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Recover Deleted or Lost Game Files from Windows & Mac Computer

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Most of the time, people delete game files (such as saves and scripts) by pure accident. But what if you’ve just updated a game launcher, and it erased your data in one or all of your games suddenly? This article covers the most common reasons why game files get deleted or lost from both Mac and Windows computers and how to get them back built-in features and data recovery software.

Contents

How to prevent game files from being lost

If you browse Google or Reddit for related posts, you’ll notice most of them are quite the same: somebody updated their game Steam or GOG Galaxy game launcher to find out that the save data folder on their hard drive got empty. In such a case, the launcher is running in an “offline mode” and doesn’t export internal game data to cloud storage.

In this case, installing software updates may overwrite the game data stored locally, which means the chances are you can lose your files permanently. We suggest you keep cloud synchronization in your game launcher always on if possible — it will be much easier to recover deleted files of your games in this case.

How to recover accidentally deleted data

Getting deleted game files back after deleting them by mistake might be the easiest case because you’ve probably noticed that right after removing them and emptying the bin. Just remember not to panic because everything is in control, and you’ve got plenty of time to get your game saves back.

Consider one of these options:

  1. Recover with built-in backup software (Time Machine for macOS or Restore System for Windows computers)
  2. Recover deleted files with third-party software

To recover deleted files on Mac using Time Machine:

  1. Launch the Time Machine application
  2. Navigate to the folder in which your game files located (for example, Steam stores game saves in ~LibraryApplication Support/)
  3. Search for the files you want to recover and select them
  4. Click Restore to proceed

Follow these steps to get recover accidentally deleted data on Windows 10:

  1. Go to control panel and select the System and Security option
  2. Click on the System Protection tab
  3. Select the volume drive in which your game files located
  4. Click the Restore system settings and previous version of files option and specify the maximum usage limit
  5. Restart the computer to apply changes and recover your data

As you might notice, the process is quite complicated for Windows users, as well as there is no guarantee Mac users will see their files via Time Machine. In case you haven’t succeeded in undeleting your game saves this way, consider third-party data recovery software.

This tutorial on how to recover lost files for free will use the Disk Drill data recovery tool as an example of third party software. It’s up to you to follow our choice or find another program: most common data recovery solutions work more or less with varying results.

To recover game data deleted by mistake using Disk Drill, you need to:

  1. Launch Disk Drill application on your Mac or Windows computer
  2. Select the volume drive in which lost data located
  3. Run Quick Scan if files have been just deleted, choose Deep Scan they were wiped for a while
  4. Review the scan results and opt-in the game files you want to retrieve
  5. Click Recover and wait for the process to finish

Note that the more time has passed since wiping a file from the Recycle Bin, the less chance it has been restored to a fully functional version. When you notice a data loss, consider temporarily limiting computer usage to prevent your storage memory sectors from being overwritten by new data — it may reduce your chance of successful data recovery.

How to recover deleted files on Mac if you don’t know why they’ve got lost

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, data may disappear from your hard drive for no apparent reason. It often happens to Mac users when installing a specific game patch or just a regular game launcher update. Again, we suggest to turn auto cloud synchronization on — it’ll help you solve the problem effortlessly if it happens again in the future.

But if you don’t have cloud syncing opted in and your data is lost right now, you still can get it back using third party software like Disk Drill or other popular data recovery tools.

One of the ways to recover deleted files on Mac includes these steps:

  1. Close your game launcher and run Disk Drill application
  2. Start Deep Scan and wait for it to finish — it’ll take a while, depending on your storage device’s capacity
  3. When the scan completed, navigate to the folder in which deleted game files located
  4. Select files you want to recover (Note: files’ metadata might be unrecoverable already, so you’ll see generic names instead of original ones, making it harder to find specific data)
  5. Click the Recover button and wait for the process to finish

Remember that recovered data won’t be saved to its original location, in order not to overwrite its memory sectors accidentally.

Conclusion

It often happens that files become corrupted or disappear from your hard drive due to compatibility issues with game or software versions. To minimize the risk of data loss, turn cloud data synchronization on and ensure your Mac or Windows computer has a stable internet connection most of the time. If you lost game files or deleted them by accident, there is a good chance to get them back with built-in backup features or using professional data recovery software.