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Windows 7: Is it possible to create folder-shortcuts that'll work on any computer

02 Jul 2015   #1
samuro

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
 
 
Is it possible to create folder-shortcuts that'll work on any computer

I'm working with a large batch of pictures that I'm archiving/cataloging. I'm putting them in different folders based on their contents, and for the sake of ease in going through them later I thought I'd create shortcuts to other folders relating to the content of the folder I'm working on.

For example, say I made a folder containing pictures of a letter from a U.S. consulate verifying the receipt of certain items and I wanted to include in the folder a link to another folder containing the letter originally requesting the items. It's simple to do and I haven't had problems while working on my computer. HOWEVER, I realized when I transferred the files to another computer that the shortcut pathing was based on the directory I had it in on the original computer on which I did the work. So when I moved the files/folders to another computer and tried to use the shortcuts I had built in, they couldn't find the file.

So ultimately, my question is this. Is there a way to make internal shortcuts that will effectively transfer from one computer to another? If I completed an enormous store of pictures with their accompanying folders and shortcuts, then moved all the files to another computer or drive, is there a way to ensure that the shortcuts would still function?

Thanks.


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02 Jul 2015   #2
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Welcome to the forum.

That would only be possible if the computers were members of an Active Directory domain. That would require a domain controller running on a server OS.
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02 Jul 2015   #3
samuro

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
Welcome to the forum.

That would only be possible if the computers were members of an Active Directory domain. That would require a domain controller running on a server OS.
If all the shortcuts are made with the files remaining on a portable hard drive, could the files then be transferred to another hard drive? The shortcut says it's referencing E:\Work\etc... so if I transferred the Work folder over to another drive that popped up as "E:" would it function then?
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02 Jul 2015   #4
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Why not? If you use a folder in root of C with the same name, then your shortcuts should work. Appreciate any input to this reasoning.

Edit: I would say, yes, they should work as long as drive letter and folder structure stay the same. This is the same thing I am saying.

Also, if you are in a network, you can put the folder in a server and map network shares to that folder and use same letter assignment on all client PCs, then your shortcuts should work. Would eliminate multiple copies of same files as well.
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02 Jul 2015   #5
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

In a general sense what was wanted is not possible. There are various ways you can move shortcuts but it isn't going to happen automatically.

In a domain you can move a file from one computer to anywhere on another computer, including different drive letter and path and filename, and all shortcuts to the file will be automatically updated. Just as if the move was within the local machine. You can't do that without a domain.
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02 Jul 2015   #6
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

If the entire folder tree was just below the root drive letter you might be able to get away with running a small program to change all the drive letters in the paths in the shortcuts.

For instance, if every single .lnk file(shortcut) in all the folders descending from the root folder, were these references and not to exe programs scattered on the system HD, then you could find out the current drive letter and substitute it all the way down. Any small scripting language with a function to read and write shortcuts could do it.
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03 Jul 2015   #7
Pyprohly

Windows 10, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, OS X El Capitan
 
 

There are two ways of referencing a file/folder: absolute paths and relative paths. What you want, Samuro, is some Shortcut where you are able to reference a relative path.

'Shortcuts', or specifically .lnk files, can only operate with absolute paths. But there's a different type of link – one that is capable of functioning with either a absolute or relative path… so to answer your question of
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by samuro View Post
So ultimately, my question is this. Is there a way to make internal shortcuts that will effectively transfer from one computer to another?
Yes, there is a way to make "internal shortcuts" that will transfer from one computer to another. They’re called Symbolic Links.


E.g. Consider these two paths on my thumb drive.
  • E:\Foo\Bar\Bacon\Pics
  • E:\Foo\Baz\Work\Etc
My \Pics folder contains a bunch of images of bacon that I'd really like to have easy access to when I'm browsing my \Etc folder. Because these paths exist on a thumb drive – where the drive letter will vary – I'll go ahead and create a Symbolic Link (instead of a Shortcut) in \Etc called MyPics, and I'll set the Symbolic Link to point to the relative path of ..\..\..\Bar\Bacon\Pics.

Now when I click on MyPics, (the Explorer address bar will display E:\Foo\Bar\Bacon\MyPics and) the contents of E:\Foo\Bar\Bacon\Pics are revealed.

The drive letter is no longer relevant, however, the directory structure must be somewhat constant.



Edit:
  • I remember answering a question pertaining to relative path shortcuts before.
  • Looks like Seven Forums has a tutorial about creating links: MKLINK – Create and Use Links in Windows.
    Kari, the author of the tutorial, demonstrates the use of the Mklink command to create Junctions. To create a Directory Symbolic Link instead, simply use the /d switch rather than the /j switch (which creates Junctions).
    E.g.
    Code:
    mklink /d "E:\Where\SymLink\Should\Be\Made" "..\Some\Relative\Path\Here"
  • One thing I forgot to mention: Symbolic Links are a feature the NTFS file system. If one would like to have relative path shortcuts on their thumb drive, one would have to format their thumb drive to NTFS before they can use Symbolic Links.
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03 Jul 2015   #8
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

The problem is ultimately that shortcuts don't support relative paths at all and you can't warrant that the path will be the same.
Found this link while Googling, maybe some solution there might be good: Using relative paths for Windows shortcuts - Super User
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03 Jul 2015   #9
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Alejandro85 View Post
The problem is ultimately that shortcuts don't support relative paths at all and you can't warrant that the path will be the same.
Found this link while Googling, maybe some solution there might be good: Using relative paths for Windows shortcuts - Super User
The utility Relative mentioned there may be worth a try.
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04 Jul 2015   #10
Pyprohly

Windows 10, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, OS X El Capitan
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Alejandro85 View Post
Found this link while Googling, maybe some solution there might be good: Using relative paths for Windows shortcuts - Super User
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MilesAhead View Post
The utility Relative mentioned there may be worth a try.
Sorry to shoot you guys down, but the top answer in that SuperUser question and that Relative utility are flawed solutions. They're basically the same, they rely on the same concept: create a Shortcut (.lnk) file whose target takes advantage of Explorer.exe's parameters.

The problem with calling Explorer.exe is that you'd start a new process and a new Window each time you use the Shortcut. This can become quite annoying, as Nums remarks about this method --
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by nums View Post
I know it's possible to use %windir%\explorer.exe "..\..\Folder 3\Folder A" but that opens a new explorer window rather than take the current window to the destination folder, it sounds like small problem but it gets annoying quick if you have to frequently swap between folders (theyre art assets).

Taking advantage of Explorer is not an elegant solution; at least not compared Symbolic Links IMHO.
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