Thursday, June 19, 2008

NTFS links - reparse, symbolic, hard, junction

Reading through various Microsoft documents, it seems several terms have been adopted to describe methods of linking one NTFS object to another in different scenarios. I tried and couldn't find a single description of the different methods; therefore below you'll find my interpretation, mostly describing how they link to each other, and the tools available to manage the links.

  • Reparse Point File - user-defined data, interpreted by a file sytem filter, eg. RIS SIS, Microsoft RSS
  • Reparse Point Directory - Map a local folder to any other local folder on or across local volumes, eg c:\windows\temp mapped to c:\temp
  • Hard Link File - filesystem link linking one file to another, linking a file object to one or more directory entries.
  • NTFS Junction Point Directory -> Reparse Point Directory
  • Directory Symbolic Link -> NTFS Junction Point Directory
  • Volume Mount point -> Directory Symbolic Link mapping the root of one local volume to a folder in another local volume
  • Soft Link Directory -> NTFS Junction Point Directory -> Reparse Point Directory
  • NTFS Junction Point Files -> Reparse Point File
  • Symbolic Directory Links -> NTFS Junction Point Directory
  • Symbolic File Links Matching Unix symbolic link (soft link) functionality with absolute file, relative file in local -> local, local -> remote, remote -> local and remote -> remote combinations, available in Vista and 2008.

Tools to manage links:

  • linkd.exe (2000 resource kit) - Create NTFS Junction Points (the source directory must be empty)
  • mountvol.exe (2000 CD-rom) - Manage directory symbolic links deisnged to mount a volume (which may or may not have a drive letter already associated) bypassing 26 drive letter limitations
  • delrp.exe (2000 resource kit) - Delete NTFS junction points and other types of reparse points
  • junction.exe (sysinternals) - Create or delete NTFS Junction points (reparse points). Note that you can create a junction that maps a directory to a file target, it just doesn't achieve much.
  • fsutil.exe hardlink (oem with XP/2003) - Create hard file links
  • fsutil.exe reparsepoint (oem with XP/2003) - Query or delete reparse points
  • mklink - Vista/2008 utility to create symbolic directory and file links, hard links and directory junctions


Symbolic links:

Getting the free space available under a certain directory

Creating Symbolic Links

Junction utility:

Creating Symbolic Links

How to create and manipulate NTFS junction points

Reparse Point Support in Windows 2000-Based Clusters

Hard Links and Junctions

Reparse Points

Symbolic Linking

Reparse Point Support in Windows 2000-Based Clusters

How to create and manipulate NTFS junction points

Fsutil: hardlink

File-Based Symbolic Links

Wayne's World of IT (WWoIT), Copyright 2008 Wayne Martin.

1 comment:

Cincinnati sports said...

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About Me

I’ve worked in IT for over 20 years, and I know just about enough to realise that I don’t know very much.