BBC iPlayer upgrade hurts SSDs

Well, not exactly ‘hurts’, but makes life unnecessarily and irritatingly problematic.

The BBC is rightly praised for making programmes available for viewing on demand, and even allowing users to download programs to watch off-line.

Many users like me (PC and laptops) have an ultra fast but small SSD hard drive for their ‘System Drive’ (usually C:\) and have a massive slower secondary drive (often D:\).  One is forever working to keep large files off the SSD, as they use up the most valuable real-estate on the computer.

The problem is that the BBC have required users to update iPlayer to version 2, and this version insists without a hint of compromise that downloads have to live on the C:\ Drive (unless one reconfigures the entire machine in a frankly obscure and compromising way).  I can understand that they have rights to protect and can’t allow programs on removable drives that would not have their protection, but this is not the issue here.

All is not lost though.  One can use the functionality of the “Symbolic Link”, used as a junction in my case to ‘fool’ the program into thinking that a folder on the D:\ Drive is actually on the C:\.  It’s effectively a redirection functionality that goes unnoticed.

From an elevated command prompt just alter the following line and hit enter:

MKLINK /j “C:\Users\tom\Videos\BBC iPlayer Downloads” “D:\Media\BBC iPlayer Downloads”

I’ve just downloaded last night’s Newsnight, and it plays back perfectly.

Useful for those long plane journeys when you need to think it’s the evening and want to get to sleep.

Thanks to Ian Dixon of for the pointer.