Easy Symbolic Link

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Motivation

Symbolic links are quite obnoxious to create on Windows, especially that Windows depends heavily on graphical user interface. This program makes it super-easy to create a symbolic link with a right click.

What are Symbolic Links good for?

In the broadest terms, Symbolic links are simply shortcuts. But they differ from shortcuts in the way they work. A shortcut is a file, and is recognized, system-wide, as a file. Windows knows how to deal with shortcuts and takes you to the target. Symbolic links are a lower level constructs that act like shortcuts, but they’re not files. They are built within the file system. Programs cannot normally distinguish between real directories and symbolic links; hence, it’s the perfect tool to trick a program to its location. Unix operating systems use them consistently all the time.

Example: For example, if you have a huge directory that you want to move to some other drive, but you’re afraid it would break something if you move it, you simply create a symbolic link with the same name of the directory, and put it in its place, and move the directory wherever you like. Any program using that directory won’t notice the difference.

Requirements

I tested this extensively on Windows 10. Please let me know if it needs further development for other Windows versions.

You definitely need an NTFS file system. FAT32 doesn’t support Symbolic Links.

How it works

There are two ways to create symbolic links with Easy Symbolic Link:

  1. Create a quick symbolic link at in the current directory, then move it where you need it (this helps when you would like to link something in the same drive)
  2. Create a symbolic link in a specific target

After installing the software, simply right click on a directory or file, and choose “Create Symbolic Link”, and you’re done 🙂

Following are screenshots as an example

SymbolicLinkContext

After clicking on “Create Symbolic Link”, you’ll have the symbolic link created (it will ask you for admin privileges).

SymbolicLinkCreated

The other option “Create Symbolic Link To…”, will open a File Dialog, where you can choose where to put the Symbolic Link. This is useful in case you want to link things in different drives.

Download

You can download Easy Symbolic Link 1.0.1 here

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