Back-up your files. We are all told over and over again that we should back up our files and save games and yet few of us do, often because we’re not sure how. Back-up your files. This week I will be looking at the PC and next week at the PS3. Cloud saves on the PC is not anywhere near as simple as cloud saving on the Xbox 360 which we looked at last week, so I am simplifying it to two possible options: Steam and Dropbox.
Cloud saving on Steam
If you are a Steam user, this is the easy option. The Steam service includes 100MB per user per game and this space can be use for storing personalized settings (such as keymaps), screenshots and save games. The catch is that the cloud save options has to be added to the game by the developer. Most new games have the the option built in and some developers have patched popular older games to allow for it, but if they haven’t, you cannot cloud save it.
The second option is far more complicated. If you are not a Steam user or have a copy of a game that you cannot add to steam, you can cloud save your files using Dropbox. Dropbox is a popular service that allows you to sync files from one computer to another and provides access to your files online – the process won’t be quite the same for every game, but with a little tinkering you should be able to adapt it. I would not recommend trying this unless you are reasonably confident in your tech savvy.
- Install Dropbox at http://www.dropbox.com/ You receive 2Gb for free which will be plenty for our purposes as save files are quite small.
- Locate your Dropbox folder – by default on most machine’s it will be in “My Documents” folder
- Locate the game save files – this can be a little involved and the easiest way is often just to google the default location for the specific game. I am going to use Minecraft as its fairly typical example – the files are in AppData.minecraft
- Copy the game files from their original location to a named folder within the dropbox folder. In this example I would create a “Minecraft” folder within the Dropbox folder. Note it is a copy not a cut and paste – the original files should not be moved.
- Rename the original .minecraft folder – I am using “mcbackup” as a new name, but call it anything you want.
- Create a symbolic link – which is much easier than it sounds. Install a piece of software called Link Shell Extension which will allow you to create these via a right click menu option.
- Right click on your new folder in Dropbox – in our case “My DocumentsDropboxMinecraft” and select “Pick Link Source” from the context menu.
- Go back to the original location “AppData.minecraft” and right-click somewhere blank and select “Drop As Junction” from the context menu.
- Optional alternative: If that didn’t make sense it is possible to do on the command line as well – the example command here would be ” mklink /d %appdata%.minecraftsavesMinecraft
- Now when you reload Minecraft the program will look in Appdata.minecraft for the save game files but will be bounced over to My DocumentsDropboxMinecraft where it will find them. These save game files will be backed up to the Dropbox servers and there is the additional benefit that if you follow the same procedure on another machine you can use the same save files on any computer.