It doesn’t matter what genre of video game is your favorite, one thing will always be true: lost game saves are heartbreaking ordeals that cause stress and irritation. Even though video games are an activity enjoyed in our spare time, most people don’t want their game saves to vanish overnight due to a hard drive malfunction or a system crash. In the blink of an eye, a gamer could lose hours and hours of gameplay, being forced to start over from square one.
If you’ve ever lost saved game data, you know just how frustrating it can. The good news is that you don’t have to only keep a local copy of your game data. It is much better to take advantage of backup services and redundant storage to preserver all of your hard work. To help protect your character builds, achievements, and progress through your favorite video games, we’re going to take a closer look at how to backup data on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation platforms.
How to Backup Game Saves on PC
PC gamers have more flexible options for backups than console gamers because PCs don’t have code and operating systems that are as proprietary as Xbox, PlayStation, and other gaming consoles. First, let’s detail the steps of backing up PC game save data before moving on to options for consoles.
Option 1: Automatic Cloud Syncing
Many PC gaming platforms and applications, such as Steam, have an automatic cloud syncing feature that comes standard with their software. This is the most ideal solution because it doesn’t require a gamer to make any extra configurations or install any third party software. Typically, these features will completely automate the process. Assuming you don’t have Internet connectivity issues, all of your game saves will be automatically synced in the cloud, which will even allow gamers to download and restore their game saves to multiple computers.
If you do use Steam, simply click the “List View” icon near the top-right corner of the interface and locate the small cloud icon. Any games in the Steam interface that have the cloud icon enabled will automatically backup your saves. Whichever gaming interface or software you use, be sure to check for this option first, because it will help save you time and the hassle of installing additional software.
Option 2: GameSave Manager
If you don’t have a built-in backup feature with your gaming software or you’re displeased with its effectiveness, you do have alternative options such as GameSave Manager. It’s completely free to download, and it will help protect game saves by creating a custom database of installed games as well as any file save information for individual games.
Gamers also have the option of manually choosing which games they want to backup and dump all of the saves into a single database file. Like the previous option, GameSave Manager will allow a user to restore all of their game saves to multiple computers.
Without this utility, a gamer would need to go through each installed games system files and back them up individually and manually – which is a time consuming and tedious process. The problem is that most games don’t have a common directory where they save data, but GameSave Manager will help aggregate all of your data. Once installed, users can choose to make a backup of all their game data in one handy and centrally managed backup file. This utility also has a backup scheduling feature to remove the burden of manually creating backups.
Option 3: Save Games in the Cloud
Even if you don’t want to use GameSave manager and your software doesn’t include cloud syncing features, users can still take advantage of cloud services. Many online storage and backup services include the idea of a shared folder or an automatic backup folder. For example, DropBox’s shared folder automatically syncs any data dumped into its special folder to an unlimited number of devices. It may not be the most ideal solution since it takes several minutes to configure the service. However, all a user would need to do is manually choose to save game data within the shared folder.
Option 4: Manual Backups
This is probably my least favorite solution, but it is effective nonetheless. Gamers can either go through saved game data manually and copy & paste to make redundant files, or they can use backup software (which is more advantageous). However, you should be aware that games usually store saved game data in different locations and in different directory structures.
It can really eat up a lot of time trying to manually find where each game saves its data. Believe it or not, some games even store data within the Windows Registry. I would advise that you simply perform a Google search to discover where the game saves are stored, but users can also take advantage of this Wiki to save time. Gamers who use Microsoft’s Games or Windows Live should be aware that they need to copy their GFWL profile folder as well, or some of the game data may become corrupted and worthless.
PS4 – Playstation 4 Backups
The easiest way to backup PS4 games and game saves is to take advantage of Sony’s PlayStation Plus Online Storage service. However, many users have complained because Sony charges a subscription fee for this service. Convenience costs money these days, but there are alternative options. However, though some users have reported workarounds to save their data with other cloud services that they already use with their desktop computer, it is tricky and finicky at best. The best alternative option to the PlayStation Plus Online Storage service is to use the operating system’s backup utility to save redundant copies of data to a USB flash drive or other USB storage Device.
The following are the steps required to backup PS4 game saves to an external hard disk drive. Understand you will need the following: a PS4, and External HDD, a functional television, and uninterrupted power source.
- Boot the PS4 and turn on the television.
- Insert the external HDD or flash drive into one of the USB ports.
- From the main menu of the PS4 GUI, visit the “Settings” interface.
- Next, select the option labeled “Application Saved Data Management.”
- Select “Saved Data in System Storage.”
- Select the “Copy to USB Storage Device,” option.
- Select the game data you wish to copy to the external drive.
- Once the operation has completed, repeat as many times as necessary to backup all of your games.
Though Xbox does charge money for access to their online gaming network, Xbox Live, the subscription includes free access to cloud game saves. This will allow users to play their favorite games and load personal saved game data from any number of Xbox consoles. The process of saving games in the cloud is pretty straightforward, too, as follows:
- Boot your Xbox console.
- From the Home screen, go to settings.
- Next, select the System menu.
- Find and select the storage device you want to backup your games to such as the local Hard Drive or online using Xbox Live backup servers (labeled as Cloud Saved Games).
- Wait for the transfer to complete.
The worst thing than a “game over” screen is realizing that your saved game data has vanished overnight. Whether you game on PC, PlayStation, or Xbox, hardware failure can happen to anyone. Though Xbox is more notorious for the “red ring of death,” the ugly truth is that PlayStation and PC hard drives carry the same risk of failing. It’s better to take a few minutes to backup your game data than risking losing everything in the blink of an eye. Take advantage of these simple and effective ways to backup your game data!