Sunday, August 28, 2011

My experience migrating GFWM (GFWL) from Vista to 7

First a bit of background, I had the horrible task of migrating from Windows Vista to 7 on my personal PC. I say horrible, because Microsoft don't seem to of thought things through for people with hardware and drive configurations outside the norm. I wasted a number of hours recovering my old Vista install and re-building the boot cfg to get everything working, however I will leave the details for another post.

So I had a few games under Games For Windows Marketplace, formally Games For Windows Live. I was wondering how I could avoid re-downloading the games/DLC again on my windows 7 clean install.

After a little trial and error I got things working and saved a bunch of time/bandwidth. I will focus on GTA4, which I purchased via Steam and subsequently purchased the DLC via GFWM.

This process could easily be streamlined, but I wanted to include everything. Please feel free to take your own approach to speed things up.

Note, Microsoft have updated the Games for windows client, so its now called Games For Windows Marketplace (GFWM). In GTA4, the GFW system is still called Games for Windows Live (GFWL).

UPDATE 2012-MARCH-10: I did a registry backup, then used the Games For Windows Marketplace to install one of the GTA4 DLC's. Then did a registry diff using Beyond Compare. Studying the diff revealed no specific changes related the DLC downloaded from the GFWM. So I'm very confident that all of the magic that makes the GTA4 DLC work via GFWM/GFWL, is located in the file/folder structure located at:
VERY IMPORTANT: If you change the location of your installed games, or DLC via the Games for windows Marketplace UI, it COULD delete any game content in the original location and perhaps even the new location. Make sure you have a backup of your content that is NOT located in your old or new content folders.
  1. Ensured I had a tested backup of my games and DLC.
  2. Ensured I had a tested backup of the following folders from my Vista install
  3. Sorted out my Windows 7 clean install, drivers, cfg etc.
  4. Launched steam, this is on a dedicated games drive.
  5. Launched GTA4, this did some "first run" steps.
    This included installing GFWL, though a very old copy.
  6. GTA4 launched, Social Club sign in etc.
  7. Signed in via GFWL, allowed the GFWL update to download.
  8. Exited the game, GFWL update ran.
  9. Loaded GTA4 again, issues with activation, GFWL crashing.
  10. Did a windows update on GFWL and it upgraded to GFWM.
  11. Launched GTA4 again, GFWL sign in worked.
  12. Launched GTA4 TBOGT DLC but save games were missing.
  13. Placed my backed up save games in:
    \Users\$youruser\AppData\Local\Rockstar Games\GTA IV\savegames\user_{some number}\
    Check that {some number} is the most recent folder created.
  14. Loaded GFWM (direct from Start Menu) and checked my Game/DLC status, it was not correct.
  15. I updated my GFWM settings with the ones from my screenshot from Vista.
  16. Exited GFWM.
  17. Deleted and Replaced the following folders on my Windows 7 install with ones from my Vista install.
  18. Loaded GFWM (direct from Start Menu) and checked my Game/DLC status, it was correct, settings were also still correct.
  19. Exited GFWM and launched GTA4.
  20. Signed in to GFWL.
  21. Entered my GTA4 key (available via Steam game properties).
  22. Everything works, save games were also as desired.
Props to:
Rjck @ Seven for his post on save games

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