If you have your movies on a Windows Home Server or NAS device and want to use these with an extender, you probably found that you can't (or shouldn't) create hardlinks.
After a lot of playing around and experimenting I came up with this solution. You can store the files on the WHS or NAS and host the links on a completely different share. That share needs to be on a Vista computer, it doesn't NEED to be the Media Center machine but lag time will be less if you do use the Media Center.
Although it may seem that this will use a LOT of hard drive space on the Vista machine it actually uses very little. Just the size of the .JPG files and a few MB for the folder structure.
This will also only work with Windows Vista.
Great news! Robert Chesworth has created a utility to automate the links process!
His "Media Center Links" utility will recreate the whole DVD folder structure locally, copy the folder.jpg files, create the links and then create the WVX playlist files. All in one shot!
Instead of creating all this on the remote storage, it creates it locally on the MCE PC. This was the procedure I had suggested for users who have WHS or NAS devices. So it will work in both cases.
You can Download the utility here. Media Center Links.zip Unzip the file and run setup.exe. There is documentation in the zip.
If you have any questions or problems, please post your question in the forums.
First you need to recreate the folder structure on the machine that is going to host the links.
The easiest way to do this is to use xcopy.exe with the parameters /S /E /T
My WHS server is named \\WHS and the folder that the movies are in is called \movies (original naming huh?)
Open a Command prompt with administrator rights by Right Clicking on the Command Prompt icon and selecting “Run as Administrator”
Create a top level folder to place the links in. I created c:\movies
You now need to share that folder. The folder needs to be shared so the extender can read the files. You can share it using explorer by right clicking on the folder and selecting “Share…”, or on the command prompt using:
C:\>Net share movies=c:\movies
Change to the c:\movies folder by typing
You can use this command to create the folders.
C:\Movies>Xcopy \\whs\movies c:\movies /S /E /T
The /S /E /T will create all the folders and sub-folders but will not copy any other files.
Make sure that all the folders were created. You should have the same exact folder structure that is on you movie server, but without the files.
If you have Cover Art in folder.jpg files you can copy those over to the new structure by using Xcopy.
C:\Movies>Xcopy \\whs\movies\folder.* c:\movies /S
Once you have the folders created and the jpg's copied you can now create the links.
You do this with the mklink command.
mklink <local file path\name> <original file>
C:\Movies>mklink c:\movies\Beowulf\Video_ts\VTS_06_1.MPEG \\whs\movies\Beowulf\Video_ts\VTS_06_1.VOB
symbolic link created for c:\movies\Beowulf\Video_ts\VTS_06_1.MPEG <<===>> \\whs\movies\Beowulf\Video_ts\VTS_06_1.VOB
You'll need to do this for all the VOB files the same way it was done in the "DVDs on Extender How-To"
Next, create the .WVX playlists the same way it was done in the "DVDs on Extender How-To", except that you will point to the link that was created on the local machine, not the server.
That's all there is to it!
I know it's alot of work and I have asked the person who wrote the original createwvx.vbs script to modify it for this purpose. Hopefully he'll agree and most of this will be automated.