Since the release of Payday 2 a lot of people have complained about a loss of progress. It happens out of nowhere and can cause a lot of frustration. Usually there are several ways to bring back your progress, but one wrong click can delete everything. Creating frequent backups of your progress file is a good start. It's easy to do and it can save you from a lot of trouble in case everything else goes wrong.
Update #7 changed the way the backup system works. The backup file is no longer overwritten when you close the game. In my opinion it should help a lot with the crash-related progression losses.
Q: Where can I find my backup savegame? A: See B. 2.
Q: I crashed and lost my progress, what should I do? A: See C. 1. c.
Q: How do I back up my progress? A: See D. 1.
Q: How do I restore my backup savegame? A: See E. 2./E. 3.
B. Savegame functionality
The progress file for Payday 2 is named save098.sav. Its size is about 45 kilobytes when it's empty. The more you play, the bigger the savegame file gets. There are 3 possible locations for it. Two of them are on your hard disk. The third one is in the Steam Cloud, in case the feature is enabled for Payday 2.
1. Main savegame
Your main savegame is located on your hard disk. The progress is saved whenever you do certain things in the game, such as complete a heist or close your inventory.
The savegame can be found within the Steam folder:
The Steam Cloud stores your main savegame file on a Steam server. This feature is enabled by default. A synchronization happens when you launch Steam, when you close the game and possibly when you start the game.
When you close the game and your main savegame is newer than the one stored in the Steam Cloud, it will be uploaded automatically.
If there is no main savegame file (save098.sav) when you start/close the game or start Steam, it will be downloaded automatically.
When you start Steam and there's a main savegame older than the one in the cloud and the file "remotecache.vdf" was deleted or is different, the cloud backup will be downloaded automatically.
When you start Steam and there's a main savegame newer than the one in the cloud and the file "remotecache.vdf" was deleted or is different, a sync conflict will occur. The next time you start the game you will have to choose which savegame to keep.
If there is a newer/older main savegame when you start Steam, but the file "remotecache.vdf" is not different or was not deleted, Steam will not synchronize.
C. Progression resets
Note: The following part is based on community feedback and my interpretation of it. Please let me know if you have any more information on it.
1. Game crashes
The most common reason for a loss of progress is a game crash. It's not always clear what exactly happened and therefore it's hard to track down. If you start the game and your progress is gone, it means your main savegame (see B. 1.) was deleted or overwritten with bad data.
a. Main savegame deleted Steam will automatically download the cloud backup when it can't find the file save098.sav in your main savegame location. This can happen when you start/close the game and when you restart Steam. The most important thing is to not create a new progress file while you are in the game! A new progress file isn't created until you trigger a save from within the game, so don't press anything in the main menu except "Quit".
You will lose whatever you did from when you last started the game up to the moment of the crash.
b. Main savegame overwritten and unreadable by the game Your cloud backup was most likely overwritten, but your backup savegame should be intact, even if there was no prompt to restore it. When you start the game, see if you can recover your backup savegame through the game (see E. 2.). If not, don't close the game and restore your cloud backup (see E. 1.). If that didn't work because it was already overwritten, restore your backup savegame manually (see E. 3.).
c. All steps combined
You start the game after a crash and realize your progress is gone. If the game prompts you to restore your backup savegame, do so (see E. 2.). If not, don't do anything in the game and don't exit. Use alt+tab to get to the desktop.
Before you start, check the size of your cloud backup and the file size of your backup savegame (see E.).
Restore your cloud backup (see E. 1.).
If it didn't bring back your progress, restore your backup savegame manually (see E. 3.).
If nothing worked and you have manually backed up your progress file before, restore it (see E. 3.).
2. Clear progress
You can select to reset your progress from within the game's option menu. If you haven't closed the game yet, you can still undo it by restoring your progress from the Steam Cloud (see E. 1.). If you closed the game, you can restore your backup savegame (see E. 2.).
You can prevent a loss of progress by regularly backing up your savegame. The game does a good job by letting you save a local backup of your progress when you exit the game. But that may not be enough in some cases.
Do this frequently
Save to a drive other than your system drive if possible (different drive, external hard disk, NAS or USB flash drive)
You only need the savegame file save098.sav once to restore your progress
1. How to back up your progress
Browse to the folder of your main savegame: Steam\userdata\<random number>\218620\remote
Copy the savegame file save098.sav to your backup location of choice.
2. How to do it more efficiently
The following example of a batch file copies your savegame into a new folder with the current date and time using a YYYYMMDD_hhmm format. Thanks to SS64[ss64.com] for a method to deal with different local formats. Windows XP Professional or later is required. Use it at your own risk.
:: Edit both paths SET SavegamePath=C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\XXXXXXXX\218620\remote\save098.sav SET DestinationFolder=D:\Backup\PAYDAY 2
:: Do NOT edit the following lines IF NOT "%OS%"=="Windows_NT" GOTO:EOF WMIC.EXE Alias /? >NUL 2>&1 || GOTO:EOF
FOR /F "skip=1 tokens=1-6" %%G IN ('WMIC Path Win32_LocalTime Get Day^,Hour^,Minute^,Month^,Second^,Year /Format:table') DO ( IF "%%~L"=="" GOTO s_done SET _yyyy=%%L SET _mm=00%%J SET _dd=00%%G SET _hour=00%%H SET _minute=00%%I ) :s_done
Create a new text file with this content. Change the path to your savegame file and the path to your backup destination folder (make sure the folder exists!). Save it as a .bat file. Double-click it and a backup will be created.
3. How to back up your backup savegame (optional)
Browse to the folder of your backup savegame: %localappdata%\PAYDAY 2\saves\<Steam profile ID>
Copy the savegame file save098.sav to your backup location of choice, but don't overwrite the copy of your main savegame.
Before you restore a backup, you should check its size. If your progress file is empty, its size is about 20 kilobytes. It gets bigger the more you play. The settings file (save000.sav) is uploaded to the cloud as well and its size is about 1.65 kilobytes. If your cloud backup is 21.5-22 kilobytes or your backup savegame is 20 kilobytes, then there is no progress to restore.
1. Restore from the Steam Cloud
- Only works if the progression reset happens while you are in the game - If you closed the game already, go to the next method - You can skip this method if you're certain your backup savegame is intact and up to date
Note: If your main savegame was deleted (instead of overwritten), Steam should download it when you start the game, when you close the game or when you restart Steam.
Don't exit the game! Doing so would overwrite your cloud backup.
Disable the Steam Cloud synchronization for Payday 2. Your progress will remain in the cloud, but if we don't do this everything will be overwritten when we close the game later.
Get to your desktop (alt+tab) and open your Steam library. Right click on Payday 2 and select Properties. Check the Updates tab and disable the Steam Cloud.
Tab back into the game and close it.
Reenable the Steam Cloud for Payday 2.
Exit Steam (essential step!!).
Browse to the parent folder of your main savegame location: Steam\userdata\<random number>\218620
Delete everything inside: remote remotecache.vdf
Start Steam and let it synchronize (this may take a minute).
Start the game. Your progress is restored.
2. Restore backup savegame (through Payday 2)
- In case you closed the game and your cloud backup was overwritten
Open the game and you should get a prompt:
Your progress is back, but not yet saved! Do something in the game to overwrite your main savegame (open the inventory and close it).
Close the game to let it save to the cloud.
3. Manually restore a backup
- If your backup savegame was overwritten - Requires a backup of the savegame file!
Note: If your backup savegame wasn't overwritten and the game won't let you restore it (according to E. 2.), you can do it manually. Go to its location (see B. 2.) and follow the steps below.
Make sure Steam is running.
Note: You could have Steam closed and launch it before step 4, but there's a small chance the more recent cloud backup will be downloaded automatically.
Go to your main savegame location: Steam\userdata\<random number>\218620\remote
Overwrite the file save098.sav with your most recent backup of the file.
Start the game, your progress should be back.
Note: If Steam synchronizes when you start the game, you will have to temporarily disable the Steam Cloud for Payday 2 and repeat the previous step. As soon as you restored your progress and saved once from within the game, you can turn it on again.
Do something in the game (such as open your inventory and close it again). This will make sure your local savegame is newer than the cloud backup.
Exit the game. Your restored progress will be uploaded to the cloud.
4. Windows backups
If you regularly back up your system drive, you will be able to recover your backup savegame. Unless you installed Steam on another drive, your main savegame should be there as well. If you play the game very often and only create a backup once a week, you could lose up to 7 days of progress. But it is better than nothing and can be enough if you don't play the game very often.
I hope this guide helped you and you won't have to deal with a loss of progress in the future.