The NTFS file system implemented in NT4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows XP64, and Windows7/8/10 supports a facility known as hard links (referred to herein as Hardlinks). Hardlinks provide the ability to keep a single copy of a file yet have it appear in multiple folders (directories). They can be created with the POSIX command ln included in the Windows Resource Kit, the fsutil command utility included in Windows XP or my command line ln.exe utility. Thus, using standard Windows facilities Hardlinks can only be created at the command prompt, which can be tedious, especially when Hardlinks to multiple files are required or when one only makes occasional use of Hardlinks. Support for Junctions in standard Microsoft software offerings is even more limited than that offered for Hardlinks.
Link Shell Extension (LSE) provides for the creation of Hardlinks , Junctions , Volume Mountpoints , and Windows7/8's Symbolic Links, (herein referred to collectively as Links) a folder cloning process that utilises Hardlinks or Symbolic Links and a copy process taking care of Junctions, Symbolic Links, and Hardlinks. LSE, as its name implies is implemented as a Shell extension and is accessed from Windows Explorer, or similar file/folder managers. The extension allows the user to select one or many files or folders, then using the mouse, complete the creation of the required Links - Hardlinks, Junctions or Symbolic Links or in the case of folders to create Clones consisting of Hard or Symbolic Links. LSE is supported on all Windows versions that support NTFS version 5.0 or later, including Windows XP64 and Windows7/8/10. Hardlinks, Junctions and Symbolic Links are NOT supported on FAT file systems, and nor is the Cloning and Smart Copy process supported on FAT file systems.
Within this document the terms action button and action (pop up) menu are used to refer what are often referred to as the right mouse button and the pop up menu that is displayed when that mouse button is pressed (often referred to as the context menu). Recognising that people swap the usage of their mouse buttons, Microsoft refer to the primary and secondary mouse buttons. We prefer to refer the mouse buttons as the Select button and the Action button; and rather than terms such as Context Menu, Shell Menu, Right Mouse Menu we use the term Action menu.
- The overlay icons didn't show up under 32bit applications.
- With Windows 10 LSE shows flat icons for symlinks, hardlinks and junctions. Thx to Yaroslav for the icons.
- The overlay icon for Junctions didn't show up at all with Windows 7.
- Symbolic Link creation is now possible unelevated for Windows 10/14972 when in developer mode.
- The property dialog for hardlinks when used on substituted drives showed wrong path for the siblings.
Prerequisites for Installing on Windows XP 64-bit, Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows Server 2003/2008/20012 64-bit, Windows 7/8/10 64-bit:
To install the 64-bit version of Link Shell Extension you just install the 64-bit .dlls but if you plan to use third party filemanagers/explorers like Total Commander, please make sure that the necessary runtime .dlls for 64-bit and 32-bit are installed on your system.
Prerequisites for Installing on Windows 2000, XP 32-bit, Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows Server 2003/2008/20012, Windows 7/8/10 32-bit:
To install the 32-bit version of Link Shell Extension you just need to install the 32-bit run .dlls.