Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Windows Symbolic Links

Just found out about "junctions" which is NTFS speak for linux style symbolic links.

There is always a battle with Windows with getting stuff installed where you want it.

Documents and Settings, and Program Files, default to the system partition. This is exactly where they shouldn't be. The system should be on the system partition, and the rest of your stuff should be elsewhere, partitioned off sensibly.

And where is the "advanced" button in Windows to specify where you want the default locations? Doesn't exist. The best you can do is modify the setup.inf on the cd - which means burning it of course. I must do this at some point, but several installs later I cannot be bothered fixing something that should not be broken.

So after each install it is a case of moving stuff and hacking the registry to make it all work. And does it all work? No. Moving Documents and Setting is *hard*. My last install I caved. 2004 was my last rant about it. So right now it is sitting on the system partition.

But now I find that auto-updates don't work. And this is because I have moved Program Files, along with the contents, and fixed the registry so it knows. And yet Windows Update insists that it cannot do what it has to because it has moved. Why? WHY?

So what if there was something like symbolic links for Windows? Then you can move stuff wherever you like and just link it, and windows will think everything is where it is "supposed" to be.

Well, of course, there is. Called "junctions". There is a utility over at sysinternals to allow you to create them, and it works a treat.

I consider this a compromise rather than a solution.

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