Add NAS folders to Windows 7 Libraries

I found this entry in a forum: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/4617-libraries-include-network-folder.html and wanted to keep easy access to the information.

As people begin to use Windows 7, Power Users and even regular users will eventually get around to wanting to expand their Windows 7 Libraries, which I think is an incredible feature, to include NAS locations.  Household NAS’s are now less than $200 for a terabyte, and home users and business users alike are going to be looking for this functionality.

Currently, Windows 7 does not support adding NAS locations to libraries.  I’m not sure why, but hopefully Microsoft deploys that functionality some time very soon.  Apparently, these locations break the Windows 7 backup functionality for that library.

Here’s the quick and dirty for the method I used.

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The alternate method involves copying all the data from the NAS folder to a local folder.  One of the reasons for using a NAS to me, is to not have to have that information stored locally on my machine.  Anyway, here’s how I did it:

Method 1:

Create a temporary folder in a location of your choice, for example, I created a folder on my M: drive named “Linked Folders” and then created a sub-folder titled “ISO”.

M:Linked FoldersISO

Then add that folder to the library.

After adding that folder to the library, delete it. Then open a command prompt with administrator or elevated privileges, i.e. Run As Administrator. 

In case you don’t know, the command prompt program is located under the Start > All Programs > Accessories folder.  Right-Click the Command Prompt program and choose, Run As Administrator.

At the command prompt, type the following command:

mklink /d [path to folder that you deleted with the same name] [path to share location]

This makes my command look something like this:

mklink /d “M:Linked FoldersISO” \nas02publicISO

You should get a message that states that the symbolic link was created.  You should now be able to see content under the library that you added through the link, and you should see a shortcut link in Windows Explorer in the location that you specified.

*** Remember that this will break the library backup, but you can backup the individual locations on your local drives. ***

Method 2

The alternate method is very simple, but keep in mind that ALL the data from the NAS folder will be copied to your local drive.

Right on the network folder or drive you want to include in the library and select “Always Available Offline”.  A sync will start.  You can then add that folder to a library.

Hope this helps someone out.  I really hope Microsoft just comes up with a fix instead of this workaround. 😉

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10 thoughts on “Add NAS folders to Windows 7 Libraries”

  1. I did this on a new Windows 7 system – I wanted to keep my “My Documents” on my Linux server, like I have always done. It turned out to be serious bad mojo.

    It caused the load averages on the Linux box to go to 14.0. Which killed Sendmail, because it checks for such. It also made Samba really slow. I’m not sure exactly what caused these problems – but I suspect it’s not good to tell Windows that something is “indexable”, when it really isn’t.

    It didn’t actually cause a high CPU load – just a lot of processes constantly waiting for execution.

  2. Ok, I’m trying this. No trouble creating the link. I’m using a WD My Book World Edition II NAS device, so I will keep an eye on it to see how it behaves.

    Overall, if this works, dude you are sooo awesome.

    I totally agree, why the heck did I buy a NAS device if Win7 is going to copy it all locale.

  3. Awesome – so far, it seems to work perfectly. You’re right, it’s a bit silly and overly protective to limit libraries to “permanent” or indexed drives, but this a pretty nifty way to work around it.

    Googlers – if you’re like me, and just dropped a bunch of cash on a NAS hoping to replace your existing libraries with shared network folders, don’t wait for an MS fix – just do what it says in this post! Trust me, I don’t screw around with CMD these days (my memory of DOS days is fading fast), but this works as stated and won’t do anything unexpected. Nice!

  4. When I try method #1 I get a blue screen of death on Windows 7 whenever I open the Documents Library..it quickly shows the file listing then core dumps.

    I was able to delete the symbolic link and remove the path from my Documents library. Now it has stopped crashing but I’m back at square one – can’t add a NAS folder to my libraries.

    Bummer!

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