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decorative_letter_once upon a time I stumbled upon a wonderful program that makes life with Windows XP better. It’s called Junction Link Magic, and it’s wonderful because it lets you create junction points in Windows NTFS partitions, and because it’s free. Junction points are the equivalent of symlinks (symbolic links) in UNIX/Linux, basically hard shortcuts. By hard shortcuts I mean that when you, or the OS, or applications access a symlink of a file or a folder, the shortcutting is invisible and you are none the wiser. The best Windows analogy of this function is My Documents. My Documents displays as its own high level folder, but the actual files are stored somewhere else, usually C:\Documents and Settings\Your_User_Name\My Documents.

Why use junction points? My practical application is that I store a lot of video files on my main PC, most of which are accessed over the network by my Windows Media Center PC, and I am constantly running out of space. My main requirement is that I want to add space (hard drives) but I don’t want to destroy my existing folder hierarchy, because I don’t have the excess space to hold the files while I rebuild/repartition/re-array everything. I wanted something like symlinks so that I could basically add a hard drive, and then graft (mount) that space onto my existing structure. Windows XP does let you mount a new hard drive onto an existing empty NTFS folder using Disk Management, but I found that too inflexible for my needs.

Enter Junction Link Magic (JLM). JLM is just a simple GUI that does for you what you would have to do on the command line otherwise. That is to say, Windows XP can already create junction points, it’s just not fun. So now I add my hard drive, use Disk Management to get it all partitioned, move the folders I want to offload onto the new drive, and then use JLM to graft the folders right back to where they used to be. The OS and applications can’t tell the difference. It’s a flexible solution that works very well for ever expanding video libraries. And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZZZZZ

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