There are three types of file links supported in the NTFS file system:Â hard links,Â junctions, andÂ symbolic links. Otherwise known asÂ Reparse Points.
Hard LinksÂ can only be created for files. Any changes to that file are instantly visible to applications that access it through the hard links that reference it. Hard links do not support UNC paths (network paths that begin with \\). Hard links to a file will not have a shortcut arrow icon on them.
Symbolic LinksÂ are soft links that are basically advanced shortcuts. You can create a symbolic link to a local or remote file, folder, or shares path, and that link will appear to be the same as the target source. Symbolic links do support UNC paths (network paths that begin with \\). When you open a symbolic link, you will be redirected to the target source. Symbolic links will have a shortcut arrow icon on them.
JunctionsÂ (Directory Junction) are soft links that can only be created to a local folder (directory) path. Junction points make it appear as though folder (directory) actually exists at the location of the junction point, and your app wonâ€™t know any better. Junction points do not support UNC paths (network paths that begin with \\). Junction points will have a shortcut arrow icon on them.
Deleting anything in the link/junction or target (source) folder will delete it in both folders.
Deleting the hard link, symbolic link, or junction point itself will not delete anything in the target (source) folder.
This tutorial will show you how to find and list all hard links, symbolic links, and junction points and their target source in Windows 10 and Windows 11.