Find out whether a file is a symbolic link in PowerShell

0 votes
asked May 3, 2009 by joey

I am having a PowerShell script which is walking a directory tree, and sometimes I have auxiliary files hardlinked there which should not be processed. Is there an easy way of finding out whether a file (that is, System.IO.FileInfo) is a hard link or not?

If not, would it be easier with symbolic links (symlinks)?

5 Answers

0 votes
answered May 3, 2009 by keith-hill

Try this:

function Test-ReparsePoint([string]$path) {
  $file = Get-Item $path -Force -ea SilentlyContinue
  return [bool]($file.Attributes -band [IO.FileAttributes]::ReparsePoint)

It is a pretty minimal implementation, but it should do the trick. Note that this doesn't distinguish between a hard link and a symbolic link. Underneath, they both just take advantage of NTFS reparse points, IIRC.

0 votes
answered May 12, 2010 by cheeso

My results on Vista, using Keith Hill's powershell script to test symlinks and hardlinks:

c:\markus\other>mklink symlink.doc \temp\2006rsltns.doc
symbolic link created for symlink.doc <<===>> \temp\2006rsltns.doc

c:\markus\other>fsutil hardlink create HARDLINK.doc  \temp\2006rsltns.doc
Hardlink created for c:\markus\other\HARDLINK.doc <<===>> c:\temp\2006rsltns.doc

 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is C8BC-2EBD

 Directory of c:\markus\other

02/12/2010  05:21 PM    <DIR>          .
02/12/2010  05:21 PM    <DIR>          ..
01/10/2006  06:12 PM            25,088 HARDLINK.doc
02/12/2010  05:21 PM    <SYMLINK>      symlink.doc [\temp\2006rsltns.doc]
               2 File(s)         25,088 bytes
               2 Dir(s)   6,805,803,008 bytes free

c:\markus\other>powershell \script\IsSymLink.ps1 HARDLINK.doc

c:\\markus\other>powershell \script\IsSymLink.ps1 symlink.doc

It shows that symlinks are reparse points, and have the ReparsePoint FileAttribute bit set, while hardlinks do not.

0 votes
answered May 13, 2015 by b-ball

The following PowerShell script will list all the files in a directory or directories with the -recurse switch. It will list the name of the file, whether it is a regular file or a hardlinked file, and the size, separated by colons.

It must be run from the PowerShell command line. It doesn't matter which directory you run it from as that is set in the script.

It uses the fslink utility shipped with Windows and runs that against each file using the hardlink and list switches and counts the lines of output. If two or greater it is a hardlinked file.

You can of course change the directory the search starts from by changing the c:\windows\system in the command. Also, the script simply writes the results to a file, c:\hardlinks.txt. You can change the name or simply delete everything from the > character on and it will output to the screen.

Get-ChildItem -path C:\Windows\system -file -recurse -force | 
    foreach-object {
        if ((fsutil hardlink list $_.fullname).count -ge 2) {
            $_.PSChildname + ":Hardlinked:" + $_.Length
        } else {
            $_.PSChildname + ":RegularFile:" + $_.Length
    } > c:\hardlinks.txt
0 votes
answered May 30, 2015 by k3yz101

Utilize Where-Object to search for the ReparsePoint file attribute.

Get-ChildItem | Where-Object { $_.Attributes -match "ReparsePoint" }
0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by anton-krouglov

If you have Powershell 5+ the following one-liner recursively lists all file hardlinks, directory junctions and symbolic links and their targets starting from d:\Temp\:

dir 'd:\Temp' -recurse -force | ?{$_.LinkType} | select FullName,LinkType,Target


FullName                                LinkType     Target
--------                                --------     ------
D:\Temp\MyJunctionDir                   Junction     {D:\exp\junction_target_dir}
D:\Temp\MySymLinkDir                    SymbolicLink {D:\exp\symlink_target_dir}
D:\Temp\MyHardLinkFile.txt              HardLink     {D:\temp\MyHardLinkFile2.txt, D:\exp\hlink_target.xml}
D:\Temp\MyHardLinkFile2.txt             HardLink     {D:\temp\MyHardLinkFile.txt, D:\exp\hlink_target.xml}
D:\Temp\MySymLinkFile.txt               SymbolicLink {D:\exp\symlink_target.xml}
D:\Temp\MySymLinkDir\MySymLinkFile2.txt SymbolicLink {D:\temp\normal file.txt}

If you care about multiple targets for hardlinks use this variation which lists targets tab-separated:

dir 'd:\Temp' -recurse -force | ?{$_.LinkType} | select FullName,LinkType,@{ Name = "Targets"; Expression={$_.Target -join "`t"} }

You may need administrator privileges to run this script on say C:\.

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