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Author Topic: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?  (Read 1776 times)

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ALAN_BR

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    Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
    « on: January 27, 2009, 08:08:43 AM »
    Major static folders that only change every other year are :-

    C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Music
    C:\I386   
    C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles
    C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET

    I propose moving all the above to a different partition,
    and replace them with Folder Junctions (created via xplorer2).
    to greatly reduce the time taken to create a system partition C:\ image,
    and increase how many images can be held on my external disc.

    After limited testing I am satisfied that Folder Junctions :-
    fool applications into thinking nothing has moved; and
    both FOOLS and NOT fools Windows Explorer,  ! !
    With all partition contents selected, Properties includes the Size on Disc of all files on the partition, plus all files in the Folder Junction target,
    BUT when the partition is selected, the Used Space excludes the junction target files.

    Please advise me :-

    Are my proposals safe ?

    Will "Windows File Protection" or "Patch Tuesday" etc. punish me ?

    Are there any system folders I should refrain from moving ?

    Will System Tools such as defraggers, partition imagers, or Partition Managers, go peculiar ?

    The Music folder is known as either "My Music" or "Shared Music",
    What name should I give to its Music Junction replacement ?

    I believe Windows will resist me replacing "Shared Music" -
    Should I use Safe Mode and/or take ownership of the folder ?

    Would it be better to use TweakUI for moving the music folder ?

    soybean



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    Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
    « Reply #1 on: January 27, 2009, 08:54:38 AM »
    I've never used junction points but I think, for the Music folder, I would simply move it without using a junction point.  I don't see why a junction point is needed to move it.  To move the standard Windows Music folder, right click on My Music, or Music if using Win Vista, select Properties, select the Location tab, click Move, and proceed.


    ALAN_BR

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      Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
      « Reply #2 on: January 27, 2009, 09:59:09 AM »
      Hi

      I cannot see a location Tab.

      I am using Windows XP Home with SP3.

      Using Windows Explorer in Folders mode (directory tree on left, and files on right) :-
      address bar set to "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents"
      The title bar says Shared Documents,
      The left side shows I have selected "Shared Documents" with 6 sub-folders
      The right side shows the same sub-folder names, plus a few files including desktop.ini
      The subfolders are Shared Music; Shared Pictures, Shared Video, microsoft, Regseeker, and snapshot.
      When I right click Shared Music etc, at the bottom of a long list properties only offers two Tabs, General and Sharing.
      Right click on any of the 3 other folders gives properties with 3 tabs.
      The extra Tab is Customize - this also has no Location.

      Incidentally, when I open Shared Music, the Title bar agrees, but the address bar is
      C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Music
      hence my confusion upon what to call a Folder Junction.

      Elsewhere on the Internet I have read that "Shared Music" etc. is some sort of special "Shell Folder", and that Windows Explorer can move most folders by dragging, but these shell folders cannot be moved, but TweakUI can do the job.

      If Junction Folders can meet all my needs, I only have one tool to master.
      I also prefer to avoid TweakUI because I fear it may fix the registry, and if it involves HKCU then my daughter's profile will lose her shared music until she also runs TweakUI, and that may require me remembering to give her administrator rights.

      I could simply copy all the music contents to another partition, and delete all the music from "Shared Music".  I doubt that Windows would give me any grief.  I fear I might get grief from my daughter depending upon how much effort it takes her to adjust her play-lists etc.

      I assume the Location Tab is available in Vista, and in XP Professional, but I cannot find it in XP Home.
      Please advise me if I am looking in the wrong place.

      Regards
      Alan


      patio

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      Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
      « Reply #3 on: January 27, 2009, 03:48:57 PM »
      Since the junctions function is to assist moving the folders but letting Windows think they are still there then when you create the image files it is still going to point to the moved data and include it in the created image...saving you no time or space.

      There are other approaches to file management that i won't go into great detail on right now but when it comes to Music, Movies and application data that is quite large i never let it wind up anywhere near Docs and Settings.
      I treat these categories as seperate entities that i can also backup and/or image to there own CD and are therefore more manageable to restore/organise.

      Personally i always thought Docs and Settings was a very bad idea on MS's part as was the Program Files approach as the default location for installing apps.
      You wind up with 2 overgrown unmanageable beasts that just make backups and simple file management a mini-nightmare.
      When i need to find something i don't want to drill down 7 or 8 layers of nested folders just because they thought it was a great idea at the time.
      Course i learned file management practices and techniques from a DOS based app back when drive space, memory and other crucial factors meant you had to stay organised.
      But enough of my mini-rant on how MS sees things. Try and suggest to her approaching a simpler file management approach that would alleviate your chores when creating an image.
         
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      All generalizations are false, including this one.  "

      ALAN_BR

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        Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
        « Reply #4 on: January 27, 2009, 05:55:39 PM »
        I fully agree that everything on C:\ is a terrible idea.

        Unfortunately my daughter bought this as a package deal with XP pre-installed four years ago, and I had no involvement.

        Since then I retired, and she gave her laptop to me.  Hence I have many of her music albums in "Shared Music"

        Recently she was given an IPOD.  I HATE Apple - I think iPod and iTunes are Apples revenge upon the superior marketing of Windows - I feel another rant coming on.

        The good thing is, her new iTunes library is all in a separate partition S:\.

        The Junction Folders will save space and time.

        Fig. sshot_01 shows all the objects within S:\
        Fig. sshot_02 shows the external properties of S:\
        The external used space is 10 MB greater than the internal Size on Disk, probably due to overheads such as MFT zones etc.
        Fig. sshot_03 and sshot_04 come from R:\ after an image of S:\ was restored to it.
        and also a Junction Folder "Shared Music"was then added to target 323 MByte selection I had copied to D:\
        Fig. sshot_03 includes the "Shared Music" size within the size on disc,
        But Fig. sshot_04 excludes it, it only exceeds sshot_02 by 42 MB because larger partitions have larger overheads ( MFT etc I guess).  sshot_04 is 259 MB smaller than sshot_03.

        Hence Windows Explorer has two different ways of measuring a folder that contains a Folder Junction - so I am concerned about possible system collapses.

        Acronis imaged a possibly fragmented S:\ as
        S_Suzanne.tib   661,335,040

        I restored this to R:\, which defragged as it restored, and then Acronis imaged it as
        R_S0_.tib   660,797,952

        I then added the Folder Junction targeting my 323 MB selection on D:\
        and Acronis refrained from capturing the target, the next image was
        R_S1_.tib   660,799,488
        i.e. it only took an extra 1536 bytes to capture the Junction Folder name and destination, but did not capture anything on D:\

        Hence I am certain Folder Junctions will save space with Acronis - but other imaging tools may behave differently.

        I am just concerned about the weird and wonderful ways in which Windows Explorer chooses whether to report the size of a target, and whether other aspects of Windows may decide to auto-destruct ! !

        Regards
        Alan


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        soybean



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        Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
        « Reply #5 on: January 27, 2009, 06:07:30 PM »

        I cannot see a location Tab.

        I am using Windows XP Home with SP3.

        My mistake in saying the Move procedure can be applied directly to your My Music folder. The move procedure is found in Properties for My Documents, not My Music.  But, since My Pictures and My Music are normally under My Documents, moving My Documents also moves My Pictures and My Music.  This should help: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310147
        « Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 06:21:59 PM by soybean »


        patio

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        Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
        « Reply #6 on: January 27, 2009, 06:14:29 PM »
        There's also the possibility some of the unexplained space is Acronis overhead in the image that is lessened after it's restored and defragged.
        I'm not sure but i think the Disk Properties size reporting in XP and Vista does NOT include restore points where they are included in Explorer...or it's the other way around.

        I'll have to try junctions on my next weekly image and see how it behaves on my machine. I was under the impression from the folks at an Acronis support Forum i visit that the data from junction points was included in the image...seems that info is incorrect as you've pointed out.

        Acronis Support Forums...just in case you need the link.

        Interesting info and thanx for sharing it...i learned something new.
        I usually image on Sunday PM so i'll post my results next week.

           
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        All generalizations are false, including this one.  "

        ALAN_BR

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          Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
          « Reply #7 on: January 28, 2009, 05:16:05 AM »
          Soybean

          Thank you.  I was not aware of this.

          Unfortunately the Target Tab is very special and rarely available.

          Target Tab is not available for anything I have ever seen previously.
          I can see, now you have instructed me, that is is available to
          My Documents

          It is however not available to the identical
          C:\Documents and Settings\Dad\My Documents

          It is also not available to
          C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents
          C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents

          Four instances of Windows Explorer show each of the above in fig. sshot_34
          At the left, My Documents : properties has 3 tabs, including the elusive target.
          The 3 off other instances have properties that exclude the Target tab.

          sshot_35 gives a concise overview of the first and fourth locations, i.e.
          near the top, designated by the cursor, and indented one level right of Desktop, is the special place that has a Target Tab;
          near the bottom, designated by the selection highlight, and indented two levels right of Desktop, is the "All Users\Documents" (Shared Documents),
          and this is sadly lacking the Target Tab.

          M.$. seem to be more skilled at creating special rules and pitfalls than they are at designing an O.S. that resists malware ! !

          I now look back upon the days of DOS as the good old days,
          BUT I can remember that at that time I was thoroughly disappointed with I.B.M that for the IBM P.C.they chose the inferior DOS - the alternative competitor was the infinitely superior C.P.M.

          Your information does not seem to assist with relocating the monstrous Shared Documents, BUT my daughter's profile is responsible for a large amount of "Used Space" - so the next time she logs in I will ask her how much is taken by her documents.

          Windows protects her privacy, and I cannot even see how large her documents folder is.
          Question, If her documents are moved to a different partition on the same internal drive, will Windows maintain that privacy (either by default, or by special action) ?

          Regards
          Alan


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          BC_Programmer


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          Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
          « Reply #8 on: January 28, 2009, 05:21:48 AM »
          hmm, interesting- is a junction point similar to creating a hard link to a folder?
          I was trying to dereference Null Pointers before it was cool.

          ALAN_BR

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            Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
            « Reply #9 on: January 28, 2009, 06:20:19 AM »
            Patio

            I look forward to seeing your results.

            Restore Points and Disk Compression space wastage mysteries ! !

            When I do a Disc Cleanup I like to see what is happening.

            On the right hand side of Windows Explorer I view the contents of
            C:\System Volume Information\_restore{F6EA6CAA-B744-447E-8F9E-B9A9507C7CB4}
            This shows me all the Restore Point folders that gobble up the disc.
            On the left side I right click C:\ for disk properties, and go for Disk Cleanup.
            More options allows me to purge all Restore Points bar the last - and on the right hand side I see them disappear EVEN BEFORE I CLICK APPLY - I only have to click O.K. to close this sub-window and the Restore Points are zapped, and then I get the Disc Properties  again with "Apply" available (not greyed out) - BUT IT HAS ALREADY ZAPPED THE R.P.
            Does no-one at M.$. use Windows - do the all have Apples on their desks ! !

            As disc cleanup proceeds, I like to see in real time the removal of old R.P., and also observe the accuracy of the space saving predictions by watch Free Space.
            When Old Files are compressed it always overestimates space saving - it can even REDUCE FREE SPACE.
            This is because Windows does not trust its own NTFS compression, and every exe/dll/etc,etc/ that is considered an important system file is protected by Windows File Protection (W.F.P.)  Every "old" file that is compressed is considered by W.F.P., and if it is important and there is no copy within dllcache it makes an UNCOMPRESSED copy to dllcache, so where there had been only one copy of the file (uncompressed), we now have a compressed version in the original folder plus an uncompressed copy in dllcache.

            Another mystery :-
            I can create an Acronis image.
            Then reboot into safe mode and Disc Cleanup to do NOTHING other than compress old files.
            Because I am in Safe mode W.F.P. does not duplicate into dllcache.
            Reboot into normal mode and create another Acronis image.

            I forget the exact figures, but the second image might be 100 MBytes larger than the first, even though there was zero difference in the amount of information. - the only difference was that the larger Acronis image corresponded to the system Partition with 500 MBytes extra FREE SPACE.
            I have since observed that it is not just an Acronis peculiarity - if I copy 500 MBytes of DLL's etc to C:\TEST I then can copy C:\TEST to various folders in D:\ (also NTFS)
            I can also compress C:\TEST and again copy it to more folders in D:\
            Then I can visit each of these D:\ folders - each of which is uncompressed as it was copied.  Then I can compress some of them.
            Then I select all the objects within each folder and inspect properties.
            In every case the "size" is consistently exactly correctly what it should be.
            For the compressed folders the "size on disk" varies it seems as if identical information is compressed with different efficiencies depending upon where the information came from and its history along the route.
            N.B. C:\ and D:\ are both NTFS with identical cluster sizes.
            I suspect the "size on disk" may include some special stuff I know almost nothing about ( I am aware of A.D.S. and Metadata - and no doubt there is more ).

            My head hurts.
            Excuse my whilst I sit in a corner and quietly whimper ! !

            Regards
            Alan

            ALAN_BR

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              Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
              « Reply #10 on: January 28, 2009, 08:03:49 AM »
              BC_Programmer

              Yes - similar, perhaps the same.

              I knew nothing about these until very recently.

              After much Googling, and almost as much forgetting, I have the impression that
              "Reparse Points" is a generic term for various redirection objects;
              "Hard Links" and "Folder Junctions" and "Symbolic Links" (Symlinks) are slightly different variants;
              The Internet is a wonderful source of disinformation,
              and "Hard Links" can sometimes be used as a name for Folder Junctions.

              I think officially a "Hard Link" is like a crippled Folder junction.
              They both do exactly the same if the repository target is on the same partition as this reparse point.
              The Folder Junction (but not a Hard Link) is able to access repositories in other partitions.
              Folder Junction appears to meet my needs, so I have not yet researched Symlinks, but somewhere I came across a suggestion that it is possible to access partitions on different physical drives.

              I use the free version of xplorer2.
              Some capabilities are restricted to the professional version,
              but Folder Junctions are generously provided.

              Useful references upon xplorer2 and Folder Junctions are available at
              http://www.zabkat.com/blog/07Oct07.htm
              http://www.zabkat.com/blog/19Oct08-redirect-outlook-pst-folder.htm

              Internet disinformation :-
              I read that a Folder Junction in an NTFS partition can target a FAT32 folder.
              Actually it can, but I found that the created Folder junction target was NOT accessible through the Folder Junction.  Total waste of time and effort.
              I assume that Windows XP is looking at this "folder" within an NTFS partition,
              and goes mental when it finds the "contents" are in FAT32.
              I have multiple partitions, both NTFS and FAT32.
              I now know that a NTFS to FAT32 bridge collapses.
              I will carefully test any NTFS to NTFS bridge if the two partitions have different cluster sizes - if it can go wrong it will - especially if M.$. is involved ! !

              Regards
              Alan

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              Re: Are Folder Junctions safe for moving C:\* folders to D:\ etc. ?
              « Reply #11 on: January 28, 2009, 08:35:29 AM »
              Actually- the reason "hard links" (junction points and so forth) wouldn't work with FAT32 is quite simple- the filesystem doesn't support it. Hard links are actually part of the Filesystem, so I would suspect that is the reason for it not working under fat32.
              I was trying to dereference Null Pointers before it was cool.