Friday, January 28, 2000

Life's too short for re-installing

Friday, January 28, 2000

I followed your instructions in order to make a backup of my Windows partition using Ghost, but didn't include the installation of all my games in this backup. Having formatted my boot partition they no longer run from my extended partition. Is there anything I can do to fix this, or do I have to reinstall all my games?

No, you don't have to reinstall all your games, which should come as a relief since the installation of most modern games can be anywhere between 0.5 and 2 gigabytes in size, and can take a ridiculously long time to setup. The reason they won't work once you've formatted your drive is because the registry entries, which were made when you installed the games have been lost. Without these entries many games will refuse to even read from the CD. What you have to do to fix this problem is get yourself one of the more advanced registry editors/cleaners and use it to backup these registry entries before you format your drive. Reg Cleaner comes highly recommended so why not head over to and grab that straight away.

If you install the program and load it up, you will be presented with a list of all the applications and games you have installed on your computer, along with the registry entries associated with them. Now here comes the clever bit so pay attention. If you wanted to be able to play Dune 4 after formatting your hard drive, for instance, you would scroll down the list until you come to the Westwood entries. For this game there are three separate sections, one for each component of the game - the main game, the shared internet components and the auto update feature. Right-click on the first entry and select 'advanced info'. This will open a window containing all the registry keys which would be removed if you were to uninstall the game. Choose the 'save list as text' option and export the information to a text file. Repeat this process for all three sections. Open the three text files in Notepad and combine them into one by copying and pasting the information.

We're almost there now, so bare with me for another minute. You now have to make space at the top of the text file and enter 'REGEDIT4' onto the first line. This serves to inform your operating system of exactly how you would like the file to be processed - using the Windows built-in registry tool, Registry Editor. Rename this text file to something similar to d4.reg (the extension is the important thing here, the filename could be anything) and put it in a safe place where you won't lose it.

To play Dune 4 after you have formatted your boot drive in future, you would simply locate this reg file and double click on it to add the entries back into the registry. After doing that, find the drive you installed the game to and run the main executable from there. To speed the process up for next time, you could make a shortcut to the game and place it on your desktop.

Repeat the process for all your games and you've solved the problem. It may take you a long time, but remember, this only has to be done once for each game.


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