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Using symbolic links with games?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This year was the first time I actually had a gaming computer, and the first time I ever bought anything from the Steam summer sale. I bought plenty of games, one of them being GTA IV mostly because of All the amazing graphics mods I've seen on youtube, and I also have plenty of friends who play it online. If you've spent any amount of time modding GTA IV graphics you'd know that patch version is superior to the steam version or EFLC versions ( and respectively) when it comes to graphics mods. I would enjoy being able to retain multiplayer and have amazing graphics. I've figured out after testing the mods for that its just not the same as what can offer. The solution here is to have multiple copies of the game installed in different directories. Normally this would equate to at the least 44 ~ 45GB of data (Two copies of the game plus a backup). So naturally I'd like to find a way to reduce the amount of data I'd have stored considering I'm limited to my 128GB SSD and 500GB HDD. I think the best way to achieve this would be using symbolic links. Would this be possible? Obviously not every file is compatible between the two patches, but I would bet that some of the larger files such as textures and models would be. Could I make a symbolic link(or links) that point from the main directory to the other installation of the game?

If you are unaware of what symbolic links are, here is a good read I found while browsing the steam forum. "How-To: Use Symbolic Links to Master Vista's File System"
post #2 of 5
Yes, I actually have that done with many of my games. I put the maps and textures on my SSD and other parts on the regular mechanical drive. I use a little bit of software here, so the junction function is in the shell menu. A guide to using it here.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm confused on how it will work. As far as I understand I'll have the patch be the "main" patch/directory, Then install the game again, delete the maps, 3d models and such, then create a symbolic link? The 1040 patch will be just bits and pieces with symlinks pointing to the 1070 directory for the models? Both installations will remain playable? What I don't understand (and nobody seems to mention) is if they still take up the space- will it still count as if I had two copies of the data?
Edited by Mr240sx - 8/18/13 at 1:27am
post #4 of 5
You want to keep both patches of the game so you can switch between them? If so I'm not exactly sure what all you'd need to keep and what parts go with which patch, but if you just want toe 1040 patch, you can just delete anything that has to do with 1070.

And to be honest, I don't really know if the junction/symbolic link (shows that it) takes up any space on the drive the data isn't actually on, I've always wondered that myself but never really tried it out.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm gonna do a quick test with a large file. When I install the second copy of GTA IV I'm not sure if I should be using symbolic or hard or soft links... I'm still confused on that.

EDIT: I've created a symbolic link and it does in fact clear space on the diisk.
I made the symbolic link C:\Test to D:\Test and put an 800mb file in it. afterwards my C:\ drive went from 54.1GB free to 54.9GB Free while my D:\ Drive went from 158GB free to 157GB free.
Edited by Mr240sx - 8/19/13 at 1:08am
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