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The file Gw.dat is a compressed archive file that contains all data that is required to run Guild Wars. Apart from game data – like graphics, sounds or texts – that is streamed and saved from the servers when needed, the Gw.dat contains the few user options that are stored on the local machine including video settings and the saved account name.

To save time in-game, it is possible to have the client download all available data on startup using the -image parameter of the executable file. It is also possible to copy the Gw.dat file to another machine to avoid having to download all the files again.

For information on the file structure see the file format article.


  • Some curious information about plot and history of Guild Wars universe (like some data about the dead god Arachnia) are hidden in gw.dat, but is not confirmed if it is canon. For more information, see unimplemented content.
  • The file size of your Gw.dat might not be the same as someone else's. Since the file is created and modified by adding and changing files inside of it dynamically, its size and CRC will vary in different installations of the game.
  • To install the game on multiple computers, it is possible to just copy this file and the Gw.exe file into the same folder, instead of having to download the game again on each computer.

Guild Wars files