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PlayOnLinux installs the applications in separate virtual drives. Each virtual drive represents a different windows machine. I have configured PlayOnLinux on my laptop and installed several programs in it.

These programs go in the hidden .PlayOnLinux directory in home.

My .PlayOnLinux directory is about 12 GB in size. Along with virtual drives it also contains resources that PlayOnLinux downloads from internet such as Windows Service Pack and alternate versions of Wine.

Not wanting to download/install everything again I copied the .PlayOnLinux directory to my second computer before running PlayOnLinux.

However on startup PlayOnLinux initialized that directory to its own taste, flattening the 12GB directory to a mere 500 Kilobytes.

My question is - Is it possible to backup PlayOnLinux virtual drives? How? This would be tremendously helpful in taking snapshots of drives for reverting later and for transferring settings to another system.

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What you could do is run playonlinux for the first time, let it generate the default .PlayOnLinux folder, then quit the application, delete that folder and replace it with your own .PlayOnLinux folder. Then restart playonlinux and you should be able to use all of your applications that you were using before. You may have to tweak a few settings if you were using a different version of playonlinux before, but it should be a usable solution.

Note: You must remember to let playonlinux run once before you quit it and copy your folder across from the backup drive. You mention you copied it before you ran playonlinux- this is the main problem, as playonlinux will overwrite the folder, as you have found out.

However, in the future you could use the 'playonlinux vault' (see screenshots below), which can be used to both backup and restore your applications. It is accessed through playonlinux > plugins > PlayOnLinux vault. It does backup the entire wine prefix that the application is installed in and all the other necessary playonlinux settings. It is a plugin, but is now installed by default. It is easy to use as you are guided through the various stages of the backup or restore.

The only downside is that the plugin takes a while to compress the backups, but the latest version of the plugin has an option to disable compression, which will improve speed and performance of the backup. Disable and remove the vault plugin in pluginmanager and then download the latest version from the official site and install it and enable it using pluginmanager. Now reload playonlinux and you will get the option to not use compression (see screenshot).

There are perhaps other ways of backing up your programs, but the two solutions discussed should be useful for you.

Screenshots from the 'playonlinux' vault plugin:

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