Moving folders to the server side

Wow, the second Windows-related post today? Something horrible must be happening to me right now…

Anyway, you may know a situation like this: Many clients, one server and a terribly stubborn application that just wants to write into that one pesky folder on the local hard disk. Needless to say that thanks to your policies that won’t last a reboot.

So, how can we tame applications like that? People want their data to be available across the network, in a central location/database. If the application’s data is not transaction-dependant you’re in luck.

Unix-lovers know hard-, soft- and symlinks. Hardlinks are available on Windows XP as well, but the truly wonderful stuff comes in on Vista: You get the two other missing types.

That doesn’t mean that XP users are left in the cold, you can download the necessary tool from various sources on the net for free and give it a shot.

So, what is this mysterious tool? It comes with Vista and is called MKLINK. Just use it like this:

mklink /D "Damn local database folder" "\\SERVER\DatabaseFolder"

Yes, we can actually point to a UNC path and — given the client users have sufficient rights — will be able to browse the folder just like any other folder on your file system. That’s pretty sweet and incredibly useful for ol’ haggy applications.

Don’t forget that this operation (just like everything fun) requires elevated access to do!