Sunday, September 19, 2010

Auto Sync And Backup World of Warcraft Interface Settings To Cloud Storage For Free

This particular article will focus on making World of Warcraft interface settings sync across multiple computers. This guide is also related to another one of my articles called How To: Auto Sync And Backup Any Savegames On The Cloud For Free. You can look there to see how to auto sync savegame and folder for other games.

World of Warcraft Interface Folders Introduction
All of your World of Warcraft interface settings are stored in a number of places:

X:\[World of Warcraft]\Interface\
This folder contains all of your downloaded AddOns.

X:\[World of Warcraft]\WTF\[ACCOUNTNAME]\
This folder contains all of your other AddOn settings such as the position of chat windows, the settings on Recount, etc.

X:\[World of Warcraft]\WTF\
Within your WTF folder is a file called ''. This file contains details specific to your computer such as resolution and detail. We will avoid syncing this folder and the '' folder because it may cause problems with the display of your AddOns unless your target computer has the same aspect ratio.

You may not want to sync the '' file to another computer unless it has identical performance and resolution.

The rest of the settings such as spells on action bar placement (unless using an AddOn bar like Bartender) and friends lists etc. are stored on Blizzard's own cloud and do not need to be backed up.

Syncing Solution: Live Sync Beta

There is only one tool that you will require whether you are on Windows or OSX, and that is Live Sync Beta (soon to become Live Mesh 2011). This free tool allows the syncing of any folder on your computer to free cloud storage, or bypassing the cloud entirely and syncing over a network. It includes 2gb of free SkyDrive storage (upgrading to 5gb for free in the future), and also includes VNC (remote desktop) services.

Previous Microsoft syncing services Live Sync and Live Mesh are no longer being supported, and features from both projects are being integrated into Live Sync Beta.

Guide To Syncing Interface Using Live Sync Beta

Before proceeding please backup your World of Warcraft folder.

Step 1) Download the latest version of Windows Live Sync Beta using this link: Windows Live Sync Beta is only available as part of the Windows Live Essentials Beta package. Make sure you only install what you need to (make sure to install Live Sync), and install the program on any computer you want to sync to. You will need to sign up for a free Live account, which you may already have.

Step 2) Synchronize a folder by running Windows Live Sync Beta, and then click 'Sync a folder'. You can now proceed to sync these folders one at a time:

X:\[World of Warcraft]\Interface\
X:\[World of Warcraft]\WTF\[ACCOUNTNAME]\

Fruity computer names.
When you add a folder on Live Sync Beta, you can choose whether to sync to SkyDrive (the cloud storage) or directly to another computer. For flexibility you should choose SkyDrive as well as the computer(s) you want to sync the interface folder onto, as this will allow syncing without both computers having to be online at the same time.

Step 3) Now that the folder is online, on the target computer, select the 'Interface' folder and press 'Sync this folder'. Then you will want to select the 'Interface' folder in the target computer WoW installation.

Sync the Interface folder in the target computer's WoW installation.

Step 4

Et voila! You now have automatic syncing of you World of Warcraft AddOns folder. You will want to repeat this process with the X:\[World of Warcraft]\WTF\[ACCOUNTNAME]\ folder to get interface setting syncing.

Why Live Beta Sync? How Does It Compare To The Competition?

vs Dropbox
Most people are familiar with Dropbox, since it is the most popular syncing cloud storage service. However, its biggest disadvantage is that it only allows for a single 'Dropbox folder' to be synced at any one time. If you wanted to sync a specific Interface folder, you will have to use 'symbolic links' (symlinks) to make your Windows installation think that your Interface folder is in the 'Dropbox folder'. Creating symlinks is not a user friendly process and you will most likely need to download another application just to help with symlinking. A well written writeup is available from ARogan who explains how this is done.

vs SugarSync and Syncplicity
SugarSync is relatively new, and has some very compelling features such as mobile platform support. Sugarsync and Syncplicity both support the syncing any folder to the cloud. However, I am not recommending it for the purposes of Interface syncing because in their free forms, they will both only allow the syncing of two computers. Whilst this is certainly enough for most people, Live Sync Beta allows unlimited computer syncing, and also provides very useful tools such as VNC and a large free cloud storage of 5gb (which will be automatically upgraded from 2gb in the coming months).

Tips For Using Windows Live Sync Beta (Windows Live Mesh 2011) 

World of Warcraft is a portable game and does not require installing to be used on another computer. Therefore if you want to play on another computer you can simply copy the entire WoW installation folder. Live Sync Beta can also sync this large folder across a network without using your internet.

The same principle for AddOn and Interface syncing can be used for all kinds of savegames. This is especially useful for games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, where one's character could be carried through multiple games over many years.

Adjusting the 'UI Scale' in the World of Warcraft settings will scale down the size of the interface, and make it easier for the same interface to be used on different resolutions.