Creating a Symbolic Link in Win7

  tony-guitar 18:00 19 Apr 2014

In May 2014's issue of PC Advisor, Roland Waddilove, in his 'How to' on page 114, explains how to use 'symbolic links'. My 'Drive C' is a 120GB SSD and it's filling up fast. But I also have a conventional 1TB HDD 'Drive D'. Has anyone actually tried this? Also, what's the difference between 'Program Files' and 'Program Files (x86)' and which one is the author actually referring too. He also refers to 32bit and 64bit programs, but how do you know? My W/7 pc is 64bit.

  john bunyan 18:52 19 Apr 2014


  1. A 64 bit system has 2 sets of programme files. "Programme Files" are ones that are designed for, and use, 64 bit. Many programmes are only designed for 32 bit - they run happily on a 64 bit machine, but are in the "Programme file (x84) folder. They go there automatically. A few programmes, such as Photoshop CS5 install in both formats - too long to explain here but some features only run in one version or the other (No TWAIN drivers for the 64 bit version).
  2. In my case I keep all programmes in a C: Partition, but all data in another (F) partition. I use the old folder system - " My Documents" with sub folders such as "My pictures", "My Word Documents" etc.
  3. If I were you I would keep the SSD purely for programme files - it should be more than big enough (my C partition is using only 68 gig for many programmes. Then you could use your D drive for Data that you generate. This has the further advantage that for back ups you can make an "image" of the C drive using a special programme like Acronis True Image but use a quicker "Mirror Copies" of your data drive using something like Freefilesynch or SynchToy.You will need yet another, say USB drive, for such back ups.
  4. If I were you I would look up, on Google, the use of libraries in Windows, as they are, in my view, a bit complicated, but libraries are not, themselves, folders but an index of where folders are.
  john bunyan 18:57 19 Apr 2014

PS I think the above is far simpler than symbolic links; I have not seen them in use, but maybe others will comment.

  tony-guitar 19:12 19 Apr 2014

Thanks for explaining the 'program files' differences. I've just checked and I have around 39.5GB left on my SSD. I keep my photos on Drive D using Picasa 3, purely because this program uploads only photos and videos from my phones 'gallery'. Windows wants to upload everything including images from browsing the internet. Stupid and frustrating. However, all my photos are also duplicated in windows library too, wasting more valuable space. Maybe I can just keep deleting the photos within the windows library, as I don't need ever more copies! There must also be a way of stopping my phone from storing my browsing images and therefore prevent all the crap from uploading?

  Woolwell 19:31 19 Apr 2014

The Windows Photo library shows the contents of the other folders. As far as I am aware they are not duplicates. Delete them from there they will also go from your Pictures folder.

Which phone?

  Woolwell 19:32 19 Apr 2014

Windows Libraries Note that it is a way of gathering data together.

  Woolwell 19:59 19 Apr 2014

I've been re-reading your posts. I'm not sure that your system is correctly set up. I have an SSD and a 1Tb internal drive. The SSD has programs only and currently is at 64 Gb. I don't skimp on programs. All of my data (videos, documents, pictures, etc) are on the 1Tb drive and the folders are there.

  tony-guitar 20:18 19 Apr 2014

Whatever I add to picasa3 also seems to appear in windows 'pictures' library. I'd happily ditch picasa3 if I could just get windows to ONLY upload photo's and videos from my phone and not the other crap. (4000+ images anyone)! Woolwell, I think you are right about setting up my pc. How do I keep the programs on 'C' and all the documents, videos and pictures etc on 'D'? If anyone can tell me how to clear, or not even store, internet browsing images on my phone, please help! It's an HTC one mini.

  john bunyan 15:35 20 Apr 2014

I do not know Picassa in detail but usually , as in Photoshop there is an "Edit"/"Preferences" function where you can "tell" such programmes to store data. Please state your Operating System (W7 etc) I do not use a smartphone but in Windows I use, as do many here, CCleaner , which clears all temporary internet files etc very easily.I have even moved my Outlook (my e mails)from C to (in my case) F partition. Like Woolwell I have about 65 Gig in my C drive on a very full set of programmes.

  rdave13 21:42 20 Apr 2014

Totally opposite to MechKB I never 'move' 'my folders' from the C: drive. I simply create similar folders on the data drives. I instruct the browsers where to download (creating a new download folder on the data drives as a destination folder) and create new folders when I need to install a program/game. You will still get the short-cut Icon on your desktop.

As for Libraries you will have to be careful. Libraries not only 'point' to your folders but can be used to delete those folders as well.

To remove folders that are 'pointed to' via libraries you need to go to Windows explorer (file explorer Win 8). If I remember correctly, in Win 7, Libraries will be the first shown. Do not open, say, Picture Library but right click, select properties.

In the properties window you can safely remove any folder, or add to, and the libraries will no longer be a short-cut (or point to) to the folders.

If, on the other hand, you open a library normally and select to delete a folder or files, you could end up removing those files/folders from the PC. I think, in Win 7, will give the different option (actual folder or library link) but not sure. Always use the Library properties to remove the links rather than the files/folders.

Library properties allows you to remove the 'locations' only, not the true files or folders.

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