With the release of vista I was excited and noticed that the era of multiple operating systems had returned। Just as when XP was released Computer enthusiasts had both 98 and XP installed. Similarly since the launch of Vista a lot of people now have vista as well as XP installed.
With multiple OSes we definitely have problems like installing software twice. But a lot of Software and applications can be run from the same location. For example games. Say u were playing NFS MW in XP. You install vista and want to play MW, You have two options, ONE, do the tiresome job of either copying the saved games from the XP drive to the vista drive(and then back if u want to play from XP again) or TWO, restart the system to XP. It is very inconvenient.
The best solution i came across is to create virtual folders(aka Hard links, Special Folders. not Virtual folders feature in Vista). What we want to do is have the actual save game files in one location, like XP, and create a virtual folder linking it to them from vista.
- XP installed in I:\Windows
- Vista installed in C:\Windows
- Games installed in D:\ (eg "e:\NFS Most wanted") (can be anywhere)
- MW creates saves in XP "I:\Documents and Settings\%username%\my documents\NFS Most Wanted"
- Req. virtual folder in vista at(MW creates saves here in vista) "C:\users\%username%\documents\NFS Most Wanted"
- Substitute drive letters, directory and username to ur system specific
- BACKUP YOUR DATA BEFORE MOVING FORWARD!
There are many options to do this like-
- mapping a folder to a drive then mapping that drive to another folder
- using DOS Commands like SUBST and FSUTIL
- Shell extensions(playing with objectID, BirthvolumeID etc and desktop।ini scripts)
- Windows Resource kit utility - linkd.exe
These options are messy, unless u r a 5 year veteran Linux admin। After a lot of very hard searching I found the utility called 'Winhardlink'. It does all the dirty work for You. You just have to specify the source directory/file and the target directory/file.
Advantages of WinHardLink
- Works on vista
- Created Hard links work across OSes i.e. if u create it in vista it will automatically be available as a normal folder in the other OS even if this utility is not installed
- XP cannot differentiate between links and actual folders
- Vista shows a shortcut icon on the hard link but reports as a folder in properties
How-to (example using NFS MW and above assumptions)
- Download and install WinHardLink in one OS(say vista)
- Launch from start menu
- Select Hard Link>New Virtual Folder. a windows will pop up
- Click "..." against the 'Alias dir' to select the destination to "C:\users\%username%\documents\NFS Most Wanted" (You may have to create a new folder 'NFS Most wanted)
- Click "..." against the 'Source dir' to select the location of the saved game to "I:\Documents and Settings\%username%\my documents\NFS Most Wanted"
- Click OK.You are done.
- Make sure the checkbox is checked along the folder in the main window of WinHardLink।
- Browse to see that the folder exists
- Create a new text file in either folder and put some text in it
- Check the other folder for its existence
- Cross check by editing both files and re opening from the other folder
- They should behave as normal file folders
- Start the game and see that the profile is loaded
- Now u can play MW from any os without worrying about multiple सवेस
More Suggested uses
- consolidation of saved games। i.e. u can move the all save games to a central location like "d:\saves\[game-name]" and create virtual folders in both OSes where the games expect the saved games to be. Now u can format/reinstall etc without disturbing saves.
- When one drive is full u can move any folder to another location and just create a hard link for it in its place (see moving the whole MS office folder at the homepage above)
- Use in conjunction with 'saved searches (aka virtual folders)' feature of Vista to have the ultimate control over data accessibility
Tested with- NFS MW, NFS Carbon(but there is some compatibility problem in vista in loading saves created in XP), Just Cause, Battlefield 2 & 2142, Fifa 07, PES6, GTA SA, MS Flight Simulator X, Visual Studio Projects, Portable apps launch icons, NOT tested with network folders.
Cheers. If you like this solution then please leave a comment.