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I generally prefer to back up just my data files, and not my program files, since I can always reinstall the programs. This is easier if I put programs on one hard drive and data on another.

But some programs (older games, in particular) insist on saving their data in their own program directory.

Can I use directory junctions to keep these programs working while pointing them to actually save their stuff on my data drive? Are there any pitfalls to doing this that I should be cautious of? Is there any reason this is just a bad idea?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, you can. I used to do this since the Vista days, with the user shell folders (I save my files directly on a file server using Folder Redirection now though). I still use junctions and symbolic links for other things.

I do remember having some strange issues with the user shell folders in Windows 7, which did not happen in Vista, but I cannot remember what they were, and you are not asking about the user shell folders anyway.

After you make the junctions you should make them hidden so that they do not appear in Explorer:

attrib +h c:\myfolderjunction

Just a warning to anybody using XP. I lost a whole bunch of files when deleting a junction in Explorer, as when you do that you delete all the files in the target directory, so watch out for that. They do go to the Recycle Bin though. This does not happen in Vista onwards.

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