How to Keep Game Saves from Overwhelming My Documents Folder

Manage Game Saves in My Documents Poster

Nearly every PC game written since 1995 writes its saved games to your profile’s “My Documents” folder.  If you have a lot of games installed (which is likely thanks to multi-terrabyte hard drives), then your Documents folder will have a ton of directories dedicated to each game.  This can make finding productivity assets difficult, such as a Word document for school, a presentation for work, or Adobe projects.

Microsoft included a default “My Games” folder within “My Documents” since Windows Vista, but so very few games actually take advantage of this and just write whatever they want within the root of your Documents folder.  I have over 300 games installed, and only 25 of them actually use the default “My Games” folder.

We need to find a way to manage the problem so that you still have your saved games but doesn’t clog up your folder.  Here are a few different things you can try.

1. Manage each individual game

You can try to edit where each game puts its game save.  Most of the time PC games don’t give you an option to do this within its interface.  More often you will have to edit that game’s registry settings, which is impractical.  Some games even require modifying a config file in order to change its default save location.

If you do this and have to remove and re-install the game then you will have to edit the settings again to see your saved games.

2. Use a different Documents location

Instead of using the default “My Documents” location, you can create a new folder and just add that to the Favorites section in Windows Explorer.  If you use this as your depository then you’ll keep all your personal files separated from your games.  This may be impractical as many times Office applications open your Documents folder by default.

 
Either right-click Favorites and add the current folder or just drag a folder to Favorites


Some newer games such as Far Cry 3 allow saving in the cloud, but they still write profile information to your My Documents folder, so you really can’t rely on this to resolve the clogging issue.  Game saves still do whatever the hell they want.

3. Use a different gaming profile

By far the simplest solution is to just admit that you can’t control the beast.  You’ll have to create and use a dedicated Gamer profile and let all of your PC games write to its own “My Documents” folder.  That way all of your office files and documents are kept separate from your PC games, wherever they may want to save.

a. Open up Control Panel and Click on “User Accoaunts”.

b. Click on “Manage Another Account”.

c. Click on “Create New Account”

d. Type the name of your gamer account.  Go ahead and make it an Administrator account so you can install new games.

e. If you wish, you can change the picture by clicking on “Change the picture”.

If you create a dedicated gaming profile and use it only for gaming then you’ll keep your My Documents folder under control.  Some people even go as far as to use a dedicated gaming PC so as to keep even their PC’s registry from getting bogged down with additional references and libraries.

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.