What is the difference between a Symbolic Link and a Shortcut?
I think the important point is that shortcuts are just a file. They have a size (A small one, that just references where they point) and they require an application to support that filetype in order to be used.
A symbolic link is filesystem level, and everything sees it as the original file. An application needs no special support to use a symbolic link.
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A "Symbolic Link" can actually act like a substitute for a directory or file in a functional way, and is commonly used in Unix/Linux environments. Although there is apparently support for this in Windows, I haven't seen any actual use of it yet.
A "Shortcut" is just a regular file that has a reference to the destination file or directory along with some other things like the icon to be displayed. Unlike a Symbolic Link, you cannot "cd ./shortcut-name" in DOS (in Unix/Linux you can "cd ./symlink-name" and it will work just like a real sub-directory).
Also, in most Windows applications, when you click on a Shortcut in any File->Open GUI dialogue, your filename field gets populated with that shortcut's filename as well as it acting like a sub-directory, while in Unix/Linux the GUI treats a Symbolic Link as a path (without modifying the filename field).