Question about pointing documents, videos, folders to server folder

Discussion in 'macOS' started by markw10, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. markw10 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2006
    I am a recent 'switcher' from Windows XP to Mac. I have a home network and in Windows XP there is a My Documents Folder which points to My Documents on that specific computer which also contains a My Videos, My Pictures, and My Music Folder. Well I store all these files in a data folder on a main (server) computer, then the respective folders under Data, My Documents, My Pictures, etc. The reason I do this is I have the one main server but also a 2nd desktop and a laptop and I want to be able to share all these files at home among the computers.
    Well I use a program called TweakXP that I can tell the computers where to look for these files so that automatically when I select My Documents it looks at that folder on the server. Is there a way of doing this on Mac? I see that under OS X in the Finder there is a Documents, Videos, Music, and Pictures folder. Of course these seem to look at that specific folder but is it possible under OS X or even with a 3rd party program to have these folders point to the specific folders on this computer? If not I know I can still select the drive on the server in Finder and use it that way but it would be more convenient if there is a way to do this.
    As well, is there a way to make programs such as ITunes look specifically at the music folder on the main computer, Iphoto look at the My Pictures folder, etc. I noticed that even if I browse to music on the main computer and then play it in iTunes by clicking on it iTunes still will not find it when I open the program. it appears that I have to actually import the music and by doing this it copies the music to the music folder on the iMac. I assume the same is true with iPhoto so does this mean that it's necessary to copy all these files to my imac and not store them on the server if I want to use them this way? Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Yes -- in Unix these are called symbolic links.

    Two ways to make them:

    1) Identify the DESTINATION folder or file -- the one you want to link TO. Click on it and choose File -> Make Alias or drag it to a place where you want to make a link holding alt and option. Using this, replace your Music, etc, folders in your home drive with aliases to the same folders on the network drive. You probably want to make sure the network drive respects POSIX permissions and owndership, and you want to make sure the names are exactly the same as the old names. Also you must make sure that the ownership of the folders on the network drive is appropriate.

    Once you do that, you will have a set of symbolically linked folders called Music, for instance, in your home folder. Not only Finder but also all other apps should follow the symbolic link out to the network drive.

    Unlike Windows, there are no special permissions that distinguish the folder as a "special" folder -- so you shouldn't have the issue where if you just create a My Music or a My Documents, it won't be recognized by the system as your music folder.

    2) Use ln -fs at the command line, which is analogous.

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