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I want to know what the 'proper' way to have files always be connected and available for use that are on a network drive.

I have a problem with Quickbooks (badly developed, I must say) where it gives me an error if it can't connect to the file right away. I have a Buffalo NAS drive on the network, everything is hard wired and all energy savings are turned off.

I disabled the autodisconnect feature in the registry and also in the command prompt, but for some reason it disconnects or maybe the Quickbooks software just sucks. I also tried accessing the file via UNC (instead of the mapped drive). Doesn't work any better. Opened all the ports necessary, on my firewall and my router. Everything is also wired. Network drive is wired to router which is wired to the computer.

Anyways, I read about Symbolic Links and Junctions, and I was wondering if they would work well in my situation. I want to keep the drive always connected because I am having a problem in quickbooks where it will throw my work away and error out. They recommend doing a multi-user mode and having a server host a quickbooks manager application and it's all stuff that I don't have. I simply want to have a Quickbooks database on the network drive and access it from my computer

I know junctions are practically copies of a drive, but I don't know how well syncing would work across a local network. Symbolic links are practically shortcuts, but again, I don't know if I'll run into connection issues.

Any help would be nice. Maybe I need a script that just copies and pastes a file to the network drive every 10 minutes to ensure that it's alive. I don't know what else I can do.

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We don't know where that application's issue is, but symbolic links are processed differently in the operating system as part of the file system vs. UNC paths or mapped drive letters to the network share. The app may be affected by latency of access, unexpected return codes for network shares vs. locally mapped files, et cetera. Reparse points are provided, in part, for helping with applications that have issues like this. While your application is unlikely to be a Unix port, this quote from Microsoft documentation touches on the intent: "Symbolic links are designed to aid in migration and application compatibility with UNIX operating systems. Microsoft has implemented its symbolic links to function just like UNIX links."

You can follow the links in this answer to in-depth overviews of behavioral differences - but net result is that they're likely to have increased resiliency within the file system vs. simple UNC paths/mapped drive letters. Give it a try.

Personally, I'd suggest keeping a local copy of the file and back it up regularly to the attached storage. Other applications from that vendor provide integrated back-up reminders, or you can even script a shortcut that copies to backup on exit of the app.

Overview of Reparse Points: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa365503(v=vs.85).aspx

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