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Folder Locations in Vista


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A lot of people seem to not like the default locations of folders in Vista, things like the personal folders, Documents, Favorites, Contacts, Music, Public Documents, Public Videos, etc.....Most don't like the default locations simply because they are used to using a different drive or location to store their stuff that suits there way of operation. Symlinks might be an answer for you.

Instead of going into the long explaination, the easy way to become aquanted with the Symlink feature in Vista is to open up a command prompt and type 'Mklink /?' ,you will be presented with the necessary information for creating your own symlinks in Vista. So lets create one then...

Say for example we want to call the 'Music' folder in Vista "My Personal Music Collection" but we want that folder to appear at another location other that the default Vista location and we have some problems moving the 'Music' folder and we really don't mind if the actual folder stays at its default location, we just want a folder called "My Personal Music Collection" because we don't like the default Vista 'Music' name. Ok here is how we would do that. Additionally, lets say that our user name is 'Mickeymouse' (just for the heck of it).

(Open up a command prompt and type Mklink/?. That will give you information and the syntax of the command to create a symlink.)

1. Open command prompt in the place where you want to create the symlink, were going to use the root of the C:\ drive in this example but it can be anywhere you want..

2. type mklink /? for information. So if we want to create a symlink directory at the root of C:\;

mklink /J <the name of our link directory> <the target of our link>

so lets create a link directory named "My Personal Music Collection" at the root of C:\ with a target of the default C:\Users\Mickeymouse

mklink /J "My Personal Music Collection" "C:\Users\Mickeymouse"

If you now look in the root of the C:\ drive you will see what looks like a folder but really isn't, its not a shortcut either but we won't go into that in this post. You will be able to copy, save, paste, and do all the normal things you would do with an actual folder with your "My Personal Music Collection" symlink, but remember, the actual activity is taking place in the original "C:\Users\Mickeymouse"

To enable Local to remote symlinks:

1. Both the client and server must be using Vista.

2. As admin, you need to enable 'Local to Remote' policy using gpedit.msc and go to:

Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/NTFS Filesystem/ then right click on the 'Selectively Allow the evaluation of symbolic link' - choose 'Properties', then 'Settings' tab.

Another use of symlinks, that might not be of much use to your right now but will in the future, if you transfer a lot of files using seperate clients (FTP, P2P, etc..); How about a symlink that you simply copy files into and they are transfered to a remote server for example. If the server uses symlinks (or junctions in older windows versions) then simply create a symlink with a folder on the server as a target, works great! and lets you use the remote server location like you would any folder on your hard drive just like you were on a LAN somewhere.

OK, thats it. Now granted, this doesn't move the actual folder so if your still focused on moving the actual folder its self then you'll need to do something else. But for those that just want the simplicity offered by symlinks, simple name changes and stuff like that without messing with the actual folder then symlinks might help you out.

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