Backing up your game saves probably isn't a priority, but it should be

(Image credit: From Software)

PC gaming offers a lot of flexibility, but there's also a lot that can go wrong. Formatting your computer, file corruption, or just upgrading your setup can compromise your game saves. That's hundreds of hours down the drain if you're playing games that don't support cloud saves or if you want to access your save on another system. 

I've been burnt by this a few times and it was enough to deter me from revisiting the games of the saves I'd lost. Thankfully, there are only a few developers that steer clear of cloud saves, but for the few that do it's worth having a deliberate backup to ensure you don't lose any hard earned progress. 

After losing a few of my chunky saves, I downloaded GameSave Manager and it's now a permanent feature in my backup routine. It's a free piece of software that lets you backup your saves and store them in a separate folder on your PC. I also copy mine over to a separate hard drive because I'm now that concerned about losing my data. The best part is that the programme requires very little setup. It scans your folders for game saves and displays them in a list so that you can select which ones you want to backup. 

Unlike manually locating and copying individual saves, this only takes a few minutes. It's a small detour from the rest of your day, but it could save you so much time in the event that your save is lost or corrupted—take it from someone who learnt this the hard way.        

(Image credit: GameSave Manager)

I spent hours grinding away in Dark Souls 3 when it released and just two bosses from the end I decided to upgrade my system. You can imagine my disappointment when I hopped back in to see how Lothric looked on my brand new rig only to find that my save no longer existed. 40 hours of game time and nothing to show for it apart from a haunting list of Steam achievements. 

Replaying Dark Souls 3 isn't exactly a hardship—I'll take any excuse to revisit it—but getting so close to the end and realising that I had to do it all over again was discouraging. This setback also scuppered my co-op campaign plans, so I also managed to inconvenience my other half as he started a new save so that we could play together. 

No matter how enjoyable a game is, losing your save still sucks. Hopefully my woeful tale will remind you to spend a few minutes checking your saves are safe.

Emma Matthews

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.