File System - ( Symbolic | ln | Soft) link - File Alias - Symlink - Junction - Reparse Points

Undraw File Manager Re Ms29


A soft link, symlink or a symbolic link is a file that redirects (link) to another file.

It's the alias functionality of a file system.

Unlike a hard link, a symbolic link can link to any file on any computer.

Operating System


They are created with the ln command .

They are created with the ln command and the -s parameter:

ln -s /the/full-real/file/path /the/sym/link/file/path
ln -s /the/full-real-path/to-directory /the/symlink/directory/path
ln -s /etc/dbora /etc/rc.d/rc2.d/S99dbora

See canonical/real path:

readlink -f /the/sym/link/file/path

Remove Without trailing slash:

  • unlink
unlink /the/sym/link
  • or remove
# rm /the/sym/link/ <- Bad
rm /the/sym/link


Symlink are also known as junction on Windows.


Windows shortcut are not symbolic link

Creates a symbolic link.

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

        /D      Creates a directory symbolic link.  Default is a file
                symbolic link.
        /H      Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link. (Works only with files ? See option /D)
        /J      Creates a Directory Junction.
        Link    specifies the new symbolic link name.
        Target  specifies the path (relative or absolute) that the new link
                refers to.

Example for:

  • a file
mklink  targetSymlink sourceFile 
REM with a php ini file
mklink  C:\php-7.2.6-Win32-VC15-x64\php.ini D:\repo_backup\php.ini
symbolic link created for C:\php-7.2.6-Win32-VC15-x64\php.ini <<===>> D:\repo_backup\php.ini

  • A directory
mklink  /D symlink directory 
REM example for the preferences directory of Eclipse
mklink /D "D:\workspace\.metadata\.plugins\org.eclipse.core.runtime" "D:\svn\Config\Eclipseorg.eclipse.core.runtime"
symbolic link created for D:\workspace\.metadata\.plugins\org.eclipse.core.runtime <<===>> D:\svn\Config\Eclipse\org.eclipse.core.runtime

  • List: the dir command show the target of symbolic links (called Reparse Points)
dir /a:l
/A          Displays files with specified attributes.
  attributes   D  Directories                R  Read-only files
               H  Hidden files               A  Files ready for archiving
               S  System files               I  Not content indexed files
               L  Reparse Points             -  Prefix meaning not


Security and Developer Mode

On Windows, you can activate Developer Mode to allow non-admin users to create symlinks by following this instructions.


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