Vista and the VirtualStore

By Gaius Colinius & Foamy

Modding is what extends the playing life of the Total War games and playing around with the game files is easy for even the least tech savvy players but there are some challenges & obstacles if you have Windows Vista installed.

When you install the game into the default “program files” folder, all the game files are installed there but things get complicated if you run the unpacker or install a modification because Vista doesn’t actually install them in the “program files” folder but rather a hidden folder known as the “VirtualStore”. Below is how to find those files:

You need to go to your control panel.

  • Switch it to “classic view”.
  • Select “folder options”.
  • Part of the way down on the “view” tab is an option to “show hidden files & folders”.
  • This will allow you to view the files.

Now to find where Vista hid them (applies for all patches & unpacks).

  • Go to “my computer”, then your hard drive, then “users” & select your user directory.
  • There should be a folder called “AppData”, select this.
  • Inside the “local” folder, there is a “VirtualStore” folder.
  • Inside this there is a “Program Files” folder and you’ll find what looks like a copy of your game folder.

You should take this folder and paste it onto the folder in “Program Files”. In other words, take the M2TW folder and copy it directly into the “SEGA” folder in “Program Files”. Vista will ask you if you want to overwrite existing files. You should say yes. When this process is complete, delete the files in the VirtualStore as they are only taking up valuable hard disc space.

If you run the unpacker in Vista, the unpacked files are to be found in the VirtualStore which includes the two geography files that need to be deleted so the above procedure should be carried out in full.

I hope this guide has been of use to you and will help you run mods & patches effectively. Any suggestions, criticisms, or improvements please don’t hesitate to post in the thread on the forums.