Solved How to backup files on a gaming PC


Hazel123

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Just wondering if someone could help me out here. With a standard computer I just copy and paste folders from docs, pictures, videos etc, to an external hard drive - ready to reinstall if doing a clean install at some point. Certain things (like iphone backups) need a program file saving. But the teenager has a gaming pc - I know nothing about this! No idea what is saved where. I am guessing that just copying the folders in documents for all the games isn't enough and there will be some program files need backing up as well.

So while having a system image (and trying to do another one at the moment which is discussed on another thread) - that is no good for a clean install. And might need to do one at some point.
 

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barman58

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Most of the current backup options would include the ability to drag & drop individual files or folders in addition to the normal System Image which can be used to quickly restore a complete working copy of the OS. this could be to correct a fault or restore a complete OS

I personally use the Pro version of Aomei Backupper but most here use Macrium Reflect Free

I would suggest you arrange the system so you have your "regular programs" and the OS in one area (or drive), your Data on a Second

The games system would be backed up separately the games and the OS etc on a seperate area of the external drive

of course you could if you wish have seperate drives for the two systems or one large one for everything, the backup software will manages the backup files

This would allow you to backup to a seperate external drive that can be stored off line to protect the backup.

This setup should allow you to restore individual games when needed (most games are self contained)

You standard programs and the OS should also be protected

The important thing is to make backups regularly, and I would recommend that a backup is also made before any major changes Like installing a modern Game
 

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iko22

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But the teenager has a gaming pc - I know nothing about this! No idea what is saved where. I am guessing that just copying the folders in documents for all the games isn't enough and there will be some program files need backing up as well.
Depends on the game installation.
If the installation is from DVD, then you could rely on the DVD as your "backup" copy, as you can reinstall that as many times as you like. "Game progress" files are usually stored in the users documents folder, so would be automatically backed up when you archive that folder.

If the installation is from a web client site, like Steam, then you can reinstall as many times as you like by visiting Steam. The last time I looked, Steam also have their own backup tool, which allows the user to backup a game to their own storage device. Because reinstallation is so easy, I did not find much use of the Steam backup tool. Steam "Game progress" files are stored in with the program settings. I have my Steam games stored on a separate drive.
 

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barman58

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One other option is to get games from a service - Not a gamer myself but I do know there are a number of options, such as Steam where the games are purchased online and downloaded, anytime you need a refresh or reinstall you simply reload the game again
 

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Porthos

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I say we need to find out why you had so many issues with Macrium. An image is still the best way.
 

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Hazel123

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Thanks all. Yes he does have steam - and origin and various other things I don't understand. Iko - so are you saying you can go into steam and select to back up to an external hard drive? That would help. He has nothing on the PC except games - no word files, photos etc - just games! The 250gb drive is two thirds full (with Windows on - C Drive and some games). The 1tb drive is almost full - well - at 900gb. That is just games.

I am doing a system image but that would just reinstall W10. At some point, might need to do a clean install (eg if a W11 upgrade doesn't go well).

Can't quite get my head round how you reinstall the game files after backing up to an external hard drive. Also I'd need to do Steam, Origin and Minecraft all separately presumably. He's 13 so not interested in back ups lol. But I can imagine the reaction if he lost everything.
 

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    Originally installed with a 500gb H10 Optane ssd
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barman58

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Where possible I always recommend that you install your OS and applications to one drive, (or partition) and the data (Word files, Photos etc) onto a secondary drive (or partition).

In this setup you would backup the OS regularly, before an update, and after when You are sure that things are OK - I would do the same if you make major application updates. This will allow you to quickly restore to a working condition after a serious system crash which needs a fresh install - the other advantage over a traditional reinstall is that all the programs are back at the same time.

Data should be backed up as often as needed, which will depend on how often you create new data or change existing data One a week would be the longest I would suggest - I have worked on systems where external backups are performed at the point of every change ( mirroring data) though this is not often needed in Home use :wink:

the dual setup between OS/Applications and the Data means that you can schedule these backups differently and also reload a working OS with all your programs quickly without worrying about your data ( though if you had to perform a system reinstall I would backup the data first just incase)
 

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iko22

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Iko - so are you saying you can go into steam and select to back up to an external hard drive?
Read this article about backing up and restoring Steam games

Can't quite get my head round how you reinstall the game files after backing up to an external hard drive. Also I'd need to do Steam, Origin and Minecraft all separately presumably. He's 13 so not interested in back ups lol. But I can imagine the reaction if he lost everything.
Like I said, in practice you don't need to backup Steam game. If you (or rather your son) has a Steam account, you/he can log into that account on any computer and install the Steam App and re-download the game. The game image is stored on the Steam server and does not need backing up, in my opinion. If he plays the games while the Steam app is online, then his game progress is stored and synced on the Steam server. If he plays the game while the Steam app is offline, then the game progress is stored on the local computer.
So in practice, remembering the Steam account and login details is far more useful than having a game backup on your local computer disk. EDIT: I would imagine the same applies with Origin and Minecraft.
 

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Timaximus

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All the games on the secondary drive (mostly 'D') you don’t need a backup necessary.

When you need to do an clean install of W11 you only need to reinstall those few games on C via the several launchers from example Steam, Bethesda, Epic etc.

When you backup C: via an image and need to restore that, because W11 fails to install, the games on D: come alive too after the restore.

I moved installed games completely from C: to D: via Explorer by their folder, then go to the launcher and uninstall the games and reinstall them one by one to the new folder on D:. In most cases the installer is finished fast because the game files are already in that folder. And if the game has an update the installer install it too.

As already said, the progress is mostly saved online. Or else inside the already backed up ‘User’ or ‘Documents’ folders.

Regards,

Tim van S.
 

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Hazel123

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Thanks. Presumably it needs to be set to backup online as well - for game saves etc?
 

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Hazel123

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All the games on the secondary drive (mostly 'D') you don’t need a backup necessary.

When you need to do an clean install of W11 you only need to reinstall those few games on C via the several launchers from example Steam, Bethesda, Epic etc.

When you backup C: via an image and need to restore that, because W11 fails to install, the games on D: come alive too after the restore.

I moved installed games completely from C: to D: via Explorer by their folder, then go to the launcher and uninstall the games and reinstall them one by one to the new folder on D:. In most cases the installer is finished fast because the game files are already in that folder. And if the game has an update the installer install it too.

As already said, the progress is mostly saved online. Or else inside the already backed up ‘User’ or ‘Documents’ folders.

Regards,

Tim van S.
Thanks - that’s helpful. So do you mean if all games were moved to D drive then that can just be left as it is/imaged and the games would still work when Windows 11 is installed on c drive? What about program files on c drive?
 

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    Originally installed with a 500gb H10 Optane ssd
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Timaximus

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With the most modern games which are installed from the internet yes.

If you move them as I told and reinstall them in the launcher, to update the game settings information in the launcher, the launcher also know where the new game location is. For future updates etc.

Sometimes they need a complete reinstall but thats about the Launcher.

I moved Wolfenstein Youngblood and Doom 64 one hour ago this way. And uninstalled and again reinstalled them inside the Bethesda Launcher.

I have only two games on C:, Doom Eternal and Fortnite. I keep them on C: because of the better SSD speed.

If you look inside your Documents and User folders and found games folders then you kan copy those also to D: to place them back under W11.

Regards,

Tim van S.
 

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Hazel123

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Thanks. Sorry if I’m finding it hard to get my head round, but get that the launchers on c need to relate to the programs on d.

Just trying to find the easiest quickest way :). So - if I move all games to D drive. Could I then just copy and paste all program files from c drive onto external back up. Install W11 to c drive, copy back program files onto c drive - and leave d drive as it is?

And would I need to just copy the folders “program files “ and “program files x86”? Or anything else as well.
 

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    Originally installed with a 500gb H10 Optane ssd
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Hazel123

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Also EaseUS has a file back up option where it can back up all docs, pics etc and also all the files on c drive. Presumably I could just select Program data, program files, program files x86, riot games, RM (?). Anything else that is part of programs and not part of windows 10?
 

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    8gb
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    Samsung 970 evo plus 1TB
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    Could be better
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    Originally installed with a 500gb H10 Optane ssd
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
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    Asus Eee PC 1015PX 10" netbook
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barman58

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It is not usually that simple, there could be various links in various locations on the C: drive - this would depend on how the games programs are written, It may or may not work.

If you are just wanting to update the games system to Windows 11 then the simplest and "safest" way would be to simply upgrade the existing OS to Windows 11 "in Place - this would retain all the working links The installer and the .ISO file are easily obtainable - these are linked on the news section of this forum
 

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    4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1650 Ti - HDMI, DP
    Sound Card
    On motherboard Feeding SPDiF 5.1 system
    Monitor(s) Displays
    32" UHD 32 Bit HDR Monitor + 43" UHD 4K 32Bit HDR TV
    Screen Resolution
    2 x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    1TB M2 SSD OS, 500GB Fast Access SSD, 2 x 8TB Data + Various Externals from 1TB to 4TB, 10TB NAS
    PSU
    NZXT C750 80 PLUS Gold 750W Modular PSU
    Case
    Chillblast Silent Workstation PC Case - Black
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    Wireless Logitec - MX Master 3 + M570 Trackball
    Internet Speed
    72 MB Down 18.5 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security 2021
    Other Info
    Also run...
    Laptop - Quad 8GB - Windows 10 Pro x64 HP 15.2"
    Nexus 7 Android tablet [x2]
    Samsung 10.2" tablet
    Blackview 10.2 Tablet
    Sony Z3 Android Smartphone
    Samsung S9 Plus Smartphone
    Samsung Note S20
    Wacom Pro Medium Pen Pad
    Wacom Pro Small Pen Pad
    Wacom ExpressKey Remote
    Loopdeck+ Graphics Controller
    Shuttle Pro v2 Control Pad
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro x64 [Latest release]
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 17 9700
    CPU
    i7 10750H
    Motherboard
    Stock
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Stock Intel + GTX 1650 Ti
    Sound Card
    Stock 4 speaker
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Stock 17"
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160 HDR touchscreen
    Hard Drives
    2TB M2 NVMe
    PSU
    Stock
    Case
    Stock Aluminium / Carbon Fibre
    Cooling
    Stock + 2 fan cooling pad
    Mouse
    Stock Trackpad +Logi Mx Master 3
    Keyboard
    Stock Illuminated + Logi - MX Keys
    Internet Speed
    72 MB Down 18.5 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security 2021

Hazel123

Well-known member
Member
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
2:23 AM
Posts
848
OS
Windows 10 Pro
Thanks yes that's an option. I just wanted to prepare for having to do a clean install at some point and know how to back everything up. Good job I got the image done today. Had turned windows updates off, just in case, so as to do a system image, in case W11 tried to download. So after I turned them back on again today - that is exactly what happened. Windows started downloading drivers and said when they were done the upgrade to W11 would start. So I turned updates off again! Showed the teenager W11 on the laptop - his response, after looking at the start menu - was "it's sh.t! I want to keep Windows 10". Hmm so a learning curve.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion 14-ce3514sa
    CPU
    Core i5
    Memory
    8gb
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 evo plus 1TB
    Cooling
    Could be better
    Internet Speed
    Dismal
    Browser
    Firefox
    Other Info
    Originally installed with a 500gb H10 Optane ssd
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus Eee PC 1015PX 10" netbook
    CPU
    Intel Atom N570
    Memory
    2gb
    Hard Drives
    Samsung Evo 860 250gb ssd
    Internet Speed
    Dismal
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender

Timaximus

Member
Member
Local time
3:23 AM
Posts
34
OS
Windows 11 Pro - RP - Build 22000.675
I agree with Nigel about the possibility of dependencies to other files on C the games are related with. That’s where the repair options are for within the Launchers.

- 1, make an image of C.
- 2, copy the game related files with progress information in 'Documents' and 'Users' from C to D.
- 3, copy, if possible, folders with other games on C to D too.
- 4, Try to update to W11 in place.
- 5, if that goes well you are probably ready to go with your games. Go to 7.
- 6A, if that goes wrong place the image back to C and you can probably go again with your old W10 and your current games.
- 6B, if that goes wrong install W11 clean and restore your game progress folders and repair the games if necessary via the Launchers.
- 7, you are done. If not we are here to help you out. Or maybe not, that’s also possible.

Regards,

Tim van S.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro - RP - Build 22000.675
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    OMEN by HP Laptop 17-an0xx
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.80GHz
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
    Monitor(s) Displays
    OMEN by HP 32
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080 + 2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD + 1TB HDD + 4TB Synology 218+ NAS
    Keyboard
    OMEN by HP 1100
    Mouse
    OMEN Vector Wireless
    Internet Speed
    600/40 Mbit Cable
    Browser
    Edge (What Else)
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + F-Secure + MalwareBytes free
    Other Info
    Razer Nari Essential wireless headphone + BOSE Mini Soundlink

barman58

Moderator
Staff member
Local time
2:23 AM
Posts
1,094
OS
Windows 10 Pro x64 [Latest Release Preview]
I have Windows 11 available on a Windows to Go install on an External NVMe Drive which is enough for me to play with until I'm ready to upgrade, I has some testing to finish on several major Image processing apps on Windows 10, that always get updated around this time of year and updating to Win11 would add more variables to the test so it will have to wait
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro x64 [Latest Release Preview]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Chillblast to my design
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5950X, 4.9GHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime X570-Pro Motherboard
    Memory
    64GB DDR4 3200MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1650 Ti - HDMI, DP
    Sound Card
    On motherboard Feeding SPDiF 5.1 system
    Monitor(s) Displays
    32" UHD 32 Bit HDR Monitor + 43" UHD 4K 32Bit HDR TV
    Screen Resolution
    2 x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    1TB M2 SSD OS, 500GB Fast Access SSD, 2 x 8TB Data + Various Externals from 1TB to 4TB, 10TB NAS
    PSU
    NZXT C750 80 PLUS Gold 750W Modular PSU
    Case
    Chillblast Silent Workstation PC Case - Black
    Cooling
    NZXT Kraken X63 280mm CPU Cooler, Quiet Case fans Fan
    Keyboard
    Wireless Logitec MX Keys + K830 [Depending on where I'm Sat]
    Mouse
    Wireless Logitec - MX Master 3 + M570 Trackball
    Internet Speed
    72 MB Down 18.5 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security 2021
    Other Info
    Also run...
    Laptop - Quad 8GB - Windows 10 Pro x64 HP 15.2"
    Nexus 7 Android tablet [x2]
    Samsung 10.2" tablet
    Blackview 10.2 Tablet
    Sony Z3 Android Smartphone
    Samsung S9 Plus Smartphone
    Samsung Note S20
    Wacom Pro Medium Pen Pad
    Wacom Pro Small Pen Pad
    Wacom ExpressKey Remote
    Loopdeck+ Graphics Controller
    Shuttle Pro v2 Control Pad
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro x64 [Latest release]
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 17 9700
    CPU
    i7 10750H
    Motherboard
    Stock
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Stock Intel + GTX 1650 Ti
    Sound Card
    Stock 4 speaker
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Stock 17"
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160 HDR touchscreen
    Hard Drives
    2TB M2 NVMe
    PSU
    Stock
    Case
    Stock Aluminium / Carbon Fibre
    Cooling
    Stock + 2 fan cooling pad
    Mouse
    Stock Trackpad +Logi Mx Master 3
    Keyboard
    Stock Illuminated + Logi - MX Keys
    Internet Speed
    72 MB Down 18.5 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security 2021

Timaximus

Member
Member
Local time
3:23 AM
Posts
34
OS
Windows 11 Pro - RP - Build 22000.675
We passed along sides writing a response. :)

Anyway Good luck! W11 is worth it.

So far no difficulties on an NON supported system over here.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro - RP - Build 22000.675
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    OMEN by HP Laptop 17-an0xx
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.80GHz
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
    Monitor(s) Displays
    OMEN by HP 32
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080 + 2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD + 1TB HDD + 4TB Synology 218+ NAS
    Keyboard
    OMEN by HP 1100
    Mouse
    OMEN Vector Wireless
    Internet Speed
    600/40 Mbit Cable
    Browser
    Edge (What Else)
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + F-Secure + MalwareBytes free
    Other Info
    Razer Nari Essential wireless headphone + BOSE Mini Soundlink

Hazel123

Well-known member
Member
VIP
Thread Starter
Local time
2:23 AM
Posts
848
OS
Windows 10 Pro
Thanks all - really helpful with various options. As mentioned, the teenager is adamant he wants to keep Windows 10 (he may not be adamant in a week's time though). So not a desperate issue right now - my main issue right now is stopping Windows 11 from installing (which it tried to do) as soon as I turn Windows updates on again. I'll start a new post on that ....
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion 14-ce3514sa
    CPU
    Core i5
    Memory
    8gb
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 evo plus 1TB
    Cooling
    Could be better
    Internet Speed
    Dismal
    Browser
    Firefox
    Other Info
    Originally installed with a 500gb H10 Optane ssd
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus Eee PC 1015PX 10" netbook
    CPU
    Intel Atom N570
    Memory
    2gb
    Hard Drives
    Samsung Evo 860 250gb ssd
    Internet Speed
    Dismal
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
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