Creating Symbolic Links

I’ve been meaning to create a post about symbolic links and how to set them up, the benefits of them, pros and cons, however I’ve not had the time and I might just come back to this post one day, however it’s been a while and I think it’s worth just starting and leaving it where it is.

I sometimes reformat my Windows drive or as you do, upgrade to say another drive. Backing up your files is one thing, but have you ever thought, what about just using scripts to run once you re-install everything to point to the files so it’s almost plug and play?

So for example, in this situation we have the Steam userdata folder that resides in the Program Files within the C drive. Setting up a symbolic link to then automatically have that folder divert to a location on say a Steam dedicated drive, would mean no need to ever do large copies, but to just run the script after a reformat and you’re good to go. Especially handy when you forget to make a back up and reformat your Windows anyway!

This also comes in handy when the times your drive fails, however that doesn’t mean the drive you’re creating the link to doesn’t fail, make sure you have a plan for that.

Anyway, here’s the way to do it:

Step 1, run command prompt)

Start Command Prompt. Press start, type “command prompt”, right click on it and run as the administrator.

Step 2, copy paste your symbolic link)

You can just type “mklink” to get a list of details on what each parameter does. In this case we’re going to link one folder to another.

mklink /J “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata” “D:\Steamuserdata”

And that’s it, we’re done.

I did a quick Google search to find more details on it, Microsoft have a page on symbolic links, you can find that here.

Uplay likes to save your screenshots to C:\Users\xxxxx\Pictures\Uplay another idea would be to divert those to your preferred location.

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