Here is my setup * Bios is UEFI with Legacy Support * c:\ is a SSD Samsung 850 Evo 500GB. Single GPT, with NTFS partition. Over Provisioning is at the end of the drive in Administrative Tools->Computer Management -> Disk Management with the

  • e:\ iS a HDD WD 4TB, also GPT, with NTFS partitions. Currently only e: is a NTFS partition, the rest of the space remained unused, not formatted and no drive letter assigned. Later on when I get my games installing, I might split possible somewhere but won't be. The Drive is Black Caviar WD brand new.

  • A third drive is going to be added to the system as well, using GPT and NTFS partition format, it could change how I partition the WD 4tb above. This drive will be a Seagate 3TB (used by me only for cloning my current desktop computer primary drive)

  • Windows 7 64bit Service Pack 1. Installed on c:\ and with all settings at default. once install was done, I hooked up my E:\ drive and so it wasn't seen during the Windows Install or Service Pack 1 install.

Will only be dealing with Directories. No individual files are involved in this problem, however the files in the folders would be affected by where they are located, otherwise, no files involved.

Samsung SSD is 500GB.
I want to reduce the wear and tear on the drive.

Causes * from writing (perhaps a file I download) * reading (reading a Word Doc I created) * deletion of files and/or folders

  • Part of Solution: *WD 4TB Black Caviar will be the storage drive using drive letter e:

What I know and don't know and the confusion in trying to find a solution I want to store commonly used folders that have a great deal of writing, saving, deletion onto my e: WD 4tb drive.

I have spent almost 3 days on this I am even more lost and confused than when I started. Words like Junction, Reparse, Link, Target, Hard Link, Soft Link, Symbolic link, Location, move vs link, etc.

So I want to leave the folders on c:\ that are used by programs and windows, either via the install of applications or those that were created by default with the Windows install. I want the data to reside in the e: or HDD WD 4tb.

From what I have learned any folder that use "My" in it is not a folder that can use mklink. It might have a location tab if you right click on the folder and find the "location" tab. I learned that you cannot move User, Windows, Program Files/Program Files (x86) and other key Windows folders.

The general purpose behind "linking" (which I use to refer to these words, mklink, symbolic link, directory link, hard link, soft link) is allowing you to store files and or folders either on the same volume or a different physical drive (in my case e:\ - WD 4tb).

The problem is finding the right mklink /switch "original location" "stored location" or more proper "link" "target".

A chart found on this site showed the drawbacks to using a junction and symbolic link. https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9042542/what-is-the-difference-between-ntfs-junction-points-and-symbolic-links it ends up leaving me unable to know what I am suppose to do.

I started with a simple folder to link to my 4tb from the SSD, downloads (normal location c:\Users\Username\Downloads). Attempts to use mklink /j "c:\Users\Username\Downloads" "e:\Users\Username\Downloads" would always lead to error of "cannot create a file when that file exist."

I then tried location under the property tabs for the folder "downloads" and changed the location to e:\Users\UserName\Downloads. I clicked on move, it asked if I wanted to move the files, which I said yes. Now the Download folder vanished from c:\Users\Username and appeared now on e:\Users\User Name\Downloads. I also tried this with My Video and it relocated the contents of the folder to my e: drive.

That leaves me where I am now with being unable to do what I had planned to do with my SSD and HDD, where SSD would be the OS boot and application install drive. The larger 4TB HDD would then store things like temp files, google/firefox/ie cache, downloads, videos, documents and other files/folders that change constantly (wearing down of SSD) yet maintain the original Folder or Files in their original location on C:\ by doing symbolic/junction/location linked.

When I tried downloads, it just deleted the original folder on c and had the contents on e: . When I tried to download something the download folder wasn't on c so I had to save it to e:\ and as mentioned the c:\User\Tim\Downloads was not listed.

CASE TEST/STUDY So lets take the following folders: (using fictional first name for username) c:\Users\Tim\Downloads c:\Users\Tim\My Videos c:\Users\Tim\Desktop c:\Users\Tim\My Pictures

Location for them to be stored will be (wanted to use same folder name that is on the c:\ SSD as a way to always know where they came from) e:\Users\Tim\Downloads e:\Users\Tim\Videos e:\Users\Tim\Desktop e:\Users\Tim\My Pictures

Please tell me just how I am to determine whether Symbolic Link, Hard Link, Junction via mklink or Location to have the data stored on the HDD and not the SSD, while leaving the original folders on C: so other programs that use the 4 folder above example will save them to what it thinks is going to be stored on C: SSD when in actuality the data will be stored on e: HDD instead.

OTHER ISSUES One other curious thing I learned or saw in reading, that when I look in that original directory on C: it will still list the files that are now on e: so are they not still using the space or is it just an image/copy of what is actually on E:\ and those files are not taking up any room on C:

How do I undo the damage I might have done to my videos, downloads, desktop on the boot drive while avoiding a reinstall or restoration, still want to keep this install as clean as possible so just fixing the links/locations that might not be right or icons for the folders of those folders involved not showing up.

The last problem is deleting such mklinks /j /h /d or combo of 2 or all three. Sites say to remove the directory where the files are currently stored, but nothing happens and the junction and the location on e: still shows when I do a dir /a on c:\Users\Tim

I know this was longer than I thought, but I wanted or hoped to avoid any misuse of words or terms to avoid confusion, so thank you for reading.

Thank you,

1 Answer 1


When it comes to files in your profile, the way to move these is by using explorer, right-click the folder, go to the Location tab and set a new path, then either choose to move the files or don't. I recommend pressing the move button so it moves your folder there. This will change the registry part and will ensure that any future windows update or upgrade will work as desired.

That said, in order to work with symbolic links or junctions you need to first move the folder to the destination, then create the symbolic link in its place.

Assuming you move c:\users\MyUser\Documents to d:\profile\Documents the mklink command (run as administrator) would be as follows

mklink /j c:\users\MyUser\Documents d:\profile\documents

If your path has spaces, don't forget to put that space in quotes. For example:

mklink /j "c:\users\My User\Documents" "d:\profile\moved documents"
  • When I have I tried location and it moved the files, the original folder is deleted (assume c:->e: apps that use to save to those folders on c: now ask for a new location versus being tricked into using old folder which is gone. Am I correct about any folder with "My...." don't touch? Folders with that shortcut icon in the bottom left I assume are junction/hard link/soft link/symbolic links. I look at Links, Downloads and they all have special icons merged with the folder (essentially the icon isn't the normal folder icon). How do I get back to what I had if I attempted and it didn't workout Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 16:05
  • Yes, you move the location of those folders, but all programs if programmed well should respect the move. If not, then you indeed need to place a placeholder junction afterwards as described in the rest of the answer.
    – LPChip
    Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 16:58
  • okay let me give it a try in regards to a folder in the profile section. Since the comment section I think has a time out limit (meaning amount of time to post/edit) I will respond below this with results. Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 4:20
  • Okay went and created Downloads on E:. Went to C drive and clicked on Downloads, properties, location and changed it to a matching directory on E:\Users\Tim\Downloads. Then I went back to C drive and created the folder Downloads in the c:\Users\Tim\ I then type out mklink /j "c:\Users\Tim\Downloads" "e:\Users\Tim\Downloads" and got the Cannot create a file when that file already exists. error message. Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 7:19
  • 1
    Sorry to add to the comment. I went back to C:\Users\Tim\ and deleted the folder downloads. I then used the same command from c:\Users\Tim (just in case location matters) and then ran the command mklink /J "c:\Users\Tim\Downloads" "e:\Users\Tim\Downloads" and it responded with Junction created for c:\Users\Tim\Downloads <<===>> e:\Users\Tim\Downloads That still leaves me confused do I have to delete the folder I want to do a junction/symbolic/hard/soft link that was relocated by location tab by not creating a new folder? Now have Downloads with a shortcut icon on C: Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 7:23

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