With the recent announcement of Google Stadia, the streaming service from Google that will take gaming’s workload burden to their own servers, there have been concerns about data. Yes, having a giant company taking care of the heavy processing from modern video games will reduce the upfront costs of having to build monster PCs, but that hit gets traded for ridiculously large bandwidth numbers of hundreds of gigabytes (GBs). There is still a large audience out there dealing with caps that simply won’t be able to make that switch, for now.

Instead, being more frugal with downloads and figuring out how to store those items can help reduce stress from being hit with another cap, which could possibly throttle usage or increases monthly utility costs. There are several commonly used services available to most video game fanatics that help maintain and recover data, so no one has to double up downloading. Whether it’s from setting up a new rig or building back up from a fresh install, a PC with on hand data will get going much faster than having to redo the whole process from scratch.


One fairly unknown method available to a lot of us is Steam’s internal backup system. Everyone who uses Steam has a tendency to install and uninstall games at a whim, because there are always more to get and only so much room, certainly on a solid state drive (SSD). That’s where the active games go for optimal use, but those releases cycle out. However, certainly in 2019, games have never been larger than they are today. Titles like Final Fantasy XV and Atlas demand over 100Gb of download space and doing that twice can be a huge unnecessary hit. Even standard releases like Hitman or Dead Rising 4 will take up way over 50Gb. It all adds up.

Rather than just popping downloads in and out, thinking one step ahead and storing Steam backups can save up a lot of download time and bandwidth use. Doing so takes just a few easy steps:

1. In your Steam client, look to the upper left and click the Steam tab.

2. There, click Backup and Restore Games.

3. From that popup window, choose Backup currently installed programs.

4 Find the games you want to back up and tick their boxes on the left. The bottom right will show the necessary space required. When ready, click Next.

5. Steam will ask where to store these files. Ideally, a local server or external hard disk drive (HDD) can cheaply store a large amount of data. Browse for the location to store the backup and click Next.

6. Before immediately clicking through, make sure to change the file size, which is put on CD by default, either on DVD or Custom size. This will lessen the number of chunks that need to be recovered. Ensure your storage location is formatted for large files before proceeding. Then, click Next.

7. Steam will show a progress bar of the backup with the time remaining. After completion, click Finish.

To restore these files, go through Steam once again, then Backup and Restore Games, but instead choose to Restore a previous backup. Find the file folder you want to restore and click Select. Choose where to install this backup and click Next. Your files will start restoring. Note that games are rarely fully brought back, but rather bring back the bulk of the download size and then get the rest from Steam servers. You’ll save time and bandwidth and can feel secure in tossing games from your SSD whenever you don’t need them.

If not preventative, it’s also possible to maintain worry-free file management with data recovery tools. All that is lost on a PC is not necessarily gone forever and having these programs handy can be a remedy to that “oh no” sort of anxiety that pops up after accidentally erasing a folder that may or may not have had important game saves in them.


There are data recovery tools which are free to download and come with premium tiers for more heavy-duty use and they offer free trials as well, just to be sure. When installed, the application will scan whatever drive was storing the files and will attempt to dig them back up, even after deletion. Just let the tool scan, after which it will prompt all files that were lost in a list. Highlight the necessary game files in the checkmark boxes and then click Recover in the bottom. Files will be put back in the path they were previously, as seen in the panel on the right side in the aforementioned. It’s particularly handy for Steam, which has the tendency to store soundtracks of games in hidden install folders, without ever telling anyone. In other news, the soundtrack to stealth action game Slayer Shock has some really unique folk-rock tracks.

If all else fails, several services also offer some cloud storage, so that save games aren’t gone forever. If you can’t recover a game, at least you can recover your progress. Once more, Steam is one of those launchers that can help. To see if a game in your library is compatible with Steam cloud saves, change the view in the top right to List View. It’s possible to sort games by the small cloud icon in the middle, which shows if a game is compatible or not. Additionally, the storefront will mark if a game comes with Steam Cloud support on the right hand side of the screen, along with showing features like controller support. These features can also be filtered in Steam’s search function, though not every game comes standard with cloud saves.

To ensure your Steam cloud saves are synchronized correctly; go into the Steam tab on the top left of the Steam client. From there, click Settings and then go down to the Cloud tab in the menu. A checkmark box should be ticked next to the line: “Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it.”

Consoles like PS4 and Xbox One also offer cloud save storage. The PS4 requires a subscription to Playstation Plus. Xbox One does not need a premium subscription, just a functional connection to Xbox Live. Here are the full steps to store cloud saves on consoles, as seen on their official pages:

PS4 Online Storage and Xbox One Online Storage 

As game downloads get ever larger and more frequent, coming prepared will help solve a few recurring problems that comes with loss of data. Whether it’s a game install, downloadable content (DLC), patches, saves; there’s always another download and all of it adds up quickly, certainly when bandwidth also includes streaming content these days. Few have the luxury of uncapped data and even those plans have limits. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, certainly in modern gaming, where so much time is spent waiting for your PC to be ready to play the damn game.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Blog

  • 0

    4 Ways Online Gaming Landscape Is Changing

    By NestiShy, Posted Oct 28, 2023

    t is easy to conclude that user demand is fueling the gaming world. The industry is estimated at $347 billion, and there is reason to believe it will continue to do better. Another


General Information



Platform(s): PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): Valve Corporation
Developer(s): Valve Corporation
Genres: Digital Distribution
Themes: Content delivery, Digital Rights Management, Social Networking
Release Date: 2003-09-12

View All

Popular Articles