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  Saving Windows7 version games of Freecell 
 Date Written 
Julie Jansen van Rensburg May 19, 2013, 02:28pm EDT Report Abuse
My son - IT specialist - wants to reload my computer (an ACER) when I will be away for a few days shortly to iron out a few problems. I have already completed almost 300 FREECELL games with a 100% win, but I'm afraid I'm going to lose my games when he gets around to revamping my machine, and I will have to start from scratch and take weeks and weeks to get back to my present total. Is there ANY way of saving these completed games so that once I start playing again, I can continue from where I left off? I really hope that my games CAN be saved from being automatically deleted - after all, there are so many computer games once can save - why not something like FREECELL? When I was younger I played games like Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem, Chips challenge, etc and saved them by merely keying in a code - for example, it would say "press (whatever) to save game."
Any suggestions, please?
Thanks in anticipation.

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john albrich May 19, 2013, 06:27pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: Saving Windows7 version games of Freecell
There are several ways to TRY to do this when a game doesn't provide a means to export the results. I'll discuss a few of the simplest.
Before modifying ANY files on the computer, do a complete backup using a freeware/donateware tool like Macrium Reflect Free Edition (or similar).
Be sure that whatever backup software you use SUPPORTS YOUR CONFIGURATION For example, if you are using Advanced Format hard drives, be sure the software supports backing them up and restoring them. Similar for your OS. For example, Win2000 doesn't support an auxilliary Windows software tool that is REQUIRED by some backup programs, whereas WinXP and above do.

Note: for all of these methods, some degree of intelligence is required here so as to try to make some rational and "best-guess" decisions if there is any ambiguity in the findings. It is possible to entirely screw things up or break things when you manually modify files, folders, and/or registry entries.

All I can do is re-emphasize...backup, backup, backup before "tweaking" the computer, and you should be able to at least restore things to the way they are currently...warts and all...should any errors be made during the "tweaking" process or while trying to restore the game "stats". If you have a spare hard drive lying around, it would even be a good idea to TEST the backup/restore procedure and software before doing anything "for real". Doing so can also help identify any previously unknown dependencies, issues with or omissions by the documentation, or user learning curve problems and assumptions about the process before committing to a potentially irreversible action...particularly if this is the first time you have done something like this.

Find out in which folder(s) the game is installed. It is often the location where accumulated "stats" are saved by computer games. Look for an obvious file name like "logfile.txt", "gamestats.log", "playerX.*" or similar. Remember to look in any subfolders as well. Save the game's entire folder and subfolders on a USB stick or similar. SELECTIVELY restore the identified "stat" files after the computer has been "tweaked" after having saved the current files on yet another device/location (so those files can be restored if swapping the files doesn't do anything or breaks the game). Note: it's also possible each player ID/name has a unique file(s) associated with it, so watch for those as well.

Look at the game's folder and subfolders before playing a game, and then after playing a game in which new winner or player data may have been stored. Note any differences in file dates (created and modified). Any file that has been created or updated is a "stats" file candidate. Again, save the particular files.

Another way is to save ALL the files associated with the game (e.g. every file in its folder(s)) on a separate device. Then after the computer has been "tweaked", compare each and every file in the game folders that still remain on the "tweaked" computer, with each and every file in the device you saved the original files. You can visually compare them using Windows Explorer, and/or you can digitally compare them by using a tool like "DigestIt".
This can examine every file(s) and produce a unique "hash" (sort of a fingerprint) for that file(s). If the hash is different between two files of the same name/location, then you may presume it is a candidate for being either a player's data file or a program configuration file that was changed as result of setting preferences or setting new high scores, etc.

On the more technical side...
Use a freeware tool like "Windiff" or Microsoft's "Procmon" to either look for "before and after" gameplay changes to your disks or watch real-time changes (procmon). The advantage of using a tool like "procmon" (if I recall correctly) is that it can also display changes to Windows registry elements. These monitoring tools can produce a HUGE amount of data which may overwhelm a typical user. They also have a learning curve.

edit 201305192235uct
a few minor mods and to provide URL for DigestIt program



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