# How to create a link to an executable which must be run in its own folder?

I have a program inside a folder like below. The objective is to have a link in the utilities folder so I can call it from any command line.

C:\Utilities\Program\
program.exe
some.important.dll
some.important.ini


Is it possible to create a link, symbolic link or hard link in the Utilities folder that can run the file as if its inside the Program folder? When I create the symlink, the program does not locate its dll/ini files. When I create a .lnk, I can't run it from command line by just typing "program", e.g. in PowerShell, cmd or Run.

C:\Utilities\
program         <--------- should be the link



I need the link because my environment PATH will include only the Utilities folder, so I don't want to append a new folder to the PATH every time I add a new Program folder, I would like just to create a new [hard/sym]link.

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As you said, the problem is the program won't be able to find its config files or dependencies. Probably the best approach here is to use batch. For example C:\Utilities\program.bat with content @start "" /D "%~dp0Program\" program.exe %*. –  Vlastimil Ovčáčík Aug 16 '13 at 12:20
I'll keep the batch approach for the while, but one of the drawbacks is for example: I can't have the program output in the current terminal (cmd/Powershell). Suppose I want to call program --help to print its usage info - it will only flash a cmd window and will not display the usage. –  natenho Aug 16 '13 at 12:44
how about @start "" /B /D "%~dp0Program\" program.exe %*? –  Vlastimil Ovčáčík Aug 17 '13 at 18:45
/B switch helps the output but still batch can't solve seamlessly, you know? I'm still believing that it must have a simple way to get it working. –  natenho Aug 18 '13 at 1:54

If you create a shortcut there, you would then use the "start in" field in the shortcut to indicate the folder it should run in.

Then, just try start program.lnk and see if that works.

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Thanks, but when I create a .lnk, I can't run it from command line by just typing "program", the idea is to run it just like I run "notepad" or "calc" for instance, easy as that. –  natenho Aug 15 '13 at 23:46
How about putting it into a batch file? Would that work? –  Jack Aug 16 '13 at 13:18
You can notice the drawbacks of batch files approach in the other comments along the question. –  natenho Aug 16 '13 at 13:35

You could try an MS-Dos batch file, with the same filename (except for the extension) as the program you want to execute.

For example, C:\Utilites\Program.bat could contain something like:

C:\Utilities\Program\program.exe


or

@start "" /D "%~dp0Program\" program.exe %*


Then, when you CD to C:\Utilities, you simply type Program, and the original file you wanted to launch will be launched.

Or, you could program the exe file to be launched from anywhere using the DosKey feature. If you choose to do so, perhaps This article can help you learn to do so.

There's also the option of creating hard/symbolic links to all the other files in the original directory, in addition to the exe file.

You can also copy (or link) the program, and it's files, to your System32 directory. Like DosKey, the latter will allow you to launch the program from anywhere, even in CMD/Run/PowerShell (but not Explorer).

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Actually I do the batch alternative, but its not seamless as a simple link. And its not very confortable to have a fast cmd window popping up or flashing in taskbar. Regarding DOSKEY, I can't use it to run outside cmd, like in powershell or start->run, can I? You mentioned anywhere, but it seems doskey is a very old exclusive cmd/ms-dos feature. –  natenho Aug 16 '13 at 0:33
Sorry, I didn't realize you mentioned using either the Run command, or PowerShell. I thought you were only doing this with the Command Prompt. I've expanded my original answer, providing two more options for you to choose from. –  TSJNachos117 Aug 16 '13 at 1:36
I appreciate your comments, but it seems worst than the batch approach to copy or to link several files - some programs has too many folders/files. I don't need system32 because Utilities is already in PATH environment variable. –  natenho Aug 16 '13 at 11:31

Unfortunately I cant comment to answers. So I have to write a new one.
If you want to use the comand to the program native in the commandline then dont use the command @Start.

@"pathtofile/program.exe" %*


With this all parameters are piped to the original program and all outputs are piped to the calling commandline. With an entry of the utility Directory in the path you can use it in cmd, powershell and run-dialog.
In this answere here, the technique is described, too.

PS: Just use .cmd instead of .bat to differentiate optically the shortcut from an normal batch file. The usage is the same.

EDIT: After testing I realized that the called programm does not recognizes needed files in the same folder (as wanted from the question opener). So a more complex script (all in batch) is needed to change to the programms folder, then execute und than changes dir back.

The only thing you have to change in the script is the progpath variable to the wanted program. Of course you can skip all the REM-commands too (only commenting the code).
Heres the script:

@ECHO OFF

REM enable local variables
SETLOCAL

REM fullpath of program

REM save current direcory
SET currpath=%CD%

REM change to drive of prog
FOR %%I IN ("%progpath%") DO (%%~dI)

REM change to path of prog
FOR %%I IN ("%progpath%") DO (CD "%%~pI")

REM execute prog with optional parameters
FOR %%I IN ("%progpath%") DO ("%%~nxI" %*)

REM change to calling drive
FOR %%I IN ("%currpath%") DO (%%~dI)

REM change to calling path
FOR %%I IN ("%currpath%") DO (CD "%%~pnI\")

REM disable local variables
ENDLOCAL

REM EOF


For easily creating the file in the utilities dir use another script and place it in the utilities dir (for easy access). I named it makeshortcut.bat. Usage is: makeshortcut "full\path\to\file". Just change the variable utilitypath to your folder.

@ECHO OFF
SETLOCAL
SET utilitypath=D:\Apps\CommonFiles
SET outfile="%utilitypath%\%~n1.cmd"
ECHO @ECHO OFF > %outfile%
ECHO SETLOCAL >> %outfile%
ECHO SET progpath=%~f1 >> %outfile%
ECHO SET currpath=^%%CD^%% >> %outfile%
ECHO FOR ^%%^%%I IN ("^%%progpath^%%") DO (^%%^%%~dI) >> %outfile%
ECHO FOR ^%%^%%I IN ("^%%progpath^%%") DO (CD "^%%^%%~pI") >> %outfile%
ECHO FOR ^%%^%%I IN ("^%%progpath^%%") DO ("^%%^%%~nxI" ^%%*) >> %outfile%
ECHO FOR ^%%^%%I IN ("^%%currpath^%%") DO (^%%^%%~dI) >> %outfile%
ECHO FOR ^%%^%%I IN ("^%%currpath^%%") DO (CD "^%%^%%~pnI\") >> %outfile%
ECHO ENDLOCAL >> %outfile%
ECHO done.


WARNING: No checks of arguments are made. Existing files are overwritten.

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