Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Symlinks, SSD's and Windows 7

So while I had been testing out software solutions to multibox with, back on Windows Vista, I ran into a great thread on the d-b forums. The thread was talking about saving large amounts of hard drive space and making your hard drive thrash about less by using symlinks.

To do that you needed to install a product called powershell which is provided by microsoft and adds alot of features to the command prompt and lets you run scripts - similar to a unix enviroment.

One of the forums users, Chorizotarian, posted up a guide on how to get this working and true it worked great on my single 7200rpm WD hard disk - it saved me some space and made it do a lot less work.

This has come in even more handy since I moved to using Solid State Disks - as they have a much lower capacity than the huge drives we are seeing these days. I had purchased a 120GB SSD for my shiny new Windows 7 install and my other applications and a 60GB SSD just for my WoW folders.

I discovered after a little bit of searching that Windows 7 natively comes with Powershell which saved me a step or two in cloning my WoW folder. Frustratingly I discovered that a few of the steps in the thread no longer worked - Windows 7 is a bit more anal about script security.

So my main WoW folder was called WoWMain. I made a copy of this folder and called it Clone1. So now I had used 30GB of hard drive space. I then installed the 'new-wow' powershell script into my system32 directory under the windows folder and ran the command prompt and ran powershell by typing 'ps'.

To let me run the new-wow.ps script I had to turn of some security features that required the script to be signed. The command to do this under Windows 7 is:

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass
This command assumes you are running the command prompt as administrator which you can by right clicking the icon and choosing 'run as administrator' or you can simple disable the ever annoying User Access Control in Control Panel - which stops all those annoying popup boxes everytime you do something and most likely protects you from evil internet villians.

So now that I had turned of script protection temporarily (for this ps session only) I could run is command:

new-wow d:\Clone1 -sourcePath "D:\WoWMain
"I repeated the command for Clone2, Clone 3 and finally Clone 4. The only folders and files that are not linked to Clone 1 are the WTF/WDB folders. Even the Interface\Addons folder points to Clone1 meaning that all I have to do is manage the patches and addons for two folders and this will update everything.

Since I am a Curse Premium member I loaded up my client and asked it to manage two copies of World of Warcraft - one called Main and one called Clones. I set the game directories to respectivly match the folders above and automatically update. Now I can easily add and remove addons for either my main or my clones.

Now all I have left to do is to setup keyclone and my in-game macros and interface and I'm good to go and on my journey to 80.

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