Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Create Symbolic Links to Shared Folders

You can create symbolic links on the local file system to files stored on other local drives or shared folders. However, when you use the mklink command, you must always specify the absolute path to the remote target file because the mklink command by default assumes that the location is relative. For example, suppose you want to create a symbolic link named C:\Link.txt that targets a file on a shared folder at Z:\Target.txt. If you run the following commands, you will successfully create a symbolic link at C:\Link.txt.

Z:\>mklink C:\link.txt target.txt

However, that file will link to C:\Target.txt and not the intended Z:\Target.txt. To create a link to the Z:\Target.txt file, you need to run the following command.

C:\>mklink C:\link.txt Z:\target.txt

The mklink command also allows you to create a symbolic link targeting a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path. For example, if you run the following command, Windows will create a symbolic link file called Link.txt that opens the Target.txt file.

Mklink link.txt \\server\folder\target.txt

If you enable remote symbolic links (discussed later in this section), they can be used to store symbolic links on shared folders and automatically redirect multiple Windows network clients to a different file on the network.

By default, you can use symbolic links only on local volumes. If you attempt to access a symbolic link located on a shared folder (regardless of the location of the target) or copy a symbolic link to a shared folder, you will receive an error. You can change this behavior by configuring the following Group Policy setting:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\NTFS File System\Selectively Allow The Evaluation Of A SymbolicLink

When you enable this policy setting, you can select from four settings:

  • Local Link To Local Target Enabled by default, this allows local symbolic links to targets on the local file system.
  • Local Link To Remote Target Enabled by default, this allows local symbolic links to targets on shared folders.
  • Remote Link To Remote Target Disabled by default, this allows remote symbolic links to remote targets on shared folders.
  • Remote Link To Local Target Disabled by default, this allows remote symbolic links to remote targets on shared folders.

Enabling remote links can introduce security vulnerabilities. For example, a malicious user can create a symbolic link on a shared folder that references an absolute path on the local computer. When a user attempts to access the symbolic link, he will actually be accessing a different file that might contain confidential information. In this way, a sophisticated attacker might be able to trick a user into compromising the confidentiality of a file on his local computer.

[Previous] [Contents] [Next]

In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Disks and File Systems
  2. Overview of Partitioning Disks
  3. How to Choose Between MBR or GPT
  4. Converting from MBR to GPT Disks
  5. GPT Partitions
  6. Choosing Basic or Dynamic Disks
  7. Working with Volumes
  8. How to Create a Simple Volume
  9. How to Create a Spanned Volume
  10. How to Create a Striped Volume
  11. How to Resize a Volume
  12. How to Delete a Volume
  13. How to Create and Use a Virtual Hard Disk
  14. File System Fragmentation
  15. Backup And Restore
  16. How File Backups Work
  17. File and Folder Backup Structure
  18. How System Image Backups Work
  19. How to Start a System Image Backup from the Command Line
  20. How to Restore a System Image Backup
  21. System Image Backup Structure
  22. Best Practices for Computer Backups
  23. How to Manage Backup Using Group Policy Settings
  24. Previous Versions and Shadow Copies
  25. How to Manage Shadow Copies
  26. How to Restore a File with Previous Versions
  27. How to Configure Previous Versions with Group Policy Settings
  28. Windows ReadyBoost
  29. BitLocker Drive Encryption
  30. How BitLocker Encrypts Data
  31. How BitLocker Protects Data
  32. TPM with External Key (Require Startup USB Key At Every Startup)
  33. TPM with PIN (Require PIN At Every Startup)
  34. TPM with PIN and External Key
  35. BitLocker To Go
  36. BitLocker Phases
  37. Requirements for Protecting the System Volume with BitLocker
  38. How to Enable the Use of BitLocker on the System Volume on Computers Without TPM
  39. How to Enable BitLocker Encryption on System Volumes
  40. How to Enable BitLocker Encryption on Data Volumes
  41. How to Manage BitLocker Keys on a Local Computer
  42. How to Manage BitLocker from the Command Line
  43. How to Recover Data Protected by BitLocker
  44. How to Disable or Remove BitLocker Drive Encryption
  45. How to Decommission a BitLocker Drive Permanently
  46. How to Prepare AD DS for BitLocker
  47. How to Configure a Data Recovery Agent
  48. How to Manage BitLocker with Group Policy
  49. The Costs of BitLocker
  50. Windows 7 Encrypting File System
  51. How to Export Personal Certificates
  52. How to Import Personal Certificates
  53. How to Grant Users Access to an Encrypted File
  54. Symbolic Links
  55. How to Create Symbolic Links
  56. How to Create Relative or Absolute Symbolic Links
  57. How to Create Symbolic Links to Shared Folders
  58. How to Use Hard Links
  59. Disk Quotas
  60. How to Configure Disk Quotas on a Single Computer
  61. How to Configure Disk Quotas from a Command Prompt
  62. How to Configure Disk Quotas by Using Group Policy Settings
  63. Disk Tools
  64. EFSDump
  65. SDelete
  66. Streams
  67. Sync
  68. MoveFile and PendMoves