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.