Hard links are a feature that Windows does not particularly highlight. As a matter of fact, many people continue to use Windows for years, without ever knowing what hard links are. So before we jump into what today’s app, “Hardlink Shell Extension,” can do for you, let us go over what hard links are and how they can be of use to you:
Normally when you are working on a computer file, you create shortcuts to it and place it in different folders so that your team on the network has access to the file. While this seems to be convenient, it can cause a lot of problems in the long run. If you simply move the original file to another location, all of the shortcuts associated with it will cease to work. Furthermore, somebody could completely delete the file off the server and cause a lot of data loss. This is where hard links come in to provide an effective solution.
Hard links are ‘copies’ of the same file. Basically when you create a hard link to a file, you create a shortcut to its original location. But unlike regular shortcuts, the links do not get broken when the original or ‘link’ files are moved, renamed, or even deleted. In fact, all the shortcuts acts as original files and can be manipulated by the people who use them. Changes in one file reflect across all hard links.
While they are supported only on NTFS file systems, the benefits of hard links are obvious. But for some reason Windows does not make this feature very obvious. Instead, you have to navigate your way through the Command Prompt or Windows Resource Kit to create hard links. Thanks to “Hardlink Shell Extension” however, you can now create hard links with inexplicable ease: through the Windows context menu.
After installing the application, all you have to do is right-click on a file and then select the “Pick Link Source” option.
After that you proceed to the destination location, right-click on an empty space, and choose to drop the shortcut as a hard link. There is also the option present to use a ‘symbolic link’ which is basically the normal shortcuts you have been creating all along.
When the hard link is made, you will find that a small red arrow image overlaps the icon of the file. The file can now be effectively used as a hard link.
If you want to find out where all the hard links of that particular file are location, you must go into the file’s properties, and then explore the “Hardlink Enumeration” section under the “Link Properties” tab.
You can get “Hardlink Shell Extension” from here.