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Store PCT and Images on Separate Hard Drive in SMP 7.5

Created: 02 Apr 2014 • Updated: 08 May 2014
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DeaDraug's picture
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In some environments it is necessary to have the location of the large files that Altiris creates on another hard drive. This was often done by installing the agent to another drive.

The location of where the "space hog" files are kept have changed in 7.5 and now installing the agent to a separate drive does not really help when trying to manage those files.

SMP 7.5 added the options to set Patch files to another location which is nice but you still have your large PCTs and Images to worry about. (Or at least I did)

 

There are two ways I found that you can store these files on another hard drive.

One is to just move the NSCap folder to your separate drive and then point the NSCap share to that location. (I am not sure if this breaks other things. But I did test it with a PCT and it worked). My concern in doing it this way was that there would be two NSCap locations that are not updating to each other.

The other is to create a Symbolic Link to the separate drive so that the system acts as if it was still in the same location. (This way felt more comfortable to me because I didn't want to break any functions that the SMP might be wanting to carry out that doesn't call the share location)

More info about Symbolic Links here: Link

 

Using Symbolic Link:

This method uses a tool that adds the SymLink options to the right click menu.

  • First you need to download both the Microsoft prerequisite and then the Link Shell Extension: Link
    (you will need to scroll down to the "Download" section, just a page bellow)
     
  • You want to copy the NSCap Folder to your separate Drive (I put it in a shared folder).
     
  • Then go to Microsoft Management Console (you can type "mmc" into start) and make sure you have the Add-on/Snap-in "Shared Folder". Then find NSCap and right click "Stop Sharing" on it. This is to make sure nothing is pointing to the NSCap Folder and trying to access it.
     
  • If you can't stop sharing it from that window add the snap in for "Share and Storage Management" then find it in there are stop sharing it.
     
  • You are going to want to stop all SMP services and processes so that nothing is accessing the NSCap Folder. Make sure that the ISS Servcie is not running. Go to the ISS manager and turn off that site. (I found that rebooting the server and then quickly renaming it worked for me). You want to rename the old NSCap folder on C: to "NSCap (old)" or something different. (I ended up deleting it later).
     
  • Now you want to go to the NSCap location on the separate drive (mine is "E:\Libraries\NSCap") and right click on the NSCap folder and chose "Pick Link Source".
     
  • Then go to the Notification Server folder where the NSCap lives on C:\ (C:\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server) and right click in there and chose "Drop As..." Then click "Symbolic Link".
     
  • After that go back to MMC and setup the share to the same location again in "C:\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap". Make sure the name of the share is "NSCap" (it should be by default).

 

Symbolic Link using Command Line:

This method uses the mklink command in Command Prompt.

  • Copy the NSCap Folder to your separate Drive (I put it in a shared folder).
     
  • Open Microsoft Management Console (you can type "mmc" into start) and make sure you have the Add-on/Snap-in "Shared Folder". Then find NSCap and right click "Stop Sharing" on it. This is to make sure nothing is pointing to the NSCap Folder and trying to access it.
     
  • If you can't stop sharing it from that window add the snap in for "Share and Storage Management" then find it in there are stop sharing it.
     
  • You are going to want to stop all SMP services and processes so that nothing is accessing the NSCap Folder. Make sure that the ISS Servcie is not running. Go to the ISS manager and turn off that site. (I found that rebooting the server and then quickly renaming it worked for me). You want to rename the old NSCap folder on C: to "NSCap (old)" or something different. (I ended up deleting it later).
  • Now open an elevated command prompt window.
     
  • Type in: mklink /D ["DRIVE:\PATH"] "C:\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap"
    In the [ ] put the Drive letter of your hard drive and then the path to where NSCap is. Include " if you have spaces in your file path.
    Example: mklink /D "C:\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap" "E:\Libraries\NSCap" 
     
  • Execute the command and then close command prompt.
     
  • Go back to MMC and setup the share to the same location again in "C:\Program Files\Altiris\Notification Server\NSCap". Make sure the name of the share is "NSCap" (it should be by default).

 

Not using Symbolic Link:

I have not tested this method a lot. I don't recommend it.

• Copy over the NSCap folder to your separate hard drive.

• Start up the Microsoft Management Console by typing "mmc" into start.

• Add the "Share Folders" and "Share and Storage Management" then click "OK".

• Locate the NSCap share and right click "Stop Sharing".

• Then right click "New Share" and create a share to the location on your separate drive.

 

Both of these methods worked for me but I am not sure how safe just changing the share location is. That is why I opted for the more complicated SymLink option. I did this on a 2008 R2 test server with a fresh install of SMP 7.5 on it with the DB on a local instance of 2012 Express.

I hope this is helpful.

Patrick