'. RDSwin isn't an antivirus program and it doesn't contain its own device drivers, instead using the ones installed on your computer for printer, monitor, mouse, and the like.

If you do experience trouble, try adjusting the compatibility settings. Right-click on your RDSwin shortcut and go to the Properties-Compatibility tab. If that doesn't work, you may need to run with Administrator access. Right-click on your RDSwin shortcut and select “Run as Administrator”. If that fixes it, set the program to always run that way. Go to Properties-Compatibility tab and check the box “Run as Administrator”.

If all else fails you may need to run through a 32-bit emulator but that shouldn't be the case.

CAUTION: Windows 10 doesn't 'play nice' with screen information causing strange display problems. Click here for full discussion.


Running RDSwin under Linux or on a MAC

RDSwin can be run under Linux or on a MAC using WINE, a free open-source program that allows Windows programs to run on non-Windows computers. You aren't supposed to call it an "emulator" and in fact, WINE is said to be an acronym for "Wine Is Not an Emulator." The WINE website calls it a "compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems." Whatever. It works, and it's free.

RDSwin-Professional will probably not work under Linux or on a MAC due to the security system employed. Potential customers should contact CRC to discuss options. Or just purchase a cheap low-end PC for running RDS!


If RDSwin won't run

RDSwin has built-in error checking for likely problems, with pop-up descriptions to help you resolve any issues. Hopefully the suggestions below aren't needed...

Nothing Happens on First Use:
The most obvious problem - no offense - is that you have copied RDSwin from another computer rather than installing it from an original CD. Don't do that. Another possibility - you have somehow deleted or corrupted some of the required DLL's and resource files. Reinstall from the original CD. And another - your security software doesn't like RDSwin and is stopping execution but isn't warning you. See above discussion of installation.

Nothing Happens, or Main Menu Page Opens but Nothing Works:
You may have a bad RDSCONFG file, caused by an irregular termination or incorrect installation. RDSwin can't "find itself" because that file indicates what directory to look in to find needed resource files and images. The solution is simple - exit and delete the file RDSCONFG.RTD from your RDS directory, then restart RDSwin . A new file will be created.

On First Use RDSwin Says You have a Joystick - but You Don't:
This may also be caused by a bad RDSCONFG file (see above). If that doesn't fix it, use Notepad to open file RDSwinParams.RTD in the RDSresource subdirectory. Set the parameter JoyBreakout to minus one (=-1). This tells RDSwin to skip the check to see if there is a joystick, which seems to be returning "maybe" instead of "no." When saving the change make sure that Windows saves it in the same location as RDSwinParams.RTD and doesn’t change the extension to ( .TXT) or (.RTD.TXT).

RDSwin Won't Run, or Strange Termination Errors Occur:
If RDSwin will not run or you get strange termination errors when saving a file or selecting a command, one possibility is that Windows has mysteriously set the attributes of some needed files to Read-Only. Go to Windows Explorer and highlight all the files in your RDSwin program directory. Right-click, select Properties, and make sure that Read-Only, Archive, and Hidden are not checked. Also do this for the RDSresource subdirectory.

Another way to fix this - open the command box (Start-Run) and enter C: attrib -a -r -h RDSwin (assuming your RDS program directory is C:\RDSwin as recommended).


RDSwin is Cut Off to Right or Bottom, or Doesn't Fill Window

Some computer screens or resolution settings might clip off the bottom or right side of the RDSwin Window. This seems to be especially problematic for older versions of RDSwin running in Win10. You should see a row of buttons at the bottom of the main screen including one labeled "Exit RDS". To the right, RDSwin-Student should show a shameless advertisement link for Dr. Raymer's textbook upon which RDSwin is based. In RDSwin-Pro there should be a button taking you to the Optimization Module.

If these are missing or cropped, first try this: Right-click on screen, select Properties (or Display Settings). Look for 'Change the size of text,...' and make sure that it is set at 100%. If it isn't found as a Shortcut setting, go to your Systems Settings, Display, and set it at 100% (recommended by Windows anyway). You may have to restart your computer to make it apply properly. This almost always solves the problem, if it was set to something other than 100%.

If not, right-click on your RDSwin shortcut and try the following, in this order:

A final method is to go to the RDSresource subdirectory and open file RDSwinParams.RTD using NotePad (not Word). Find {ConXsizemult=1.0} and {ConYsizemult=0.99}, and change them to =0.95 or other numbers as appropriate. Save the file and restart RDSwin. Revise these values until the bottom buttons and right side image are fully visible. You can also try a smaller value of parameter {xShrinkWorld} in RDSwin Version 8.2 and higher. This allows both width and height of the Window to be adjusted. This only has to be done once.

These adjustments, especially Use Legacy Console, will usually fix another rare problem where the RDSwin screen is not filling the whole window and is leaving unused gray areas below and to the right.


Recovering Design Layout Module files after abnormal termination

If