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phaolo

Using symbolic links to easily change install location?

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Hello, I have to ask a general question about Windows.
I use an SSD for my system+programs and a pair of HDDs for users subfolders (Downloads,Pictures,etc), appdata for some programs (Firefox,Thunderbird,Xnview,OBS,etc..) and games.

I realized that it could be a problem if I wanted to change letter\hdd.

Is it a good idea to avoid pointing directly to the hdd, but instead use symbolic links in C: ?

For example:
- not installing games to "D:\Games" but to "C:\Games" (with a symlink)
- not changing Firefox folder to something like "D:\UsersMoved\..\ProgrUserdata\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles"  but leave it on "C:\Users\..\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles" (with a symlink)
- not changing OBS output folder to "G:\Recordings", but leave it on C (with a symlink)
- etc..

Can there be any disadvantages?

Edited by phaolo

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I as you, prefer to have only OS and some programs on C.\, all documents, games, downloads, etc are on separate drive/partition. This way my backup images are smaller and faster to update or redeploy, I use wimlib-clc for my backups (a GUI for wimlib-imagex ), not the faster making the first image but the smallest image file, and following Delta images are very fast.

I have done something like this with some games that do not install on another drive/partition, installing them to C:\  and latter copying the main folder and all file/folders into it to another partition, and by means of Junction Link Magic created symbolic link (symlink) to new folder, and deleting all content of folder on C:\ (but not the folder), so far all has been working fine. In this case games were allready installed, but if we know the folder name (to avoid confusion) that will be created by the program/game, then we can create the symilink before installing the program/game etc.

I know it can be done directly on Windows, but it is easier using this free tool, Download link: https://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/Junction-Link-Magic.shtml

But we need to remember the symlink is pointing to a path like D:\My-Game, just like a shortcut, so if we change drive letter it will stop working. More info here.

Best Regards

alacran

Edited by alacran

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Thanks for replying.
I use Link Shell Extension, instead. It's quite cool because it integrates with Win Explorer.
(even if sadly I can't customize its menu entries).

I thought about some downsides for symlinks on C:
- if I uninstall a program\game, it will leave its empty (or semi) folder on the other hdd.
- I'll have to actually remember to use C, despite having folders elsewhere.

Not a bit deal, overall.
I can't come up with other scenarios for which symlink would be worse than real folders. ¯\_(O_o)_/¯

 

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