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This post is a follow-up to my post Using subfiles package with .sty files. Answering that post, a couple people suggested I build a local texmf tree. I've hunted around and it seems that this is unique to Linux systems.

Q: What is a (local?) texmf tree (or it's equivalent on MikTeX + Vista32 systems)?

I have my C:\Users\brianjd\AppData\Local\MiKTeX\2.8\miktex.

Q: Would a texmf directory be built there and then pointed to by TEXINPUTS? Or does a texmf directory just refer to any directory pointed to by TEXINPUTS?

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Note that it's recommended to ask only one question per question :-) (Of course this is not a strict rule, but your question doesn't seem very focussed.) –  Hendrik Vogt Feb 28 '11 at 22:49
@Hendrik: Gotcha. I thought they were focused enough to go in the same post. I'll split them out better next time. (Or now?) –  lowndrul Feb 28 '11 at 23:01
@Hendrik: OK, I split out half of the post. Maybe I'll get more responses now :) –  lowndrul Mar 1 '11 at 0:13
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There seem to be two ways to do that in MikTeX. One is setting the TEXINPUTS environment variable to a tree that contains your local file. Another way (which seems to be unique to MikTeX) is creating a local texmf tree anywhere you want and registering it with MikTeX. There are instructions for it here.

I don't have an access to a Windows computer at the moment, so I cannot check this, but I seem to remember doing something like that before.

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Wonderful stuff. Thank you. I was right there in that section of the MikTeX manual and somehow missed it. As far as the texmf tree being unique, the GUI approach using the MikTeX Options manager is certainly unique to MikTeX but this texmf tree thing is mentioned all over the place (especially with respect to Linux systems. Although, I think that may be just because most people here are running Linux) –  lowndrul Mar 1 '11 at 3:40
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