Using Symbolic Link’s to connect to a shared Blu-Ray/DVD drive within your network

If you have a Blu-Ray drive on a device within your network and you’d like to be able to play your disks on say your other PC or laptop, you don’t necessarily need to go out and buy another Blu-Ray drive.

The very first thing that needs to be done is to share your Blu-Ray/DVD drive across your network. This step will obviously be different depending on your operating system.

On Windows 10 for example (on the device that has the drive), go to ‘This PC’, right click on the drive and go to “Give access to” then to “Advanced sharing…” Hit “Advanced Sharing…” button, tick the box “Share this folder”, give it a name. This essentially shares your drive to the network, without this the other devices won’t have access.

The next step is to map the drive or you can skip this and just go right to creating the Symbolic Link.

If you did map the drive, you might get a permission issue and instead of fiddling around with permissions I added a password to the Windows account (of the system with the drive) and used those credentials to gain access. If you already use a password, great, but if you don’t prefer to use one, you’ll need to configure the permissions to allow this.

Here’s the Symbolic Link I used. You will need to execute this in the Command Prompt (elevated or it will not allow you to create it):

mklink /D "C:\Blu-ray Drive" "\\NETWORKNAME\d"

To explain a little, the first quotes is the location to where I want to create the link, the second quote is where the link will point to. You can type “mlink” within the console to get a list and more understanding of Symbolic Links. The idea is that your media player believes it’s simply playing from a folder in C drive.

Read more about Symbolic Links here from Microsoft.

Another way that seemed to work was to use the VCL Media Player to play directly from the mapped drive. Run using \E:/ (Change the drive letter to yours).

You can use that to run it from VLC Media Player.

Pro’s and Con’s?

Pro’s and con’s are pretty basic so far, however the pro is you don’t need to splash out on a blu-ray drive just to watch something else-where, the con is that you’ll have to run the device in which the blu-ray is on even if you’re not using it. A restart or disruption to the network and you’re disconnected, of course.

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