So many games on Windows saved their game data in annoying places on the main system drive “C: drive”, this is something that drives me nuts!
First there is the issue with saved games, there is no standardized location to store saved game data. It seems like ever game stores it in a different place. You would think that a company like EA would at least have a standard across all of its own games, but no! Here is a list of some of the locations saved games are stored.
- The saves in a folder within the game install folder
- The “My Games” folder within the “My Documents” folder
- The game creates its own folder in “My Documents”
Windows 7 even has a special folder in your user account called “Saved Games” but it seems no games use it, not even a Microsoft game! The result is a complet mess of your “My Documents” folder, making it pretty much useless for actual documents. I have resorted to creating a separate “Documents” folder and removing the default “My Documents” from the Windows 7 Documents Library.
Why can’t their be a standardized location to save games! the formentined “Saved Games” folder would be excellent. Maybe Microsoft needs to dictate that game publishes use a standard in order to get the “Games for Windows” or any Microsoft certified Windows logo. Obviosuly we cna’t rely on the publishers themselves to form a consensus.
Game Data & Settings
The saved game issue is an annoyance of organization and aesthetics, the issue of Game data & settings cane be more troubling. Many games store game data in places they shouldn’t as well, in the My Documents folder, or more commonly the “C:\ProgramData” or “C:\Users\[username]\AppData” folders. This is a good practice in general for game settings and profiles. For example if I have a bunch of video and custom keyboard commands set in a game, it can make it easier to transfer and keep those commands if I migrate Windows users accounts, or upgrade me OS. It also allows different users on the same PC to have their own settings.
The problem is when a game stores more than just settings files in these locations, many games saved large files such as game textures, large reply files, cache and so on. For example I have a couple games that have over 2GB folders in the “My Documents” folder full of crap. Or take Dirt2, it has a 2GB folder in “C:\Users\All Users\Codemasters\DiRT2\DataCache“. Even some games installed through Steam are not immune to this problem. Even worse is I’ve seen some games store large amounts of data in the users “Roaming” folder! If your on a domain network, the contents of the Roaming folder are transfered over the network when you login and off from the network.
Why is this an issue? Well many people don’t have large C: drives, which is actually becoming more common with the use of SSD drives. I for example have a fast Raptor drive which is only 74GB for my system drive. I have 4TB of other drives in my computer, but the C drive is small. I install all my games to the D: drive, but so many of them spill over great amounts of data to the system drive which is constantly filling up. I have resorted to creating folder “junctions” or “Symbolic Links” to redirect these problem folders from the C drive to the D drive. If your interested in how to do this search for a command line tool included in Windows called “mklink”.