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Valheim has a rare 'world-destroyer bug' so here's how to back up your world and characters

Valheim
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)
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There's plenty to fear in Valheim, from angry trolls to rampaging demonic deer to back-stabbing deathsquitos.

But nothing is more terrifying than logging in to find your world and character gone and all your progress lost. And that's a real and dangerous possibility, according to developer Iron Gate:

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The bug sounds extremely rare—Iron Gate's CEO goes on to say they haven't been able to reproduce the bug themselves, and that reports indicate it "seems to occur more often if you exit the game by ALT+F4, so try to use menu->exit instead."

But even if it's a remote possibility, you'll want to avoid it by backing up your world and character files so you don't lose all your progress.

How to back up your Valheim world

First, locate your game files, which you'll find here:
C:\Users\Username\AppData\LocalLow\IronGate\Valheim\

Your AppData files might be hidden, however, so on Windows 10, you can go to your search bar and type: %appdata%

This will probably open at the AppData\Roaming folder, so back up one step and select the AppData folder, and then LocalLow, then IronGate, then Valheim. There you'll find folders for characters, worlds, and screenshots if you've taken any. Copy and paste them to a safe location on your PC, like a folder on your desktop.

Now if you need to restore your world and character, you've got a backup.

If you've already lost your world or characters, those same folders contain older versions of those files you might be able to recover. Look for the .db.old and .fwl.old files. If you want to restore those versions, you'd just need to delete the .old from the end of the file name and replace them in those folders.

If you're using a dedicated server, your server admin can back up the world as well. I rented a server and when I FTP in I can find the world files by looking for the 'save' directory, which contains a 'worlds' folder, and download them to create a backup.

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.