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  1. #1
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    Symlinks on portable media

    I know there are a variety of harder and softer links. I'm flexible about what to use, so be specific if you can.

    I have data on portable media. And I want to put links from one spot on that media to another spot on the same media (this will address a problem with how I access that data on the software running from my main drive).

    What I'd like to know is if I take that portable media to another PC running the same software from its hard drive, will those links still be functional?

    I believe if I use a softer link (like a shortcut) that they'll still work on the new PC. But a harder link (like a symlink) may not be ... unfortunately a harder link seems to solve my access problem better.

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    This might be the answer, something I've done for years at home. My desktop and both laptops have internal CD/DVD readers/writers. These are hard-set to be drive I, period. All other attachable [usb] cd/dvd readers/writers are hard-set or assigned J, K, L. Please let me know if the above helps, or not.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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  4. #3
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    Thanks, but that's not it. (But I do use this workaround for other purposes

    I'm thinking something like how iTunes works (but I have multiple programs with this issue).

    I have a portable external device, and I want to store a file on it in one place. But I want that single file to show up in two places in the internal library created by, say, iTunes.

    One way to do this is with a symlink, so that iTunes "thinks" that file is in two different locations. But I think a symlink is part of the operating system, and so when I take the portable media away from that PC the symlink won't work.

    Alternatively, I could use a shortcut. That's clearly permanent when I move the portable media from one PC to another. But shortcuts aren't usually read at all by software that creates a library internally, so I'd lose the functionality I want.

    What I want is something in between: on portable media, one stored file shows up as multiple virtual copies, and will continue to show up that way when I move the media from one PC to another.

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    I think symlinks are stored in the appropriate file system so they should follow the device wherever you use it.
    CAVEAT: The file system must be NTFS. I would try it on some other (scrap) folder and see how it behaves. If it doesn't work, no harm no foul.

    You've already ruled out shortcuts because applications probably won't follow them. Also, a shortcut will point to <driveletter:\path> and the drive letters must match as you carry the device from machine to machine.

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    Thanks riffraff. This is getting closer to what I need.

    It sounds like you're saying that the symlink would be stored in the file system on on the device and not on the hard drive of the PC where the operating system is stored. Is that correct?

    If yes, that's great and may address my problem.

    Would this be the same for flashdrives and hard drives?

  8. #6
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    boobounder - what is a symlink? Is it different from a shortcut which points to a specific folder or item?
    riffraff earlier said: "...Also, a shortcut will point to <driveletter:\path> and the drive letters must match as you carry the device from machine to machine..." Would not my earlier idea of having each internal CD/DVD drive being drive I help here?
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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    @RolandJS

    See Symbolic Link for information.

    Joe

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RolandJS View Post
    boobounder - what is a symlink? Is it different from a shortcut which points to a specific folder or item?
    Oh yeah, they're really different.

    A shortcut is a file, and it's mostly about navigating through Explorer. You click the shortcut, and it takes you somewhere else. So you could have a project that accesses files in 2 locations, you put a shortcut in each one to the other, and you can click back and forth between the two folders.

    A symlink is more like a super-hyperlink. With symlinks, you could create a new folder for the project, and inside it put symlinks to all the files in the two folders you'd otherwise use for the project. Everything will be in one place, and it looks natural, and works as if the files are really there. Except they aren't.

    A symlink can be used to create something like a library in Windows, but symlinks are more seminal and allow you to do other things too.

    And because symlinks look and act like actual files, they can "fool" software in useful ways. One fun thing I do with them is if a musician performs with more than one band, I can use symlinks to make all the songs that are listed under those different bands show up under the musicians name too. This works in iTunes, MediaMonkey, MusicBee, and other programs that construct a library of songs from your file structure.

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  12. #9
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    Thanks for info boobounder! I didn't know symlinks from shortcuts, until this week. Maybe someday I can learn how to set up and use symlinks.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  13. #10
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    I didn't get the help I needed on this thread.

    But I did go out and experiment. For future readers:

    1) I formatted a thumbdrive as NTFS.
    2) I loaded an actual folder tree onto that thumbdrive.
    3) Then I made symlinks (and hard links) within that thumbdrive, and
    4) Took it to a new PC which recognized both.

    So it seems to me this will work for external hard drives or flashdrives where I want to maintain project organization across PCs (without resorting to the cloud).

    EOM.

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