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Changing the location of the images/media folders


Jason Carr
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I'm trying to run launchbox locally on an SSD on my HTPC and I'm pointing it to ROMs that are located on a network drive on a Windows 7 system. This all works great, however the scraping of the images. music, etc is all being downloaded to the SSD which I have limited space on. I have not been able to find any way to change the location of the various different media folders and I was wondering if there was a method of changing the directory location that I'm missing. If all else fails I suppose I can run them as symlinked folders to my network drive, but I'd prefer to not have to hassle with that. I have also tried running Launchbox from my network drive location (a mounted network location from my NAS), however it fails to launch successfully (a seperate issue altogether, but not one I'm too worried about figuring out.).
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I don't believe that is possible I've never tried to do it but you may be able to store LaunchBox on the network drive and use it on your PC. Is your computer a Laptop or a Desktop if it is a desktop you could get an external drive or add an internal drive (I prefer internal but both work fine). If it is a laptop you could get an external either a passport, a full size that needs external power or buy an internal drive and a drive enclosure. If your laptop has an optical drive you can get a hard drive caddy remove the optical drive and add a storage drive to the caddy. I've done this on two of my laptops then got optical drive enclosures so I can use the drive via USB if needed. There are now 256 GB SD cards that are around $70 which make good LaunchBox drives especially if you aren't storing all of your games on them that would accommodate your metadata with ease. If there is a way to store your media outside of LaunchBox I've never seen the settings for nor have I seen an request to be able to so. EDIT Sorry just saw that this is an HTPC what form factor is it does it have room for an internal drive? Does it have an SD card slot?
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Actually you can change the locations of all the image files on a platform-by-platform basis. Go to Tools > Manage Platforms and you can move things around however you like. It may be a bit of work though due to all the options. Unfortunately though, just a fair warning, you may find performance to be unfortunate if you move images over to a network drive.
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I stand corrected. I actually just copied my LaunchBox folder minus XML video images and music folders and I am going to test how running it from another PC works. It initially took a little longer than usual to open and that is with nothing added to it yet so it may not be feasible.
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I'm not really looking to add hardware as a solution, but rather finding a software solution to utilize the hardware I have now. My NAS is built as a 12 TB array specifically to house large amounts of unchanging media data such as this. I was hoping for some means on launchbox configuration changes (via the cfg file if nothing else) as the rest of the application is very well thought out and customizable/portable.
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I understand completely I have two servers my self and use them to store all of my media. I've added Colecovision to a LaunchBox install running from my Windows Home Server 2011 and I am in the middle of adding NES. ColEm launches with no issues and plays although thinking this through more I added emulators from the server where you would probably want to have the emulators locally so you didn't run into controller issues if you were using multiple PC's. How it would preform using more advanced systems though I don't know. I am also curious if I could launch it from more than one PC at a time. EDIT Ok I just successfully launched a second instance of LaunchBox from another PC while the original one was still open I even played a game of Galaxian over remote desktop and it worked fine. So with a little more testing it may actually prove that it is possible to run LaunchBox from a NAS or server completely.
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Jason Carr said Actually you can change the locations of all the image files on a platform-by-platform basis. Go to Tools > Manage Platforms and you can move things around however you like. It may be a bit of work though due to all the options.
Thanks, that is exactly what I was looking for. It's a shame there isn't an option to change the default global option. Any chance there is a config or xml file that can be edited with a find/replace to speed up the process?
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I have to say there is a huge performance hit on the images when using a remote instance of LaunchBox I don't know if it would be better with a local instance of LaunchBox with just remote images. However if you increase the RAM cache setting in LaunchBox (I pushed mine to 1024MB = 1GB) and it has significantly improved performance.
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  • 1 year later...

Hi, I also do maintain a multi-TB romset collection on an external NAS, and have ran emulators and frontends from a shared drive, for many years now, with great success. I was also surprised when I saw the big performance hit of running Launchbox from that setup, I haven't found other frontend that behaves this way.

I did some tests and I found Launchbox is continuously looking for all the images of all the games on the collection, instead of quering only the game I select. Is listing the contents of the media folders even when idle, and that hogs the network drive completely. I'm sure it also hogs local disks, but as they are much faster nwadays it's not so noticeable (in my tests I have one image folder on local and other on remote folder, both are being queried constantly).

I used a little Microsoft App called Proccess Monitor, from Sysinternals, to capture activity. It can be downloaded here:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/processmonitor.aspx

I've attached a sample screenshot and a small activity capture in this tool format, so you can open it with it and see it.

If you need more testing or information please say so, I'm willing to help to get Launchbox running smooth from a network drive.

Launchbox.PNG

Launchbox.zip

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@mgtroyas, this is due to the background caching system. It can always be improved though, of course. It shouldn't be doing too much of this stuff while not in focus; it should only be performing the significant background caching operations while in focus. What are you seeing when LaunchBox isn't in focus? I have had one report that the "stop while not focused" functionality wasn't working for somebody, so that's why I ask.

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I've just tested, yes when switching from Launchbox to Process Explorer, after about 5-10 seconds disk access stops. As soon as I give focus again to Launchbox caching continues. So yes, in my case it seem to work as expected.

The problem is when in focus, cachin hangs Launchbox about a minute on every movement. I select a category with about 300 games, I open it on Launchbox and it starts caching the images, I left the PC unattended for some hours expecting it to cache all the images, and when I came back Launchbox was idle. As soon as I scrolled minimally the list, it started caching again, hanging for about one minute. Then settled and when I scrolled again, hanged again.

I switched from Image to List view but caching is working even if no image per game is needed now.

If is of some help, I suggest some behaviours:

1) Fetching the complete list of games and files once, then only request the images and info for the few games currently shown on screen, not all the games every time.

2) No caching at all.

Perhaps they could be user selectable, and/or with different settings for local and remote drives. I find the browsing slower than it should be even locally on my SSD disk. 

Edited by mgtroyas
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,

I am also running things off the network, for me I would just like to functionality that allows a local cache of media.

If we had the option to have multiple "folder paths" in the XML settings which prefer the first, and then fallback on the next that might be one way of solving it.

For instance, on my NAS box Launchbox works totally fine, the main performance hit I notice is for wheel images, a nice feature I would like to keep. Having a slight delay on the other items is less important, but lets just say I want to check a local cache for all images. I would copy all the "Images" platform directories

If I could some how put in settings an absolute local path such as "R:\LaunchBoxCache\Images\Super Nintendo Entertainment System"

Something like:

<FolderPath>Images\Super Nintendo Entertainment System\Clear Logo</FolderPath>

can become (optional of course, for backward compatibility)

<FolderPaths>
  	<FolderPath>R:\LaunchBoxCache\Images\Super Nintendo Entertainment System\Clear Logo</FolderPath>
	<FolderPath>Images\Super Nintendo Entertainment System\Clear Logo</FolderPath>
</FolderPaths>

This way, LaunchBox can check the first location first, use it if it exists, or fallback to the relative (in this case, NAS) location, and I can run BigBox on any device, and caching the images become totally optional.

Obviously, the above can be achieved in different ways, such as specifying a "relative path root override" and not touching the XML structure, so internally it will achieve the same as above, but always checking a local path first, the falling back, etc. Many options to go with here... 

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Well, I've done some testing, and found some interesting points:

1) Seems obvious but can be easily overlooked: size of images impacts on performance, box images downloaded from Emumovies can be very high resolution, so loading and creation of thumbnails can be much slower than using smaller images like i.e. 3D boxes. I plan to mass resize my box images once finished downloading them all.

2) Once cache images are created on disk, performance is much better. Is there a limit on maximum number of cache folder content? Allowing to create a cache of all the collection thumbnails couldbe an option.

(BTW the performance is now much better, have you optimized the caching on latest betas?)

One solution to slow performance when running from a NAS, related to what @Gazoo also suggests, is allowing to have cache folder on local disk, for instance Windows temp folder. This way:

a) Cache images are created faster as Launchbox is reading from the NAS but writting locally (mixed read/write to same drive hammers performance, specially on networked drives, could also allow other users to store the collection on a slower HDD and caching on the OS SDD).

b) Cache images are logically loaded much faster, allowing snappy browsing.

So my suggestion is to add an option to locate cache folder on a local system path, or an option to define this path manually. I haven't found a way to do so, and as it's located on a subfolder inside Images folder, if pointing images folder to the NAS there's no way to point cache to a local path.

Edited by mgtroyas
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I've done so to point a locally installed LaunchBox to "Images", "Videos", etc folders stored on the NAS without having to change every path on the XMLs . But in this case I need to create a symbolic link inside the NAS "Images" folder, with name "Cache" pointing to the local disk folder, and it's not possible (and with reason, the link wouldn't be consistent when accessing the NAS from another PC).

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  • 1 month later...

So I'm new to LaunchBox and am a little confused on changing the path. I changed the video path to an external hard drive and moved all the videos that were downloaded from EmuVideos to "Z:\Videos" under the manage platforms but none of the video clips are playing when I open Big Box. They weren't running when I had them under the original location either though. Am I missing something? Thanks in advance. 

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