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How to back up Minecraft worlds in Linux

If you play Minecraft on Linux, it’s safe to say you’ve thought about backing up your game saves at some point. In this guide, we will go over how to back up Minecraft worlds in Linux.

Playing Minecraft on Windows? Be sure also to check out our article on how to backup and restore Minecraft saves on Windows 10.

Before we begin

Minecraft Java edition does have a built-in backup utility, though it’s not as comprehensive as the methods that are covered in this guide. If you prefer to back up your games saves on Linux through the game, click “Single Player,” and select your save. Then, click on “Edit,” and select the “backup” button to create a backup.

Back up worlds – Command-line

If you love to play Minecraft and prefer to use the command-line, here are the instructions necessary to make a complete backup of your game saves. To start the process, open up a terminal window on your Linux desktop by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T.

From here, you can run the ls command on the Minecraft data directory to ensure that all of the files are there and that the folder is not deleted.

ls ~/.minecraft

Take a look at the Minecraft data directory. Assuming everything looks good and it is not empty, the backup process can begin. Using the tar command, create a new TarGZ archive of the “.minecraft” directory, where your game is saved.

tar -czvf My-Minecraft-Backup.tar.gz .minecraft

Let the tar command compress and backup your Minecraft game save directory on your Linux PC. Then, when the process is complete, a TarGZ archive file with the name of “My-Minecraft-Backup.tar.gz” will show up in your home folder. Take that file, upload it to Dropbox, Google Drive, or save it to an external hard drive for safekeeping.

Restore game saves – Command-line

If you’ve decided to restore your Minecraft saves, copy the “My-Minecraft-Backup.tar.gz” to your home directory from wherever you’ve been keeping it.

Note: planning on restoring your saves on a new Linux PC that doesn’t yet have the Minecraft launcher installed on it? Do yourself a favor and install the launcher, and update the game, so that it is playable first, before following the instructions below.

Once the “My-Minecraft-Backup.tar.gz” file is in your home directory, the restoration process can begin. To restore, use the tar command and extract the backup. It should automatically place the game save files into the Minecraft data directory.

tar xvf My-Minecraft-Backup.tar.gz

When the extraction is complete, your backup will be restored. From here, launch Minecraft Java Edition on your Linux PC, click “Single Player” to check that the backup worked. If the backup didn’t restore correctly, re-run the tar command.

Back up worlds –  GUI

Not a fan of the command-line? If so, follow these instructions to learn how to back up your Minecraft saves with the GUI interface.

To start, open up the Linux file manager and click on the home directory. From there,  enable “hidden files” through the settings menu.

Unsure about how to enable hidden files? Look around in your Linux file manager for the options, or the various menus it has. The option may also be in the right-click menu. Suffice it to say, each file manager is vastly different, and we can’t go into how to enable the setting for each one in this tutorial.

After enabling “hidden files,” locate the “.minecraft” folder and right-click on it with the mouse. Then, look through the right-click menu and select the “compress” option.

Compress the “.minecraft” folder as a ZIP archive file. Be sure to name it “My-Minecraft-Backup.zip” to back up your saves.

When the compression is complete, move the ZIP archive to Dropbox, Google Drive or an external hard drive.

Restore game saves – GUI

To restore your Minecraft game saves through the GUI in Linux, start by placing the “My-Minecraft-Backup.zip” file into your home directory.

Note: if you are restoring a save to a Linux PC that does not already have Minecraft installed, please install it and update the game before continuing with the restoration instructions below.

After placing the “My-Minecraft-Backup.zip” file in your home directory, right-click on the file and select “Extract Here” to fully extract the contents of the backup to your Linux PC.

When the extraction is complete, you may see a folder named “My-Minecraft-Backup.” This folder contains the “.minecraft” directory. To restore it, enable “hidden files” in your file manager. Then, right-click on the “.minecraft” folder in the “My-Minecraft-Backup” directory with the mouse to bring up the right-click menu.

Look in the right-click menu for the “cut” option and select it. Then, move to your home directory, and right-click to bring up the right-click menu again.

Inside the right-click menu, select the “paste” option. This will paste your Minecraft game saves backup where it needs to go.

When your Minecraft backup is restored, launch Minecraft Java Edition, and open “Single Player” to confirm that your game save has been successfully restored.

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