How to backup minecraft worlds on windows 10 in 2017

This post is based upon how to backup Minecraft worlds in Windows 10 Minecraft v1.11.2 @ 6th April 2017 – this post comes with no guarantees as to what the future of Minecraft backups maybe, and your mileage may vary! Do not move or delete other files inside these hidden directories as it may have cause unexpected behaviour!

My daughter *loves* to play minecraft on her windows 10 laptop (she’s not unique in that regard). She runs a fairly standard setup with a supervised browser user and the family settings of a Microsoft account enabled. Like any good technical support parent I’m encouraging her to think about backing up her data and games, and previously back in 2016 I’d backed up her entire minecraft saved worlds to her OneDrive account. To do that I’d simply googled how to do it and come up with a variety of articles like this and this. However when trying to do this for her again last month in March 2017, I noticed that all the directory paths had been moved and were no longer in the paths noted in the above articles. I couldn’t find any articles referencing the new location, so searched around for a while myself and found them. This post details that solution. The location of the saved worlds in windows 10 Minecraft in 2017 is

<user>\appdata\Roaming\.minecraft\saves

which is frankly a much better location naming convention than the previous one. If you’re not used to digging around inside of windows hidden files and folders, the above may make no sense to you, as it’s not a full path from the C drive. If you’ve not done this before, or you can’t find the appdata directory try the following.

  1. Hold down the windows key on the keyboard and then press the “R” button (a small Run dialog appears)
  2. Type %appdata% and click OK (or press enter on the keyboard)

Windows explorer will open a window to the location of your particular \appdata\ directory for that profile. This means that if you want to login and backup the files and you have a supervised family user, or an admin account on that laptop, you need to do the backup from the account used to run minecraft. If you wanted to do it with your parental / admin account then you’d need to find the full actual path. In my case it’s physical location is

c:\users\<username>\appdata\roaming

But this vares based upon your username and your specific install options (which is why it’s easier to use the %appdata% shortcut)

Each sub-directory in that “saves” directory represents one world which has been saved within the minecraft program. To backup a world simply do the following steps:

  1. Ensure that the minecraft application is shut
  2. Copy the entire directory and its contents to your backup location

That’s it! If you want to restore any directories simply reverse the process, still ensuring that the application is closed whilst you do.

In the same regard if you want to clean up the number of saved worlds at speed, rather than through the minecraft UI, you can simply delete any sub-directory and it will remove it from the start-up screen in the game. (My daughter had 256 minecraft worlds, most of which were unused and out of date, so we checked through them and then deleted loads.

There are still some issues with naming conventions in that I found the title “New World” innumerable times, and the uniqueness of the naming convention was done by appending an ever increasing number of the “-” character to the end of the directory name. This appears to be down to the fact that if the player chooses not to explicitly name the world at start-up, the game is forced to just call it New World and differentiate it with a unique naming convention. If you’re trying to backup specific worlds, this can be difficult to identity: “Do I want to backup world with 46 “-” characters or with 48? To test this, I tried going into a random New World, and renaming it with a sensible name, like “globalgoat test 20170326”. Unfortunately it appears that this is just changed within the metadata inside the directory, it doesn’t change the directory name itself, implying this is set one time at world creation. However since the contents of the directory do change, the date stamp of the directory is updated, and you can use this to distinguish between multiple directories, if you are looking to identify specific ones.

A comparison of browsers from a parental perspective

I’m a big fan of Windows 10 under certain conditions. I’ve just deployed it in our corporate environment on over 14000 machines in 55 countries. I have big designs on implementing Azure AD and EMS in the coming months, but this post it about it, and more specifically browsers running within it from a parental perspective.

I remain platform agnostic personally, and I have several different OS running in my house across a wide variety of devices. However I’m a huge Lenovo fan and my whole family runs X or T series machines (often second hand ones from ebay, to ensure that they are 220 or 420 etc and have the nice form factor and quality keyboard and are maintainable by me – but I digress) and so all of these machines now run Windows 10. I’m not going to get into a debate about auto upgrades and all that Jazz either, I ran Windows 7 for many years, I worked at Microsoft when Vista was pretending to be a decent OS (still painful memories) and I completely avoided W8. But I went all in on 10 at home, and all in all everyone’s fairly happy. The offer of free licencing was good enough for me, and I was happy to dogfood the OS before rolling it out at work as well. But then we come to parental control……

One of the main reason that I upgraded my daughters PC to W10 was to get the full Microsoft Family features, link it into my main MS account, and be able to see in detail what she was up to. In doing so MS encourage you heavily to use Edge. Unfortunately my experiences over this period have not been good. My daughter had a fairly common usage pattern, based around youtube in a browser, minecraft as a local install, and a few other browser based activities, mostly games. In simple terms the Microsoft Family reporting about this just simply doesn’t work. I’ve been through all the troubleshooters, I’ve reset and cleared all the caches and I’ve done a bit of private digging beyond that around file access and internals, but it just simply doesn’t work. The reports that turn up each week of activity are less than useless. It seems unable to even pick up Minecraft as a process (let alone other processes) and the browser reporting is even worse than that. I could be forgiving (although not that much) if there was some difficulty in picking up browser based activities with the amount of scripting going on, but not being able to record a simple process and the executable time seems beyond belief! Which brings me to scripting……

As a natural geek, and a volunteer teacher of programming to children through the Code Club charity, I’m often to be found using browser based development environments such as scratch and today I was testing the new BBC Microbit site as that’s what I plan to be teaching next term. Obviously all of these sites are quite complex JS sites with drag and drop UIs aimed at children. I’m afraid to say that Edge has let me down on continued occasions in this area as well, despite giving it fair chance on very mainstream sites over the past few months. Today I was testing MicroBit and it just wasn’t up to it, hangs, crashes, blank screens, it was driving myself and my daughter mad. So we switched back to chrome……

I’m a chrome user personally at work and at home, but I’d been prepared to give it up for the offer of all in control that Edge and Windows 10 offered. However 2 hours after switching back, I’ve got a full run down of every site and every correct time that my daughter has browsed for, and the JS IDEs are simply just working. I’ve got her running at a supervised user through my main google account, and all the information I need is accurate and simply accessible. Yes I have no monitoring of the minecraft process but I’ll have to live with that. Playing minecraft locally is still a lot less scary that the open web anyway for a parent of relatively young children, as there’s no online option. I’ll continue to monitor and see how things develop, but I’m afraid to say that I’m seriously disappointed with the Windows 10 and Edge offering, when MS had a good opportunity to make a serious statement in this space. It simply doesn’t work yet.

The next step – well maybe a Koala router in the long term so I can control traffic at the point of entry into the house. In the meantime I’ll be relying on chrome for reports of what’s going on.

Scan old logo from business card to generate new vector AI files

I had an extension built last year by DEP Building Services of Caterham. As a favour to them this year as they did a great job, a built them a wordpress site as they didn’t have one already. It was a fairly standard build about from that they already had a logo, but they didn’t have the vector / illustrator / eps original file. I think it was a classic case where someone had done some work for them (business cards with logo and some display material, boards and banners for putting up on their build sites) but they hadn’t given them the original logo files to work with again, and this company could not be contacted now.

I’m no graphic designer and I don’t have any of the Adobe licences or equivalent, and frankly I don’t want to buy or invest in anything like this as it’s not an area of interest for me, but I managed to get a really professional job done for nearly free using the following services:

  1. I used the http://vectormagic.com/ website to get a hand tracing done of the existing logo (scanned from an old grubby business card). this only cost 15 USD but was fast and excellent service. They do have a free version online, but it was worth the 15 USD to get a proper AI file fully done.
  2. I downloaded and used the https://inkscape.org/en/  freeware tool to edit the image and produce scaled transparent PNG files for the website. Even for a newbie like me this only took 10 minutes to work out. This is an excellent free tool and well recommended.

The end result being that I have the master AI file for the logo and as many scalable copies as I need for other media, for only 15 dollars.

I’ve updated my site to a new responsive theme

I’ve spent the last 48 hours trying to convert this site from my old wordpress theme to this new fully responsive one. I did like my old design, but it was a couple of years old now and the world of devices has moved on. The old one was not responsive in any shape or form, so unfortunately it had to go. Fortunately over the past 2 years I’ve got just a tiny bit better at wordpress (although I’ll never be good at design). It’s meant to be clean and fast (subject to very cheap hosting costs of course). Let me know what you think……

Recruitment Frenzy

dotDigital contains to grow at a fast rate. I’m currently recruiting the following roles:

Javascript / .NET developer x 2

C# .NET developer x 3

SQL DBA

UX / UI designer

Head of Systems

Senior System Administrator

Desktop Support Engineer

Product Owner

SSIS / ETL / integration team leader

All these positions are available now and in interview stage. You can find details on our tech jobs site http://www.dotdigitaljobs.com/, our corporate site http://www.dotdigitalgroup.com/jobs/, and in various places such as stack overflow and jobserve.

This is keeping me busy pretty much full time right now, but you can’t complain about having to recruit to expand 🙂 If you fancy working for a company like dDG, drop us a line.

Some thoughts and follow up to KAM careers fair at KTH Stockholm

The last 3 weeks of my UK day job have been a tad boring, but this is the case sometimes. I’ve just been trying to get a task out the door which involved lots of large TSQL code for reporting and data analysis. This type of thing leaves me cold and is not something I get involved with very often (well not in this century at least, I used to do this stuff in ’97/98 but hey….it was a favour for someone and it’s nearly done now!) anyway fortunately I was in Stockholm last week to talk at the Royal Institute of Technology careers days (Kungliga Tekniska högskolan Arbetsmarknadsdag for those Swedish speakers amongst you) which was a fantastic time.

I met some seriously intelligent people and enjoyed chewing the fat with many of them about starting out a career in the IT sector. I hope that I provided a rather different outlook to some of the speakers and exhibitors at the conference as I left school at 17 with no higher education whatsoever (let alone a bachelors or masters degree) and it took me 6 years or so to even get someone to give me a job remotely close to IT and another 2 to actually get myself placed in a real IT job in a software house. Add to this my rather varied career paths since which have veered between investment banks to year one start-ups and Microsoft, and I hope that I gave a different perspective to some of the students. it certainly felt like a success and the company I was representing (Basefarm – who I still consult for regularly) received a large number of applications for internships and employment.

As well as being on the Basefarm stand all day just chatting to whoever came along, I did a talk in the afternoon entitled “This much I know……” where I expanded on some of the above thoughts and compared and contrasted a number of different companies, company types, job types and locations and what they were like to work for, and how they had helped or hindered the development of my career. Hopefully those present learnt a few tips to help them mould their own career paths. I try to not make the talk into a lecture, because I don’t want to give the impression I know too much, or that I’m teaching people how they should act, it’s far more an approach of hoping that people will pick up tips and trends based on some of the things I’ve experienced along the way (both good and bad).

I’ll probably be doing similar stuff at other universities in Sweden over the next year so, but I’d be happy to be involved in any UK based ones as well, so if you’re organising a careers fair in the UK, please drop me a line if you’d be interested in having me along. My current employer in the UK, dotDigitalGroup, has taken on a large number of IT graduates over the years and I think it’s a testament to the company the number of technical employees that they still retain where it’s their first job after university. It’s quite uncommon in my experience for an organisation to be able to maintain such loyalty and I think it speaks volumes for how much people like working there. I think we’d be able to share some interesting career thoughts and possibilities with UK based students, so feel free to drop me a line if this sounds interesting to you.

Business card printing by moo.com

I printed some new business cards for GlobalGoat Consultants this week, using my shiny new logo as designed by http://www.digitalgreen.co.uk/ . I used http://uk.moo.com/ for this service and can say that I was really happy with the results.

Their interface was both simple to use and suitably variable enough to allow me to get exactly what i wanted and their prices and quality of cards were excellent. I’ve used them before for other vanity projects in the past because I like the fact that as well as using your own images (or their stock ones if you like) you can use anything from your flickr library. I have thousands of flickr images built up over the past years and I used a selection of 8 of my favourites (mixed landscapes of the UK and Sweden) for the back of the business cards.

If you come and chat to me next week at Kista arbetsmarknadsdag then you might even get one 🙂

I’ll be speaking at Kista Arbetsmarknadsdag (KAM) next week – 28th March

I’ll be speaking at Kista Arbetsmarknadsdag (KAM) next week on 28th March. It’s not a technical talk since it’s a career day for students, it’s a “this much I’ve learnt” type of talk about career building in the IT sector. I’ll be there representing Basefarm AB as I help then with their windows recruitment, as I know the recruitment market and the company from  my time in Stockholm.

I’m lucky enough to have had a fairly varied career in the IT sector, ranging from start-ups to Microsoft and in the talk I just compare and contrast some of the different things that come along in the course of an IT career.

I’ll also be on the Basefarm stand from time to time during the day, so please come along and say hello if you’re attending.

LAMP for a beginner, lessons from my WordPress build

When I finally got round to rebuilding this site into its current format, I searched around for a while before choosing WordPress as the platform to put it together with. As a complete newbie to this platform, and also as a person who has mostly used Windows software for the past 15 years, there were a few things to learn along the way, and here’s some information about some of those points.

Firstly this breaks into 2 areas, client and server. When I say client in this case I refer to a laptop I use as a general machine for mail and stuff, but which is also the development environment. This machine is a very old Toshiba M70 from 2005 running a vanilla install Ubuntu 11.10. Being as a was a complete novice in terms of putting LAMP together I looked for suitable instructions online and found this

http://jaredheinrichs.com/the-ultimate-ubuntu-wordpress-development-machine.html

Which I can’t recommend enough as a great step by step guide. I had one problem on this which I documented in the comments of that article (which was not the fault of the article but a subsequent problem / config issue in webmin). The problem was that one couldn’t login to webmin at all after install even with root. When this was occurring I must say that I felt completely useless as I’m such a linux noob that I didn’t really know where to start troubleshooting. If this type of thing occurs in windows I just work it out using various tools, but in linux I’m quite stuck where to start. Anyway the solution was in the ubuntu forums here:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1745926

Beyond that the client build was very smooth and is happily up and running on my crappy old laptop.

On the server side I’m hosting with one.com who have been very good to me and were very efficient when I did my domain transfer last year from another provider who I won’t mention here 😉 The only thing you could say against one.com is that you only get one MYSQL database for your entire domain, so this could cause an issue to bigger more complex installs and sites maybe, but works just fine for me. The install was super simple exactly as WordPress documentation says it should be. I FTP’d the files over to the site and extracted them and I was pretty much up and running.

In terms of custom configuration I’m using the following:

Cruz theme – purchased through themeforest.net – not the most complex  theme compared to some, but very worth the small fee to purchase it. Very well documented as well.

BackupBuddy – this is a great plug in, it’s not cheap, but it does exactly what it says, it backs everything up with a click once its setup, plugins and all. Being a SQL guy you can be sure that I tested the restore process as well, and can also confirm that it was very simple and seems very stable. This also comes highly recommended. You can move the backup files here there and everywhere, either automated or manual and I push mine to Amazon S3 automatically from the plugin.

This is what I would consider the bare minimum, in that its deployed, it runs, I can develop on it in a separate environment and more importantly I can back it up.

I like to be plugin light currently, as it keeps it lower maintenance for me, and is less risk I feel, as I hate risk and don’t want to spend lots of time troubleshooting compatibility issues. So the only other things I run is

Google XML Sitemaps – which simply generates a sitemap – no more no less

and

SyntaxHighlighter Evolved – which deals with the rather nice code syntax for many different languages.

I did consider an SEO plugin, but decided for the moment that my needs were not worthly of such granular control, and also the more competent ones seemed to require a certain amount of config times (unsurprisingly considering the subject) which I wasn’t prepared to devote just now!

Overall I’m fairly happy with the experience. I did pay for a few things, but the prices were very reasonable and were well worth it in my opinion (especially the backup).