How to Use Windows Symlink: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a symlink, or symbolic link, in Windows is a handy trick that can make your life a whole lot easier. It’s like creating a shortcut, but way more powerful. With a symlink, you can access files and folders from different locations as if they were right there where you need them. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds, and I’m here to guide you through it step by step.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Use Windows Symlink

Before we dive into the steps, let’s quickly talk about what we’re going to achieve. By creating a symlink, you’re essentially creating a link that points to another file or directory. It’s a great way to organize your files without moving them around or duplicating them. Ready to get started? Here we go.

Step 1: Open Command Prompt as an Administrator

Open the Command Prompt with administrative privileges. This gives you the necessary permissions to create symlinks.

When you open Command Prompt as an administrator, you’re giving yourself the power to make changes that affect the whole system. It’s like having a master key to the house, so use it wisely and don’t run any commands you’re not sure about.

Step 2: Navigate to the Directory where you want to create the Symlink

Use the ‘cd’ command to navigate to the directory where you want your symlink to be located.

Think of this like choosing the perfect spot in your garden where you want to plant a new flower. You wouldn’t just throw it anywhere, right? Same goes for your symlink – pick a spot where it makes sense for you.

Step 3: Use the ‘mklink’ Command to Create the Symlink

Type the ‘mklink’ command followed by the type of link, the name of the symlink, and the path to the original file or folder.

This is where the magic happens. You’re casting a spell that creates an invisible, magical bridge between two places on your computer. Just make sure to spell the command correctly, or the spell won’t work!

Step 4: Verify the Symlink was Created Successfully

Check that the symlink appears in the directory and points to the correct file or folder.

Just like you’d check that your new plant is actually in the ground and not just sitting on top of it, you need to make sure your symlink is properly created. A quick glance should tell you if it’s there and if it’s pointing where you want it to.

After you complete these steps, you’ll have a brand new symlink ready to use. It’s like having a secret passage that leads straight to your hidden treasure. You can access your files quicker and more efficiently, without the hassle of navigating through a maze of folders.

Tips for Using Windows Symlink

  • Make sure you have administrative rights before attempting to create a symlink.
  • Use quotes around paths that contain spaces to avoid errors.
  • Remember that the ‘mklink’ command is not available in the basic Command Prompt. You must run it as an administrator.
  • Symlinks can link to both files and directories, so feel free to organize your system in a way that works best for you.
  • Keep in mind that if you delete the original file or folder, the symlink will no longer work, as it’s just a pointer, not a copy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a hard link and a symlink?

A hard link is a direct pointer to the data on the disk, while a symlink is a pointer to a filename.

Hard links are like having two keys to the same lock, while symlinks are more like forwarding addresses. If you move the lock, the forwarding address can be updated, but the second key won’t work anymore.

Can I create a symlink on a network drive?

Yes, you can create a symlink that points to a location on a network drive.

It’s like building a bridge from your island to a friend’s island across the sea. Just make sure the network path is accessible when you create the symlink.

Do symlinks work across different file systems?

No, symlinks generally do not work across different file systems.

Trying to create a symlink across different file systems is like trying to listen to a radio station that doesn’t broadcast in your area. It’s just not going to work.

Can I create a symlink to an external drive?

Yes, you can create a symlink to a location on an external drive as long as it’s connected to your computer.

It’s like setting up a delivery service to your friend’s house. As long as they’re home (or the drive is connected), you can send things their way.

How do I remove a symlink?

You can remove a symlink by simply deleting it like any other file.

Getting rid of a symlink is like taking down that forwarding address. The mail (or data) will still go to the original location, but the shortcut is gone.


  1. Open Command Prompt as an Administrator
  2. Navigate to the desired directory
  3. Use the ‘mklink’ command
  4. Verify the symlink’s creation


Symlinks can be a game-changer for managing files and folders on your Windows system. They offer flexibility, save time, and keep your data organized without the need to duplicate or move files around. Just like a well-organized toolshed makes a gardener’s life easier, symlinks can streamline your digital workspace. So go ahead, give it a try, and start creating your own network of magical links within your computer. Who knows, you might just find that using Windows symlink becomes your new favorite trick!

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