Symbolic links in Windows

Symbolic links can be very useful, but if you are a Windows user, you've had to use junction points because there hasn't been native support for symbolic links until recently.

Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 now support symbolic links mklink command. See Junfeng Zhang's write up on the mklink command.

For those using Windows 2000 or XP, you'll still need to use junction points to achieve a similar effect. Microsoft has a KB article on creating junction points, but there are some drawbacks to manually trying to manually manage junction points.

Fortunately, there are tools available that ease the pain of using junction points and prevent you from having to know all of the command line options. One such tool is NTFS Link, which provides shell integration for junction points. You can simply right-click in a folder and select New > NTFS Junction Point. Then select the target folder to link to and a "new" folder, named "Link to target folder" will be created in the directory you are in.

So, if you are a Windows user, you now have a couple of different options for creating and using symbolic links!

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Eric Martin
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