Making soft and symbolic links in Windows

Creating soft-links is something that has been possible in Windows for as long as I can remember… but what about hard- and symbolic links? This is also possible, but not through the GUI so a lot of IT Pro’s don’t know this.
Within Windows there is a tool named “mklink” which provides you the possibility to create hard- or symbolic links.

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Let’s go a bit further in detail.

SOFT LINK: Use the GUI

  • Also known as a shortcut.
  • Created by right clicking the original file and selecting action from the drop down menu.
  • A file in the system that is completely separate from the original file.
  • Only those programs that know the concept of shortcuts understand them.
  • If the original file is deleted, the link is useless.
  • Removing the original file does not remove the shortcut.
  • Removing the shortcut does not remove the original file.

mklink CitrixFiles D:\Citrix

  • The icon next to the link is the same like that of a shortcut.
  • Occupies zero space in the system.
  • It is not a separate file in the file system.
  • Interpreted at the operating system level.
  • If the original file is deleted, the link is useless.
  • Removing the original file does not remove the symbolic link.
  • Removing the symbolic link does not remove the original file.

HARD LINK: mklink /H CitrixFiles D:\Citrix

  • The space it occupies equals the size of the original file, but refers to the same object in the system (not a copy).
  • Interpreted at the operating system level.
  • The icon next to the hard link is different from the other objects.
  • Removing the original file does not remove the hard link.
  • Removing the hard link does not remove the original file.
  • If the original file is deleted, its content is still available through the hard link.
  • Making a change to the hard link propagates all changes to the original file.

Now what does this look link?

mklink

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