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Symbolic links for Windows

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Symbolic links for Windows

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No Java this week, just the solution of a problem I’ve encountered in the past weeks. Don’t be scared, it’s computer-related.

Since a couple of months, I’ve become severely addicted to the excellent Dropbox. It has three features, that linked together are particularly interesting for me: online backup, computer synch and file sharing. If you don’t already have an online storage solution, look at it ASAP: it has a free 2Go version (and by the way, contact me at nicolas at frankel dot ch so we can both benefit from 250Mo more).

Anyway, Dropbox has all I was looking for an online backup software, and even more, but it suffers from one major drawback: it saves only the content of a single folder (albeit recursively). On Nix operating systems, a healthy dose of symbolic links resolves the problem. However, I’m mostly a Windows user (my bad), not only at work but also at home.

At first, I reluctantly broke my nice directories tree organization but it felt wrong. And it was rightly so (pardon the pun): Windows 7 has symbolic links! Yes, it’s true! For the disbelievers, and provided you have access to both Windows 7 and a command prompt, type mklink.

Now, once you’ve selected your Dropbox folder, type the following in a command prompt:

cd path/to/dropbox/folder
mklink -D name path/to/target/directory

Done! Just make sure you have admin rights. Now if you would excuse me, I must get back to reordering my directories again…

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