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Author Topic: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?  (Read 2220 times)

tranglos

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Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« on: September 29, 2009, 09:17:39 PM »
Interesting (and realistic) explanation why hard links are not directly available on Windows, even though NTFS supports them. By Raymond Chen, a Microsoft API guru.

His is a fascinating blog about why certain things in Windows are the way they are. Some of the content is programmer-only, but much, like this entry, is accessible to all who care.


housetier

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Re: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 03:12:21 AM »
While I didn't find an explanation for the lack of GUI exposure of the hard link feature, the post is still interesting.

But then he compares a feature of the file system to using a hex editor. In my view those are not comparable at all. The FS does not care what data it stores and how it is compiled (word processor, log file, hex editor...); a hex editor does not care where on the disk the data is stored or which FS is used.

MrCrispy

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Re: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2009, 05:05:11 AM »
The explanation is not satisfactory. There is plenty of unintuitive stuff crammed into explorer, and junction points are used liberally within Windows. It would be trivial to add say a column in details view (along with the 100's already in there) which is not present by default but can be added by the user. Backup programs use the Windows API and can do whatever they want, it has nothing to do with the shell. This is in fact an excellent reason why so many programs in Windows don't make use of the features in the platform - because the shell is crippled.

f0dder

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Re: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2009, 05:44:33 AM »
MrCrispy: hardlinks are not the same as junction points, by far! (they still require some knowledge for backup programs to handle them properly, but there's less risk of major fsckup).

IMHO hardlinks shouldn't be exposed by explorer at all, junction points and symlinks could have a column (requiring manual user add) showing the destination.

housetier: I find Chen's explanation good enough - abbreviated, it boils down to "users would fsckup, lots of people who think they know what hardlinks are, don't, and would also fsckup".
- carpe noctem

joiwind

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Re: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2009, 06:44:50 AM »
Maybe try this ? : Link Shell Extension
.: I use K-Meleon - the browser you can control - but I love Pale Moon too :.

tranglos

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Re: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2009, 07:03:45 AM »
I thought the explanation was sufficient, in how it shows sometimes a useful feature will be dropped because it may do more harm than good, or be too confusing. (Or at least, how MS reaches decisions on such features.)

I had not considered the issue with backup software before, and it looks like it would be a problem. I suppose the alternate file streams is another example of the same.

But most of all I wanted to plug Raymond Chen's blog. It's a window into how and why things are done a certain way at Microsoft. (And sometimes you can find out how to use a certain API properly).

tomos

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Re: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2009, 07:17:00 AM »

FWIW I've had hard links not work properly on two different computers in spite of many attempts (there's a few older threads here about hard links here at dc - for anyone who's interested in the possibilities do a search)
Tom

lanux128

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Re: Why doesn't Explorer have an interface for creating hard links?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2009, 08:29:30 AM »
i find it interesting the approach taken by Microsoft's team in "maintaining the balance" between exposing the power-user features and the ones that average users will be using everyday. but at least, that's where the "third party" tools and utilities come in to fill the gap.