A month or so ago I published a “how-to” on backing up and restoring your Steam catalog. Steam is a classic example of how anyone can download games, back them up to alternative media and restore them to full working order with a simple click of a button. I wish the same could be said about EA’s Origin.

I was going to do the same article as I did with Steam but with Origin but I ran into a snag.

Recently, I was forced to rebuild my gaming rig. With Windows7, reinstallation times are dramatically reduced compared with XP. So in no time at all I was busy reinstalling drives, apps, games, STEAM and tweaking my desktops and icons just like someone with OCD. But before I did all this, I set about backing up my Origin games. Hmmmm, sounds fairly straight forward.

I only have two games in Origin: Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3. BC2 was installed off DVD, likewise with BF3. I hear you say “just reinstall from DVD” – that’s an option. However I have DLC with BF3 which has thrown a monkey wrench into my grandiose plans of having a flawless restore.

I did a little research – some forum entries on EA state that if you: 

  1. Copy the entire game folder from its installed location (you can find it from the Origin client to be sure); reinstall Origin, copy the directory back, fire up Origin and it should do some checking and some downloading of verification files then you’re good;
  2. Alternatively: Some say similar but substitute “downloading verification files” with “Preparing” then play the game once its finished

OK, I did all that – I witness “preparing” – then “downloading” …. WHOA! The files are intact and I restored them to the original locations and I have to redownload them!?! So something has gone wrong that it needs to redownload the files. 

In a desperate act, I tried to reinstall off DVD as a quick way out. Nup. Didn’t like it. My only choice was to let Origin download BF3 and hope for the best.

<skip ahead a few hours later> … OK I have BF3 downloaded and up and running. This included my DLC – Close Quarters – as well – so that’s nice. 

What did I learn from this? Well, the actual “official” act of backing up and restoring Origin games varies between titles and there is a possibility of meltdown if you installed a game via DVD and have DLC … maybe? Or was it just my experience that I had to drink 50 cups of coffee while waiting for the thing to download? At the end of the day, my world didn’t come crashing down and I didn’t need a labotomy; eventually I got my game reinstalled and working. Happy days.

Overall, Origin is getting better. The interface is smooth and attractive and generally has an intuitive interface. In any case, EA desperately need to fix this and offer an inclient method of allowing users to easily backup and restore games without the need to venture off into directory structures and have to think about how its going to work … after all EA have the brains and the capability to do so …

So EA – take Valve’s lead and improve your product – after all it has potential.

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