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I have a folder full of stuff that I sync across all my computers and virtual machines. It contains a whole load of stuff, including portable applications.

On a new OS installation, I run a batch script which (amongst other things) copies a folder of shortcuts, for these portable applications, to the start menu (all users).

As this synced folder is constantly changing, when I have added or removed portable apps, these shortcuts need to be updated across all my machines.

I created a script that runs as a scheduled task to keep them updated, but it would be much better if I could use symbolic links. However, this does seem to work properly.

When I make a symlink in the start menu folder, pointing to the folder of shortcuts within the synced folder, they do all appear in the start menu, but they do not appear in the start menu search-box when I search for them.

I have tried adding the R (read-only) attribute to the symlink, as the other folders in the start menu have that, but that does not help.

I have also added the target folder to the list of indexed folders, but that does not help either. Actually, I am glad that this was not the solution, as Windows Server 2008 R2 does not use that service unless the file server role is installed.

So, is there any way to make the start menu's search include application shortcuts that are included in the start menu through a symbolic link?

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This works handsomely with Dropbox: on any new computer, I can use two symlinks, and I have a complete collection of my commonly used apps with working shortcuts and configuration. Thanks for asking this! – Liam Dawson Mar 16 '12 at 6:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Create a junction instead, e.g. mklink /j link target. I just tested it and it appears to work handsomely.

I'm not quite sure why symlinks are not searched, but I suspect they might really be files.

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It works. I didn't think of doing that. Thanks a lot! – paradroid Mar 8 '11 at 20:09

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