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Create Symbolic Links in Windows | The method is very simple.

How to Create Symbolic Links in Windows

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Symbolic Link or commonly called symlink is a method for data management. Its function is almost the same as a shortcut, only with symlinks we can create a folder or file that contains a link to the original folder so that the symlink folder seems to be a duplicate of the original folder. A complete explanation as well as its implementation on the Linux platform can be read in the edition of how to create a symbolic link on Linux. This edition is still about symlinks but with implementation on the Windows platform.


Support Apps


To be able to use symbolic links in Windows, we need Visual Studio Redistributable 2005 which contains the prerequisites needed by the system. In addition to making it easier to create symlinks, a Link Shell Extension application is also needed. Make sure you download the right version according to your Windows whether 32-bit or 64-bit. Install Visual Studio Redistributable 2005 first, then install the Link Shell Extension application.


Using Link Shell Extension


The first thing to do is to determine which folder or file will be the source of the link, right click and select Pick Link Source. The image below shows that I selected a computer-able folder to be the link source.


Pick Link Source


If then we want to cancel the link that was just taken earlier, right click once again on the folder then select Cancel Link Creation.


Cancel Link


Select the directory to place the symlink, here I choose Desktop as the symlink place. Then right click > Drop As … > Symbolic Link.


Create Symlink


Later, the same folder as the original source will appear. There are several options on the Drop As menu such as junction, Smart Copy, Smart Mirror, DeLorean Copy, Symbolic Link Clone. An explanation of each function can be found in the Link Shell Extension documentation via the Start Menu.


LSE Documentation


Using Command Prompt


Another way is to use the Command Prompt (cmd). Type cmd in the Start Menu, right-click and select Run as administrator to run the command prompt as administrator.


Run Cmd


Please note, the general form of the command to create a symlink via the command prompt is as follows:

1

 mklink /prefix link_path file/folder_path


The available prefixes or parameters are as follows:

  * /D – creates a soft symbolic link similar to a standard folder or shortcut file in Windows. This prefix is ??the default option and the mklink command will use this prefix if we don't enter any prefix.

  * /H – creates a hard link to a file.

  * /J – creates a hard link to a directory or folder.


Example:


mklink /D E:\Computer-able\library E:\LIBRARY\EBOOKS


it means a soft symlink in the form of a library in the Computer-Can directory which is sourced from the EBOOKS folder in the LIBRARY directory.


Symlink Cmd


A message appears in the command prompt that the symbolic link has been created successfully, and in the Computer-Can folder there is the symlink library that was created earlier.


Symlink Created


Closing


Proper use of symlinks can facilitate data management so as to increase work effectiveness. This Link Shell Extension application can not only be used in Windows 7, but also in Windows Vista or Windows XP. Good luck and hopefully useful.

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