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Easy way to keep games/apps after reinstall?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So I have been searching for an hour now, about installing my games onto another HD.

Now as I suspected, doing so would not solve the problem of keeping them, ready to use, if I decided to reinstall Windows, as they have registry and other files that aren't contained within the Program Files folder.

So are there any alternatives to keeping games and apps separate? I like to install Windows every 4 months or so, but I am really put off by having to reinstall my games again. Plus I have loads, and would like to have them all installed on my other HD, ready to play, regardless of whether I have just installed Windows or not.

What are my options?
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post #2 of 14
Why on earth do you need to re-install every 4 months? I've seen various threads about this, I could understand once a year..... Every 4 months? You'd just get the system nice and cozy and then be uprooting it again.
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post #3 of 14
Are they steam games?
post #4 of 14
I've seen a few solutions for this, but I'm not sure how compatible it is with all applications, nor do I know how much it will affect your games performance. A quick google search for "How to make programs portable" showed what seemed to be a decent article on Ehow and a couple of youtube videos.

This is something I have always wanted to try, but never have the time for. As an alternative, you could try installing/updating everything and then use something like Macrium Reflect to make an image of your hard drive. When it's time to reinstall, just reapply the image instead and you're done! Much quicker, and much less hassle.

As a side note, be sure to do all system maintenance right before you take the system image of your hard drive, that way your image won't include temp files and other useless junk. I've heard some image utilities will also copy fragmented files back with the same number of fragments, so a defrag with something like AusLogic's Disk Defrag should be included in the "Pre-image Maintenance".

I know I speak about a lot of theory and hearsay, but with minimal tweaking you should be able to get most, if not all, of what you want from this. Hope this helped you out!
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post #5 of 14
When I reinstall windows I just backup all my game saves and reinstall the games.
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post #6 of 14
Steam. Doesn't matter if you bought them off of steam cuz you can add steam games. You can drag and drop to another directory (I just did it) and play no problem. Only ting is you have to reinstall steam itself to the directory you want it to save games to but no big deal. It's like 5 mb or something dumb like that. Can't remember I don't eal in MB anymore, lol.
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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mushroomboy View Post
Why on earth do you need to re-install every 4 months? I've seen various threads about this, I could understand once a year..... Every 4 months? You'd just get the system nice and cozy and then be uprooting it again.
4-6 months lets say.

It's just nice to have a fresh system setup, even if there's no large benefits. I like clean and organised, basically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubeermench View Post
Are they steam games?
No. Although I do have 1 or 2, and will have more in the future. I am aware though that it's quite a simple process; I found that out on my travels for thi question!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razinhail View Post

This is something I have always wanted to try, but never have the time for. As an alternative, you could try installing/updating everything and then use something like Macrium Reflect to make an image of your hard drive. When it's time to reinstall, just reapply the image instead and you're done! Much quicker, and much less hassle.

As a side note, be sure to do all system maintenance right before you take the system image of your hard drive, that way your image won't include temp files and other useless junk. I've heard some image utilities will also copy fragmented files back with the same number of fragments, so a defrag with something like AusLogic's Disk Defrag should be included in the "Pre-image Maintenance".

I know I speak about a lot of theory and hearsay, but with minimal tweaking you should be able to get most, if not all, of what you want from this. Hope this helped you out!
I'm going to push the portable idea to the side for a second, because I'm going to assume it's not simple. I do really like the idea of making the perfect install, and then backing it up to an image. Would this not be HUGE, though? Or does it compress quite well?

Great idea nonetheless, have some rep!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saiyansnake View Post
When I reinstall windows I just backup all my game saves and reinstall the games.
I backup my game saves with the Game Save Manager (Great tool by the way), but I have loads of games. I often am swaying my choice of which to play by what's installed. It'd be nice to go "oh, I'll play 20 mins of that for a laugh". But like reinstalling GTA4, for example, for a quick rampage, isn't worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfizz84 View Post
Steam. Doesn't matter if you bought them off of steam cuz you can add steam games. You can drag and drop to another directory (I just did it) and play no problem. Only ting is you have to reinstall steam itself to the directory you want it to save games to but no big deal. It's like 5 mb or something dumb like that. Can't remember I don't eal in MB anymore, lol.
Nah, as mentioned, not Steam games. But cheers.
Edited by Dom_sufc - 2/2/11 at 11:48pm
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post #8 of 14
The image would be big, but it would be a single file you could just throw on an external HDD if you have one, or even store on a networked computer if you don't have another internal hard drive to throw it on to. Along those lines, you could also get VMWare Player and make a virtual machine and just install everything to the virtual machine. That way you only need to back up the virtual machine before re-installing Windows.

Again, I haven't played any games in my virtual machines, so I don't know exactly how your performance would be, and you would still end up re-installing windows and VMWare Player, but it's another option I neglected to mention earlier.

If you need any help trying to implement any of these ideas, let me know and I'll be more than willing to help!
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post #9 of 14
The problem with the portable thing is that if you wanted to change anything, you would have to repack it. If the portable application has the configuration packed in, you won't even be able to change a simple key mapping and have the setting save. I think it would be easier to write an AutoIt script that will do an unattended installation of your games. This will install the games directly on your computer without the overhead of a container.
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post #10 of 14
The best thing to do is use the window xp / vista / 7 option which allows you to save your settings, this allows you to save many things, so you don't lose a lot...

You can choose to install your games on another hard drive at time you originally install the game... However, if you uninstall your OS, it won't be in the registry unless you back that up too!

The BEST option, always, is to make a system image backup of your Hard Drive, after you have EVERYTHING setup and tested good, also make sure you scan ALL DRIVE for viruses, malware, and spyware BEFORE you make the backup!

You can use like Clonezilla, Acronis True Image, and quite a few others, some are free (though hard to use), and others are proprietary, but it's the best option HANDS DOWN!

You can restore your computer back to 100% working condition in 5-30 minutes, depending upon how much data is on your drive at time of image creation.

You will need to make a special partition on your hard drive to save your recovery image, then open up the Computer Management (control panel > Administrative Tools), Disk Management, and change the drive letter (select to remove the letter), this way the drive doesn't show up and nobody can accidentally mess it up!
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