Expandable storage is a wonderful thing, but its implementation can sometimes leave something to be desired. Take Windows 8, for instance -- its photo, movie and music apps leverage Windows libraries to access users' media collections, but won't allow users to include removable storage in the app-accessed party of indexed folders. Sure, you can keep all your media on one device, but half it will need to be accessed in a slightly roundabout way. This simply wasn't good enough for Toni Fowlie, who wanted all of her media -- from both her Surface's local storage and its microSD card -- to appear in the same library. She used an old NTFS feature to trick Windows into thinking her microSD was part of her device's local storage, and her efforts are worth sharing.
For what it's worth, Toni's little trick is hardly new, and it's not unique to Windows 8 users -- it's actually a feature of the NTFS file system. It's called a junction point, and put simply, it acts like regular directory, but points all actions to a remote folder. At first, this sounds a bit like a standard Windows shortcut -- but since this operation is working in the file system itself, rather than as a part of the Windows shell, programs, windows explorer and the command prompt all play along with the redirection nicely. There are programs available that can help you set up a junction point, but Toni opted for the old fashion method -- the command prompt.
Before creating the junction, Toni laid down some groundwork: a target folder in her root C:\ drive and four media directories on her SD card -- one for each library: documents, music, pictures and videos. A prompt command then made the links: mklink /j c:\sd2\d d:\documents, for example, creates a junction point with the label "d," which acts like a folder and links directly to the documents directory on the device's SD card. Finally, Toni added the created junctions to Windows 8's list of indexed locations and included those locations in the appropriate libraries. Voilà! Extra storage for all that extra media, and easily accessible in Windows 8's fancy apps, too. Although this feature isn't exclusive to Microsoft's latest operating system by any means, it's certainly a useful workaround for users who want to leverage their removable media in a more integrated way. You'll be glad you did -- both Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro seem stumble over library permissions. Even if you don't echo Toni's clever setup, junction points are still a great tool to keep in your troubleshooting arsenal. Not into mucking around in the classic command prompt? Don't sweat it, this dance can also be done in the Disk Management menu -- check out Paul Thurrott's tutorial at the more coverage link below tie your directories together without typing.
Steve Dent contributed to this post.
Microsoft Windows 8
Microsoft Windows RT