The Problem with Steam Cloud Saves
This guide was made to show you how to stop using cloud saves. Cloud saving is a very convenient way to keep your files backed up online so that you can use them from any computer, so why would we want to stop using it? The answer is Steam cloud save will screw you over if your world gets corrupted.
I’ll briefly explain what happened to me. When I went to play the game this morning, I opened my
world and was greeted with an error message like this:
This means that your world file was corrupted. I did some research and it appears that the primary cause of this is the game abruptly closing due to a crash or the process being killed by something like ALT + F4. In my case, I don’t remember anything like that happening, and I’m certain I’ve always closed the game using Save and Exit. This might just sound like a problem unique to me, but it turns out I’m not alone.
Below are some other posts from players in the community who experienced the same issue:
The interesting thing is the community seems to be aware of this issue. For example, here’s a message I saw in the Terraria Discord server at the time of writing this post:
Now that you understand the issue, let’s continue with the next steps you can take to prevent this error in the future.
Taking Files Off The Cloud
To move a world or player file off the cloud, simply open the game and click the cloud icon with the arrows:
Make sure it says “Move off cloud” when you do this. Once you’ve done this, the files will be downloaded to your Players and Worlds folders. These folders are accessed by going to Documents > My Games > Terraria in the File Explorer:
Remember this directory as it will be important for the next sections of this guide. If you don’t want to navigate to the directory manually, you can paste this in the file directory bar to get there:
Manually Backing Up Your Files
Now that you’ve stopped using cloud saves, you’re responsible for making backups of your worlds and players. I would recommend doing a manual backup every time you close the game. The first thing you’re going to need to do is go to the Terraria folder located at:
The next thing you need to do is to choose between cloud storage or external storage:
- USB Flash Drive
- Portable USB Hard Drive
- Portable USB SSD
- onedrive.com – https://onedrive.com/
- icloud.com – https://icloud.com/iclouddrive
- drive.google.com – https://drive.google.com/
- dropbox.com – https://dropbox.com/
- box.com – https://box.com/
- nextcloud.com – https://nextcloud.com/
If you’re going with a cloud storage service, you might want one that offers a Desktop client that can synchronize your files for the next section.
Once you’ve chosen a form of storage, backing up the files is very easy. Simply navigate to the Terraria folder (see the previous section if you forgot where it is) and copy the .wld and .plr files located under the Worlds and Players folder to your external storage, or upload the files to your preferred cloud storage service. It’s worth noting that each file has a corresponding .plr.bak or .wld.bak file. I would also back this up because it’s crucial if your world or player ever gets corrupted again.
How Symbolic Links Work
In the previous section, I explained how you can backup the files. Unfortunately, this has to be done manually and sometimes you might forget to do the backup after closing the game. Fortunately, there is a way to automatically backup the files using symbolic links.
Note: A symbolic link and a shortcut are completely different. A shortcut is technically just a file that just stores where they point to while a symbolic link is seen in the file system as the original file/folder so no special support is required to use it. Keep in mind that symbolic links can only be created using the “mklink” command in the Command Prompt, but I’ll demonstrate this later.
Let me quickly demonstrate how a symbolic link works. For this experiment, I’ve created an “a” and “b” folder:
Inside of the “a” folder, I’ve created a symbolic link to the “b” folder:
What I’m going to do is create a new file and drag it into the symbolic link for “b”:
Now let’s check the “b” folder I created in the beginning:
As you can see, when the file was dragged onto the symbolic link for “b”, it was placed in the actual b folder. This is because at the file system level, a symbolic link is seen as the original folder so in this case, the “b” symbolic link is just seen as the original “b” folder therefore the file was moved to the actual “b” folder.
If you remember from the previous section, you can find the Worlds and Players inside a folder called Terraria. What we can do is store the Worlds and Players folder elsewhere and create a symbolic link to them. As a result, Terraria will still be able to access those files, but they will be located in the desired location. In the next section, I’ll show you how to create symbolic links for this purpose.
Automatically Backing Up Your Files (External Storage)
On my flash drive, I’ve created a Terraria folder where I’m storing my Worlds and Players like this:
Next, I’m going to open the Terraria folder on my PC:
You’ll notice I’ve already deleted the Worlds and Players folders since I backed them up. The next step is to open the Command Prompt by clicking on the directory ribbon, typing in “cmd”, and pressing Enter:
A Command Prompt window should popup like this:
Next, we need to execute a few commands to create the symbolic links because there’s no way to create an actual symbolic link through the File Explorer UI:
mklink /d "Worlds" "D:\Terraria\Worlds" mklink /d "Players" "D:\Terraria\Players"
Note: Each line is a separate command. Press Enter after typing each command to execute it.
In my case, the folders were under D:\Terraria, but your path will probably be different. You can copy the path by navigating to the Terraria folder on your external storage and clicking on the ribbon:
Note: Press Ctrl and C to copy the path while it’s highlighted
If you did everything correctly, you should see the Players and Worlds folder with a small arrow:
Now you can test it by launching the game. You should notice that your worlds and players show up in the menus like normal. Keep in mind that because you’re using an external storage device, these symbolic links will not work if your device is not plugged in.
Automatically Backing Up Your Files (Cloud Storage)
In order for this to work, you will need to download your cloud storage’s client to synchronize files. I personally use Dropbox for cloud storage, so that’s what I’ll demonstrate with.
Once you’ve setup the Dropbox client, you’ll notice that this new section is added to the file explorer:
As long as the Dropbox client is running in the background, every time I make a change to that folder, Dropbox will synchronize it with the server and upload the files automatically. What I’m going to do first is create a Terraria folder where I will copy my Worlds and Players folders from the Terraria folder on my PC:
The first time you do this, it will upload all of the files. This process can take a few minutes since there’s a lot of files in there. Once it’s uploaded, the folders will have green checkmarks:
Note the location of this Terraria folder. In my case it was:
Next, you need to navigate to the Terraria folder on your PC, click the directory ribbon, type “cmd”, and press Enter:
Note: If you still have your Worlds and Players folder in there and already copied it, delete it from the Terraria folder on your PC
A Command Prompt window should open which looks like this:
Now enter the following commands to make the symbolic links:
mklink /d "Worlds" "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Dropbox\Terraria\Worlds" mklink /d "Players" "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Dropbox\Terraria\Players"
Note: Each line is a separate command. Press Enter after typing each command to execute it.
Note 2: The %USERNAME% is a special variable that will automatically input your username in the file path
Once you’ve done that, you will see the folders except they have a small arrow next to them:
This means you’ve successfully created the symbolic links! The final thing is to test them by opening the game and checking your players and worlds. If you see all your players and worlds, then you’ve successfully setup the automatic backup. Every time the game saves a file, it will automatically go inside Dropbox, and Dropbox will back the files up to the cloud for you.
Restoring a Corrupted World
At this point you should have a backup created either on external storage or cloud storage. If you remember the first section of this guide, I told you about this error:
It’s still possible to get this error after moving away from Steam Cloud saves of course, but this time it’s actually going to be fixable. What you need to do is navigate to wherever your Terraria files are located:
Now open your Worlds folder and find the world that got corrupted:
If you can’t see the file extensions like .wld, then click View > File name extensions in the File Explorer:
Next, you need to delete the file with a .wld extension by clicking it and pressing Delete or Del on your keyboard. After that, rename the .wld.bak file to a .wld file by selecting it and pressing F2:
Now press Enter to save the changes. If you get a popup, press Yes to confirm the rename:
Once you’ve done that, go back into the game and try loading the world now. Your world should load perfectly now with no issues. To avoid the file corruption issue in the future, make sure you always use Save and Exit to close the game.
Congratulations, you’ve now moved away from the terrible Steam Cloud saves and learned how to fix your world if it gets corrupted! Unfortunately, a lot of players still use the cloud save system unaware of how it can go wrong, so please spread the word about the issue. Hopefully at some point in the future, Re-Logic will address this issue when someone makes a Terraria related post on a platform that garners a lot of attention.
Thanks for reading my guide! If you want to contact me for any reason, leave a comment below or add my Discord Greenman#0001.
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