Sharing your Minecraft data folder on a dual boot system

I finally made the move to Windows 7 recently but have left my old HD connected so I can boot into it my old XP set up. Sometimes I like to play games that don’t work well with Windows 7. I can also get more from my gaming with XP as the OS has a smaller footprint leaving the RAM free for the games.

The problem is that Minecraft expects it’s data to be in your Application Data folder which is specific to your profile. I had Minecraft installed on both systems and therefore had two different data folders. I could just copy over the data folder to the New HD to continue playing n the worlds I had already created but I’d then have to copy it back if I played when playing in XP.

Initially I tried creating a standard shortcut to the minecraft folder on my XP disk but Minecraft didn’t recognise it and created its own. If only I could make a proper symbolic link to the data folder like in Linux….. Wait a minute…. I can! 🙂

Using the mklink tool on Windows you can make a symbolic link between the two systems. This means one set of data between the two and no need to move files around unnecessarily.

Some background on my setup:

  • Minecraft keeps it’s data files in different location depending on the OS:
    • C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\.minecraft for Windows XP.
    • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft for Windows Vista / 7.
  • My XP drive shows up as D: when I’m logged into my Windows 7 installation.

To link the two:

  1. Make a backup of your Minecraft data folder just in case you unleash an army of the undead.
  2. Open up the command prompt as an Administrator.
  3. Change the working directory:
    cd C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming
  4. Now make the symbolic link:
    mklink /D .minecraft "D:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\.minecraft"

You can browse to your Roaming folder to see a .minecraft folder that looks like a normal shortcut. If you click on it and you can see the data from your other HD then it should be safe to play Minecraft on either system without having to manually move your worlds back and forth.

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