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If you are any of these people, then I have a juicy treat for you — and it isn’t an apple.
The batch file method:
- You can exclude or include whatever file/folders you wish.
- You always know exactly what’s backed up.
- You can use the built in Task scheduler to schedule backups.
- The capability is built directly into Windows.
- Removes the need for manual backing up via copy and paste.
- Manual editing required for each game .
Now this is the method I prefer to use so I have full control over my own files — backing up all the save games with a batch file. This batch file is a simple and effective script that runs command prompt commands using xcopy. This method isn’t without its disadvantages however, and the biggest disadvantage is that most of the work for this method has to be done by you personally.
Now that the intro and pitch is out of the way, lets get into the guts of making this method a reality. Those who have had sufficient experience with command prompt commands will find this very easy to grasp. If not then do not fret — I will explain every step in detail, and at worst you can just copy paste (I wont tell anyone).
Step 1: Creating the batch file
For this task you will need to open Notepad, or any similar text editor (I prefer Notepad ++). Once that is done save the file. Now once the save menu pops up make sure you change the file type to ‘All Files’, which lets you replace the .txt at the end of the file name with .bat. This is required for it to be treated as a batch file.
Step 2: Adding the commands to the file
Now this is one where most people would save time by copy and pasting — which is okay! Go right ahead. I will not go into great detail explaining what each command variable does, so if you want to know more, you can find out here. Type or copy and paste these into the batch file you made earlier. This helps by giving you a sort of template to work with.
set backupcmd=xcopy /s /c /d /e /h /i /r /y
::My games folder
%backupcmd% “C:\Users\%username%\Documents\My Games” “%drive%\”
::Steam User Data folder( steam cloud saves etc)
%backupcmd% “J:\Games\Steam\userdata” “%drive%\SteamUserData”
::Games for windows live
%backupcmd% “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\XLive” “%drive%\GFWL”
%backupcmd% “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft” “%drive%\.Minecraft”
::non edited templates
::backupcmd% “…source directory…” “%drive%\…destination dir…”
::%backupcmd% “…source directory…” “%drive%\…destination dir…”
echo Backup Complete!
This should be your end result:
Step 3: Re-saving and running the batch file
Once you save the batch file and run it you will notice the command prompt window come up, and the xcopy dialogue will say that it is now copying all the files you specified. My template backs up folders in My Games, Steam userdata (AKA cloud data), and the Games for Windows Live appdata folder.
This batch file can be added to Windows Task Scheduler or run as a service to enforce backing up — these however are not included in the scope of this article.
Step 4: Add file or folder exclusions (optional):
The /EXCLUDE switch links to a text file that has a list of things not to back up, which is handy to make sure that large unneeded files don’t get backed up. The file needs only display a folder or file-name like so. You can easily add this functionality to your existing file by adding the following to your file.
Put this at the end of the set backupcmd=xcopy /s /c /d /e /h /i /r /y linem so it looks like this:
set backupcmd=xcopy /s /c /d /e /h /i /r /y /EXCLUDE:C:\Users\%username%\Documents\batfiles\SaveGameExclusions.txt
Now that is done, create a simple text file called SaveGameExclusions.txt and within that type any folder or file name you do not wish to back up. Note that wildcards like *.sav should work.
Here’s what each line does:
set drive links the backup location you want to the %drive% variable
set backupcmd is the command that copies the files as you can see there is a host of switches all of which enforce file backups but you can tweak that to how you want it based on your needs.
The /EXCLUDE switch links to a text file that has a list of things not to back up which is handy to make sure that large unneeded files don’t backup. The file needs only display a folder or filename like so.
GameSave Manager method:
- Easy backup of save games
- Simple to use interface
- Task scheduling
- Doesn’t detect every game without manual configuration
- Automation means you may not notice if a game is truly backed up
Now this is a much easier tool and is available for free on the GameSave Managers website. Whilst I do not necessarily or easily trust tools such as this to reliably back up, it does offer easy compression of your files as well as being able to add timestamps to each file backed up. Installed games get detected as being present most of the time, however it also allows you to manually say you have a game installed by pointing to its file path.
One downside is that it doesn’t help you know for certain that a saved game is backed up. You can spend the time to manually add each game to this program ensure you have the files.
Step 1: Installing and running the program
On first run you will get a window like the one below. Installing this program is entire optional so you can choose to run it directly from a folder or install it. What you choose does not really matter as the program seems to function the same either way.
Step 2: Configure the program
Once you get to the menu as below, you can then click on Backup — but for now lets change the backup location manually.
Go to the Edit menu and then into Program Settings. Then select Backup Settings from the list on the left.
Step 3: Backing up your game games
After the previous step comes the list of games that it detects as being installed. At this point it may be a good idea before you begin to set a backup directory to a custom location in Properties, so you know where the files go to. Refer to the below image for the layout
Alternatively, you can simply tick the Select All Games button and then click Backup. The process could take a while as it has to turn all the files into compressed files.
Some may be aware of a similar command known as robocopy, which is more sophisticated but not necessary for simple file backups. NOTE: Some people may need to use robocopy on Windows 7 or later on some prebuilt machines (e.g HP computers) which do not have full administrator rights by default and can get access denied errors to locked files.
Save file locations:
The locations of your save files should be in fairly easy to find places in recent games such as My Documents or in Appdata. If you are unsure where save files for a particular game go, simply searching via Google will come up with an answer or heading to Savelocations Wikia.
Dislaimcer: I am of course not responsible for any user error when creating the batch file or using any other tool in this article — especially if done incorrectly. Use entirely at your own risk!