REFRESH WINDOWS

PC gamers frequently have to erase their hard disk and install Windows fresh to recover game performance. Over time accumulated downloads and run-times bog down a system. Worse are error messages that can interfere with game play. The BSOD is usually due to driver problems or worse. software. See our page on security. You may also need to change some of the Windows Features such as enabling .NET 3.5 etc.

A new feature that came with Windows 8 and higher is the refresh Windows. This is functionally the same as a fresh install, but documents, and other libraries are retained.

REINSTALL GAMES

The refresh still requires gamers to install games again. Drivers are more commonly on Windows Update so they are less of a nuisance than with older versions of Windows. With the BD drive, installing games is a snap. Even with 10 BD disks, it takes under 2 hours to install a huge library of games. Windows updates takes much longer. We have a large 256 disk CD binder that we use to archive games, this way once purchased they can be restored quickly.

We suggest a NAS plugged into the network box to be a strong solution. USB 3.0 disks are still too flakey in our experience. Our desktop chassis has room for 4 hard disks, which can be used for local copies of data. Our old M2N-VM CSM machine has been repurposed for network attached storage.

The BD drive manages about 25MB/s while the NAS can exceed 100MB/s. USB 3.0 disks are slightly slower due to the use of low rpm notebook disks. Larger NAS systems have enough speed to bottleneck 1000BASE-T networks. Faster 10GBASE-T network boxes are finally under $1000.

STEAM

Steam has a backup utility but it has some issues. Best bet is to backup only 3-4 games at one time, as the backup creates names that are too long. We own numerous game disks which partially reduces the downloads required. We have mentioned the problem to Valve over the backup problems.

ORIGIN

Origin does not have a backup utility so gamers can use 7-zip and manually archive the folder. 7-zip supports being used with batch files and scheduled tasks.7-zip can also carve up large backups into parts so that each can be burned to DVD or BD.