How to use a split archive over multiple hard drives

This is something I’d wondered about for quite a while, and wasn’t able to do until now!

With Windows 7 there are a number of changes to how folders work.  You are now able to make ‘symbolic’ folder links among other cool things.

This allows you to congregate files from multiple locations and have windows recognize them as actually being in a location different than the one they are actually in (for example if you have a split archive with different parts on different hard drives you’d be able to make a “symbolic folder” to view them as if they were all on the same hard drive).

  1. You’ll need a tool called Link Shell Extension.  This will add shell context menus to your right click context menus in Windows Explorer (giving you an option to make Symbolic Links and folders etc).   While this feature is new in windows 7 it is kind of buried and you would normally need to use the command line to utilize it.  Link Shell Extension provides a graphical front end to make this tool more useable in everyday situations.
  2. Second of all, you will need to create a target folder to “paste” your symbolic links into, so Windows will be “tricked” into thinking that your files are actually there.  I guess that’s the best way of explaining it.
  3. After creating your target folder wherever, navigate back to where your file is actually stored, and then right click and select Pick Link Source.
  4. Navigate to your target folder and select Drop As and then select Junction (this was in instructions for linking folders; for your files you may need to try other options).
  5. In your target folder you will see your file again with a little overlay icon. 
  6. Repeat for all other parts of your archive.

Thanks to unifex from for providing me with this knowledge!