The Linux Moderate

One Man Standing Up for Computers That Get Work Done

Why Is My Windows Link “Broken”?

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If you have a dual-boot system with Ubuntu (or a similar Linux distribution) and Windows, you may have files on the Windows side that you often want to get at from the Ubuntu side. An easy way to do that is to make a link (which Windows users would call a shortcut): in Ubuntu, right-click on the Windows folder for which you want a link, choose “Make Link,” and drag the link you’ve made to some convenient place in your Ubuntu home folder.

But sometimes the link won’t work: Ubuntu says it’s “broken.” Why?

Assuming you haven’t moved the original Windows folder, there are two main reasons for a broken link.

1. You haven’t mounted the Windows partition. That’s easy to fix: choose it from the “Places” menu (it’s named by its size in gigabytes).

2. The Windows partition is mounted under a different name. That’s a little more complicated.

When it mounts a volume, Ubuntu calls it “disk.” If you make a link to a folder on that volume, Ubuntu remembers that the link points to a folder on “disk.”

If you mount a second volume, Ubuntu calls it “disk-1.” The next after that is “disk-2,” and so on.

Once you’ve unmounted the volumes–which happens if you shut down the computer, for example–Ubuntu forgets all about them. The next disk you mount will be “disk,” and the one after that “disk-1,” and so on.

Suppose your Windows partition was mounted as “disk” when you made the link. Now suppose the next time you start your computer, you plug in a flash drive. That flash drive is “disk” now. If you mount the Windows partition with the flash drive plugged in, the Windows partition becomes “disk-1.”

There’s your problem: your link points to a folder on “disk,” so Ubuntu is looking for it on your flash drive.

One of the legions of people smarter than I am may know a good way around this difficulty. Please tell me what it is. The only solution I know of is to mount the volumes in the same order each time. Practically speaking, if you use the Windows side often enough to make a link, you can just mount it by habit at the beginning of each session, and it will always be “disk.”

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Written by cbaile19

July 28, 2008 at 5:32 pm

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